How was worship Sunday?

Please, pardon my title. It is an attempt to capture the shallow thinking of our time when it comes to weekly worship gatherings. “How was that sermon?” “Oh, it was great! Our pastor can really bring down the house! He’s such a good speaker!” “The worship was so good today. Those songs are such a blessing to me! Our praise band just knows how to minister to us, don’t they?” I wonder what would happen if the Apostle Paul came to preach in one of our churches next week? I fear he’d be ashamed of much of what he would see and his approach to preaching might not fly. I feel many would leave thinking he was not too impressive. Many in Corinth thought the same thing of him: “For they say, ‘His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.’” (2 Cor. 10:10) Why would some say such things? Paul had some of the same problems we have today, with fickle people demanding to be entertained and blessed and seem unmoved by a simple presentation of the Gospel which brings no glory to the preacher, no outpouring of emotion from those who don’t believe, and relies on no fleshly technique for its success.

1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

We have lost our faith in the power of the Gospel. So, what have we done? We have taken many different approaches to dress it up, to make it more palatable to our audience, to remove the offense, or to make it more exciting and emotional for lost men. What is the modern approach?

  • We need a young, socially relevant pastor with a charismatic personality.
  • Dress the pastor in jeans and an un-tucked shirt to put the crowd at ease.
  • Get the crowd juiced with adrenaline and emotion with driving music, then bring the mood down just before the message to get the “spirit” ready to work.
  • Somebody say “this sermon has so little truth, I have to use techniques to keep you engaged.”
  • Turn to the person on your left and say, “I’m obviously too dumb to understand deep truths, so I have to act like a parrot in order to remain engaged.”
  • Are you with me? Are you listening? Can I get an “amen”? Am I alone in here? Hello? (please affirm me and love me!)
  • They tell me to vary the pitch of my voice to be more interesting.
  • Let me read you 3 verses and tell you 5 stories (4 to make you laugh, 1 to make you cry)
  • Let’s play some soft music because the Holy Spirit apparently can’t work without it, especially during the invitation. Perhaps we can even play music the entire sermon if we need a little extra spirit.
  • Dim the lights in the audience, Brighten lights on the stage, make it feel like a concert. (I’m the star!)
  • Video is more engaging for a modern audience, so we must use video in every service.
  • Let’s get the sound just right. The sound enhances God’s ability to work.
  • We’ll never get younger people in here if we don’t change the music and use a full band.
  • I always like to begin all my sermons with some humor- it puts people at ease. The more I get you laughing, the more happy you’ll be. (maybe you’ll give more, too- relaxed and happy people open their wallets)
  • Let’s focus on love, joy, happiness, blessings, prosperity, grace, mercy, healing, heaven, and victory and leave out sin, death, depravity, hell, suffering, justice, guilt, wrath, and judgment.

Now, I will admit this to you. Not all of these things are sinful or wrong in and of themselves, but the trouble is with our thinking in using them. I’m convinced these are often the techniques churches use to manufacture “the presence of God” or “a move of God” in the absence of God’s working. If you look closely at that list of “techniques” people use, you’ll find that all of them are designed to appeal to the flesh of man. They are all intended to appeal to the senses. None of them is done in faith, trusting God to work. The truth is, we are attempting to make our message more appealing to a lost person and to the tares among the wheat. Is it any wonder many churches are filled with lost people? We hear things like “Well, if the church doesn’t become more relevant, it will never reach the people.” We use this as a justification to try just about anything during our services to make them more memorable, exciting, and relevant.

There are multiple problems in taking this approach. First, it is a slippery slope. If I’ve got to use various techniques to keep people interested, where will it end? If we have sold our souls to this thing and the people who are coming are there because of our exciting techniques, these things must become bigger, better, more exciting, more creative, and etc. This never ends. Soon we’re spending more time working on the packaging of our worship services than we do on the content of them. Related to this is the fickle nature of people. Churches which build themselves upon the latest fad usually attract disgruntled church goers from around their area, who are looking for the next big thing. There is usually a reason folks are disgruntled and rarely does the fault lie solely with the church they left. How long before your mass of disgruntled members have a relapse? A third issue here is this: as pastors, teachers, and leaders in the local church, we are called to equip the Saints. We are called to Feed His Sheep, not to herd the goats. If we spend all our time appealing to the goats and the tares, the sheep will starve or be forced to go elsewhere for nourishment. But most of all, our weekly worship gatherings are to be designed for an audience of One. All glory to God! We are to be pleasing Him with the design and the content of our worship services, not man. Our praise is to be directed to Him. So, what is most important here and what should our approach be? Look again with me at this text from 1 Corinthians 2…

