Monday, October 26, 2009

Salvation is by Grace: Not by Keeping the Law

This is a little debate that has evovled between myself and a reader over my post on Models of Atonement, A post I did a couple of weeks ago. The issues seems to have evolved in the comment section that Theodore seems to believe that salvation is by keeping the law. He actually questions that I'm even saved because I subscribe to his views (It seems to evade his notice that me and the rest of the reformation and Protestant world, and according to Hans Kung most Catholics as well).




Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

This is what Paul said about substitutionary atonement. "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."
Paul didn't just think SA is b/s he knew it it is.



Blogger Metacrock said...


Paul uses several models, I agree that he's not stuck on the substitution idea literalistic nor does he get all the things out of it that Calvinists do, such as limited atonement. But int his statement he is not saying that salvation is by works or by keeping the law. He's saying if you set out to make it be being righteous rather than by accepting God's grace you have to the keep the whole law and if you screw up then you fail.


He's saying the only way you can make it is by accepting Jesus sacrifice. But in saying that I believe that the way to accept it is as a statement of solidarity.


9:10 AM
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Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

"The law was added so that the trespass might increase." Rom. 5:20
Also Heb. 7:12b "there is made of necessity a change also of the law."
What you do know is not in the remotest sense what the apostle Paul teaches. And you are even less than that in knowing what God has done by Jesus' crucifixion.



Blogger Metacrock said...

"The law was added so that the trespass might increase." Rom. 5:20

try connecting that to the arguemnts please. Because he si not saying this means salvation is by works. It does not say have to follow the law to be saved. HE's saying the law is there to show us how bad bad is. But then also counters it with the realization that we can't keep the law because we are sinful and we need God's grace to give us the power not to sin.


Also Heb. 7:12b "there is made of necessity a change also of the law."

That in no way says what you want it to.



What you do know is not in the remotest sense what the apostle Paul teaches. And you are even less than that in knowing what God has done by Jesus' crucifixion.

that is not an argument. that is nothing more than posturing. I can read what he says. Apparently I understand what I read better than you do. I also have read many commentaries and scholarly articles on what he meant, apparently you have not. I also read Greek and have read this in Greek, I would bet you have not.


I clearly understand Paul better than you do.

OOoo,ps, arrogance! Unbecoming. sorry.


Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

Thanks, but the door into the kingdom of God, friend, is small, narrow.................few find it, and make every effort to use only it. For when you're caught climbing over the wall it is into the hand of the Living God. Something that is terrible for a man. He does not survive.


9:09 AM
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Blogger Metacrock said...



sorry buddy, God has not appointed you the orbiter of my salvation. You are not the divine gatekeeper. You don't' even understand the basic principles the chruch teaches.


God did not make you the head hoaky. I know Jesus, I doubt that you do., but I know I do. So I don't care about your heretical misconceptions.

salvation is by God's grace, period. you are wrong.



Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

If your conjecture is true that by knowing Greek is also congruent with the gift of interpreting the Scriptures then you are only even with every Greek. For they are said to think and say that the gospel of God is foolish to them as you admit it is to you.
Of cousre being able to read the original in the language in which it was written is no guarantee that one is right, but it certainly helps one's understanding. If you don't know the language you have no real way, other than trusting commentaries, to know what he actually said.


Blogger Metacrock said...




that is no excuse for thinking that your arguments don't have to make sense. If the Holy Spirit shows you an interpretation it must still be recognizable to anyone reading the passage with a reasonable amount of teaching and discussion. Everything has to be verifiable to anyone who can read the passage, or you are impossing your own will and fooling yourself.


there is no private interpretation and Paul said that I believe.


you can't just pretend God is telling you something and not be able to show it verified in reading the passages. that passage you quoted is not a license to assert foolish opinions in the name of God.


