Do you know what WOKE means?
I thought it meant a state of being after a good night sleep. But this new four letter word WOKE is now the new buzz word of the progressive, liberal Protestant, even evangelical theologians who wish to put a new take and interpretation on the 2000 year writings of the Apostle Paul. This great Apostle, confronted by the Christ on the Damascus Road and converted perhaps like no other seemed to have made it clear to all who wish the salvation experience, in his very special epistle to the Ephesians the following:
FOR BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH, AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN (OR WOMAN) SHOULD BOAST.
Seems rather clear, does it not that salvation in the real Christian sense comes as a result of the grace of God, through the faith of the one accepting the saving grace, and not as a result of anything that man or woman does but only, salvation is, as the result of the GIFT of God and Paul then makes it very clear that salvation is:
NOT OF WORKS.
So that, good works like prayers, sacraments, pilgrimages, rituals, sabbath observances, food laws and even circumcision may be good but they are irrelevant to salvation. They are good deeds and worthy from a religious standpoint, but they contribute nothing to the attainment of salvation. All such good works are the proper response, the natural spiritual reaction to that gift of God, the saving grace bestowed upon the accepting individual. That seems quite clear to me, does it not to you?
But beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a small group of Protestant biblical scholars have indicated that such an interpretation of the writings of Paul is wrong and they began to develop what they called:
THE NEW PERSPECTIVE ON PAUL
Such liberal and progressive thinkers were led by men like D.G. Dunn, E.P. Sanders and N.T. Wright. They were the ones who championed the new definitions for salvation, and for the seemingly dichotomy between grace and works. They essentially argued, these scholars, that Paul was trying to show how Jesus Christ broke down CULTURAL BARRIERS especially between Jew and gentile and that inclusion in the new church was a salvation message for ALL and that the doing of good works, as was typical in early Judaism was not necessary to salvation. In short, THE NEW PERSPECTIVE interpretation seeks to make Paul’s message of oneness and inclusion the whole Christian Gospel, equal components of grace and works. The so called sinner is justified (salvation) simply by being included in the new church. This new theological perspective began to gain rapid acceptance among a significant number of divinity faculty and seminarians in the 1990s and the early 2000s.
But then came the inevitable push back. Those who deeply believed in the traditional Protestant definition of salvation (grace – faith – gift – not works) began to champion once again the clear theology of Paul with regard to salvation:
NOT OF WORKS,
so that no man or woman could boast or brag. They resisted the tendencies of young Protestant Ministers who would rather preach inclusion and breaking barriers than dare to challenge the individual with the concept of sin. It was pointless, they pointed out, to try to erase sin by a regimen of good works. In fact, Paul said elsewhere that all of our righteousness, all of our good works is as:
in the sight of God. All such good works, they pointed out with strong scriptural backup, were the fruits of the spirit, the natural reactions of a spirit – born man or a woman who wished to work out the wonderful salvation by grace and gift by giving back, by doing. All such good works were the result of salvation and not as a means of attaining it.
And the battle goes on. Even as culture, politics and society at large turn more permissive, materialistic, nontraditional and radical and progressive, so the same thinking occurs in the church, Protestant and Catholic. The times demand change, and often radical change not only in political thinking, but religious as well. The Apostle Paul warned over and again about those who would pervert the Gospel, preach it their way and by their interpretation, leading many astray. You could say that Paul was warning against this new progressive, social justice known as WOKEISM, continually reminding us that there is no other way, none whatsoever for salvation other than by grace and by the gift of God through Jesus Christ.
Listen to those words and Ephesians again my fellow Christians:
FOR BY GRACE ARE YOU SAVED THROUGH FAITH
AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES
IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD
NOT OF WORKS
LEST ANY MAN OR WOMAN SHOULD BOAST
The larger concept is the grace of God at work, the unmerited, undeserving favor of God. Salvation, should you choose to claim it, comes to you through faith and faith alone, NOT WORKS. Salvation is a GIFT of God, free, unmerited, unworked for. And therefore, clearly as Paul states, nothing about salvation is of works. It is:
NOT OF WORKS
so that you cannot boast or brag or claim any part in your salvation. That seems absolutely clear to me, does it not to you? So, therefore I urge you to retain the traditional definition and understanding of salvation and claim this incredible gift of God in Jesus Christ through faith and faith alone. And then, let the natural fruits of that salvation, the new passion, desire and energy to serve THE LORD take over and motivate your life to do the good works which flow naturally from that salvation.
Hear the words of one of the great preachers of our day, one who believes deeply in the words and theology of the Apostle Paul, ALISTAIR BEGG who said the following:
Our world is full of “good people who do their best who believe they will be rewarded in eternity for their good works in our world.”
Not so says Alistair Begg and here his answer to that:
THE REALITY IS SALVATION BY GRACE ALONE, THROUGH FAITH ALONE, IN CHRIST ALONE!
It is our prayer that you may experience this overwhelming grace of God which offers you salvation through Jesus Christ attained by faith and by faith alone, knowing that there is nothing you can do to attain it, this precious gift in Jesus Christ and that salvation is not achieved by any works you may do, none at all. This eternal gift is there for the taking. Take it in faith and claim that gift, the most important thing you can do in this life.