I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom

Of this phrase, Matthew Henry writes, “He did not affect to appear a fine orator or a deep philosopher; nor did he insinuate himself into their minds, by a flourish of words, or a pompous show of deep reason and extraordinary science and skill. He did not set himself to captivate the ear by fine turns and eloquent expressions, nor to please and entertain the fancy with lofty flights of sublime notions. Neither his speech, nor the wisdom he taught, savoured of human skill.”

I would submit to you that many well-known preachers today take the exact opposite of Paul’s approach to preaching the message of the Gospel. They do come attempting to sound like great orators. They do attempt to bring a message of deep philosophy or some new revelation. They do attempt to insinuate themselves into the minds of their hearers, so as to impress them or draw them in. They make for their hearers an impressive show, as it were, a pleasing and entertaining message. This is not of God, friends. Many are fooled by it because the world takes a similar approach, but it does not honor God.

But what was Paul’s approach?

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling…

Paul’s focus was the Gospel of Jesus Christ and nothing else. He himself came to them in weakness, fear, and trembling, not in human confidence or to assert the authority of his position upon them. He could have come saying, “I am an Apostle of Jesus Christ, you should listen to me!” Instead, his message was simple. It was straight forward. It was of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and nothing more. His desire was not to impress them or to make them followers of Paul, but that they might hear the Gospel, the very Word of God, and that by it they would be transformed. Many were transformed, but others were left unimpressed, as I quoted from Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians above.

This begs the question my friends- what more is needed? Indeed, what more is needed even today? Do we believe today in the power of the Gospel? It seems clear from that list above that we don’t. Somehow we have come to the conclusion that we must dress up the message and prop up the cross in order to have a successful meeting or worship service.

Paul continues…and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

This is what is missing today, my friends. It is missing from so many worship gatherings and messages, and this is what has driven us to our techniques. We need a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. We need God to change the hearts and lives of people from within, not our puny manipulations which end the moment our congregants walk out the door. The sad thing is, though we’re aware there is an issue (which is a good thing), we’ve gone looking in the wrong place for answers. We’ve looked to the world, for psychological techniques, like lighting, color schemes, visual aids, music, humor, drawing out emotion, vocal techniques, and etc. But what is the answer? The answer is found in the same place it was found in Paul’s day- in the power of God working through His chosen message, the Gospel of His blessed Son Jesus Christ in the power of His Spirit, presented in faith in the One who raises the dead. This is the answer, my friends. The Apostle Paul didn’t have video projectors, microphones, power point, air conditioning, and padded seats. How would he make it in 2013 without those things? How could a person sit in a hot room and sweat while listening to a lecture without being bored to tears? The answer is the power of God through the Truth of the Gospel. Now listen, I’m not saying we need to move our services to the parking lot or that all modern conveniences are evil. I’m saying that the power from our message MUST be found in the Truth of the Gospel, not in any technique we might use. Our faith is found in Jesus Christ and His message, not in our ability to present it effectively. He makes it effective or it is nothing.

I have come to believe this regarding many modern religious people. They think they’ve heard a great sermon or been a part of a great worship service if they’ve felt some emotions or been stirred in some way from a fleshly standpoint. “I felt the chills, the Spirit was there!” “Brother, you got me all fired up! The Holy Spirit was truly in this place!” “I loved the worship today- those are some of my favorite songs!” “Wow, that was a great service! I laughed, I cried, and then I wanted to shout!” Many are greatly impressed with the kinds of shows the Apostle Paul denounced in the text we just read. Let’s face it- Americans love a good show! You can fill a church building for 3 services if you use these techniques. So, in an effort to survive as local churches, we have turned to Hollywood for answers. They say, “You’ve got to get more people in here or you’ll die. You need excitement, fun, food, games, activities for kids, free stuff, and your services need to be more relevant, more sensational!” So, we’ve bought in, or should I say, “we’ve sold out!”

