VII.A.6.b The Error of Salvaging the Moral Law as Justifying

PART  VII  –  Transactional Aspects of the Lamp-Stand Model


Article 6  –  Doctrinal Impairments

Section (b) – The Error of Salvaging the Moral Law as Justifying

By Daniel Irving

i.    Righteousness Appropriated by Faith, Rather than Law

ii.   The Antithesis to Justifying Faith Not Limited to the Ceremonial Law

iii.  The Heresy of a Self-Made Righteousness in the Name of Christ

iv.  Parsing of Paul’s Reference to Law as Leaving Gap in the Apostolic Teaching

v.   Parsing the Law as Confusing the True Standard of Righteous Judgment

vi.  Charles Finney on the Subject of the Deliverance from Sin

vii. Pitfall of Accepting Conformity to a Moral Code as Justifying; Stumbling in Judgment

Sinai 01

Section (b)


i.  Righteousness Appropriated by Faith, Rather than Law

One substantial feature of Pauline teaching is the principle that salvation is not based in doing the Law.  We find this principle stated as a continuous refrain in his epistles.  A few examples are:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.             Eph. 2:8-9

. . . if righteousness comes through the Law, Christ is dead in vain.                                                                                  Gal. 3:21

Where then is boasting? It is excluded.  By what kind of law?  Of works? No, but by a law of faith.                   Rom. 3:27

When we seek after God’s kingdom and His righteousness, but do not pursue it by the explicit means exclusive to the work of God, we go astray as did Israel after-the-flesh, of whom Paul wrote:

 . . . but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.  Why?  Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works.  They stumbled over the stumbling stone.           Rom. 9:31-32

Israel stumbled even as the Lord was in their midst and speaking the “words of eternal life.”[1] They stumbled, presuming the work of God was their own to perform if only they had the right formula. Recall the dialogue:

Then said they unto him, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?”  Jesus answered and said unto them,  “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”            John 6:28-29

The righteousness of God does not come through adherence to a religious formula or code of conduct.  The righteousness of God comes via the Spirit of Life accessible through faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ; a condition which is only evidenced by holding to His words and walking in His ways.  To those who inquired as to what they needed to do in order to themselves perform God’s work, the Lord said:Unleavened 4

 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.   John 6:53 

The righteousness of God is Living, because the righteousness of God is a Person.  When we look to any rule, any system of thought, or code of conduct as the means for knowing God, this is antithetical to faith and can only be antagonistic to the ways of God.  The legal mind is that which trusts in its own efforts and falls away from the simplicity of Christ.  Thus Paul wrote to the Galatians:

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.          Gal. 5:4

Our own efforts, no matter how noble, will fail to bring us into the righteousness of God that is our eternal life.  That eternal life is Christ, upon whom we must fall in the day our own works are shown for what they are.  Therefore any message exalting an alternative to faith in Jesus Christ, no matter how righteous it may sound or exalting of God’s Law it may seem, only leads into bondage so as to constitute a curse upon the listener.

ii.  The Antithesis to Justifying Faith Not Limited to the Ceremonial Law

While the failure of the Law to justify men is widely accepted in principle, there is often confusion as to the scope of Paul’s meaning when he refers to the Law as being non-justifying.  Sadly, some well-meaning teachers, out of concern relating to the abuse of the doctrine of grace, have attempted to bolster the cause of righteousness through non-Gospel means.  One common non-Gospel means is to teach that moral righteousness is, in some way, in fact, justifying.  Such teachers rationalize that what Paul intended by the Law (as that principle antithetical to faith) was merely the ceremonial ordinances of Moses.  To their way of thinking, the moral law of God remains justifying, as all Paul was in fact repudiating, was the dependence upon such things as the Jewish dietary practices, observance of festivals, rituals, etc.  These teachers make such statements as:Pharisee 04

–  “A closer look at the fourth chapter of the book of Romans may reveal that Paul was contrasting faith and the Law of Moses.”

–  “Paul was comparing faith in Christ with obedience to the Law of Moses.”

–  “He was attempting to prove to Jewish leaders that they can be righteous apart from the Law of Moses.”

