Understanding Grace and ObedienceEGP Blog post from January 22, 2013
People want a God of love (1 John 4:16), but then want to define what “love” means on their own terms. They also want to forget that He’s Holy and Righteous (Isaiah 5:16). Others will follow them because saying, “I can do whatever I want and will be okay in the end,” sounds great (2 Timothy 4:3–4). But those who lead others (especially children) down the wrong path in the Name of God will suffer the consequences (Mark 9:42, 2 Peter 2:1–3, Jude 1:4).
If you truly have Christ, there’s nothing you can do (or not do) to separate yourself from His love…nothing… (Romans 8:35–39) All the same, nothing you do (or don’t do) apart from Christ can bring you any closer to God…nothing… (Romans 3:19–20) In fact, Isaiah 64:6 says, “…all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment…” which literally translates “filthy menstrual rags” (see [H5708] and [H899]). Jesus even said, “… No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18).
While it’s true that Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn it, but that’s because it already condemns itself (John 3:17–18). While it’s true that His sacrifice was for all (1 Peter 3:18), but it only saves “many” because not “all” will accept it (John 1:11–13, Matthew 20:28, Matthew 26:28, Romans 5:15).
The message of the Good News has always been “repent [i.e., ‘change your heart and mind’] because the [eternal] Kingdom is at hand [i.e., ‘within grasp’]” (Matthew 4:17, Mark 6:12, Luke 24:46–47, Acts 11:18). This brings us back to the fact that we don’t obey God in order to be accepted by Him, but we obey God because we love Him (John 14:15, John 14:23–24). If we are being willfully disobedient, then that shows our heart hasn’t been changed (Romans 2:4–8, Romans 10, Titus 1:15–16). These are the ones who will be saying “Lord, Lord” in the end and Christ will say, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21–23).
Colossians 2:8 (NASB)
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather° than according to Christ.
Colossians 2:8 Lit and not