The Salvation By Works Manifesto
Posted by Job on May 3, 2011
I, a person who wishes to be justified by works always, desires to A) receive credit for the good that I do while B) exempt responsibility for the evil that I do. The “good” that I do? That is all me, done within myself out of the goodness of mine own heart, or at least the good sense to choose heaven over eternal damnation. At the very most, God provided a good example, or a means, for me to express my inherent goodness.
But the evil that I do? Well, first of all, mys evil works are VERY exaggerated. And who are you to speak of my evil works in the first place. That is JUDGING. That is self-righteous phariseeism. Judge not lest ye be judged! Take the log out of your own eye before worrying about the speck in mine! Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!
Besides, it isn’t as if I have HURT anybody. Or even if I did … there were extenuating circumstances! And she had it coming! What about what SHE did to me! Who cares about what I have been through? About MY feelings? About MY pain? In light of those things, who are YOU or anyone else to tell ME to go and sin no more? Or to stop sinning or else an even worse thing will happen to me? I know that I am a good person!
How do I know this? Well, I evaluated myself on my own scale that I built for myself that fits only me. If I put YOU on that scale, then YOU will be found wanting, because I am all to aware of YOUR sin. But when I am on it, my faults are minimized and my faults are glorified! Right?
And I am no innovator, here. Instead, the instructions for building this scale has been transmitted down through the generations. It came to me from Eve herself. When Satan told Eve that if she were to eat from the forbidden tree, then she would be as God, knowing good from evil. Well, it was based on my own personal knowledge of good and evil obtained through my own self-will that I constructed this scale.
After all, it is not as if I am a partaker in this “original sin” business. You see, I am basically, intrinsically good. That is why I am justified by my works. All of my good works are mine, and Jesus Christ came to shine the light on my good works, so that all the world would know that my ways are good. That was why Jesus Christ did not die in my place. No, Jesus Christ died as my moral example, as my role model! I am in Christ and identified with Christ, but only in purpose and example. I do not need to die to self daily, or to be crucified with Christ, buried with Christ and resurrected with Christ because I have no indwelling sin identity or nature. I have no old man. I have no “flesh.” Those things that Paul and the New Testament writers spoke of were mere literary metaphors and figures of speech of that day. After all, haven’t you been acquainted with “the new perspective on Paul”?
So, my sins are not truly “sins” at all. They are just mistakes, errors, lapses in judgment, that result in not any lack of sanctification, but instead a lack of good moral and religious training and application. In this sense, I suppose, it can be said that when I sin, “the devil made me do it.”
And my sins are only against myself and against other people. I am perfectly capable of forgiving myself, atoning for myself, and the people that I have hurt are simply whining, complaining, and need to learn how to forgive lest they go about in their own personal hells, torments of their own creation. The idea that my sins are against a holy, perfect God? I am not acquainted with such things. Aren’t you aware that the leading theologians and homileticians of the day have convincingly defined sin as a societal problem, a social ill? Leading figures in psychology, psychiatry, medicine, economics, government, physics etc. all agree, and how can this faith that you claim to have received from the saints stand against this overwhelming body of evidence? You say that it is the faith of the apostles, but the apostles were mere men, and the Bible was written by sinful men whose hope is in their works as was I. This thing about how the Bible is inerrant because it was co-written by the Holy Spirit, and can be uniformly, consistently interpreted and understood? Well, if that is true, then why are there so many Christian denominations?
And you have failed to grasp the greatest thing, the great genius and beauty of salvation by works. Who gets to define good works? I do. Who gets to define bad works? I do also! Sure, I do have guidance. I have the Bible, a treasure of moral instruction. I have my church, a stately institution that has endured for many an age. And I have my pastor and many exhorters, upright men and women all. All of those provide me with much insight as concerning good and evil. But from these sources, I can pick and choose as I please.
So, over the balance of my life, I can declare myself to be righteous. Because I have rejected the Bible’s claim that God is constantly watching me, evaluating my actions for good and evil, I am able to declare most of my deeds to be amoral, neither good or evil. You see, because I have rejected the Bible’s statements that God is evaluating my heart, and that my actions are the result of my heart, I am able to say that most things that I do, say and think are to no effect for good or evil. Most of them are merely passing time, chance occurrences and daily living, with no effect on anyone for good or ill. This is so because I declare it to be.
This is not to say that I never do good works. I do many such good works and deeds. What is it that makes these works good? Why my own evaluation of them as good. If I say that my works are good, then God is obliged to accept them. Do I not have the right to make this determination based on my knowledge of God from being made in the image of God? Does not the Bible say “ye are gods”?
I say the same regarding my evil works. I decide which of my works are evil according to my own value system. I also decide the severity of my evil works. I generally decide that positive number and positive value of my good works outweigh the negative number and value of my evil works. As a simple illustration, I do 5 good works a day and assign them 5 good points each, and I do 3 evil works a day and assign them 3 evil points each. This means that I daily come out ahead. This is how I examine myself to see whether I be in the faith. On the rare occurrences when my evil points outweigh my good ones, that is when I seek out a religious service of some sort, a pastor of some kind, who is capable of being my mediator before God and asking redress for my sin. I go before the altar and pray, I sing spiritual songs, I am extra generous at the offering plate, and I volunteer for some religious work of spiritual benefit, especially among the poor, the sick or children. That eases my guilty conscience and brings me back to a positive balance. Is that not the message of the epistle of James … faith without works is dead?
Do not be mistaken, I do have faith. I have faith that Jesus Christ makes my salvation by works possible. Jesus Christ made it possible for me to believe in myself! Is that not true religion, that which causes one to be true to oneself, to find oneself? Did not Jesus Christ come in order to teach and show me the true revelation of myself? Is not believing, serving and fearing one’s self, keeping one’s own commands, the whole duty of man? And is this not true righteousness, for does God not dwell with man, inside man, and man’s institutions? Did not God have respect for Abel’s offering because Abel had knowledge of himself, and rejected Cain’s offering because Cain lacked this enlightenment, this knowledge of self, this self-fulfillment that comes through salvation by works? Cain murdered his own brother! Clearly the mark on Cain was the mark of one lacking self-esteem! So, you see, if you could just learn to interpret the Bible correctly, you would see the message of justification and sanctification by good works everywhere! And it the same message attested and shared by the common witness of a great many world religions, great enlightened moral teachers (is that not what a prophet is, but someone who speaks in his own name of himself bearing witness of his own self-worth and enlightenment) like Muhammed, Buddha, Maimonides, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ghandi, Joseph Smith, the Dalai Lama and so many popes and saints. It has influenced so many movements, from the social gospel to the family values religious right. No matter your race, religion, ethnicity, nationality or creed, you have the power and authority to define your good works and be saved by them. Is that not “binding and loosing”?
I am not known by my works. I am known by my definition of my works. Through my own definition of my self by my own evaluation of my works, I learn to know myself according to my own system of knowledge. That is self-discovery, and that is the means and the end of salvation.
So, this is my manifesto.
Authored by ME
Signed by ME
Witnessed by ME
Attested by ME
Approved by ME
By the power and authority invested in ME
To the pleasure of ME
To the glory of ME