The answer to our problem is the same as it has always been. We need the power of God working in our midst. But He will not work where He is not honored. We must abandon our methods and techniques to God alone. We must focus on the Gospel in everything, in our speaking, in our singing, in our praying, and in all that we do. We must be determined not to glorify man, but God. Soli Deo Gloria! We must preach the depths of the Truth of the Gospel as the Apostles did, from Old Testament texts to New Testament letters. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a deep fountain of rich meaning, the truths of which are found throughout the Scriptures. God’s Truth must be central. We must cry out to Him. We must not settle for man-made techniques designed to fabricate that which only God can genuinely accomplish in the lives of His people.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.


25 thoughts on “How was worship Sunday?

  1. Ya know revcort Romans kinda starts out somewhat like your piece does come to think of it. ’til ol’ Paul gets down to where his mind is about what he’s going to say.
    “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13
    A $1000 to your one you’d not hesitate to shoot him for even having thought of that idea.
    Yep that slick sophisticated preacher down the street has got his problem, but it is the same one you’ve got. There are some men, very few of them tho, that know why Paul made that statement. Ain’t no way in hell you’d dare let a man like Paul preach to a church full of people that already heard what you preach. You are not a man that thinks as Paul does so don’t imply that you are.

  2. Theodore Jones, do tell. How does Paul think? And what was his intent in Romans 2:13? If it is as secret a knowledge as you imply, how did you come to have such a knowledge?

    • How does Paul think? Just as you or I and any other human. What does Paul think and explain about Jesus’ crucifixion? Not what you teach. Not by a long shot. What is the way and from whom does Paul say he received the knowledge he spoke of? And no his nor my knowledge is a secret for it is in plain sight; if you know what you are looking at. But I don’t disagree with what he has written which is the difference between you and he and me.
      What is his intention of stating:
      “For it is not those who (just) hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13
      What! Do you think he is referencing the OT written code? Yes or No? Did you ever see these? “for out of Zion shall go forth the (singular) law, and the word (singular) of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Is. 2:3, “for a law (singular) shall proceed from Me.” Is. 51:4. So then you imply that you have such great and superior knowledge than me or Paul? What happen to the law AFTER Jesus was crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended back into heaven? Look it up. Look and live.

  3. Nevermind Theodore, I found your answer. It seems you make a habit of going around the web with this same attack in mind. Here is your answer: “Rom. 2:13 is not the problem. But by being stated it reveals the problem that it is a false assumption to believe that your salvation from the penalty of sin is not predicated upon the faith to obey a law. No matter what you think or have been taught no person is going get a ride into God’s kingdom on the back of the sin of murder caused by bloodshed. Therefore the assumption that Jesus died in anyone’s place is entirely false.”

    It was found here:

    I’m still trying to figure out exactly what you would call yourself. Perhaps you are this:

    I certainly do not believe myself to have some secret knowledge. I also recognize that I fall short of the place to which Paul had reached in his life in regard to his understanding of the Gospel. So, if you wanted to point that out, I’m guilty as charged. Having said this, it sounds like you have a few issues of your own. Well, perhaps God will be gracious to both of us. Grace, mercy, and peace to you Theodore.

    • Doesn’t the Lord thy God command you to “Give to the one who asks you”?
      Answer those questions I’ve asked you. I agree that you don’t have any “secret” knowledge. Not much knowledge at all really and you won’t until you exercise the faith to obey the Lord. Get with it. Or next Sunday when you call upon the folks to confess their sin that separates them from God you’ll accuse yourself.

      I am fully aware of what kind of opinion “toughquestionsanswered” says. Their answer is a valuable as what the other fellow dumped into the pot. Your other rescuer you’ve posted has less value than the fellow who sat on the pot.
      Get on with obeying what he has commanded or finish proving you really don’t actually love Him. To Him first and and anybody else who might read this conversation.

