By Curt Wildy
Forgive me for any redundancies in light of several recent posts; just trying to hammer out some things — particularly pertaining to our obedience. Christians are to be obedient to the Lord primarily out of love and reverence for Him. I’ve posted in the past that when you see a statement using a verb formed in the imperative mood it is almost, if not always, a command. We are to seek to live as God would have us live but this is not “law-keeping” or “commandment-keeping” in the sense that far too many would have us see it. Christians seek to act in conformity with how the Bible tells us we ought to act: sometimes out of mere duty, sometimes out of fear of chastisement, but our primary motive is that we want to serve and honour God, in His love. We do not want to give anyone cause from our behaviour, to look negatively upon our Lord and His one, true religion. We strive to live in harmony with God’s revealed word, but we never seek to do so with the mindset that such activity makes us any more justified, righteous, sanctified, or holy than what Christ has already made us at the cross… we give glory to God in Christ for having already performed all such things for us. Besides, in what sense can we really even keep the law? Even if we speak of the works that God enables us to do, and the works that He works in us, this body of death always taints the manifestation of it.
Our good works are indeed perfect works in the sight of God, and in reality, because it is He who has wrought them. But from our vantage point? our works are but dung, we cannot even point to them. What work can I point to that manifests through me wherein I can say “see, that was a good work, I kept the law there.” I cannot think of one. Any faithful witnessing, fruit-bearing, ministering, etc. all has the taint of Curt Wildy mixed with it. These works aren’t dung because they are not perfectly wrought by God in the manner that He saw fit to work them — they are dung from my point of view because sinful self is always present to leave a stain. In our daily life, as a unified being (quickened spirit, dead flesh, resulting soul) we never keep any aspect of God’s perfect law perfectly and if it isn’t perfect, it isn’t acceptable to God as being any fulfilment of the law.
So in what sense can we really keep the law? By looking to Christ as our perfect law-keeper; by looking to Christ as the end of the law for righteousness; and by looking to Christ as our Righteousness. Zodhiates, Thayer, Abbott-Smith, and many others affirm that the word end [telos; G5056] means completion, termination, and the bringing to an end (as unto complete cessation). Christ is the complete and utter end of the law for righteousness; He fulfilled it all, He has done away with the law as any kind of means to righteousness before Jehovah God. That means absolutely nothing that we do as far as obeying God has anything to do with initiating, maintaining, improving upon, or preserving our already perfect righteousness in and by Christ. Our God-wrought obedience in this life is the fruit of what Christ has already done; God works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure only in light of the completed cross and the terminated law for righteousness. We bear fruit only because of what has already been finished.
But what of sanctification? Surely our sanctification is based in part on our working out the good works God works in us. Surely it is not! Not in any objective sense. Does our God-wrought obedience to the word of God in any way make us more sanctified? No, Christ has already been made unto us Sanctification; He perfectly sanctified us from the cross and He continues to sanctify us through eternal vital union with Him. What God works in us sanctifies us in the eyes of men (whether they understand it or not), it sanctifies us manifestly, but if we actively look to our works, our doings, as a means of sanctification before God (even our God-wrought works)… if we do things thinking that if we do it we are furthering our sanctification before Him, then we miss the mark. We are perfectly sanctified beings in that we are fully united with THE perfectly sanctified and sanctifying Being (The Lord Jesus Christ) and it is that relationship, in light of His completed work at Calvary’s cross, that truly makes us holy, just, and righteous.
I want to walk as closely as I can after the example of Christ, and wish I had strength upon strength to do so more, but I do not want to make an idol of it. I want to focus on Christ, and not my walk; in so doing, the walk will take care of itself I am sure. Focus on your weakness in the flesh, focus on your witnessing, focus on how you are being persecuted, focus on how you abstain from Easter and Christmas, focus on “death to self,” focus on how God does not love everybody, focus on blood baptism, focus on whatever else you wish to focus on, but you do so at your own peril — for Christ must be your single-eye focus; He must be paramount well above all things. If He is not, then all thoughts of Him, and all perceived righteousness and sanctification in or by Him is but in vain. Look away from self and unto Christ — look unto Him as all that you will ever need for salvation and live (I trust that all who are His will be enabled to do so).