…. in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is acceptable to God.
There it is again! That awful word, that downright nasty word, that stinky ole word, “works“!
“Works righteousness” sounds like something I’m responsible for, something required of me! Yuk! It sounds like “legalism”! It sounds like “law”!
The setting of course, was Peter arriving at Cornelius’ house after having been prepped by God with a vision. When he arrived, he found Cornelius, a man who feared God and did righteous works, had had his own prepping experience with a visit from an angel. The whole household was now ready to hear what God had to say and Peter came to an understanding at that moment.
Truthfully I now perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that fears him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. Acts 10:34-35
But it’s so much easier to believe my behaviour and actions are not part of the equation , that God love, love, loves [I’ll put in a fourth love for good measure] me! That He is obligated to let me into heaven because “I believe in Jesus!” That my “faith in the finished work of Christ” is my ticket and that ole stinky word “works” has no place in my life! Can I get an Amen?!
It’s so much more spiritually hip to be “under grace” and follow preachers who tell me I am acceptable to God based solely on what “I believe”! To look down my ever so enlightened nose at those “law preachers” who spew their “hate speech” about my behaviour and that it matters to God. Worse yet is those who say my behaviour is my responsibility and that God will JUDGE it! That is Old Covenant Law preaching! Can I get another Amen?
I like a good rousing church service as much as the next person and I am so grateful God made me a part of His family. However, much of what passes for various flavors of “the gospel” today have some truth but no solid foundation in the Truth.
How can I say that? Because I was sucked up in it, too. I am not speaking from the outside having never been inside. I’m speaking from the outside, grateful that God opened my eyes so I could see to get out and that He delivered me! The Holy Spirit was faithful to lead me to truth when I humbled myself to hear what He had to say. He always does.
There have always been false teachers and false teachings in the church and there are more today then at any other time. But there is one Teacher we can always trust to tell us the truth and His name is Holy Spirit! Too many have given that honor and position to men.
Two examples of modern teachings with no solid foundation in the Truth are the “prosperity gospel” which has been around for a while, and the “grace gospel” that quite literally took center stage a few years ago.
The “prosperity gospel” is largely focused around giving and giving and giving some more, usually to people who already have plenty. The message is, if you will just “give and believe God“, He will return your money manyfold, kind of like a spiritual slot machine.
The other works [personal responsibilities] required by God to be a good steward of all He has given you, are largely ignored. A partial list of those works would be, budgeting, living within your means, working hard, paying off your debts as the means to be debt free, gaining knowledge and seeking wisdom to be lead by the Holy Spirit in your finances, including your giving.
Yes, I know. Most of those works [responsibilities] are so practical and do not feel supernatural or super spiritual at all. That’s what I thought when I was caught up in it. No exciting testimony about how my bank account supernaturally filled up with thousands of dollars or how I suddenly hit the mega jackpot!
It’s amazing how many thousands of people have been deceived by this teaching and have been following it for years, yet are no better off financially then they were when they started! And many are even financially worse off then when they started! At what point will they finally humble themselves and ask, “God, what in the world is wrong? Why isn’t this working?!”
However, the hottest one off the press today is the “grace gospel”. It is centered around “just believe in the finished work of Christ“. Nothing more is needed. It’s all done!
Again, the works [personal responsibilities] required by the Lord such as a turning from and forsaking of sin, asking forgiveness, humility and accountability for ones actions and behaviour are ignored and arrogantly dismissed as “Old Covenant law teaching”.
On a humorous side note, recently I was watching a short preaching clip of the main bearer of this “grace gospel” and the pastor of a mega church in another nation. He was teaching in his home church on the dangers of men in ministry counselling or personally helping women in the church.
According to him, he doesn’t even offer help to a woman from his congregation who needs a ride, if he’s alone in his car. This is quite likely wisdom in his situation, he has a lot to lose!
He then went on to say, “We have a rule in our church that our people in the ministry do not counsel people of the opposite sex alone.” [Again, I would call that wisdom and a good policy to have.]
However, he ended it by saying “This is just a rule, not a law! Because we have no laws in our church! We are under grace! Can I get an Amen!” And then he got what he asked for, an enthusiastic “Amen!”
Come on church! Wake up from your slumber!!