Humility Is Not A Work

God gives grace to the humble.

That bothers a lot of people, because they think there is nothing you can do to get grace. The following verse is trotted out as proof text:

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
–Romans 11:6

This passage, in its context, is talking about the choosing of the nation of Israel for the Messiah to come through. The choosing of the nation that all nations would be blessed by. Salvation is of the Jews.

The Messiah was one Man and could be related to one race of people. That people was/is Israel. Romans 9-11 explains God’s plan of redemption and the interaction between Jews and Gentiles in the revealing of that plan.

I don’t think this verse has anything to do with how people receive salvation by grace.

Another verse quoted is Romans 4:4

Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Paul’s point is that salvation is not achieved by works of the law, by circumcision, and keeping the old covenant law.

The context flows back into Romans 3, which is all about the Jews and their law. They thought doing Old Covenant law is what saved them. But never once did God ever tell anyone that keeping the Old Covenant law would save them. It was a covenant to stay in the Promised Land.

Abraham was before the law, therefore salvation, which was around in Abraham’s day, couldn’t be by the law. Romans 4 goes on to quote David, who lived under the law, also saying that salvation is not something you work your way into.

Therefore, if the Bible says there are things we do to get grace, and it does, then clearly those things cannot be the work Paul refers to in Romans.

The only way it could be is if the Bible is massively inconsistent on this issue, which some have staked their doctrine to such a claim. Not a good idea, but at least they are being more honest then most!

We are saved by grace through faith. Grace is what God provides; faith is how we respond. Faith is humble.

Every single human being knows they are bad. We have a conscience. A conscience is not proof of spiritual life; it’s proof that you are human. We all feel guilt. Yes, the conscience can be hardened, but it’s still there.

Knowing we are wrong wears a person out. We will seek mind altering chemicals to drown it out, or entertainment and distraction to get it to shut up, or sometimes even suicide.

All our desires of the flesh exist to quiet guilt. Yet the more we use the flesh to quiet guilt, the more guilty we become. It’s hopeless.

When the light of the Gospel shines in and a hopeless, guilt-ridden person hears that God loves them and wants to set them free from sin and guilt through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, some grab onto that message with humble dependence.

When a person comes to the end, when hopelessness and guilt have trounced their soul, they respond to the Gospel.

This is not trying to fix the flesh, impress God, or in any way purchasing our own salvation. This is an admission that we got nothing and Christ is all.

I fail to see how this is pride and fleshly works.

Humility, love, and faith are exactly what the Gospel draws out of a person who seeks deliverance from themselves.

This is how the Bible speaks of how salvation happens. Any other theory plays fast and loose with Scripture and makes much of it false. Don’t do that. Be humble! Hear God’s Word and respond accordingly.

Getting Grace and Monergism

Many believe there is nothing you can do to get grace. That if you had to do something to get it; it wouldn’t be grace.

The question then is: OK, so how does one get grace?

If there is nothing I can do to get grace, then either

1) I can’t get grace, or
2) Something else must do everything with grace and me getting it without me doing anything.

Every believer knows some people get grace, so option 1 can’t be the answer. Therefore, we are left with option 2.

Option 2 is officially called “Monergism.” Here is a definition of Monergism accepted by Monergists:

“In theology, the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the only efficient agent in regeneration – that the human will possesses no inclination to holiness until regenerated, and therefore cannot cooperate in regeneration.”

Humans cannot respond to God. Everything is done by the Holy Spirit. Once a person is regenerated, then they can believe the Gospel.

Regeneration before believing is nowhere stated in the Bible and often said in the opposite way, such as, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

Nowhere are we told, “Be saved and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Monergism is completely contrary to Scripture. Sure, you can bend a handful of verses to seem like they are saying this, but no, this is not how the Scripture speaks of salvation.

So neither option answers our dilemma of how we can get grace by doing nothing.

Therefore, the only logical conclusion is to assume there must be something we can do to get grace, and this thing we do to get grace, does not mean I earned it or worked for it. It means I met a condition.

This simple understanding seems to fit quite nicely with Scripture.

“God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble,” the Bible says several times. If you’re not humble then you don’t get grace. How does this fit with Monergism?

Monergism would say, “Well yeah, God makes you humble so you get grace.” OK, well, wouldn’t God making me humble while I was not humble be a gracious thing? If so, then God does give grace to non-humble people.

Monergism is held true as long as you’re cool with making Scripture false.

Don’t let your doctrine get carried away and make you call the Scriptures a liar. Stick with the Scripture. Line your doctrine up with it.

How to Get Grace

There are some who read that title and are already ticked off!

“There’s nothing you do to get grace! Grace is God’s undeserved favor. If you did something to get it; then it wouldn’t be grace!”

This is the view of Calvinism and the “I” of their TULIP–Irresistible Grace.

Irresistible Grace says the only way you get grace is if God chooses you to get it. If you win the luck of the draw, God will shove His grace down your throat whether you want it or not.

OK, that was my cynical and not very complimentary definition of Irresistible Grace. It is, however, in essence what it is, just without the theological politeness!