Such statements work to marginalize Paul’s meaning by confining the thrust of his teaching to the mere ceremonial ordinances of the Jews.  But clearly, Paul did not limit the meaning of his references to “the Law” to the ceremonial ordinances of Moses.  Paul’s message clearly treats the Law of Moses as exemplifying that broader and spiritual principle governing the human condition.  When Paul disallows the Law as justifying, he refers to “the Law” as that principle which holds the whole of humanity in the spiritual condition of Death.  The Law is that spiritual principle which governs the life of the flesh.  Humanity innately trusts what it sees with its eyes, hears with its ears, and senses through its natural faculties.  In so doing, the world trusts in the flesh rather than being in possession of faith in the power of God.  This trust in flesh secures humanity in Sin and so, in Death.  This is not only clear from reason, but more importantly, from Scripture.  Recall that it was to Gentiles that Paul wrote the words: 

For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sinswhich were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.        Rom. 7:5

Mind you, the Roman believers were never under the ceremonial ordinances of Moses.  Therefore this statement makes very little sense unless Paul speaks of a broader and spiritual principle governing all men, not just the orthodox Jew.  Thus when Paul refers to “the Law,” he is speaking broadly; alluding to that spiritual principle governing humanity, which feeds Sin, and leads to Death.  This is clearly a principle shared by the Jewish and the non-Jewish alike. The Law is a spiritual principle:

For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am flesh, sold into bondage to sin.                                                                                     Rom. 7:14

The Law constitutes a principle so universal as to cast its shadow over all men, from the most scurrilous heathen, to the most devout, dutiful, and obedient professor of Christ.  Therefore to limit Paul’s allusion to “the Law” to ceremonial ordinances represented in the Judaistic forms is error.  Not only is this marginalization upon Paul’s doctrine faulty reasoning, it is error bearing heretical implications.

iii.  The Heresy of a Self-Made Righteousness in the Name of Christ

Anyone who has entertained this form of “righteousness” teaching wherein the Gospel doctrine becomes marginalized, should ask him/herself, What practically does this mean?  What is the logical implication of dividing the Law into two principles (ie. the ceremonial and the moral), and then limiting Paul’s repudiation to only one of these two principles as non-justifying?  The clear implication is that we may, in fact, be justified through the observance of the other; that the keeping of the moral law will commend us before God.  This is the logical implication of the teaching, and thus it is a heresy against the Gospel because it holds out a phantom hope.  This would constitute; “mine own righteousness,” which Paul disclaimed any hope in, when he writes:

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:        Phil. 3:9 

To what is Paul referring when he says, “mine own righteousness?”  Is he merely referring to the  ordinances of Judaism?  Is he not, rather, referring to anything he might do which would constitute his own effort toward the righteousness required by God?  If Paul allowed that our own efforts formed any basis for justification, then we must take the whole of Protestantism, the works of the Puritans, the writings of Luther, Bunyan, Owens, Edwards, Wesley, etc., and cast them aside, as their writings left no room and spared no adjective in asserting that any human effort offered as justifying in the iota is “death in the pot.”  For . . .

“if righteousness comes through the Law, Christ is dead in vain”.                                                                                      Gal. 3:21

But is Paul now (ie. Gal. 3:21) referring to the moral law, whereas elsewhere in Galatians he was only referring to the ceremonial law?  We cannot have it both ways.  If we argue he is now speaking of the moral law, then we must accept the whole of Galatians as an impassioned plea for those Christians, suffering under conviction for sin, to forsake their hope in the moral Law and flee to Christ for the grace to overcome sin in order they may attain unto the holiness that comes by faith.  In that case, Paul is not changing the subject or mixing his terms when he writes further:Tempest 10

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.            Gal. 5:4

In keeping the ordinances of Judaism, the Galatians were opting to only one of many possible forms of outward conduct.  But if one argues that Paul limited his meaning (when speaking of “the Law”) to Judaism, then one must acknowledge their argument to leave the moral-law, as a refuge to which the Galatians may have fled rather than to Christ!  This, of course, would be nonsensical and heretical.  Would Paul tell the Galatians that they were not to trust in the Mosaic rituals for their justification, but leave open the hope that they could trust in their own efforts to keep the universal moral Law of God as their justification?  The implications of interpreting Paul in this way are not only untenable, but troubling.  Those who teach the Gospel in this way quite dilute its effect and effectively keep their listeners outside the gates of the kingdom of God, ever trusting in a thing that cannot justify them.   They foster a condition of bondage of which Isaiah prophesies:

  And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off:  for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.              Is. 59:14

We may gather from this prophecy that the prevention of judgment is the prevention of righteousness.   For the advent of righteousness comes by way of mercy; ie. God’s Grace; His consent to dwell with the sinner, judged so to be.  Sacred Ht 01The teaching that judgment must precede mercy may sound contradictory, but it is no more contradictory than the fact that electrical resistance  is required before one can have voltage.  Just so, the righteousness of God, which He would bring to the man, requires the realization of His mercy, which we do not truly perceive while operating within the false trust of our own efforts; a trust in that which can only condemn.  This is the Law; not the mere ceremonial forms, but that spirit under which we strive with men and even strive with our own selves.  Christian teaching that props up principles of moral righteousness in such a way as to displace the hope in Jesus Christ and His blood shed upon the cross, negate the redemptive effects of judgment.

iv.  Parsing of Paul’s Reference to Law as Leaving Gap in the Apostolic Teaching

We might also consider that by limiting many of Paul’s references to “the Law” as that merely ceremonial in nature, we indulge a tremendous gap in the apostles’ doctrine.  When we consider the two principles side-by-side; ie. the moral law vs. the ceremonial law, the moral law stands out as far more encompassing and universal.  Consider that when Paul discoursed to the Romans, he opened up to us a truly monumental principle.  He introduced us to the principle of “the Law” as being the spiritual governor of humanity.  By so doing, he did not limit his meaning of “Law” to the Judaistic ordinances.  Rather, he spoke of the Law as a universal principle governing the whole of humanity; the “Law” as being of spiritual nature, and having spiritual effect.[2]  This is the Law which appears as a common allusion of OT prophecy and type.  Therefore, for Paul to leave off this monumental principle which meant death to himself, and which stands as that operating principle effectuating our own deaths so that we might be raised again into newness of life, in order to focus upon some lesser principle as constituting the profane alternative to hope in Christ, would leave one to wonder.

While the opening chapters of Romans make reference to the Jews as wielders of the Law, it is clear that Paul uses the term as encompassing the universal moral law, and that he makes no substantive distinction betwixt the two.  The most notable evidence of this is in the second chapter of Romans:

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves.    Rom 2:14IMG_0123

Do the Gentiles “by nature” circumcise their foreskins?  Do they “by nature” refrain from the eating pork?  They do not.  Therefore Paul is alluding to the universal moral law that guides mankind through innate sensibilities of equity, goodness, and decency.  He is clearly not referring exclusively to the ceremonial ordinances of Moses.  Further, he refers to “the Law” in such a way as to encompass all distinction between that written and that by nature.

Paul expresses the doctrine of grace elsewhere in such non-ambiguous terms as can leave no room for reasonable controversy.  One such place occurs in his epistle to Titus, which would seem, by itself, to settle all controversy on the issue of whether he singled out Judaism as non-justifying.  Paul writes:

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;                                                                                     Titus 3:5

While the law is good, and we are to strive to keep the law, and if we reject the Law, we ourselves are rejected, . . . . this is not the basis of our salvation.  Rather, the foundation of our redemption is faith.  This is because it is only the blood of Jesus Christ which justifies.  Christ performed the work of redemption, and His Holy Spirit performs upon that work of redemption in us.  The “work of God” that is our redemption, is expressed by the Lord Himself when He told those who would “do the works of God”:

This is the work of God, that you believe in the One Whom He hath sent.                                                                                      John 6:29

Do our own wanderings and captivity to sin and death occur because we misguidedly trust, as did the Jews, in the ceremonial aspects of the Mosaic covenant?  They do not.  When Paul bluntly tells the Galatians that their trust in the Law has severed them from Christ, he is not limiting himself to a particular form upon which to rely.  Whether the Galatians were looking to the Judaistic form, or whether they were looking to their own devices, their stumbling came from their choice of a mean and earthly path to knowing God.   This is particularly clear by Paul’s use of the word “flesh.”  Notice what he actually says to them:

Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh                                                                                    Gal 3:3 

Trusting in one’s own efforts constitutes the “arm of the flesh.”  This is what constitutes apostasy from the Gospel

  Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm and whose heart departeth from the Lord.                  Jer. 17:5

