If I hear, one more time, that ‘my good works’ are proof and evidence of my salvation, I think I might loose it! When someone asserts that (as a Protestant) that my good works–even though still tainted–are evidence and proof that I am one of the elect or “saved,” I always wonder what in the heck! they are asserting; other than platitudes that are just that. This is common refrain from our Puritan bogus past of experimental predestinarianism, practical syllogisms, etc.; but how in fact this can actually be the case, either theologically, or even exegetically is incredible to me. I am not ranting from, necessarily, an exegetical vantage point at the moment (but theological? Yes!); I am ranting from the crass reality of lived life–the observable kind! If good works are the standard and proof of Christianity, proof of life, my good works and your good works; then I would say we are all damned, serious! If this proof of life, of election, by good works, just has to do with motive, then we are damned (we don’t have good motives apart from Christ’s from whence we participate). If this proof of life, of election, by good works is manifested concretely by good actions that I do, then who is to say that these were not just done out of deontology and duty driven motives (like keeping the law), and not actual Christ centered? And if this mix is so hard to discern, then how in the heck am I supposed to find certitude of my election, of my salvation, by looking at manifest good works in my life; and further, how am I supposed to discern this in your life?!
The above scenario is absolutely bogus! If you have a system of salvation that requires you to look at your good works, first, and then only reflexively at Christ, then you have a bogus system of salvation, and you should repent of it and repudiate it. You should quit telling people that this is what the Bible teaches, because it surely does not! The Bible teaches what our hermeneutic says it does, what our prior theological commitments dictate it does. I don’t see any way around this. I am irked as I write this, because I have grown very weary of this irresponsible non-sense being foisted on the body of Christ at large. If you are telling people that they need to demonstrate their salvation by their good works, you are preaching a false gospel, that in my strong opinion is anathema!
Does this mean that I am accepting, then, an anti-nomian gospel? No, it means that I am affirming a Christ-concentrated conception of the gospel. See my last post. Are good works part of being a Christian? Yes! But that is just it, they are part of being a Christ[ian], part[icipation] in Christ’s sufficient/efficacious good works for us. His good works have demonstrated that He is the only One who is truly good, God. Good works bear witness (Mt 5) to His life, to His full and complete “saved” life and vicarious humanity. Does this objectify salvation? Absolutely! Good works are witness bearers to the only one who is truly good, and truly saved; Jesus Christ.
Rant, over. I feel a little better now. Proceed with the rest of your day now.