Justin Perdue: Today on Theocast, Jon and I talk about the fact that sometimes as Christians we think that we have understood the gospel, foolishly thinking we have reached the bottom and that there’s not a lot left for us to understand. Then God comes in, graciously and lovingly, and explodes our hearts and minds with the wonder, truth, mercy, and grace of the gospel.
We talk today about comforts from the Cross; the fact that when Jesus died and said that it is finished, that he had accomplished redemption and that his glory, righteousness, merits, and life were counted to wretched sinners like us. We talk about that and its implications in the church.
In the members podcast, we consider self-righteousness and how bad it is in the church, and how if we understand the gospel rightly then it should promote love and unity because we understand that we all have the same righteousness – namely the righteousness of Christ. We hope that this conversation is encouraging to you.
Jon Moffitt: This morning before recording, I shared with Justin something that I had recently learned and he then did the same thing. We went on and on until we realized we were running out of time so we just decided to push record. What ended up happening is both of us started to share what we would say are comforts from the cross.
Both of us were experiencing realities of the gospel, things we had never seen or thought of in a fresh and new way. I know every guy around the microphone has experienced this: we’ve all had moments when we think the gospel is so great, we’ve learned so much, and we would never admit that we hit the capacity of it. Then the Holy Spirit comes and opens your mind to a new window into heaven that just explodes your heart into a thousand pieces. You hit new levels of excitement and joy. Sometimes it happens at a really important moment. For me, these last few weeks have been a little hard as I’ve been dredging through all kinds of things in life.
Justine Perdue: Just to talk a little bit more about our pre-conversation, you began to tell me about the sermon you preached on Sunday. I was telling you about something that I read this week. Then I was talking about recently finishing a sermon series in Mark and talking about the Cross and different things that we saw. You and I were just going back and forth about the wondrous truth of the fact that the glories, merits, and the righteousness of Christ are counted to us as sinners. It was clear we had both had our minds blown in the last week (or two or three). As we were thinking about these realities and we’re looking at each other wondering what we’re going to record today, we realized we should record this. We should just talk about the righteousness of Christ, counted to sinners in the glory of Christ, counted to sinners in what he secured for us on the Cross.
What draws people to Theocast anyway is this message of the sufficiency of Jesus. It’s why we do what we do not just here at Theocast but even just in terms of pastoral ministry. What is building the cultures of our respective churches is this sufficiency of Christ in his work. There is nothing that we would rather talk about, and we trust the same for our listeners that there is nothing that you would rather listen to than this – to talk about Christ and what he’s done for us who are completely undeserving.
Sometimes we are stupid enough to think that we’ve plumbed the depths of it. Then God just comes in and blows us up anew – and not in a bad way, not like He’s scolding us – it’s loving and it’s so kind and it’s so full of joy and peace that your mind and heart explode. You’re thinking it’s better than you even realize and there’s more to it than you thought. And we continually have those experiences as we wrestle with what God’s revealed in His word.
So, Jon, why don’t you kick us off with a little bit of John 17 that you were thinking about this past Sunday.
Jon Moffitt: We’re going to spend some time in John 17. We’re going to spend some time with Jeremiah and Mark. The design of all of these is so that you find comfort from the Cross, that you walk away from today realizing and hopefully beginning to believe in how much Christ has done for you, how much God loves you, and how much rest you really, truly can have.
In John 17, Jesus is speaking to his disciples. This is this conversation he’s about to have with them right before he dies. This is the last public conversation of instructions and it’s very intimate. It’s almost like if I knew I was about to leave my children, this was the last conversation I was going to have with them. This would be a very important conversation for me to have.