I don't really know where this guy is coming from. I hope he will explain his views further. I will assume he's sincere. It seems that one of his major concerns is that we should keep the law. He begins why saying this is what Paul says about substitutionary atonement. Well no it is not. Paul was not speaking of subsittutionary atonement when he said that, in fact Paul did not say what he quotes as an actual quote of his own views. He says it refute the notion of keeping the law as a matter of salvation. Of cousre he does not do any sort of exegesis, so he doesn't give the passage so we have to find ourselves to check the context. The passage is Romans 2:13. This is very important because look at the context, this is what the says next:

Rom 2:14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law,

Rom 2:15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)
Rom 2:16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

In other words even pagans who don't know God can be saved (their hearts defend them) If they by nature, by following the heart, do the things God puts on the heart (the moral law he gives all humanity). That means they are not following hte Mosaic law they are following natural morality not the law of Moses. There is no law on the heart of all humans about new moons and festivals and how to build the temple and how to make animal sacrifices.

But let's back up to an even larger context. This is Romans cahpter 2. His point is chapter 2 is to show why God gave the law, and how one is excused from seeking God. He's showing how the pagans fell away and began to worship the creation rather than the creator, but he's also showing that the principle of Grace was at work the whole time and it is working among the pagans and will bring them back. Let's look at what he says just before the passage I quote above:

Rom 2:9 There will be Trouble and distress for every human being who does Evil, first or the Jew then for the Geniles





Rom 2:10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.


Rom 2:11 For God does not show favoritism.


Rom 2:12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.


Being fair to Jones, the Greek used in 2:10 to mean "does" as in "anyone who does good" is ergazomi meaning "to do, or work." That might imply keeping law, salvation by works. But it doesn't say everyone has has to earn salvation, if that's what he meant then he could not say their hearts defend them becuase it would be a matter of actually doing the rights and enough works to merit salvation. This wold completely contradict what he says further on. He is clearly saying that following the moral law on the heart is a matter of seeking the good. Paul says it's their conscousciences that defend them. Why? let's see.



Rom 2:17 But if you bear the name "Jew" and rely upon the Law and boast in God,



Rom 2:18 and know {His} will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,
Rom 2:19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,
Rom 2:20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,
Rom 2:21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?
Rom 2:22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
Rom 2:23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?
Rom 2:24 For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written.
Rom 2:25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
Rom 2:26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?
Rom 2:27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter {of the Law} and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?
Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.


In other words he's saying it's no the act of keeping law that saves, if you trust in the law you must keep it perfectly. What saves is the act of trusting God and seeking God's truth. It's a matter of the heart, if you heart is seeking the truth of God you are saved, not because you keep riturals and regulartions and follow rules, but becuase you are seeking the good. Thats' why he says "a Jew inwardly." In the very next chapter he tells us that no one can make it by keeping the law, no one is truly keeping the law prefectly and that htey only way to be saved is by trusting Jesus.

In the very next chapter he says no one can be saved by keeping the law. He says explicitly the only way to be saved is by trusting Jesus.




Rom 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Rom 3:21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

Rom 3:22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

When Paul wrote to the Galations he was alarmed that they were preaching the need to keep the law. That entire book is about the inadequacy of keeping law and the truth of God's grace, Jesus' death on the cross as the object of our trust. This is the uttermost basic definition of the Gospel that he gives. He wanted to be totally clear and he really lay sit on the line that anything shrot of htis is a different Gospels an worth of the strongest condemnation.

6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

He puts right up front in the Greeting what he's calling "the true Gospel" they the Galatians were abandoning.

3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Jesus gave himself for our sins. That is the substitution version of atonement and that's what he's putting forward as the true way that God taught him, he says literally God taught it to him. Does that disprove the solidarity view, not at all. The two are in perfect agreement on this point,t hat Jesus' death on the cross is for us to forgive our sins, and it's the object of our trust and holding it as such is what saves. What he opposses it to is keeping the law. He chides the Galatians for going back to the law, he opposes Peter for his hypocracy in not eathing with gentiles because it offends the legalism of the law keeping faction.


