This clever reasoning—taught in most seminaries all over the world—goes like this: Since God's law is spiritual and we are only physical, we cannot keep the holy, righteous law of God. So Christ had to keep it for us. Now we just "accept Christ" and His righteousness is somehow "imputed" to us—without any requirement for righteous works.
The above reasoning then relies on a whole series of misunderstandings and perversions of the writings of the Apostle Paul. Misguided theologians somehow put a clever "twist" on literally dozens of verses from Paul's letters to directly contradict the plain, clear teachings of Jesus Christ, of His closest disciple, John, and of His brother, James. That is one reason for Martin Luther's famous statement that the book of James was an "epistle of straw." Luther hated the fact that James directly taught obedience to the Ten Commandments (cf. James 2:8-12).
The Apostle Peter was even inspired to warn us that "Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures" (2 Peter 3:15-16). Yes, Peter said that men would "twist" Paul's writings to their own destruction! Peter continues this inspired warning: "Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position" (v. 17, NIV).
A warning not to be carried away by the error of "lawless men"? Absolutely. For that is precisely the way Peter knew that deceived men would "twist" Paul's writings—into an excuse to disobey the spiritual law of God, the Ten Commandments!
Truly, this message needs to be heard now more than ever before. Millions in this deceived world are really confused about religion. They have become either just plain bored by mainstream religion and/or disillusioned by organized religion in general. So some have simply "tuned out." Yet millions of others have virtual ly "invented" their own religion! As Newsweek magazine (May 8, 2000) recently reported on today's teenagers and their beliefs:
"Rather than seek absolute truths in doctrine, they cross denominational boundaries, savvy consumers in the broader marketplace of belief systems. Many describe themselves as spiritual rather than religious. 'I believe there is a higher power at work in my life, but I do not have a name for it,' says Amy McKinney, 18. 'When I pray I do not ask a god to make everything all right. Instead I ask myself to be strong.' In place of strict adherence to doctrine, many teens embrace a spirit of eclecticism and a suspicion of absolute truths. In a 1999 poll of teenagers by the religious researcher George Barna, more than half agreed with the statement 'All religious faiths teach equally valid truths.' Where explorers of the baby boom tried on Zen today, Methodism tomorrow, teens might cobble together bits of several faiths: a little Buddhist meditation or Roman Catholic ritual, whatever mixture appeals at the time."
"Whatever mixture appeals"? Appalling!
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