We might further consider that any teaching marginalizing Paul’s meaning of “the Law” is self-defeating given that the Mosaic Law even incorporates the moral law via the commandments given at Sinai.  The Ten Commandments distill the moral law, and are incorporated into Judaism via Sinai.  This renders any distinction between the moral and the Mosaic Law moot.

v.  Parsing the Law as Confusing the True Standard of Righteous Judgment 

Paul’s doctrine clearly presents the Gospel as substantially an issue of the righteousness of law versus the righteousness of faith, only the latter of which is justifying.  Heaven 01But while no flesh shall be justified by the Law,[3] this does not dispense with the concept of righteousness as the basis for judgment.   What is often not perceived is that “the Law,” in terms of the letter, and as a demonstration of outward moral conduct, (ie. “righteousness”) is not, and has never been, the true standard.  Rather the true standard is something internal and spiritual which has been given over to Jesus Christ to wield as the spiritual head over humankind:

For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son.  That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.  He that honors not the Son, honors not the Father which has sent Him.         John 5:22-23

Christ wields a quick and active authority of judgment that excels the Law.  The Law is blunt and unyielding, whereas the judgment of Christ is perfect and penetrating.[4]  The judgment of Christ also contemplates the love of God manifested and accessible via the atonement which He Himself has offered.

Once we have misguidedly divided the righteousness of the Law into two parts, we are actually left with three competing principles of righteousness, of which one is justifying, one is not, and one is a phantom. Pharisee 02 We have contrived three paths for men seeking justification, ie.: 1) through faith, 2) through the moral law, and 3) through the Torah.  Thus we have a ready made stumbling-block in that what was once two clear, distinct, and antithetical principles, are joined by a third principle (ie. the Torah), which stands as a surrogate for the moral law, to bear the brunt of Paul’s excoriations, while Paul’s true and intended nemesis to faith is off the hook and free to offer its services as an alternative to Christ.  The danger this presents is that the “righteousness” which is now asserted to be real and demonstrable (rather than merely credited) and which is now asserted as constituting the true evidence of faith, is actually the same principle Paul denounces, when he writes:

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:                                                                                     Php 3:9

The practical effect of dividing Paul’s reference to the Law into three distinct forms of righteousness, is to confound his argument so as to:

a)       leave open the door to the moral law as justifying, (and to)

b)       imply that outwardly moral righteousness is, in fact, justifying.

vi.  Charles Finney on the Subject of the Deliverance from Sin

The utter futility of the Law, as that spirit within which men struggle and fail to attain to true righteousness, was a common theme of the Reformers and of the Puritans.  Puritan clergyman, Walter Marshall’s work, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, is widely regarded as the most definitive Christian treatise on the subject of sanctification, and is really, a study of the nature of true justification.  The work is a powerful warning concerning, and repudiation of, a variety of commonly entertained, but false assumptions made by persons seeking justification in Christ. While the book has tremendous doctrinal benefit, it is a difficult read.  A full reading of The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification is available on this website under the page labeled “Audio MP.”  The works of John Bunyan are also excellent studies on the subject of justification.

In an article published in 1874, shortly before his death, Charles Finney explained the futility of referring men to legal and self-based means for the deliverance from sin:Finney  Charles 02

Resolving and fighting against it fastens the attention on the sin and its source, and diverts it entirely from Christ.  Now it is important to say right here that all such efforts are worse than useless, and not infrequently result in delusion. First, it is losing sight of what really constitutes sin, and, secondly, of the only practicable way to avoid it. In this way the outward act or habit may be overcome and avoided, while that which really constitutes the sin is left untouched. Sin is not external, but internal. It is not a muscular act, it is not the volition that causes muscular action, it is not an involuntary feeling or desire; it must be a voluntary act or state of mind. Sin is nothing else than that voluntary, ultimate preference or state of committal to self-pleasing out of which the volitions, the outward actions, purposes, intentions, and all the things that are commonly called sin proceed. Now, what is resolved against in this religion of resolutions and efforts to suppress sinful and form holy habits? “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” But do we produce love by resolution? Do we eradicate selfishness by resolution? No, indeed. We may suppress this or that expression or manifestation of selfishness by resolving not to do this or that, and praying and struggling against it. We may resolve upon an outward obedience, and work ourselves up to the letter of an obedience to God’s commandments. But to eradicate selfishness from the breast by resolution is an absurdity. So the effort to obey the commandments of God in spirit–in other words, to attempt to love as the law of God requires by force of resolution–is an absurdity.” [4.1]

