Friday, January 19, 2007

Only In God's Eyes?

Every once in a while, I hear someone say, "Yes, but that's only in God's eyes."

This is usually in response to some spiritual Biblical truth, such as the truth that we Saints are "justified", or "righteous" in Christ. Despite the clear teaching of Scripture that Jesus became sin for us so that we would be the "righteousness of God" in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21), these well-meaning folks would still insist that we aren't really righteous. That He gave us the gift of His righteousness, but yet is somehow still keeping it from us. The gift that's never really given.

Appearances and performance-based thinking has so clouded their thinking, that they actually deny the Scripture without meaning to. And it's done under the stealthy costume of, "Yes, but that's only in God's eyes."

Walking by faith, and not by sight, on the other hand, will insist that if it's in God's eyes, then I should conform my belief to His. I should take His word for it, and throw aside my own opinion.

"...let God be true but every man a liar", even if that man is me. Whatever is in God's eyes (His opinion, shall we say), ought to be in mine.

17 comments:

ann_in_grace said...

I believe this is the truth that is most difficult to understand for all those who are used to performance and own merit- thinking. I have this argument with Catholics - well, that is understandable, at least, but also with Petecostals and other "weak theology"- victims.
The most humbling biblical truth becomes somehow our boasting in their eyes.
They deny the sovereignity of God, and ridicule those who actually dare say that God is Almighty.
This frightens me very much...

Terry Rayburn said...

Thanks, Ann. I know what you mean.

Regarding the Sovereignty of God, I always recommend A.W. Pink's The Sovereignty of God, which is filled with a one-two punch of lots of Scripture and intense logical deduction from that Scripture.

Regarding our full acceptance in righteousness before God, I always recommend Steve McVey's grace trilogy, Grace Walk, Grace Land, and Grace Rules. Easy to read, not high-brow scholarly, but rich in after-salvation Grace.

[Just remembered, Grace Land has been given a new title, Grace Amazing. Maybe because Graceland is trademarked by the Elvis Presley estate? :]

Gojira said...

I'll have to read McVey's books. I have two of them actually, _Grace Walk_ and _Grace Rules_. I haven't had a chance to read either one yet, though. Lord willing, this weekend definitly.

Gojira

Terry Rayburn said...

Gojira,

Thanks for stopping by. I think you'll profit from the books. I would start with Grace Walk.

Did you star in Godzilla Meets The Giant Kitty?

Blessings,
Terry

Brian said...

Hey Terry,

I was reading your thread on Steve Camp's blog and your interaction with "Nathan" and I do not understand how he has failed to understand your point, how it relates to the post, and how he continually tries to define your theology with some vocabulary term.

I believe you are dead right and that the people who, imo, are pretty doctrinally sound (The Gadfly, Steve Camp, etc) have swung too far in the opposite direction of the seeker sensitive movement and have failed to embrace the Biblical tension between salvation by grace through faith ALONE and the necessity of a changed life - for (it seems to me) they are saying that the person's life must be changed before they truly trust Christ, ie it is even a part of the presentation of the Gospel.

Thanks for your clear writings - I don't have the stomach for that kind of interaction.

Terry Rayburn said...

Thanks so much, Brian.

We all have blind spots. And I'm not too dogmatic on a lot of things that others are dogmatic on. But Grace is so foundational to the Christian life, it's something I've found to be worth detailed discussion of.

Blessings,
Terry

Bhedr said...

I appreciate you big bubba. More then you will ever know in your calling me to rest in Christ, his grace and identification in the past. More than you will ever know. Both you and men like Dr Lutzer. What a joy it is to walk in grace and grow the closer to Him. I want to get that book as well.

I was listening to my sister and law as well as my wife explain to me what Kemotheropy does and how it is the only thing for my father in law right now to hold the cancer in place but that is all it can do at this point. AS I listened to what the treatment does I began to think a bit on some of this Lordship teaching and this blindspot you mention. Kemo does treat and stay life a bit by killing cancer cells but at the same time it is killing good cells and killing the body. I know they mean well but essentially it seems to me that when you confuse the gospel and try to add or subtract...well it almost seems like a spiritual kemotheropy of sorts. Thanks again brother for standing fast as well as helping me in the past. You have been consistent praise God and that is what is needed in this. We mustn't compromise this precious gospel message in any form.

Terry Rayburn said...

Brian,

Thank you Barnabas, son of encouragement.

Terry

Gojira said...

Terry writes:
"Did you star in Godzilla Meets The Giant Kitty?"

Yes. The kitty was proven to be my most dangerous foe.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

:-) :-)

dec said...

