Stop Teaching Moralism!

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"The Church has been trying to preach morality and ethics without the Gospel as a basis; it has been preaching morality without godliness; and it simply does not work" (Martin Lloyd Jones, Preaching and Preachers, 2011).
Recently, I heard several adolescents share their story of conversion to faith in Christ.  In common jargon, I heard several testimonies.

The recurring synopsis I heard was this: "I grew up in a Christian home, so I don't have any radical story of coming out of rebellion or anything like that.  I grew up going to church and I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was a kid.  Still, I don't have this Christianity thing figured out.  I just don't see how God could love me.  I keep sinning and I keep struggling with doubt."  Then in closing, essentially, "But, hopefully Jesus will let me into heaven; even though I'm not perfect, I'm trying hard to do what pleases Him."

My initial reactions to hearing student after student talk about their conversion in this manner left me feeling sorry for them and angry at... - well, something.

Judging By Appearances

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"Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6).
Not all non-Christians are vile scum picketing outside the gates of heaven.  By all appearances, I know quite a few upstanding, nice, generous sinners.  I'm sure you do too.  In fact, sometimes these non-Christians outdo me in patience and generosity.

Why, then, does God still find fault with the non-Christian?  Why will they be found guilty on the day of judgement and go away to darkness and gnashing of teeth?

Paul's Sermon on Mars' Hill

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In Acts 17, Paul delivers a concise but effective message to the Greeks.  The stage, however, was set centuries before through the workings of God's providence.

Approximately 500 years earlier in Athens, a man named Socrates began to consider the question, "What is the best way to live?"  This came in response to the sophists, a group of Greeks whose prevailing mode of thought was "YOLO" (You Only Live Once).

Salvation Is By The Works of Christ ALONE!

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"For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, an then He will repay each person according to what he has done" (Matthew 16:27). 
"For You will render to a man according to his work" (Psalm 62:12). 
"See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.  If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in His ways, and by keeping His commandments and His statutes and His rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it" (Deuteronomy 30:15-16).
In Hebrews 9:27, the Word of God tells all humans everywhere what will happen to each one of us: "It is appointed a man once to die and after that to face the judgement."  We are assured of two certainties: we will die and, after death, we will face judgement.

Sing To The Lord, All The Earth!

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Being a parent is humbling in many ways.  Not only am I responsible for the care and nurture of my children - to make sure they stay alive - I am also responsible for equipping them to be moral, God-fearing people.  This is the humbling part: when I am teaching my daughter not to yell at her brother in anger when he disrupts her play, I am quickly reminded of my own anger; thus, as I lead her to the cross, I myself am there.  This is why parenting is such a powerful means to sanctification.