  4. Good post Revcort,
    I thank the Lord that I obeyed the law 100% in Christ.
    And that he took my sins upon Himself.
    So let us proclaim by foolishness of preaching the Gospel message and trust the Spirit to save.

    • Thank you parsonsmike for your comment. Sorry for the distraction here, but you are correct in your summation of my article here. We must trust the “foolishness” of the Gospel (foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved, the power of God) and in the Spirit to save. Amen to that. God bless you bro. 🙂

  5. Theodore, I didn’t reply last night for two reasons. #1 I had some things which were much more important to attend to, not the least of which was to spend some time with my wife and children. #2 I wanted to pray before responding to you.

    Well, I have prayed about this and I realize we could argue back and forth regarding a good many things, but the Lord has revealed something to me regarding your comments here. Actually, it doesn’t take much discernment to see where you are coming from. You don’t have much interest in actual dialogue, but truly you desire to attack and antagonize. You have come cloaked here. I do not even know what you believe. This is apparently your m.o. I notice you were banned from a message board called theologica for the same kind of approach.

    It seems you are an accuser and an antagonist. This is not a good thing. I have no interest in attempting to have a conversation with someone whose goal is to accuse me and attack me, while actually offering little give and take. So, if you’d like to discuss something, be clear. Tell me what you believe about the text you’d like to discuss. But these cryptic messages intended to accuse are not helpful. I am deleting your reply to parsonsmike for this very reason. If you continue with your same approach, I will delete the rest as well.

    But let me say this also, from the heart. I pray that God will pour out His mercy, grace, and peace upon you and I hope you have a great day today.

    D. Courtney Hill

    • The Three.
      One said “Well Lord I’ve just bought a team of oxen and I’ve first gott’a go and prove ’em out you see. Don’t really have much time now.”
      Two says “Well Lord I’ve just bought a piece of land and I’ve gotta go and measure it off and make sure I’m not get’in cheated ya see. Really don’t have a lot of time at the moment. Catch me later OK?”
      Three says “Well Lord ya see, I’ve got a wife and family and I’ve gotta spent my time with them rather than do’in what you’ve commanded answer’in some stupid questions especially from that terrible sinner over there.”
      You’ve come a long way baby, haven’t you? “The student is like his teacher.
      The way the teacher behaves is exactly like whomever he teaches. They are BOTH alike.” Lk. 6:40
      Get on with it man!
      And by the way the teacher that teaches what is true about Jesus’ crucifixion gets thrown out of the places you love. Right? But your stinking tail doesn’t does it? Yep it is a good day whenever it happens, but for me.
      Get on with it!

      • This is rich Theodore! So now you are equating following Christ with answering your ridiculous accusations. In order to fulfill Christ’s calling to follow Him, I’ve got to answer your questions. What’s funny is that your questions are so cryptic that I have no idea what you’re wanting to discuss.

        In regards to the law, I will say this:
        #1 The law has been satisfied in Christ’s death on the cross. He came to fulfill the law. All those who repent and believe are justified freely by His grace.

        #2 He has also written His law on my heart. As the Scripture says in Jeremiah 31… I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

        So, there are two things at work in the life of every believer, in regard to the law. Jesus has been made a propitiation for the sins and they are justified (legally) by His atoning sacrifice. And this second thing is a part of the work of sanctification- He writes His law on our hearts. He gives us a desire to obey Him. Indeed, this is what the Great Commission is- to teach them to obey and to make of them disciples. This is our work and it is God’s work, simultaneously. We are His hands and feet, but He accomplishes the spiritual work within them. He writes the law on their hearts.

        So, this is what is meant when Paul says: ““For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13

        We obey the law by faith, as we are born from above. This is the obedience of faith which Paul begins and ends his letter to the Romans by referencing. This message of the Gospel, through the power of the Holy Spirit, produces in us the obedience of faith. So, we obey by faith. But this does not mean God’s work is done. “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Indeed, we are being conformed into the image of His Son, through the work of the Spirit and His Truth as revealed in His Word. So, the law is fulfilled in us in this way. You are right, no murderer will inherit eternal life, even as the Scripture says. Those who live in sin as a lifestyle may say they are followers of Christ, but they do not know Him if they can walk in rebellion and never come to repentance. Repentance itself, in the life of a believer, is an ongoing process. We see our sin, we repent. We see more of our sin, we repent again. This is what God is doing in us. We also become more like Christ as we share in His sufferings.

