Somewhere Christians of the NT era have come to the understanding that OT people were saved by works. Is the origin of this idea found in our incorrect interpretation of John 1:17? Where do we get this idea that somehow the OT believers could appease the wrath of God by doing works while we in the NT generation who are serving the very same God of the OT are totally inept at accomplishing the same feat?
How can that be?
This morning I was reading in Isaiah 1, and it hit me. Isaiah 1 is sort of a synopsis of the book of Isaiah. From 1:1-15 Isaiah summarizes the dreadful state of Judah's relationship with God. It's not a pretty picture!
In 1:10 Isaiah presents the solution: "Hear the word of the LORD!"
Ok, all is well, correct?
Now notice 1:11-15. Notice all their works of righteousness? These verses are a brief summary of their religious fervor. It surely seems they are doing all the regulations as outlined in Leviticus. They are doing all the things that we modern Christians think they need to do in order to merit salvation. They are hearing the word of the LORD! They are giving ear to the instruction of their God! Are they not? Look how they are fulfilling the sacrificial commands of the Mosaic Law!
Only they're not!
Something is missing. All those Levitical laws that they are observing and obeying- God says it all sucks!
Their works are not saving them!! They are not saved by works!
Where are we at in all this? Isaiah 1 strangely looks like our churches! Oh people have not so much of an issue to come to church on Sunday morning- unless it's good biking, camping, or fishing weather, then church attendance takes a back pew. Oh people will come to church on Sunday morning, but don't ask us to attend any function during the week. Mid-week prayer meetings? Can't find a baby sitter (but finding a baby sitter so we can go to a Moose game or shopping or whatever- not a big deal!) Membership meetings? Are you kidding? Visit the lonely in the Old Folks home? Visit the widow? Witness to our unsaved neighbor? Invite a stranger for Sunday lunch? Oh we NT-Christians-saved-by-faith are pretty good at keeping Isaiah 1:11-15. Trouble is, that's not going to cut it.
In our community everyone whose dead body gets rolled up the aisle for its final attendance of an Isaiah 1:11-15 gathering is automatically construed as being saved and glory bound.
I hope that is true. I hope everyone we think was saved is safe in heaven today.
Sometimes I wonder!
Folks, unless we surpass the "obedience" of Isaiah 1:11-15, we are dead in our faith without greater works than that.
Not to many chuckles in that squealing was there?
Just something to ponder on.
OT saints were not saved by their works anymore than we are!