Finney continues:Finney - Charles 05

“Should we become anchorites, immure ourselves in a cell, and crucify all our desires and appetites, so far as their indulgence is concerned; we have only avoided certain forms of sin; but the root that really constitutes sin is not touched. Our resolution has not secured love, which is the only real obedience to God. All our battling with sin in the outward life, by the force of resolution, only ends in making us whited sepulchers. All our battling with desire by the force of resolution is of no avail; for in all this, however successful the effort to suppress sin may be, in the outward life or in the inward desire it will only end in delusion, for by force of resolution we cannot love. All such efforts to overcome sin are utterly futile, and as unscriptural as they are futile. [4.2]

Finney goes on to explain what is the Scriptural path to freedom from sin:

The Bible expressly teaches us that sin is overcome by faith in Christ. “He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” “He is the way, the truth, and the life.” Christians are said to “purify their hearts by faith” –(Acts xv, 9). And in Acts xxvi, 18 it is affirmed that the saints are sanctified by faith in Christ. In Romans ix, 31,32 it is affirmed that the Jews attained not to righteousness “because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.” The doctrine of the Bible is that Christ saves His people from sin through faith; that Christ’s Spirit is received by faith to dwell in the heart. It is faith that works by love. Love is wrought and sustained by faith. By faith Christians “overcome the world, the flesh, and the Devil.” It is by faith that they “quench the fiery darts of the wicked.” It is by faith that they “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and put off the old man, with his deeds.” It is by faith that we fight “the good fight,” and not by resolution. It is by faith that we “stand,” by resolution we fall. This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. It is by faith that the flesh is kept under and carnal desires subdued. The fact is that it is simply by faith that we receive the Spirit of Christ to work in us, to will and to do, according to his good pleasure. He sheds abroad his own love in our hearts, and thereby enkindles ours.” [4.3]

Finney writes with great clarity regarding what is the fundamental and crucial element of every release from sin’s bondage:

Every victory over sin is by faith in Christ; and whenever the mind is diverted from Christ, by resolving and fighting against sin, whether we are aware of it or not, we are acting in our own strength, rejecting the help of Christ, and are under a specious delusion. Nothing but the life and energy of the Spirit of Christ within us can save us from sin, and trust is the uniform and universal condition of the working of this saving energy within us. Finney - Charles 07How long shall this fact be at least practically overlooked by the teachers of religion? How deeply rooted in the heart of man is self-righteousness and self-dependence? So deeply that one of the hardest lessons for the human heart to learn is to renounce self-dependence and trust wholly in Christ. When we open the door by implicit trust he enters in and takes up his abode with us and in us. By shedding abroad his love he quickens our whole souls into sympathy with himself, and in this way, and in this way alone, he purifies our hearts through faith. He sustains our will in the attitude of devotion. He quickens and regulates our affections, desires, appetites and passions, and becomes our sanctification.   Very much of the teaching that we hear in prayer and conference meetings, from the pulpit and the press, is so misleading as to render the hearing or reading of such instruction almost too painful to be endured. Such instruction is calculated to beget delusion, discouragement, and a practical rejection of Christ as he is presented in the Gospel.  Alas! for the blindness that “leads to bewilder” the soul that is longing after deliverance from the power of sin. [4.4]

And finally, Finney asserts sanctifying faith as the active state, called “holiness:”

Faith itself is an active and not a passive state. A passive holiness is impossible and absurd. Let no one say that when we exhort people to trust wholly in Christ we teach that anyone should be or can be passive in receiving and co-operating with the Divine influence within. This influence is moral, and not physical. It is persuasion, and not force. It influences the free will, and consequently does this by truth, and not by force. Oh! that it could be understood that the whole of spiritual life that is in any man is received direct from the Spirit of Christ by faith, as the branch receives its life from the vine. Away with this religion of resolutions! It is a snare of death. Away with this effort to make the life holy while the heart has not in it the love of God. Oh! that men would learn to look directly at Christ through the Gospel, and so close in with him by an act of loving trust as to involve a universal sympathy with his state of mind. This and this alone is sanctification.  [4.5]

vii.  Pitfall of Accepting Conformity to a Moral Code as Justifying; Stumbling in Judgment

There are serious pitfalls to a doctrine limiting Paul’s denunciations of the Law to the ceremonial law of Moses.  One such pitfall is that it inevitably leads to stumbling in judgment.  Bronze Gilding 02This is because once we perceive moral righteousness as justifying, we begin to perceive the moral deficits of others as evidence they are not justified.  Evidence of carnality in believers, rather than being perceived as evidence of immaturity, becomes, to our thinking, evidence they are not justified.  But what did Paul say of the carnal believers in Corinth?

Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the coveteous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you;    but you were washed,  but you were sanctified, but you were justified  in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.                          I Cor 6:9-11

Paul did not take their carnality as evidence of their non-justification.  But if we perceive the Gospel as a matter of man’s dutiful effort toward righteousness, and we do so at the expense of the principle of simple faith in Jesus Christ, we fail to discern the true work of God, and begin to fail judgment ourselves when we begin to improperly discern His body.  We might ask ourselves, What role is there for outwardly moral conductWhat is the role of the Law in salvation?

Recall that John the Baptist directed his listeners into outward and concrete righteousness.  There was no deliverance from sin’s bondage implicit within his demand. The deliverance is in Christ, of whom John only prepared the People to recognize and to receive.  While it might be said that conformity with John’s admonition constituted “works of faith” that were “justifying”, it is clear that this principle did not contemplate the release from sin’s bondage.  The Church is to teach and to declare the righteous requirements of God expressed in His Law, and to demand of the believer that he/she turn away from all known areas of sin in his/her life.  Crucifixion FeetBut the true testimony of the Church is not to demand the sinner free himself/herself from Sin’s moral bondage.  This requires the lifting up before their eyes, Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.[5]  Only this can accommodate the presence and strength of God that brings deliverance from Sin.  Only this can establish men in sanctification, which is the knowledge of our justification as the Spirit communicates to us Calvary.[6]  But when we perceive and teach that one’s carnality constitutes evidence we are not justified, how can the work of God proceed?  The discovery of the disease itself becomes the loss of the cure!

The law declares that God will not justify the wicked.[7]  And yet Paul declares that God has done just that for those able to be believe has done just that through the Cross. (Rom. 4:5)  But this is a spiritual work, and it is an experiential transaction; the rejection of which, is the rejection of sanctification by the Spirit; a rejection of the God, Who gives us His Holy Spirit.[8]  On the other hand, we cannot take carnality or evidence of Sin reigning in the body as evidence we are not justified, as it is for this very reason we require the justification of Christ. If we lose hope in our justification, neither do we have cause to hope for release from sin’s bondage.  The Spirit-baptized will wage a struggle against carnality while under apprehension that the power of the flesh is stronger than their own strength of will to overcome.   But the power of the flesh should not be admitted as evidence they are not justified!  Therefore directing the struggling carnal-believer into “good works” as the grounds for either their justification, or their release from bondage, is to set their minds upon themselves and their own efforts, rather than upon the object of their deliverance from sin.  We set the sinner upon that course Paul warned us against: 

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, & going about to establish their own righteousness have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness  of God.                                                                                      Rom 10:3 

[1] John 6:68

[2] Romans 7:14  “For we know that the Law is spiritual”

[3] Romans 3:20, Galatians 2:16

[4] Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is quick, & powerful, & sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul & spirit, & of the joints & marrow, & is a discerner of the thoughts & intents of the heart.

[4.1] Article is How to Overcome Sin, by Charles Finney, published in the Independent, New York, January 1, 1874.

[4.2-4.4]  Ibid.

[5] I Corinthians 2:2

[6] Isaiah 49:16

[7] Exodus 23:7

[8] I Thessalonians 4:3-7


About Lamp-Stand

I was converted to the faith of Jesus Christ in 1982 at which time I received water baptism and Spirit baptism. In the Spring of 2008 I was led of the Spirit through a process of repentance upon which I had an encounter with Christ that worked a profound change upon my inner being. I became aware that I had been forgiven a great debt of sin. I soon felt the Lord's direction that I close my office that my energies not be divided from the study of doctrine.
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2 Responses to VII.A.6.b The Error of Salvaging the Moral Law as Justifying

  1. That which is among us, in us and we share
    1John 4:13
    Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

  2. Wow Dan, our Father is eager to fill us with the truth of His being. If only through repetition some come to know faith in Jesus Christ, let the Holy Ghost have His perfect work.

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