        Somehow, I doubt any of these answers will be satisfactory to you, but there you go. Let the accusations commence.

  6. 1 is a lie and so is two.
    If it is just the crucifixion of Jesus that has justified you how come the the exact same issue is outstanding after his crucifixion as it was prior to it? “When he comes he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin”. Your assumption of salvation does not allow for the residual of guilt relative to sin to be the primary residual issue after Jesus’ crucifixion, but it is according to him but not according to you. Can’t you become guilty of the Lord’s body and blood just by participating in the Lord’s table? See 1 Cor. 11:29 “Not discerning the Lord’s body” and you are right back at square one aren’t you? And I know darn good and well you’re guilty of that.

    “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13 If your assumption 2 is right then the fellow who made this statement is the liar, but that ain’t the case.

    Points one and two of your response are lies. Pt. 1 contradicts Jn. 16:8, & Pt. 2 contradicts Rom. 2:13 No you do not have to answer any questions, but by claiming to be one of his disciples, ya you gotta obey him or it proves that you are not one.
    Answer the previous questions stupid.

    • Since you have the answers, then please share it with me. Perhaps you can save my soul. And why such angry condescension? Is there no hope for me? I’ve already engaged in this exercise in futility longer than I should. Please tell me your answer to the question.

      • I can’t save your soul that is your own responsibility. Isn’t it written “Save yourselves”? Acts 2:40 If you’ve already found what is going on here to be futile why are you questioning me? Yes there is no hope for you unless you believe what I say and then obey it. Doubt if you’ll have the faith for that though.
        Condescension, anger? What of it?
        Once upon a time a farmer upon getting his mules ready to plow. Would pick up a two by four and for one mule in particular hit the mule right square on its head. Finally his farm hand, after seeing this a number of times, asked the farmer,”Maasa John why you hit de mule on his haid like dat ?” Mr. john turned and said, “Gets his attention”.
        Tearing down strongholds isn’t easy work but Paul said “Be like me”. What, do have an objection? There is not a single church of any sort today that Jesus Christ is head of. And I’m more than a bit ticked about this situation. “The strong man, first, has to be tied up. Then his house can be robbed”. Right?

        PS Revcort. don’t forget about your homework.

  7. Ok Theodore, I just want to get this straight. I can save myself now. You take that Scripture as Scripture teaching that man can save himself. Wow! That IS a major revelation. Just think, all these centuries the Church has believed that it is by grace that we have been saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, lest any man boast. Yet the professing Church has been in error. This is amazing. And better yet, the TRUE way to salvation is found in following the teachings of Theodore Jones, or was that Jim Jones? Do you have any literature you could send me? I’m asking because it seems you are unable to articulate this way to salvation. The only thing you seem able to put into words is that I and the entire orthodox Christian Church has it wrong. Well, I think that just about does it. If you can’t articulate the way to salvation for me, I will delete your comments and report you as a troll, and you’ll be banned from yet another site.

  8. Being banned from a site is not that unusual. For a disciple of Jesus it is the normative expectation for to be thrown out of the places where they teach religion, i.e. G. synagogue,. The allegation that I’m a “troll” is a lie. As for literature you’ve got it already.The Bible not commentaries. Commentaries aren’t worth the paper they’er printed on. How do you think the bad seed is sown? As for your ending sentence; having a bit of a problem loving your enemy aren’t cha, aye? And this “professing” church you are in love with ain’t His because it is built on a foundation that is the lie.
    Evidently you do not have any faith whatsoever that “Save yourselves” is other than an entirely false term since your damned precious church teaches just the opposite as you have admitted, As for the articulation of the Way to be saved read the Acts 2 message ten times. Then answer this question. There is only one sin that can be repented of to obey the Acts 2;38 command. What is that sin? It is not possible that you’re listed on the register of His church if you give the wrong answer. The gate for membership in his church is small, narrow, very few ever find it, and you ain’t one of ’em. Do what the scripture says “Look and live”.
    “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13 As I said to you previously. If the apostle Paul were to peach in your damned church you’d shoot him because of what he said.
    PS Don’t forget to do your homework. Unjust enrichment.

