Saturday, August 23, 2014
“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 KJV).
The fourth verse of Margaret Jenkins Harris’ classic 1903 hymn “He Took My Sins Away” highlights today’s Scripture.
“If you will come to Jesus Christ today,
He’ll take your sins away, He’ll take your sins away,
And keep you happy in His love each day,
He’ll take your sins away.”
The Adamic nature hates being rejected of God; it wishes to prove that it can do enough to merit His favor. It deceives the sinner, who is led to believe that he or she can measure up to God’s righteousness by doing enough good deeds (Jeremiah 17:9). Yes, our flesh (sin nature) always wants to do something: hence, religion appeals to many. Scripture declares, however, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6)!
Confession of sins here, generous “tithes” there, water baptism here, church membership there, church-calendar observance here, prearranged prayers there, church attendance here, “holy book” reading there, et cetera. These activities, collectively, are usually thought of as “a treasury of merit” before God. Our dear religious family members and friends are encouraged to slowly accumulate an abundance of good works to be advantageous on the day of judgment (for themselves, and for others after them). The more “good” they have done, they assume God’s judgment on them will be less severe. What deception!
What these precious people must realize is that the God of the Bible is looking beyond “good” works, to see the heart. God is not looking to repair sinners, but regenerate sinners. Anyone can reform, but only God can regenerate. The God of Scripture is looking for a new heart, a new nature, one that can truly do good, not an old nature decorated with religious extravagance. Not only does Jesus Christ’s cross crucify our sinful nature, but His resurrection gives us a new life and a new nature (Romans 6:1-23). Those works of Jesus Christ—not our works—are acceptable before God.
Yea, so He could do good works in us, He removed our sin debt….