Are They “Horribly Faulty Ideas”?

Galatians 6:7-8 ESV

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

Teachings on Grace

A few years back my husband and I were in a church fellowship and we attended a small group “Bible study” under the leadership of Derwin Gray. The group was studying a book by Steve McVey called “The Grace Walk.”

Quote from The Grace Walk Devotional (page 222) by Steve McVey:

“Many people who sit in church every week have horribly faulty ideas about who God is, about who they are, and about what He expects from them. They go through the motions of their religious rituals in an effort to please a God who already is pleased with them because they are His Beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased. But they think that if they don’t do the right things, He will curse them, and if they do the right things, He will bless them.”

I recall that I immediately questioned this statement about us not having to live to please God “because God is already pleased with us”. I don’t recall the statement, though, comparing us to Jesus Christ of whom God spoke these words: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17). God the Father was speaking there specifically of Jesus, not of us.

Okay, so in light of Galatians 6:7-8 and the rest of the New Testament, I am being led of the Lord right now to pick apart Steve McVey’s teaching and to compare it to the Scriptures. For man’s teachings are not what we are to follow, but we are to follow the teachings of Scripture, and we are to test everything we hear coming from the mouths of humans.

Well, first off, I believe it is blasphemous to quote what God the Father said about Jesus and to apply it to us humans. Jesus was sinless. He was the perfect Lamb of God to be our sacrifice for our sins. Yes, he was fully human when he walked the face of this earth, and yes he was tempted to sin, but he did not sin, and he was also fully God (God in the flesh).

Do We Have to Please God?

Secondly, it is not true that we don’t have to please God because he is already pleased with us. The Scriptures are full of teachings written to Christians regarding how we are to live to please God.

We are to make it our goal to please the Lord (2 Co 5:9). We are to find out what pleases the Lord (Eph 5:10). We are to live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work (Col 1:9-11). We are not to try to please people but God who tests our hearts (1 Thes 2:4). We are instructed in how to live in order to please God, and we are urged to do this more and more (1 Thes 4:1).

We are not to get entangled in civilian affairs, but as those who are serving as soldiers of Christ we are to try to please our commanding officer (2 Tim 2:4). And without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). And we are to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased (Heb 13:6).

And we will receive from God anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him (1 Jn 3:22), and because we ask according to his will (1 Jn 5:14), and we do not ask with the wrong motives (Jas 4:2-3), and because we remain in him and his words remain in us (Jn 15:7), and because we believe and we don’t doubt (Jas 1:5-8).

What God Expects from Us

Thirdly, it is also not true that we can just disregard the Scriptures, calling them “faulty ideas”, just because they teach that God has certain requirements for us, and that if we do what is evil, in practice, that we will be cursed, but if we do the right things, in practice, that we will be blessed.

We, as followers of Jesus, are to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain (1 Co 15:58). We are to abound in every good work (2 Co 9:8). And we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10).

As the beloved of God, as we have always obeyed, we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Php 2:12-13). We are to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual understanding and wisdom, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col 1:9-14).

If anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work (2 Tim 2:21). Those who have believed in God are to be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people (Tit 3:8). So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead (Jas 2:17).

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Tit 2:11-14).

We Will Be Judged by Our Works

And God will render to each one according to his works (Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10). And those who make sin their practice will not inherit eternal life with God (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-11; 1 Co 6:9-10; 1 Jn 3:4-10). If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal 6:7-8).

If we save our lives (if we hold on to our lives of living for sin and for self) we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives for the Lord’s sake (if we die with Christ to sin and to self) we will save our lives for eternity (Lu 9:23-26). If we are the Lord’s sheep, we listen to him and we follow (obey) him, and we can’t be snatched out of his hands (Jn 10:27-30).

And the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in conduct, in practice) no longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. So, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom 8:3-14).

If you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness and to sanctification and which ends in eternal life with God (Rom 6:16-23). And if we claim to be in fellowship with God but we are walking in the darkness (making sin our practice), we are liars who do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as God is in the light the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (1 Jn 1:5-9).

So, it is not true that God is pleased with us automatically just because we believe in him, and it is true that he requires that we live to please him. And it is true that if we do what is right in the eyes of the Lord, in obedience to our Lord, that we will be blessed with salvation from sin and with eternal life with God, but if we don’t obey our Lord we will not inherit eternal life.

And this is because Jesus loved us so much that he died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died to free us from our bondage (addiction) to sin so we would now be slaves of his righteousness. And he shed his blood for us so we would honor God with our lives.

[1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; Rom 6:1-23; 1 Co 6:19-20; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 12:1-2; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 15:1-11; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 2:3-6]

The Way That He Loves

By W. Elmo Mercer

Scripture: I John 3:1; I John 3:16

The way that He loves is as fair as the day,
That blesses my way with light.
The way that He loves is as soft as the breeze,
Caressing the trees at night.
So tender and precious is He,
Contented with Jesus I’ll be.
The way that He loves is so thrilling
Because His love reaches even me.

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