Clearly I do not believe in Irresistible Grace. Grace can be resisted; that’s why there are people in hell.

Saying there is something you do to get grace does not mean we earn grace, merit grace, nor that we worked for grace.

Doing something to get grace merely means we met the conditions upon which grace is granted.

There are several conditions the Bible says we meet to get grace.

First, is faith. We are saved by grace through faith. We believe the Gospel, we believe that Jesus Christ is the only one able to save us. When we believe this, we receive the benefits of God’s grace.

Second, is humility. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Being humble is not a work of the flesh. Humility is knowing your flesh can’t work anything to save itself.

Third, is love. Here I will quote a little quoted verse, Ephesians 6:24, “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” If you don’t love Jesus Christ sincerely; no grace for you!

None of this says we earn grace or worked for it. Grace is a beautiful thing. God, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, provides everything we need for salvation. This is offered by His grace.

Our response is a faithful, humble, love that is drawn to the humble love Christ demonstrated on the cross. It’s grabbing on to Jesus Christ for salvation in love and faith, completely appreciating and being humbled by His salvation.

This is not a fleshly work that puffs up the fleshly nature. This is simply a realization of who we are and who Christ is, and our desperate need for Him.

There is a reason why some get God’s grace for salvation and some don’t. It’s not luck of the draw either. It’s based on your humble, faithful, and loving reaction to the grace and love of God.

Go get some grace! You need it!

What Satan Thinks About You

Satan is our adversary. Paul says we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices.

Is that really true?

It is, but the “we” there refers to spiritual people, believers, not to all people in general.

The way believers know Satan’s devices is because they read the Bible, which gives us the best information about who our adversary is and how to defeat him.

Satan thinks things about humans. He’s been messing with them for thousands of years. He lumps us together and knows, through much experience, what we are and what we do.

The Book of Job gives us some clues as to what Satan thinks about us. Satan’s underlying assumption about people is that we’re motivated by physical success.

When God tells Satan to consider righteous Job, Satan says, “put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Satan can’t deny Job’s righteousness, so instead he ascribes bad motives. Satan assumes Job sticks with God because God gives Job lots of stuff.

God allows Satan to take away Job’s stuff, yet Job doesn’t curse God. So, Satan says, “put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

OK, Job didn’t curse God when all his stuff was taken, but Job still has his health. If you remove Job’s health, then he’ll curse God.

God allows Satan to mess with Job’s health, yet Job still does not curse God.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

Job stays faithful all the way through.

But did you catch Satan’s assumption about us?

Satan says the only reason people listen to God is for wealth and health!

Want to know what the most popular brand of Christianity is today? A thing called The Health and Wealth Gospel.

The Health and Wealth Gospel assumes that the only reason to listen to God is if He gives you stuff and keeps you healthy.

I ask you: where did this message originate?

This is Satan’s assumption about us, and, by our actions, we are proving him correct.

A recent LifeWay study of Christians said that 75% of Evangelicals think God wants them to materially prosper.

How many would believe if their health and wealth went away? Job did, are there any others?

We don’t have to be ignorant of Satan’s devices. We’re told who he is and what he does. We might want to wake up.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
–Romans 13:11-12

Health and Wealth is American Christianity

A recent LifeWay study found that 75% of Evangelicals believe that God wants them to materially prosper.

The Health and Wealth Gospel used to be a peripheral message in the church; it is now one of our new fundamentals of the faith.

The Bible is massively against materialism and material success. It, in fact, says that the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke out faith.

If you trace back the Health and Wealth Gospel you will find it originated around a guy named DL Moody.

Moody, in order to fund his revivals and his schools, hit up businessmen constantly for money. In order to get money from rich guys, you have to preach a message that doesn’t make rich guys feel guilty.

Mr. John Wanamaker was a successful businessman. He invited Moody to speak at a lecture for businessman that would be “tailored more than any that preceded it to the needs of business and professional people who wanted to be freed from the guilt of doing what they were doing.”

In other words, don’t make them feel guilty for making money.

Moody dipped into Health and Wealth teaching when he wrote, “It’s a wonderful fact that men and women saved by the blood of Jesus rarely remain subjects of charity, but rise at once to comfort and respectability.”

He later said, “I don’t see how a man can follow Christ and not be successful.”

Clearly, DL Moody was not as extreme as some of our modern televangelists. But he got awful close. There is a dark side to American revivalists, one that seems to follow the tents. DL Moody, Billy Sunday, right on up to the modern televangelists.

There’s something about coming up with a message that appeals to a large audience that seems to feed on materialism. Perhaps because people want wealth and desperately want to get rich quick. If we can make the Gospel sound like the trick, people will “get saved.”

I’m not trying to besmirch anyone’s character, I merely point out Church History facts. The Health and Wealth Gospel didn’t drop out of the sky! There’s a logical and recorded development that got us where we are today.

If you think Christianity is going to make you rich, successful, and respectable, I suggest not reading the Bible, for that will end your dream.