God’s Part and Man’s Part in the Plan of Salvation

To Sum the Whole Thing Up: A Collection of Writings by J. C. Roady

Anything that man could not do for himself in the saving of his soul God willingly did that for him. But God is not going to do something for us that we are able to do for ourselves. That being true, there are some things that God did, and there are some for us to do. God did His part through Christ, and we are to do our part by accepting Christ.

Christ brought to this world a gospel that was able to save the human family. (Mark 16:15-16; Gal. 1:8-10) It is our part to believe that gospel. (Rom. 1:16; Mark 16:16)

Christ brought to this world the grace that is able to save men. (Eph. 2:5-8) It is out part to let that grace lead us to repent of our sins. (Rom. 2:4)

Christ brought to this world a name in which salvation was placed. (Acts 4:11-12; Eph. 3:14-15) It is our part to confess that name before man. (Matt: 10:32; Phil 2:8-11)

Christ brought His blood to this world and shed it that man could be saved. (1 John 1:7; Pet. 1:18-25) It is our part to be baptized into that blood. (Rom. 6:1-6; Gal. 3:27) Christ established His Church here on earth. (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 5:25-27) It is our part to become a member of that Church. (Acts 2:47; Col. 1:18)

It was Christ who went away to prepare a place called heaven. (John 14:1) It is our part to live a faithful life that we can enjoy that place when life is over. (Rev. 2:10; Rev. 22:14)

The above post is an excerpt from the book, To Sum the Whole Thing Up: A Collection of Writings by J. C. Roady. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Two Works

Sermon on the Mount: Instructions for Life

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 will enter. 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’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

These works are the deeds that we might do in service to God. Jesus explained that not everything we do for Him is accepted by Him. There are right works and wrong works.

The right works are those that are according to God’s will (Matthew 7:21). God’s will is found in what Jesus taught. He said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:16). This message would then be sent from heaven by the Holy Spirit to the apostles. Jesus told them, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26). These apostles were then commissioned to preach the gospel throughout the world and teach the disciples to “observe all that [Jesus] commanded” (Matthew 28:20).

The right works will be those works that are authorized in the word of God. Paul wrote, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17). He told Timothy, “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me” (2 Timothy 1:13).

The wrong works include whatever we think will honor the Lord. Notice that Jesus described people who claimed to do things in His name but were actually practicing lawlessness (Matthew 7:22-23). The problem is that we, as mere men, do not think like God. Yet many fail to see this. They believe that if they think a particular action will please God, then it must actually be pleasing to Him. The Lord rebuked the wicked, “You thought that I was just like you” (Psalm 50:21). Too many fail in this regard – they think that God is like them. Yet as we noticed earlier, the ways and thoughts of God are infinitely superior to our own (Isaiah 55:8-9).

There is only one set of works that is right. These are the works that are revealed in the word of God. Again, Paul told Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable…so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Following the Scriptures exclusively to determine which works are good will make us different because most people think that anything we do for the Lord is good. Yet we must do what He has told us to do. Jesus said, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). We must do what has been authorized in His word (Colossians 3:17), not presume to know what would please Him. When we attempt to make such presumptions regarding the will of God, we will fail. Paul explained why this is: “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:11-12). The only way we can know God’s will is to look at what He has revealed in His word. Therefore, the only way we can do what will please Him is to look at what His word defines as a “good work.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, Sermon on the Mount: Instructions for Life. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

We Must Recognize the Need for God’s Grace

The Psalm of the Word: A Study of Psalm 119

Turn to me and be gracious to me, after Your manner with those who love Your name” (Psalm 119:132).

Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes” (Psalm 119:135).

David appealed to God to turn to him (Psalm 119:132). Of course, he needed to turn to God as well (more on this point later); but nothing he would do would matter if God did not turn to him. Paul reminded the Gentiles, “Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13). If the Gentiles had turned to God but God had not accepted them, they would still be “far off.” God, through His grace, must be willing to accept someone; otherwise, nothing he does will be of any consequence.