I actually had one of these conversations with my dad; I was about to go away to work for the summer. We both knew things weren’t going well physically for him. He called me in his room the day before I left, and I can remember as if it was yesterday. He pulled me down close and he said, “Son, if you remember anything that I’ve told you, remember, be teachable.” And that was the last thing he told me. It had such a massive impact on me cause he could’ve said anything to me in those last moments. When Jesus was in his last moments with his disciples – of course, he’s not dying forever but he is going to be leaving this world – he’s speaking these comforts to them. He is saying some of the most comforting, shepherding, and loving things to his disciples. John 17:22 threw me for a loop because I really wanted to understand not just what Jesus was saying, but also why he was saying it.
In John 17:22 he says, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.” Jesus is speaking proleptically; he is talking of the future as if it is reality. He hasn’t actually received this glory yet because he hasn’t finished his work on the Cross but Jesus uses this language quite often in his prayers or even in his conversations. The question then becomes, “What does he mean by glory?“ He can’t mean the glory as it relates to his holiness innately because that’s part of the Trinitarian holiness. And God says flat out, “I will not give that to another.” It can’t even be the holiness or glory that’s related to his nature because he can’t necessarily give that away. God didn’t give him the glory from His nature because Jesus was never created. What he means here, and if you look back in John 7, is Jesus is referring to the glorification that he gets from the Cross.
Justin Perdue: From his work of redemption.
Jon Moffitt: That’s right. So Colossians 2 speaks of this. Hebrews 2 speaks of this. Acts 4 speaks of this glory was given. Jesus was crowned with glory and was highly exalted by the Father. Here’s where all the Legos fell in place. When I got done putting it all together – and I’m just going to be open with the listeners – I started crying in my study. I couldn’t believe the reality of this truth.
Just to help explain what glory means here: glory means to provide accolade or to provide praise that is related to something that is far above something else. Like you don’t give glory to the average. Normally we give glory to that at which is supreme or best. We do this in our culture all the time – the best athletes, the best business people – we give them the rightful place of glory, but not necessarily on a holy stance. Jesus is saying that the glory that he received from his Father for his actions in that life and on the cross, he’s going to take those praiseworthy accolades and give them to us as if they’re our accolades and they belong to us.
Stop and think about that for just a moment. You and I never did one single momentary action that would ever be compared to what Christ has done. He says very clearly that this isn’t just for you. In verse 19 he says it is for every disciple that comes after. “I’m giving you my glory so that when the Father looks at you, He sees what I did, not what you’ve done. He sees what I did.” Here’s the application and why. This is the end of the verse. He says, “I give it to them that they may be one even as we are one.” If everybody has the same accolade, if everyone has the same amount of glory, which is Christ’s glory from the cross, there is never a moment to compare because if you’re in Christ, you have his glory.
We’re excited to talk about how crazy it is that we start measuring our own righteousness against one another. It’s like we’ve lost our minds and we’ve lost sight of the reality that we all have been credited with the greatest righteousness, merit, and glory that there is, namely, that we’ve been given the works of Christ. Then we want to go around and parade our own righteousness in front of everybody.
One of the biggest mind-blowing realities that I have to remind myself of all the time is that Jesus, in his perfect obedience, his perfect fulfilling of the Law, and even his sacrificial death (like the greatest gesture of love and sacrifice in the history of the world, all of his work of redemption, etc.) God looks at me because of the good news of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to me by faith. God looks at me as though I have done all of those things that Jesus did.
It’s not even like my account reads like his account; it means that it’s as though I have done it myself when I have never done any of it. It’s remarkable. So when God talks about all of the righteous requirements that he has for us in his Law, we really can stand in Jesus and say it is as though we have done those things. That is the greatest news in the world.
Like Luther, we’ll talk about the two kinds of righteousness: there’s the passive righteousness that we have that we receive from God in Christ by faith – which is what we’re talking about today – and our own active righteousness. That active righteousness, as you were already alluding to, is not as though God the Father would ever look at our active righteousness and say it has some kind of greater value than that righteousness of Jesus that has been counted to us. No, God, the Father would never say that.