1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

In this vain he actually declares:

10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."c]">[c] 11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."d]">[d] 12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them."e]">[e] 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."f]">[f] 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

If you live under the law you are under a curse! that's exactly what he says. This is the same context as the statement form Romans that Jones quotes and its' the same argument he makes in Romans, made again here. He says if you believe you have to keep the law to be saved then you have to keep it perfectly and you can't, so you are lost. He says explicitly, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. How did the do it? by becoming a curse for us. What does that mean? It means he offers solidarity by entering into solidarity with us. When we accept that solidarity with God we are automatically forgiven and we have to be, because you can't have solidarity and still be still be holding something against the solidrant. It's not the magic of shedding blood, but the fact by which is shed (the fact of the offer of solidarity that implicitly obtains from entering humanity and sharing in human fate).

Look where he says does God forgive you and give miracles and heal you because you observe the law or becuase you believe? Believe what? God's statment of solidarity! That God identifies with us and wants to enter into relationship with us. That's just what Paul says happens when in Romans 6 he speaks of being baptized into Christ's death so we cn share in his future. He enters into solidarity with us by entering humanity and dying as the victim of oppression, we enter solidarity with him by accepting what he's done for us (which amounts to accepting God's solidarity).

Grace is not predestination and it's not "cheap." It does not mean you keep sining then ask forgiveness and get away with whatever you want. It's opening the heart to God and allowing God to change our hearts so we don't want to do these things. Remember the passage in Romans about anyone who does the good will receive eternal life not because they earn it but because they are seeking the good. These are simple ideas and there's so much distortion now days I find a great deal of confusion. The fundies are basically assuming believing the Bible saves you. Others' turn to the law as the source of salvation to get away from "cheap Grace" but they lose sight of what true Grace is about. The actual truth of God's Grace is not cheap but it is gracious and based upon love.

3 comments:

Metacrock said...

Theo Jones answers on the other post (the one about models of Atonement) I move his states here:

If your conjecture is true that by knowing Greek is also congruent with the gift of interpreting the Scriptures then you are only even with every Greek. For they are said to think and say that the gospel of God is foolish to them as you admit it is to you.


that is no excuse for thinking that your arguments don't have to make sense. If the Holy Spirit shows you an interpritation it must still be recoginizable to anyone reading the passage with erasonable aobut of teaching and discussion. Everything has to be verifiealbe to anyone who can read the passage, or you are impossing your own will and fooling youself.

there is no private interpriation and Paul said that I believe.

you can't just pretend God is telling you something and not be able to show it verified in reading the passages. that passage you quoted is not a license to assert foolish opinions in the name of God.

stop responding, because I want to do this as a main blog piece for this week and then you can respond to that one. give me a chance to write it.

9:20 AM
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Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

Then why is it that Jesus says "Thou preparest a table before Me in the presence of mine enemies."? And doesn't this table sit right down front center of every Christian church house in existance? ref. 1 Cor 11:26-29 And you know Jesus?


you are truly nuts. I think you must be an atheist who knows nothing about hte Bible and you are trying to just make trouble.
I say this because I don't know any place where Jesus quotes the 23 Psalm. Perhaps he does and it slipped my mind, even so I don't see what the hell that ha to do with anything?

You think you are proving that hte chruch is the enemy of Christ?

(1) you can't assume the table he speaks of is the communion table.

(2)If that's the case then you can't explain why Jesus himself instituted it and commanded the church to do communion in rememberence of him!

(3) Jesus did not say that about a table before me i the presence of my enemies that's the 23d Psalm.


9:28 AM
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Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

Now is the day of salvation friend for there might not be a next week.

But that doesn't make sense. You think salvation is by keeping the law and then you think it can had in one day? that makes no sense at all.

Metacrock said...

Jones makes a response but he puts it in a post that is totally unrelated to the subject matter. I don't know why, but here it is:

Theodore A. Jones said...