  9. You still can’t articulate how to be saved according to your own belief system. I find that to be amazing. How will you help people to believe the truth if you can’t even explain to me how to be saved? Are you content with a church of one? It seems to me that this is your most favorite thing to do- go around condemning people to damnation and offering them no hope of salvation. You seem to gain great satisfaction from condemning the entire professing church to death. What church do you belong to? Where can I find out more? Do you have a website? A card? A notebook with scribbling that you can scan and post? Do you have missionaries? Are you fulfilling the Great Commission? Surely your church (the true Church according to you) must exist and according the Revelation it is comprised of a people which can’t be numbered. Jesus Himself said He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Has Jesus failed? How is it you have come to have this secret knowledge that no other can claim?

    • What did I say to you? Read Acts 2 ten times and then answer the question. What is the sin that was repented of to obey the Acts 2:38 command?
      Which of the contemporary churches do I belong to? None. Do I have a web site? No. Don’t need one. Yours and others are enough and they are free. Why waste the money on a web site? Do I have missionaries? No.
      Am I fulfilling the great commision? Yes. “Teaching them to obey whatsoever I have commanded”, but does your church even have a Jesus commandment class? No.
      I don’t condemn people to damnation that allegation is entirely false. For the world is condemned already as He says.
      His church does exist, but are you implying that only a few ever find the gate is a falsehood?
      None of the knowledge I acknowledge is a secret for the secret things belong to the Lord our God. Dt.29:29
      Has Jesus failed? No Nor do the gates of hell prevail against his church. But everyone that believes the doctrines of your church will pay hell.
      “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13
      Never I your wildest wet dreams will you ever dare admit that that Jewish preacher of righteousness is right.
      So then since you claim to love the Lord thy God with all your heart all your mind and all your soul, but actually don’t; “If any man lack wisdom let him (and unfortunately this does include you) ask of God.” You do exactly what that apostle says and also burn those damned commentaries, Sunday school quarterlies and any other religious information you love.
      Now. I am going to bed and will probably leave on business tomorrow. Since I travel quite a bit and for long periods of time it will be awhile before I return to one of my residences. There is one cardinal rule about the scriptures. “Do not go beyond what is written.” 1 Cor. 4:6 Make sure your stinking tail does not violate that rule any longer.

  10. From Romans 3…
    19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;
    20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
    21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
    22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
    23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
    25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
    26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    Ok Theodore, I want to help you out here. What you have been engaging in during this give and take is what we call Eisegesis. That is, taking a verse from here and a verse from there and forcing your own interpretation on it.

    Now, up above, when I was attempting to explain what I believe about the law, I said “#1 The law has been satisfied in Christ’s death on the cross. He came to fulfill the law. All those who repent and believe are justified freely by His grace.” You said this is a lie- you said it twice. But you have contradicted the entire text I quoted here from Romans 3. Look closely…

    You have quoted from Romans 2:13 (for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified) but you have taken it to mean that Paul is teaching perfect obedience to the law as the means to salvation. But that is not what he was teaching at all in that verse. He was pointing out that being a naturalized Jew (a hearer of the law) is not a means of salvation. Rather, according to Old Testament law, it is by obedience to the law that one is justified, according to Deut 27:26… Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law. So, not just an ATTEMPT at obedience, but PERFECT obedience was required. But even in the law it was acknowledged that this was impossible. This is why the sacrificial system was enacted, as a means of grace. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. So, animals served as a means of grace, temporarily. They were truly only a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Even as John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” And indeed, God had this in mind from the beginning, the cross of Jesus Christ, because Jesus is said to be “the Lamb that was slain from the foundations of the earth.”