I’ll go ahead and transition this briefly to Jeremiah and then we’ll move on to Mark’s gospel and we’ll see where we go from here. I’m excited about where this conversation may lead. In chapter 23, the prophet begins to talk about the righteous branch who is going to come; the righteous branch from David. Jeremiah 23: 5-6 says, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’”
I read that this morning and t was one of those moments like you were describing, where your head, mind, and heart practically explode. I’ve read this before, but I have never seen it that way where he’s talking about the righteous branch who will come from David, who is Jesus. He’s talking about the certainty that Judah will be saved. Israel will dwell securely. And the name by which that righteous branch Jesus will be called is “The Lord is our righteousness”.
It’s so wonderful when you have these moments when you see not just from the New Testament, not just from Paul, but you see it throughout the entirety of Scripture. We see it in the Old Testament from a prophet who’s living hundreds of years before Christ would ever come. He is stating that one of the names the Messiah will go by is ”The Lord is our righteousness”. It’s like it’s always been God’s plan. The very righteousness of God would be counted to his people through the work of the Messiah. It sounds just like Paul in Romans. You get it directly from the mouth of Jeremiah.
Jon Moffitt: What’s interesting is that you, you hear God accepts you based upon your forgiveness and righteousness, but it’s not righteousness that you perform – and this is where the confusion comes in – it is righteousness that is given to you. For instance, sometimes it’s helpful to understand where praise comes from. In other words, if I give someone a compliment and if they don’t know who I am or if they don’t respect where the compliment is coming from, they go, “Thanks, I appreciate that.” But when a compliment comes from someone they know and respect, and they understand what it is that you have accomplished, there’s a side of you that goes, ”That compliment means more to me than anything else in the universe.” When you think about righteousness and where it really matters, where the compliment comes from, there’s only one Being in the universe that really matters when it comes to their perspective of you and your standing – and that’s God.
God’s perspective is the only one that matters. It does not matter if you go, ”Well, Jon, you’re a really godly man.” Thanks. I appreciate that. But if you and I stand before the mirror, spiritually naked and ashamed because we have nothing to offer, and yet the Father says, “OH, but dear son, you’re righteous.” How could He say that? Why would He ever give me that compliment? And it’s not a compliment to you; it’s a compliment to the Son because it’s His righteousness that He’s complimenting. It just so happened to be given to you.
Justin Perdue: It’s his own righteousness that He’s complimenting because He has clothed you in that. “Bring robes and put them on him. Put rings on his hands, and shoes on his feet.” God has clothed us in his own righteousness. It’s scandalous in its mercy.
I’ve recently finished preaching through Mark’s gospel at CBC. Near the end of Mark’s account is the crucifixion. I was struck as I was preparing for and delivering that sermon with several things that I want to layout for us right now in it. It’s relevant to our conversation. The darkness is described in Mark 15:33 as coming over the whole land when Jesus was on the Cross for three hours. I had read that before and thought it was certainly significant. But then I connected that to Exodus. As I was studying, I thought about the fact that the ninth plague in Egypt was darkness and there was darkness over the land of Egypt for three days. When Jesus is put on the Cross, there’s darkness over the land for three hours. That’s not insignificant. And then, what’s the 10th plague in Israel? It’s the killing of the firstborn when the Passover comes. Jesus is on the cross at Passover as God’s firstborn, begotten Son being slain for the sins of the world and to save God’s people.
And so you see this repeat of the Passover in the Exodus and we realize, just as Luke says in the transfiguration, that Jesus, Elijah, and Moses were talking about the Exodus that he would accomplish at Jerusalem. The Exodus happened and the Passover happened because Jesus was coming to fulfill the Passover and he was going to accomplish a greater Exodus. God’s people in Egypt were liberated from slavery. At Calvary, Jesus liberated God’s people from bondage to sin and death and hell. And that’s remarkable in and of itself. But then we continue on in Mark’s account and Jesus quotes Psalm 22:1 when he says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And people misunderstand. They think he’s talking to Elijah and all this stuff. But then Jesus utters a loud cry and gives up his life.
