Recognizing Our Limitations on All Things and Our Need for Christ
We're all going to find out that we had something wrong (why I choose to write in pencil on a number of issues), but the centrality of Christ and his sacrifice for sin as the remedy for the plague of sin and death is a firm foundation that many refuse to accept. This is not generally because they've studied it out, but because they refuse to see themselves as having nothing to offer and on the same level as the worst criminal in the eyes of a thrice holy God. but we know from the witness of scripture, that, without Christ, we are all in the same condemned boat.
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
I came kicking and screaming into grace. In all my study and religion, I could not allow myself to accept the clear teaching of scripture of my lost and hopeless state. How could that be true after years of service and devotion to the "Church?" God had to crush me beneath my sin.
Those who cannot see the glory and completeness of grace cannot see it because of a "false humility" which attempts to offer the works of their own hands to God. This is the way of Cain.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.-Hebrews 11:4
But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain...-Jude 10-11a
Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.-1 John 3:12
What was the difference between righteous works and the evil works? The sacrifice they presented. We present only the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world and nothing of our own hands. The door was always open to Cain.
The Lord's Perfect Sacrifice is Not Far from Any Who Seek
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin [offering] lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.-Genesis 4:2-7
The sin-offering here is, of course, a type of Christ. The reality is here. It is a sweet-smelling savor unto the Lord. Anything we seek to add to that is both sin and foul-smelling.
walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
Christ's work is complete and his love asks for nothing in addition. Nothing. It was a joy for him to provide all we need. It is an insult to both Christ and the Father should we seek to add anything (especially in a "false humility").
Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.-Hebrews 12:2
The work is complete. The father is satisfied. We dare not try to add anything to that.
In the true humility of giving ALL glory to Christ by recognizing our frail state and our corrupt flesh and minds, we must approach secondary issues recognizing that Christ comes first.
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
- Col 2:18-23