Moralism, an excerpt from my journal in 2012
I heard this in a Tim Keller teaching:
If I justify myself, that is, if my works accomplish my salvation (moralism) then God owes me. There is a limit to what He can ask of me. For example, He cannot ask me to bear suffering.
On the other hand, if He justifies me, which He surely has through His own suffering atonement, then I owe Him everything. He has a right to ask anything of me and I cannot deny Him. THere is no limit to what He can ask of me. No limit to my suffering etc. He can ask death of me, since He Himself died for me.
Moralism yields either two things: 1) self righteous pride, whereby I am offended by God for what He asks of me. I am offended that He asks me to suffer, for example. or 2) self hatred, since I recognize I cannot be good.
Moralism, a works based salvation, is the result of a lifestyle of pleasing others. For example your parents.
The Gospel gives me freedom from both these, because of His justification. in 1) I cannot hold self righteousness. I owe Him everything. in 2) He saves me from myself.
Here is his message: we are all hopelessly lost sinners. In that state everything in life yields death. Even my "good choices" cannot be held onto. Somehow they are tainted by pride or manipulation etc. And they do not offer lasting satisfaction. Then Christ came for me. He lived perfectly. He humbled HImself and came to earth to live a life I cannot live. A life with a pure heart, full of wisdom, close to the Father, with perfect decision making, perfect compassion, perfect love. All things I desire. And He died a suffering death. He paid a price, so that I could be free of the despair I hold that I do live a life of love. In turn, He offers me the opportunity to live that life by His power through the renewing of my mind.
He loved me first. He chose to reveal Himself to me (He chose me,) He chooses to participate in my life. He knows me perfectly and despite this He is faithful to me.
Essentially, He is everything I desire and He offers Himself to me.
I do not love well, but He does and He lives in me so that I can experience His love--His love for me, and His love for others. This is the grace filled life. This is justification by faith through grace.
©️ 2018 Elizabeth Woning. All rights reserved.