We know from John’s gospel that at the very end of Jesus’ life, he cries out, “It is finished.” Mark tells us that the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom at that very moment. Jesus says it’s finished and the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies – which is what separated people from God so that they wouldn’t die in the presence of His holiness – is torn from heaven downward. God tore that curtain through what Jesus has accomplished. Reconciliation has happened. We now have access to Him. And when Jesus says it’s finished, what did he mean? He means that redemption is over, atonement is accomplished, righteousness has been fulfilled, and there is nothing left to be done other than to trust his work for us. And it’s just wonderful when you think more deeply about the work of Christ in the place of the sinner. The gospel really is unfathomable in its depth. We could look at it, contemplate it, talk about it for the rest of our lives and never hit the bottom.
Jon Moffitt: What’s hard is that we hear it as finished, but practically what we apply is Jesus’ part is finished and now it’s our part. We think of the Old Testament stories and we often lose sight that they are not these grandiose stories of morality, that they are connected in history and there are these intricate lacings of the gospel. When you put the Old Testament together with the New, you have this glorious chandelier that just explodes with gospel truths with all these twines.
Justin Perdue: Not only are they not morality tales, but they’re also not even epic stories that just stand on their own. Those stories exist. Those things happened in history because Jesus was coming. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that the Passover, the Exodus, and all this stuff happened the day of the atonement and then Jesus came and fulfilled that post facto. No, it’s the opposite. All of those things happened in history because Jesus was coming and that was always the plan.
Jon Moffitt: Genesis 3:15 set the scene where God makes a promise to Adam and Eve that the seed will come and then we just follow this thread all the way. Part of this thread is the seed is promised and then affirmed through Abraham – and then you have the Abrahamic covenant. From that, we know that there is One who is coming. Then it goes through the line of Judah and we know that from there, as you just read in Jeremiah, there’s going to be the shoot of “The Lord of righteousness”. There is another covenant that is one of my favorites because it impacted me in becoming covenantal: the Davidic covenant. If you want to talk about an absolute illustration of how Jesus earns by his works our right in the kingdom, it is 2 Chronicles 6:16 where we have been given the explanation and clarification of the Davidic covenant. It says, “Now therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk in my law as you have walked before me.’” David’s heirs were horrible. They could not fulfill this. And every year there was this waiting by Israel. Is this going to be the King? Is this going to be the King of David? It was a constant failure. And the promise is this: the one who comes and fulfills God’s laws will earn the right for those people to be in the kingdom forever. So the one action by the King earns the right for the rest of the people. He does not say if people live right. He says this if the King lives right.
What is Jesus described as? The King in the line of who? David. He is the son of David. And when Jesus lives the perfect righteous life, it’s not talking about the lineage of the people as far as it relates to just those by birthplace. He’s talking about the people of God. We have here this long story of kings and wars and the whole point of it was there is not a man who can earn the right for salvation; there is not a man at all except for the One who came, perfectly obeyed and died on the Cross.
We are told from the Old Testament that when the Father looks at us He says, “You have right of passage because your King, your representative, perfectly obeyed everything that was required of you in your place. Now you have the right to rest in the kingdom.
Justin Perdue: The Davidic covenant laid out in 2 Samuel 7 and then you just gave it to us from Chronicles. It’s very clear that the Davidic covenant is conditional. God is saying that this is going to be the condition: if your son obeys My law and thus righteousness. We rejoice in the fact that Jesus has met the conditions of that covenant. It’s beautiful. We know that we do have a King who reigns over us in righteousness and peace and in Him we will dwell securely because Jesus has done everything that’s required.
Why don’t we shift and talk about some of the implications of all this wonderful gospel truth we’ve been unpacking? We could talk about self-righteousness and how we like to compare ourselves to one another.
