Earning God's Favor? Or Filthy Rags?!
What say you to this statement by a pastor of a local mega-church here in the Dallas area?
The following is an excerpt from an interview he did (promoting his most recent book), speaking of grace and obedience, and regarding the assurance of one's salvation:
"There are probably more unsaved people in my pews than I want to acknowledge. . . . In the past, I've made the mistake as a pastor of trying to assure people of their salvation when they never possessed it to begin with. Here are people who profess to be Christians, but they have no interest in God's Word, they never pray, they don't want to be in church, there is absolutely no fruit in their life. Why should we give false security to people like that? The Bible certainly gives no assurance of salvation for such people. . . . It comes down to the question: What place does obedience have in the life of a Christian? What does grace say is my responsibility in marriage, in friendships, in the church? I don't believe that obedience earns God's salvation of our souls. But it certainly earns God's favor in our lives."
"I don't believe that obedience earns God's salvation of our souls. But it certainly earns God's favor in our lives."
Our acts of obedience earn God's favor?
How is this any different from offering God our "filthy rags" as mentioned in Isaiah 64:6? Does this not also run the risk of creating (for some) a form of expectation that because I've done X, Y and Z, God now accepts me, or owes me some form of favor?
What does this say about the great exchange that took place on the cross - my sin for His righteousness? That Christ earned God's favor for me already by living an absolutely perfect life; shedding His blameless blood on the cross; thereby taking my sin in exchange for His righteousness. (Romans 4)
What say you?
For more on this great exchange, get a hold of Jerry Bridges' and Bob Bevington's book, The Great Exchange. Book: If Jesus Christ died for your sins, and he did, that makes him the most important person in your life, and his death he most important thing he did. So walk through this study of Christ's Great Atonement and learn the depth and riches of the cross. The Great Exchange exalts Christ's finished work of atonement as the central event of all history, where, in union with Christ as our wrath-bearer, curse-bearer and sin-bearer, our sin is forever exchanged for His righteousness.