I Have to Earn It – Lies of the Enemy #9– Purity 1021
Purity 1021 04/19/2023 Purity 1021 Podcast
Purity 1021 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of a view of the mountains of Georgia along part of the Appalachian Trail comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this scene from his visit to Hogpen Gap, Georgia on social media a couple of days ago.
I’m sharing Fred’s photo to mark our arrival at the midweek summit of “humpday” and as a reminder that in order to experience some good things in life you are going to have to “step up” and work for it.
In my limited research of Hogpen Gap this morning I discovered that it was along the Appalachian Trail and there is more than one way to get there. One hike listed the distance as a mile, another from Neels Gap to Hogpen Gap gave a round trip distance of 16.1 miles. So how much walking of climbing you want to do is up to you, but I didn’t see any ways to get there by doing nothing. To experience the view Fred experienced, you have to get up and work for it.
Whether it’s worth the trip or not would be up to you, my journey there would require me to get to Georgia first, so that won’t be on the to do list in the near future, but I understand that to experience this view it would cost me something. It would require time, money, and physical effort to hike my way there and I don’t get to experience it unless I’m willing to pay the cost.
This is a basic concept of life here on earth. If you want something, you are going to have to set goals and work for it. And believe you me, some things are definitely worth the sacrifices and hard work that it will take to experience them.
However, as much as this is true, the enemy, Satan and his associate demons of the kingdom of darkness, just love to twist the things that are true to lead us astray and to steal, kill, and destroy our peace if not our very lives.
And so that brings us to our current series, which is an examination of some of the common lies that the enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith, steal our peace, or to influence us to choose not to follow the Lord with the way we live our lives.
So today’s big lie is:
Lie # 8: I Have to Earn It.
This is the lie from the pit of hell that kept me out of the kingdom of God and the joy of my salvation for most of my life.
I was raised in a liturgical church setting and although I knew that “Jesus died for our sins” and was well acquainted with the fact that I was a sinner, I never had any hope that what Jesus did on the cross had the power to save me. My church tradition gave me the impression that I had to have faith in Jesus but I also had to “be a good person” and if I didn’t walk straight and behave myself I might very well find myself in hell at “the hour of my death”. Even though our church supposedly believed in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross, I don’t recall any one ever proclaiming the joy or assurance of their salvation.
As a sinful youth and young adult, I knew I wasn’t “good” and even though I tried to stay out of trouble for the most part, my heart wasn’t really into following any rules that would get in the way of me doing what I wanted. That included theft – “you want something? take it, just don’t get caught.” That included vandalism- “let’s break it! Let’s destroy it! Let’s just not get caught. Look out, the cops!” That included sex, “I don’t care what they say at church, a man has needs and I am not ready to get married, just don’t hurt anyone – get consent – and by all means do get anyone pregnant! That included drunkenness –“What I can’t drink? Since when? Watch me! Whatever… I’m sorry I’m not a saint!”
So you can see, why I didn’t think I could ever earn my way to heaven. Not only was I not working towards it, I was actually doing things that would indicate that I was NOT a Christian, I was not a “good person” and unless the Lord actually did recognize “one baptism for the forgiveness of sins” (I was baptized, right mom?) I was on the highway to hell.
Because the emphasis of my liturgical church was on the fact that I was a sinner and I had to “be good and obey”, I eventually decided that there was no God and “religion” was the creation of man in his efforts to control his neighbor.
It was ignorant view born of my desire to sin, but because there seemed to be a performance aspect to Christianity that I seemed powerless, and frankly unwilling, to attempt to meet, I walked away from church and God.
The enemy’s lie that “I have to earn it” made me hopeless of having a relationship with God. I just couldn’t do it and I knew that if God was mean enough to crucify His own Son, who didn’t do anything wrong, there was absolutely no hope for me. So I decide not to play His game, because I knew I would lose and so I gave up on God.
But the Lord didn’t give up on me and in 2010 He directed my path, when I was as far removed from Christianity as I could possibly be, to hear a gospel message on the radio in which I finally heard and understood the truth, Through a “chance” encounter, I heard the truth that I didn’t have to earn it. I didn’t have to “be a good person” to be accepted by God. I didn’t have to “make up for” all the things I had done wrong. I didn’t have to work for my salvation or forgiveness of sins. That radio message from David Jerimiah was all about the love of God and how it was expressed through Jesus paying for our sins on the cross.
I didn’t have to pay for my sins or earn my salvation. Christ had paid the cost and God’s grace made that payment cover all the sins of the world, including mine. My past, present, and future sins were paid for by Jesus and all I had to “redeem” that payment was to put my faith in Him as my Lord and Savior.
I was simply amazed at the simplicity and the love of God’s gift to us and because He revealed this to me I was joyfully and tearfully compelled to accept it and dedicate my life to Him that day.
I had believed a lie based on the truth of an earthly principle, that I had to earn my place in God’s kingdom and was deaf and blind to the truth in God’s word that tells us otherwise.
2:8-10 (NKJV) tells us
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
We are not saved by works! We are saved THROUGH FAITH and BY GRACE. IT IS A GIFT OF GOD. And the “good works” are something we do AFTER we are saved. The good works are something God prepares for us to do – as evidence that we are His workmanship! Our salvation leads us to do good as representatives of God.
Anyone who thinks we have to “work” to be saved, has it backwards. We don’t’ have to earn it. Salvation is a gift from God and we only need to accept it.