Before we get there, talking about the comfort that it is to know that God looks upon us and really does see the glory, merit, and the righteousness of Christ – that he no longer looks at us and sees the sin and the ugliness and the kind of marred image of himself in us – it is balm for souls and comfort for those who are weary and struggling. It is comfort for people who are highly in touch with the depth of their own corruption because the gospel is not but so comforting to people. If anything, it is offensive to people who think that they’ve got something to bring to the table. But for people who understand that they are wretched and have never done anything untainted by sin, this is the greatest news in the world. The perfect holiness, righteousness, obedience, and satisfaction of Jesus have been counted to us. That’s just to use the language of the Heidelberg Catechism question 60. That’s how they frame it. I’ve never kept any of God’s commands. I’ve broken all of them and I still sin. How in the world could a person like me have any hope before the Lord? Well, it’s because of Christ.
Jon Moffitt: The thing is that we are told in Scripture very clearly that God does not rate us on percentages. It’s not that you’re good if you’re in the 75 rate, you’re bad if you’re in the 45 rate. That is collapsing the Law and the gospel together where we’re saying, “Okay, if I do my best, the gospel comes and makes up the rest.” No, that’s moralism and legalism. It’s either perfect or wretch. And this is where people put this out on social media. There were a couple of interactions that I saw recently. The week has gone by and we say we had a bad week. No, you didn’t have a bad week – it’s worse than you thought. If I showed you what your week really looked like, you wouldn’t come out of your room out of embarrassment. The amount of sin that resides in our heart – just go read Romans 7 and listen to Paul talk about himself as a believer, and the struggle that he has and how he must rely on the grace of God.
Part of understanding the righteousness of Christ is to keep Christians from going insane from keeping them. There is nothing that drives me more to despair than when I have to look at my own goodness because there’s not much there if any at all. And yet it’s easy to compare. This is where we would say the reason we love and can see this so clearly is that we have learned to separate the Law, which is “do this and live”, from the gospel, which is “He did this now live.” The moment you collapse those two, you’re always going to struggle with assurance because if at any moment you think you must do this something to live, that is Law.
Justin Perdue: I just started preaching through Proverbs this past Sunday. Proverbs 1:7 is a famous verse: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” What does that mean? What does that all entail? Right? To fear the Lord and have reverence for Him means what? First of all, you know who He is. True. But then immediately after that, and inextricably linked to that, is to understand what He requires. What does God require? Well, He’s given it to us as Law, and he has told us, “Here’s everything I require and you must do it perfectly.” Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount – the greatest sermon on the Law ever given in the history of the world – is found in Matthew 5-7. Christ unpacks the Law for us and nails every one of us. In Matthew 5:48 he says you must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. He said a lot of other things in that sermon about applying the Law of God to the hearts of men in such a way where it destroys every one of us. If we’re going to talk in terms of the fear of the Lord being the beginning of knowledge, well, it begins with knowing who God is and knowing what God requires. And in understanding those two things, there is nothing for us to do but to run to Christ. Absolutely nothing.
So, with this distinction between Law and gospel in redemptive history and how that framework is so vital for understanding of scripture, if you don’t have those things in view and you go to Proverbs, you’ll do all kinds of crazy stuff with it and you’ll turn it into just a bunch of practical tips for living. You’ll turn it into a Christian version of Aesop’s fables. You’ll turn it into ways that your life can go better. That’s not what Proverbs is about. When we collapsed these categories, we damage people. We cause people to despair in the things that they can’t do and we cause them to take pride in the things that they think they can do. Neither one of those is good in the church.
Jon Moffitt: What people struggle with is this: “Jon, you guys are sounding like you’re antinomian.” If we have the imputed righteousness – meaning to receive on the credit of someone else – and believe that we have Jesus’ righteous credit to us, that means there’s nothing else we need to do. There’s nothing else for you to do as it relates to your standing and acceptance before God. It’s either a gift or it’s not. Either we’re saved as a gift from the Father or we were given the opportunity to save ourselves. And I’m telling you that Ephesians 2: 8-9 tells you the exact opposite.
