WHEN WORKS BASED RELIGION REPLACES THE CROSS

Posted: November 1, 2014 in HOT TOPICS
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purity

 

 

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)

The problem that has consistently plagued the church for the last 25 years (maybe more) is its stumbling over fads. Fads which are found based in works and methods to gain righteousness through efforts outside of simple faith in what Christ did on the cross. Sadly it continues to even this day.

During the mid 90’s, most of the modern church (mainly the youth) fell into works based methodology such as purity rings, virginity pledges, and abstinence contracts between daughters and Fathers in an attempt to maintain a level of “holiness” simply by making an oath (pledge) or prayer that by doing so it would yield some sort of supernatural power within the young person or adult to do what was right in their personal relationships with the opposite sex while they were single. Sadly however, the end result was anything but noble or even Godly and the result was many young people failed in their commitment to maintain that degree of abstinence and accountability they promised simply because when temptation came, all they had to fall back on was their “vow” of chastity, and when that failed sexual immorality was the result.

Some might ask why the purity movement which was very popular in throughout the 1990’s (and now is quite dead) was wrong? Many would cite the numbers of those who maintained their promise to those around them to remain pure until marriage? Yet they fail to discuss the many others who failed in this movement and succumbed to sin. The answer is, it was based on personal efforts and not on the finished work of the cross. It all goes back to the work Christ did on the cross which enables the believer to walk, not by attempts to do it on their own, but by and thru faith, which allows us to be free from sin AS WELL to refrain FROM committing sin. Notice Paul’s word in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Notice what Paul said? ‘The life I NOW live in the flesh I live BY FAITH in the Son of God -‘, the problem was not so much about purity rings, oaths and pledges, it was about relying on SELF and not Christ. Whenever we as believers focus on our strength and not on the strength provided by the Holy Spirit, failure is the end result, not because of God’s failure in helping us, but because of our failure in depending upon the completed work at calvary, That’s why the purity movement which came out of the Charismatic/Pentecostal and Baptist churches was doomed to fail from the beginning, it was focused on self and not on the cross.

Paul says in Romans 6:6 “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” When we have a complete understanding of the cross, the work Christ did for us there, where the victory for our everyday life was overcome, there won’t be any need to wear a ring to prove our devotion to honor God, our family and keep ourselves holy before the Lord, for it is by faith in the finished work of the cross, not in of ourselves that we are able to live a victorious life over sin – without the need to “do” something to prove our faith other than simply trusting in the finished work of what Christ did – on the cross. That’s why, when we have that understanding or Romans 6, 7 and 8, our lives are dramatically changed – for the better, and no longer do we need to rely on human efforts which will yield in failure, because we failed to understand the simple work of the cross. How sad so many attempted, and failed in that period where they strived to do right, only to find themselves succumbing to sin and passions of the flesh when all they had to do is come to the place where they realized that their victory was never based on works, but on faith, yielded to Christ BECAUSE of his work on the cross.

The answer will never be a “promise keeper” or a ring or anything other than simply coming to the realization that everything that Christ did for me, every further work, every victory over my flesh was revealed, completed and finalized – on the cross. Once the believer grasps that, then they will throw away all of these other methods which are all results of human efforts to try to do what has already been done – on the cross, through faith. Understanding that it’s not in us, or what we can do, but placing our faith in what Christ did for us which then allows the Holy Spirit to do his complete work in us which yields a broken vessel, able to be used, formed and workable in God’s service because our faith and nothing else.

Gimmicks, works based righteousness – anything which takes our faith away from the complete work of the cross, will always end in failure and the believer wondering why they failed, all because they used another method to walk in God’s prescribed order of living instead of simply trusting, believing in the finished work of what Christ did for us – on the cross – by faith.

 

Christopher

christopher152@gmail.com

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