    So, what is God’s plan here? Paul said it in the verse here in Romans 3. If you read the entire context, you will see that Romans 2:13 was never intended to be an explanation of salvation in the New Covenant, but that righteousness is ONLY found through Jesus Christ, by faith. Look again at the text I quoted above: “by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” This tells us the purpose of the law- no person will ever be justified by the law. So, what is its purpose? It is intended to make a person aware of sin in his life. The law is our schoolmaster, leading us to Christ. You look at that code and you realize you have no hope of keeping it. It couldn’t be any clearer than in Paul’s letter to the Galatians…

    Galatians 2:
    15 “We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles;
    16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

    Could it be clearer? I don’t see how. Later in Galatians 2:21, Paul said, “for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

    So, how is righteousness found? Look back at Romans 3 above…
    21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe…

    And what of Christ being our propitiation, an atoning sacrifice, which you also said earlier was a lie? This text above from Romans 3 also addresses this: “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

    This is the most foundational principle in Christianity Theodore. We are saved by grace through faith. We hear the Gospel, God performs a work of grace within us to help us see and understand our sin, we repent of our sin, we believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ- that He has died as a propitiation in our place, so that we might be justified by faith, not works. That is the final word here Theodore.

  11. “If it is obedience of the law that a man is justified why was Jesus crucified?” Finally you’ve actually asked a pertinent question. The word law in Rom. 2:13 is not a reference to the OT written code of law.
    “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13
    However to your mind that is a false statement and you pontificate that it is untrue when compared to your religion’s soteriological assumptive. Some of the things Paul has written are as Peter said “he’s hard to understand”, is true, but that does not mean that his writings are un-understandable.
    Why was Jesus crucified? For increasing sin. All infractions of the written code were consolidated into the one sin of his crucifixion and then came a change of the law that increased the sin of his crucifixion and the law’s penalty. Where there is no law the guilt of a sin is not imputed. But by adding a word of law the sin of crucifying him has been unilaterally imputed to each man requiring an account directly to God from each man to save himself. Whomsoever has the faith to obey God in regard to the sin of murdering God’s only begotten son, only those are saved by the mercy of God.
    “And for Your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.” In other words it was the sin of murder to crucify him and then it became a greater sin for the man who refuses to obey God in regarding that sin. For it is a deliberate disobedience of law not to confess directly to God that you are truly sorry his only begotten son’s life was lost by crucifying him. Offences of the written code carry the penalty of natural death, but an offence of this law that was added carries the the penalty of eternal death.There is no other way of escape for a man not to serve this penalty unless he has the faith to resolve the sin of Jesus’ crucifixion according what God demands from you by his crucifixion. “The law was added so that the trespass (singular) might increase.” Rom. 5:20
    To be frank with you I do not give a dead rat’s ass what you do one way or the other. For every teacher and holder of the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, as a predestinated outcome, will serve the penalty of eternal death. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is not a direct benefit as you pontificate for if it were it is an unjust enrichment. Whereas you pontificate that mankind is already saved just by the sin of crucifying Jesus; actually God will only save the man who has the faith to confess to Jesus’ crucifixion as a sin to save himself from the wrath of God. Your complaint is “One man cannot be right and it is impossible for him to be telling the truth”; If any of you who make up the hierarchies of these contemporary churches had been a contemporary of Jesus you would contemptuously say the same thing directly to him. And there is no one in your class who does not perceive that the doctrine of salvation is other than foolish having exchanged the truth of God for the lie that Jesus died in your place by completely disregarding that it is the fact that the cross is actually an offense of the law.

  12. I did not say that Romans 2:13 is false. I said that it doesn’t say what you think it says. You seem to believe that the cross represents a new law to be followed and a new rule to keep. But your interpretation contradicts the rest of the context. Romans 2:13 wasn’t written in a vacuum. It was written in the context of a letter. You can’t just pull out this verse and impose upon it a meaning that divorces it from its surrounding context. As I said earlier, this is eisegesis. Paul was referring to the law, as revealed in the pentateuch. If you wanted to be saved by that law, you were required to keep it perfectly. That is what Paul is saying.

    Now, I never said, as you assume, that the atonement provided through the cross is an “automatic” for all people or even for me. The command of the Gospel is repent and believe. When the Philippian jailer asked “what must I do to be saved?” The answer given was not what you’ve said here. It was repent and believe. Turn from your sin and place your faith in Jesus Christ. When Nicodemus asked Jesus about these things, Jesus said you must be born again. This is being made alive spiritually. This is a work of God, of the Spirit of God within those who come to Him through Christ by faith.