If you go back and listen to some of our podcasts where we’re talking about how good works is not a dirty word, what we’re saying is God does not need your good works in order for you to confirm your righteous standing before Him. He already says you’re not righteous. “Well, Jon, when He says, ‘be Holy as I am Holy’, what does he mean by that?” There is no way He means you need to be holy in order to obtain your status. It’s called being what you are in light of. In other words, if you have been declared righteous and your position with God has been made, you are now free to live and roam and be wild. Go be natural in this new state that you’re in.
The people who need your good works are your neighbors because they are the ones who will be affected by you sinning against them; they will also be affected by you not administering the gospel to them. This is why I want to go back to John 17. Can you think of a greater way to create unity and harmony than if everybody says we’re all equal and there is no pecking order? “Well, they’ve done all of this for God so they must be more spiritual and more respected.” Absolutely not. It’s the exact opposite. Jesus is saying you are all equally received. This is like the parable of Jesus of the workers in the field. You got one person who worked there for an hour and then one who worked there all day. They both received the same payment. The illustration works fine. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a Christian for an hour or for a hundred years, you have the same amount of righteousness from Christ as anybody else.
Justin Perdue: I want to give a brief word before I shift my thoughts over tow where you’re driving us to in terms of unity in the church and how we all are equally legitimate and righteous in Christ. A word to those of you listening who are struggling and are wrestling with assurance: if we’re all honest, this is something that we all wrestle with consistently. How do I know that I really am good with God? How do I know that not just now, but in the future? That I’ll finally be saved? When we look inward we assess ourselves and we come up empty because we think we have never loved God enough. I don’t even know what to say about my love for God because it ebbs and flows so much and I’ve never felt the ways that I should feel and I struggle to do the right things. I find myself gravitating toward things that I shouldn’t and don’t want to do. But I still do them, and it grieves and troubles me. What do I do?
The answer to it is never going to be found within yourself. It’s never going to be found in your performance. It’s never going to be found in what you’re doing or not doing. It’s never going to be found in your feelings or your affections. Because if you look there, it’s hopeless. It’s hopeless. Our confidence and our rest and our assurance and our peace and all those things can only come by looking outside of ourselves to Christ.
I know we say this all the time, but it’s because we all need to hear it all the time. That Jesus really is enough. His work is sufficient. It’s been counted to you through faith. It’s as though you have really done it and the Father looks at you and you’re wearing the robes of Christ and he is pleased and he loves you and he delights to save you because you’re in his son. You know? And so we don’t need to chase after our standing before the father. It’s ours and now we live from it. And we can rejoice together in what Jesus has accomplished for us because we’re never going to feel the right things or do all the right things or love God enough. It won’t happen.
Jon Moffitt: So God sees you and accepts you and says, “Well done, child. You belong to Me and all the benefits of Me belong to you because you are righteous.” If you’re going to try and replace that righteousness with your own, do you really think that you have the ability to do a better job than Jesus? That’s the answer you have to come to. Don’t put that pressure on yourself because it’s impossible to replace the level of obedience that Christ has already given us. You can’t improve it. Not only can you not improve it, but you can’t take it away. Your lack of obedience does not remove Jesus.
Justin Perdue: You can’t out sin the mercy and grace of Jesus. As Richard Sibbes said hundreds of years ago, there is more mercy in Christ than there is sin in us. You can’t. And now when we say things like “you can’t out sin the mercy of Christ “, some people will hear us say that we’re encouraging people to sin and live licentious lives. That’s absurd. No, that’s not what we’re saying. We’re comforting people by saying that if you are in Christ Jesus, you will not wreck this thing because he’s got you and you have everything that you could ever need by faith, not by works. There is a depth of mercy that we cannot fathom because, like you already said, Jon, we are so much worse than we ever thought. Every deed we do is tainted with sin. We’ve never done a perfect deed in the eyes of God on our own merit. And so of course, we have to look to Jesus for those things and for our perfection.
