Paul spoke of being justified by faith, and that we were made righteous by the obedience of Christ. He said the Law came in that the transgression might increase (that is, through the Law comes the knowledge of sin); but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, Romans 5:1,19-21.
In other words, he was saying Jesus is the Savior and we are the saved. From this teaching, some claimed that he was saying, “Let us do evil that good may come,” Romans 3:8. Knowing this, Paul wrote in chapter 6 verse 1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?” He then went on to explain that we were crucified with Christ, buried with Him through baptism, and raised up with Him into newness of life, and, therefore, we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin, verse 6, 7.
Paul preached Jesus, and Him crucified. He preached that we are justified, sanctified and made righteous, not by works, but by faith in the obedience and the sacrifice of Jesus. Many people think there has to be more; they think it is not enough to deny self and take up our cross and follow Jesus; they are certain there has to be more for us to do.
I am aware that some have problems with things I say, and I honestly think it is because I preach Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I want nothing to do with adding to what Christ has done. I will not entertain, even for one second, any thought that suggests we must go beyond His obedience and sacrifice. For this reason, I speak against the added extras others cling to, such as, the arrogant teaching that we have the authority of Christ, and the absurdity that we are to declare and decree things, etc., etc., etc. And I don’t speak of these things to find fault; I do it for the sake of those caught up in them. They are headed down a road that ends in ruin. For these things, and many others like them, have their beginning in the devil, who has lied from the beginning, and are against humbling ourselves and submitting to God. We have a Savior, we don’t need authority or any other such thing. We need only have faith in our Savior.
Consider Peter in Acts 3, who, after healing the lame man, told the gathering crowd that the man was healed on the basis of faith in Jesus’ name, vs.16. He did not say by authority, or by magic; he said by faith in the name of Jesus. And so, also Paul, when he cast the spirit of divination out of the slave girl, said, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her,” was speaking by faith in Jesus, not by authority; for he said, as did Peter, “in the name of Jesus Christ.” And ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’ means ‘by faith in the name of Jesus,’ Acts 3:16.
It is my belief, and I believe it with all my heart, that if we try to do more we are basing our salvation on works. However, if by faith we accept the obedience and sacrifice of Jesus, we become new creatures. And, being new creatures, that is, born of God, we inherently leave behind a path of works. For out of gratitude and love and reverence for our Savior we will follow Him wherever He leads; and everywhere He goes, works follow. We need only trust and obey at all times.
By God’s grace and mercy, when I was born again, I didn’t follow ideas or suppositions, I followed Jesus. I followed a Person, a living Person, and I follow Him to this day. I follow someone in whom I abide, someone who loves and cares for His people. (That is why I am so against all the manmade doctrines and beliefs — they are against the Person I know as my Savior).
Decades ago God was very kind to give me a glimpse into His mystery, and He has since commissioned me to speak the truth to His people; and so I speak. In so doing, I do my part to destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, in order to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant
P.S. In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
Why do you think people will say those things to Jesus on the day of judgment? They will say them because those are the things they will have followed, —-prophesying, casting out demons, and performing miracles. They will have spent their lives searching for things that appeal to, and satisfy, themselves, rather than seeking the Person of Jesus, and the will of God.
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