Terry,

I guess I will have to read Steve Camp's blog if you are going to comment over there. The interactions with other commentators result in you producing excellent writ.

Here's a sample for your readers.


Terry Rayburn said...

What is "the offense of the cross"?

The answer is Grace.

Fallen man wants to *deserve* God's favor, but the gospel says "No. There is none good, no not one. It must be a free gift of grace."

The "the offense of the cross" is not showing people they are sinners. If you think that offends them, you aren't spending enough time around sinners. People revel in their sin all the time (though they may think their "good" outweighs their "bad").

And "the offense of the cross" is not the Lordship of Christ. People bow to gods and gurus and messiahs all the time.

The "offense of the cross" is Grace. The only place in Scripture where it's specifically mentioned is Gal. 5:11. Paul says:

"...if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased."

See, if Paul preached Legalism, he wouldn't have been persecuted. But he preached The Cross, the substitutionary death and gift of righteousness that Grace requires.

And the hearer must repent, change his mind, about his self-righteousness.

And they must believe in the Risen Christ who said, "It is finished". They must "believe God" that their own righteousness is as filthy rags, and they must accept the free gift of God's righteousness.

This Grace is a "stumbling stone, and a rock of offense" (Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:8), because fallen man is Religious to the core with self-righteousness.

Grace blasts that self-righteousness with a laser beam of Good News from the Light of the World, and self-righteous man screams in smug hatred, and calls the Good News bad.

Until he is born again.

Then the "offense" becomes sweet music to his ears, and he sees the Good News as the most precious news he has ever heard.

Terry Rayburn

Terry Rayburn said...

Thanks, dec. Maybe it might make a good post a week or two from now.

Blessings,
Terry

dec said...

Terry,

I just finished reading your interactions with Nathan. I really feel for him, for that is where I was and where I could easily slip to again. I don't know why the law looks more comforting than Grace. It's so natural, so practical to look to the law to live the Christian life. For me, my inability to obey the law has left me with only one place to turn—Christ and His mercies.

Keep on preaching salvation by Grace.

Terry Rayburn said...

dec,

Your're right. Legalism has it's own lure. That's why I love Galatians 5:1,

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."

Blessings,
Terry

Shawn L said...

Terry,

I have heard that phrase before and it is saddening.

I was talking to my sister in Christ and Sister a few weeks ago and I was telling her over and over again the truth about "Christ our righteousness". I could tell she was having a problem with that as she doesn't feel worthy standing before God. I bring up these truths in my emails to her.

I think it comes from our episcopal background, but it should be proclaimed on the rooftops. She is fairly new believer, but we all need encouragement to learn these things. This is such an important topic for believers who have been so focused on their own works.

I told her that she must trust the gospel message and believe it. I was a bit surprised that this isn't being proclaimed everyday in her ears from other believers. I told her there are times in my sin as well that I have a hard time believing this reality as well.

I think these statements from Christians continually keep us from seeing these "eternal realities". We need continue to teach others with patience in love the truths and doctrines of the bible.

Terry Rayburn said...

Thanks, Shawn. Nice to hear from you. I pray your sister will have her heart opened up to the gift of God's righteousness, which, having been given, is now ours.

I have sometimes demonstrated this for folks by giving them something, like an ink pen, for example. I say, "This is my ink pen. But I'm giving it to you [I hand them the pen]. Now who's ink pen is it?"

"Well, I gues it's mine."

"You GUESS it's yours? Do you not believe me that I gave it to you?"

"Yeah, I believe you gave it to me."

"Then who's pen is it?"

"Mine."

"Yet you may still refer to it as 'Terry's pen', to distinguish it from your other pens, right?"

"Right."

"But even if you call it 'Terry's pen', since he gave it to you, it's now ACTUALLY your pen, do you see that?"

"Sure."

"Well, that's how God's gift of righteousness works. God's righteousness is now your righteousness. And so you are now righteous...not just in God's eyes, but ACTUALLY, because He has declared it. You didn't ORIGINATE it, or EARN it, but because it was a gift, it is truly yours."

Blessings,
Terry

Shawn L said...

Terry,

Thanks. On a different note, have you studied New Covenant Theology much. Just wondering as I am seeing some issues within Covenant Theology and it's view of the law that are quite confusing to me more as I read Paul's letters

Shawn L said...

Well anyway I have read the verses alot over the years, but am truly having a tough time reconciling that with some statements from covenant theologians recently as I take it verse by verse in the new testament.

How much time have you studied on NCT. I was thinking about studying that this year more carefully