Jon Moffitt: If your conclusion after listening to us is, “Okay, then it sounds like I can go do whatever I want because if I have Christ’s righteousness and I can’t out sin him then I’m just going to do it.” First of all, go ahead and try. Your Father loves you and He promises that because He loves you, He’s going to discipline you. Meaning that you may find it pleasurable for a moment, but He will come in and He will make sin and its consequences unpleasant for you because sin is not what’s best and it’s not what is loving. And I promise you He’ll do it out of love, not out of anger. If you believe that you can go do whatever you want, you’re going to find out real quickly that pursuing sin does not produce the joy that Christ promises in pursuing him. You just won’t have it. It’s not possible.
Justin Perdue: The frightening reality would be when you look around at people who are living in sin and they’re comfortable. That’s a frightening reality whereas for God’s children, it’s not that way. When the redeemed run off into sin it doesn’t go well. And it’s not comfortable; there’s misery associated with it. That’s not because that’s how it is for everybody because there are plenty of people who live in sin and are very comfortable there. But God’s children won’t be comfortable in sin because God will not allow that. And that’s love, like you said, and it’s not anger. It’s love.
Jon Moffitt: I also think that the children of God can find themselves comfortable. This is where Paul says when someone’s trapped and they don’t really know how to get out. Uncomfortable may not be the appropriate word because you may be listening to this podcast right now and you may be trapped. This is where God uses the church to comfort, shepherd, and rebuke. Church discipline is a glorious protection for the believer.
Justin Perdue: It’s for restoration.
Jon Moffitt: Yeah. If you believe in the gospel, you have to take sin seriously because it does absolutely make sense. If you say that Theocast is a bunch of antinomians, I’m sorry that you’ve come to those conclusions and maybe you aren’t hearing everything that we’re saying. That sin is the reason why Christ had to sweat drops of blood and experience agony. You can’t look at hell and take sin lightly. God’s hatred of sin is horrible.
Justin Perdue: God is very clear in his word, like we’ve already alluded to: stay away from sin because it will destroy your life. Nothing good ever comes from sin. Please don’t misunderstand what we’re saying.
At the same time, it is possible for Christians to sin really badly for a really long time. And yet at the end of it all, they are restored and they’re brought back to the fold because God will do that. He uses various means to accomplish that. Some of those means we’ve already touched on like church discipline and what that looks like.
Jon Moffitt: Before we go into the membership, I’ll just say this just to add to what you’re saying, Justin: this is why Paul says our flesh is at war with our spirit, which means at times the spirit loses because the flesh is so strong. So to assume that once you become a believer you no longer war against the flesh is to take Romans 7 and rip it out of your Bible. We’ll save that for another time.
Justin Perdue: If you’re feeling that way and you’re thinking, “I’m doing things I don’t want to do and I’m not doing the things that I want to do,” then take solace in the fact that every believer through history has known that same experience, including the two guys behind the microphone this morning. We all with Paul cry out about our wretchedness and we rejoice in the fact that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. That we have been justified by Jesus through faith and therefore we have peace with God, not just now but forever because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. That’s the good news. That’s the hope. It’s rock solid and it’s certain.
So, Jon, let’s transition over to the members podcast. There’s more to say, I think. I think where we’re going to pick this up is on that self-righteousness piece and how we tend to compare ourselves to one another in the church; how the gospel and in particular this reality of the righteousness and merits in the works of Christ being counted to us should create unity; how when we’re missing that unity and that love piece, it’s indicative of a problem in terms of our understanding of the gospel. I think that’s where we want to go.
Thank you for listening to this episode of Theocast. We hope this conversation sincerely has been encouraging to you. For those of you who are out there who are weary and struggling and fighting against your own corruption, we encourage you: press on, remove everything from you that’s hindering you and look to Jesus who is the founder and the perfecter of your faith. He has saved you and he has perfected you for all time, even as you are wrestling against sin. So look to him and trust him.
We’ll talk to you again next week.