Fortunately for us, God has extended His grace to all. But sadly, not all will receive it. Paul said, “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11). However, we know that not all will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14). In order to receive His grace, we must be among those who “love [His] name” (Psalm 119:132). We must recognize the need for God’s grace because He does not owe us anything – except punishment for our sins (Romans 6:23) – and we must respond with gratitude and obedience. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17). Love, gratitude, and obedience are essential; but they mean nothing without God’s grace first being offered to us.

The psalmist also said, “Make Your face shine upon Your servant” (Psalm 119:135). This is another appeal for grace. This phrase is used several places in the Old Testament to refer to God’s grace (cf. Numbers 6:25; Psalm 67:1; 80:3, 7, 19).

David then tied this back to the word of God: “Teach me Your statutes” (Psalm 119:135). God extends His grace through His word, not apart from His word. The gospel is “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) and is, therefore, “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). But if we “do not obey the gospel,” we will be lost (2 Thessalonians 1:8). We cannot be saved without grace, but we cannot respond to God’s grace without His word.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Psalm of the Word: A Study of Psalm 119. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

We Must Avoid Sin and Keep a Clear Conscience

The Psalm of the Word: A Study of Psalm 119

They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways” (Psalm 119:3).

Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon all Your commandments” (Psalm 119:6).

Many believe that Christians can “continue in sin” (Romans 6:1) without concern. Paul refuted this error and asked the question: “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2). Jude indicated that those who teach this error have perverted the word of God by turning it into a “license for immorality” (Jude 4, NIV).

Our goal must be to “do no unrighteousness” (Psalm 119:3). John said that his first epistle – and by principle, all of the Bible – was written “so that you may not sin” (1 John 2:1). God’s “commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172). Paul wrote, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). In order to “do no unrighteousness” (Psalm 119:3) and “not sin” (1 John 2:1), we must follow the righteous instructions found in God’s word.

David also indicated that God’s people should keep a clear conscience (Psalm 119:6). However, this does not mean that we keep ourselves free from guilt by ignoring God’s word and adopting a human standard. Paul persecuted Christians in good conscience (Acts 23:1). Our conscience must be trained by the word of God (Hebrews 5:13-14). Once our conscience is properly trained and we observe the commandments of God, we will not need to be ashamed as we examine our lives by God’s perfect standard.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Psalm of the Word: A Study of Psalm 119. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Take Courage: Lessons from the Example of Josiah (Excerpt)

The following is an excerpt from the book, Take Courage: Eight Lessons from Men of Faith.

Take Courage (cover)As we seek to restore (or maintain) faithful service to God, we should learn from Josiah’s example.

First, we must be willing to change when necessary. No one is perfect. Paul reminded us of this when he said, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Even Christians can be wrong, as Peter (Cephas) “stood condemned” for his sin (Galatians 2:11). When we are wrong, we need to repent – whether that means repudiating sin in our individual lives (Acts 8:20-22) or correcting errors in the congregation with which we worship (Revelation 2:4-5).

Second, we must not allow ourselves to be enslaved to tradition. Though the word tradition in regard to religious matters carries an immediate negative connotation with some, not all traditions are wrong. Paul told the brethren in Thessalonica: “Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth, or by letter from us” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). But we must abandon the traditions of men that are contrary to the law of God (Matthew 15:6-9) – no matter how long we or those before us held the tradition.

Third, we must not place family above our service to God. The Lord must come first in all things. Jesus said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37). Following Christ will sometimes put us at odds with those who are closest to us in this life. It is difficult to see these ties threatened. But it is far worse to be “severed from Christ,” as this means we have “fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

Fourth, we must be willing to oppose error. This means we must oppose those who promote error: “Keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them” (Romans 16:17). It also means we must oppose those who practice error: “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6). Many prefer the path of compromise in their attempt to be more tolerant than God. Because of this, we will often face opposition, not just from the errorists, but from weak-kneed brethren who sympathize with them.

Fifth, we must submit to a higher law. King Josiah was certainly not exempt from God’s law. We are not either. Jesus has “all authority” (Matthew 28:18). Therefore, we must “do all in the name of the Lord” (Colossians 3:17). He will save “all those who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). So we must be sure we measure up to His standard of judgment (John 12:48).

You can read more about the courage of Josiah and others in Take Courage: Eight Lessons from Men of Faith. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!