Smarter men than I have missed this fact. Martin Luther beat himself bloody and spent hours in his monstery’s confessional trying to be absolved of every sin, real or imagine and was utterly without hope. But then He examined the original Greek language of the New Testament scriptures and made a startingly discovery – we are saved by faith!
He testified later of seeing the truth in God’s word through Romans 1:17. He said:
“At last, by the mercy of God, meditating day and night, I gave heed to the context of the words, namely, “In it the righteousness of God is revealed, as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live.’” There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which merciful God justifies us by faith.” (https://steadfastlutherans.org/2019/02/martin-luthers-discovery-the-late-medieval-background/)
We don’t have to earn it. We don’t have to earn our forgiveness, our acceptance, or our place in God’s kingdom. It comes by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, and is a gift of God.
Now we should “study to be approved” after we are saved. We should study God’s word to renew our minds and be transformed into He wants us to be but in many ways that too, our sanctification, comes by faith – by simply knowing who we are in Christ and living like it.
So don’t believe the lie that “ I have to earn it”, instead understand that Jesus paid the cost and did the work for you, and all we have to do is enjoy it and follow Him into the pathways of peace to the abundant life that He gave to us. Rejoice you have been saved by faith, believe it, receive it and live it.
For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple apologetic will provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
2 This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began.
Today’s verse reminds of the benefits of knowing the truth. This actually goes well with today’s message on salvation by grace and through faith. I encourage Christians to study the Bible. Why? If we are saved by grace and through faith in Jesus what do I need the Bible for?
Well today’s verse tells us why. This “truth” in today’s verse indicates not only the gospel message of Jesus’ atoning work, it also indicates the word of God – the Bible because verse 1 of Titus 1, Paul states that “this truth” “shows them how to live godly lives.”
Paul was a big Bible scholar – He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees by his own admission but he understood all the Bible knowledge didn’t mean anything if it didn’t lead you to Christ. However, like wise and paradoxically, he understood that a life that was redeemed by faith in Jesus needed the wise of counsel of the Scriptures to guide us in the way of the Lord.
Not only would the knowledge of the truth, help them to lively godly lives, it would also give them the confidence that they have eternal life, as God’s promises in the Old Testament all make sense in light of the Messiah’s coming. Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah and not only encouraged people to put their faith in Him, He also encouraged their repentance – changing their minds from their worldly ways to follow the word of God and His example.
When we have the confidence that the promises of God apply to us and that we have received eternal life, we are moved to follow the One who saved us and gave us life. We are compelled to follow Jesus.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
It now remains for us to offer a few closing reflections and our happy task is finished.
God’s wisdom in the government of our world shall yet be completely vindicated before all created intelligences. God is no idle Spectator, looking on from a distant world at the happenings, on our earth, but is Himself shaping everything to the ultimate promotion of His own glory. Even now He is working out His eternal purpose, not only in spite of human and Satanic opposition but by means of them. How wicked and futile have been all efforts to resist His will shall one day be as fully evident as when of old He overthrew the rebellious Pharaoh and his hosts at the Red Sea.
It has been well said “The end and object of all is the glory of God. It is perfectly, divinely true, that ‘God hath ordained for His own glory whatsoever comes to pass.’ In order to guard this from all possibility of mistake, we have only to remember who is this God, and what the glory that He seeks. It is He who is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—of Him in whom divine love came seeking not her own, among us as ‘One that serveth.’ It is He who, sufficient in Himself, can receive no real accession of glory from His creatures, but from whom—‘Love,’ as He is ‘Light’—cometh down every good and every perfect gift, in whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning. Of His own alone can His creatures give to Him.”
“The glory of such an one is found in the display of His own goodness, righteousness, holiness, truth; in manifesting Himself as in Christ He has manifested Himself and will forever. The glory of this God is what of necessity all things must serve—adversaries and evil as well as all else. He has ordained it; His power will insure it; and when all apparent clouds and obstructions are removed, then shall He rest—‘rest in His love’ forever, although eternity only will suffice for the apprehension of the revelation. ‘God shall be all in all’ (italics ours throughout this paragraph) gives in six words the ineffable result” (F. W. Grant on “Atonement”).
That what we have written gives but an incomplete and imperfect presentation of this most important subject we must sorrowfully confess. Nevertheless, if it results in a clearer apprehension of the majesty of God and His sovereign mercy we shall be amply repaid for our labors. If the reader has received blessing from the perusal of these pages let him not fail to return thanks to the Giver of every good and every perfect gift, ascribing all praise to His inimitable and sovereign grace.
“The Lord, our God, is clothed with might,
The winds and waves obey His will;
He speaks, and in the shining height
The sun and rolling worlds stand still.
Rebel ye waves, and o’er the land
With threatening aspect foam and roar,
The Lord hath spoken His command
That breaks your rage upon the shore.
Ye winds of night, your force combine—
Without His holy high behest
You shall not in a mountain pine
Disturb the little swallow’s nest.
His voice sublime is heard afar;
In distant peals it fades and dies;
He binds the cyclone to His car
And sweeps the howling murky skies.
Great God! how infinite art Thou,
What weak and worthless worms are we,
Let all the race of creatures bow
And seek salvation now from Thee.
Eternity, with all its years
Stands ever-present to Thy view,
To Thee there’s nothing old appears
Great God! There can be nothing new.
Our lives through varied scenes are drawn,
And vexed with mean and trifling cares;
While Thine eternal thought moves on
Thy fixed and undisturbed affairs.”
“Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Rev. 19:6).
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 251–252.