But. Paul's says that the really true reason, God's set purpose. ref. Acts 2:23 NIV, had been a secret God had kept to himself and was not revealed to anyone until after Jesus was crucified. ref. 1 Cor. 2: 6-8. Jesus would have never been crucified if there would have been any information from any source, including the OT Scriptures, that was
available. Which would have allowed a conclusively true conclusion what the actual purpose for his crucifixion before he was crucified.
Therefore since the theory and doctrine of substitutionary atonement pre-existed Jesus crucifixion and was a practice prior to Jesus crucifixion in both Jewish and pagan cultures and is associated with idols. The theory and doctrine of substitutionary atonement has no possibility of ever being the correct explanation that explains why Jesus was crucified. For God has said that he does not "give his glory to another or my praise to idols." Isa. 42:8 If the crucifixion of Jesus had perfected the doctrine of substitutionary atonement the glory of God to create the new type of man ,a man who is one with God, the praise would go to idols. God's promise to the Lord Jesus Christ, "Sit until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." God has prepared a table before Him in the presence of his enemies. And that table sits right down front center of every church that has used the doctrine of substitutionary atonement for a foundation or any variation of the concept that the crucifixion of Jesus is a direct benefit. For all the hierarchy of these churches have purchased the "gifts" they use to minister. In the church of God the Church of The First Born of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the head the gifts of God's spirit are only given to verify that the message which is heard, believed, and obeyed is the correct explanation of God's set purpose for Jesus' crucifixion and each man too.

Metacrock said...

here's my answer:

first of all I can't for the life of me understand why you put this here. This has nothing to with the subject of this post.I have addressed your ideas in the latest post on my blog why you wont respond there is a real mystery.

Moreover, your reading comprehension and what you get out of passage is a mystery too.

"But. Paul's says that the really true reason, God's set purpose. ref. Acts 2:23 NIV, had been a secret God had kept to himself and was not revealed to anyone until after Jesus was crucified. ref. 1 Cor. 2: 6-8. Jesus would have never been crucified if there would have been any information from any source, including the OT Scriptures, that was
available. Which would have allowed a conclusively true conclusion what the actual purpose for his crucifixion before he was crucified."

that passage doe not say anything like that. It says:

"Act 2:23 This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, [fn] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. "


This passage has nothing to dow ith the one you quote to back it up. 1 Cor 2:6-8 but that one doesn't say what you think it dose:

1Cr 2:6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.

1Cr 2:7 No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.


1Cr 2:8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.


That says NOTHING about substitionary atonement being a pagan concept. Quite the opposite it says God kept it a secret from the pagans.

Furthermore, the real mystery is why you would think that you would think I support substitution atonement. The whole point of my post that started this, the point of the solidarity thing is to offer an alternative to subsititonary atonement.

then you say:


"Therefore since the theory and doctrine of substitutionary atonement pre-existed Jesus crucifixion and was a practice prior to Jesus crucifixion in both Jewish and pagan cultures and is associated with idols. The theory and doctrine of substitutionary atonement has no possibility of ever being the correct explanation that explains why Jesus was crucified. For God has said that he does not "give his glory to another or my praise to idols." Isa. 42:8 If the crucifixion of Jesus had perfected the doctrine of substitutionary atonement the glory of God to create the new type of man ,a man who is one with God, the praise would go to idols. God's promise to the Lord Jesus Christ, "Sit until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

It does not say that, it says God kept it a secret from them. It existed in God's mind but was not preached it as not a concept among pagans but a secret.

"God has prepared a table before Him in the presence of his enemies. And that table sits right down front center of every church that has used the doctrine of substitutionary atonement for a foundation or any variation of the concept that the crucifixion of Jesus is a direct benefit. For all the hierarchy of these churches have purchased the "gifts" they use to minister. In the church of God the Church of The First Born of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the head the gifts of God's spirit are only given to verify that the message which is heard, believed, and obeyed is the correct explanation of God's set purpose for Jesus' crucifixion and each man too."

as I pointed out in the major post it does not say that. Nowhere is there a link between that phrase in the psalms and the chruch. It does not ever establish that that vers applies to Jesus relationship to the chruh.

you are just making stuff up.