    This convoluted and cryptic message you are espousing is completely foreign to the Scriptures, as is your lack of love for me that you just expressed and have been expressing all along. The fruit of the Spirit is first of all LOVE. But you don’t give a rat’s a** what I believe and you seem to almost relish in the thought of so many going to hell. This is not the work of the Spirit of God Theodore. And you can rest assured that I care about you. Otherwise I would have stopped this dialogue and deleted it all on Monday.

  13. For the Jew the truth about Jesus’ crucifixion is a stumbling block and the gentile has the viewpoint that it is foolish, as your stated viewpoint proves.
    1. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the sin of murder, Acts 7:53, and cannot be a direct benefit. When his crucifixion is assumed to be a direct benefit the pre-assumptive of the conjecture is “If I murder a man in my place God forgives me of my sins”. What about the sin you just committed to be forgiven of your sins?
    2. A change of the law occurred after his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. Heb. 7:12
    3. The change of the law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. Acts 2:53, Gal. 3:19. The corresponding support is Is. 2:3 & 51:4. The OT code did not come out of Jerusalem nor did angels put it into effect and no mediator was involved in putting the OT code into effect.
    4. The new wine is always put into a new wine skin, i.e. Law.

    You know very little if anything about law and even less than that about the law of God.
    Yes to your mind Rom. 2:13 is a false statement. For by your admission of it being a truism and then say it is referencing the OT written code you admit that obedience of the written code will result in a person also being declared righteous by God. But no way in hell will that ever happen. Your stupid interpretation results in an irreconcilable dichotomy. Didn’t I point out to you earlier that even your participation in the Lord’s table results in you making yourself guilty of the Lord’s body and blood? Isn’t that what the scripture says? And every time you’ve participated at that table this is exactly what you’ve done. For your view is that his crucifixion is not an accountable sin and go ahead and partake thinking God has done you a direct favor by the sin of his son’s murder. But really the only thing God has done on your behalf in regard to the sin of murdering his son is change his law allowing his son’s murder to become a sin for you to repent of. But your reprobate ass does not have sense enough to obey even one word of God’s law to save yourself from his wrath.
    Rom. 2:13 is a stand alone for irregardless of textual placement the statement is self explanatory.

  14. Well I’m glad I see where you’re coming from now at least. One thing is sure, we will never agree on this. I would suggest you stop spamming my blog now because your attacks are not welcome. I would appreciate if you’d go elsewhere with your attacks and cursing.

  15. Theodore, I’d like to give you a piece of advice. If you really want someone to respect and at least consider your point of view, it is best not to continually throw out playground insults at them. Do you have any love for me at all? Or perhaps you are attempting to illicit a similar kind of playground style rant from me, enticing me to sin? I certainly hope not- God forbid. Well, it seems to me that if you indeed have the truth and that for me to accept the truth would mean that I’d become your disciple and, therefore, become like you, well… respectfully, I think I will pass. You see Theodore, I treat people with love and respect. This is something the Spirit of God has produced in me. I always try in every way I can to respect a person’s point of view, even if I strongly disagree. Now, I will tell them I disagree with them in clear terms (because I believe it is loving to do so), but I do not stoop to childish ad hominem attacks, which is what you’ve done here multiple times for all to see.

    And let me just add, the fruit of the Spirit is first of all love- and the others which apply in this setting are patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. You do not display any of these Theodore. It is possible to disagree in an agreeable way- in a loving, patient, kind, gentle, and self-controlled way. If you truly have a special understanding of Scripture and have been changed by it into a new person, I must say that I have no desire to experience what you have experienced. Whatever it is, it has not produced in you the evidence of the Spirit’s work. Now, as I said above, as gently as I know how, I would appreciate it if you’d stop attacking me.

    And, as I’ve said again and truly mean from the heart, I pray that God will be with you, that He will truly pour out His grace, mercy, and peace upon you and make His face to shine upon you. May the eyes of your heart be enlightened so that you may come to know God. God be with you.

    D. Courtney Hill

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