"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « Predestination destroys legalism | Main | Why do we sing so much about the cross of Christ? »

    The Mountain of God

    In broad terms, one could summarize every religion under the sun (except one) as God being at the summit of the mountain, with man languishing at the bottom. Yet by means of following the tenets of the faith man seeks to climb the mountain to one day meet God, face to face.

    Of course, the requirements differ from one religion to the next, but each action man takes, allows him to ascend further and further up the mountain.

    The one exception to all this in our world is the Christian gospel, where God, on top of the mountain, by His own love initiative comes down to the valley below (in the Incarnation) and finds only dead corpses there, breathes the breath of life into many of these God hating rebels, giving them new hearts that would see and bask in His beauty, and He carries each one of them on His shoulders, safely up to the top of the mountain, that they may enjoy His vast riches for ever.

    There are more details to be sure, not the least of which is the sinless life of the Son of God and His substitutionary death for sinners on the cross, as well as His triumphal resurrection. These gospel facts are center stage in the history of redemption. However, the basic analogy holds true.

    The religions of the world tell their advocates that if they will adhere strictly to the tenets, they can climb the mountain of God. Christianity says, we could never make it up there, nor would we even wish to do so, for by nature, we hate the God on top of the mountain. Therefore, God came down, and by His own power, opened up our eyes and brought life out of death and raised us up to be with Him.

    Here then we see the two basic types of religion in our world today; the religion of ascension (man climbing up) vs. the Gospel of descension (God climbed down); a religion of do, do, do vs. the Gospel of done, done, done!

    - JS

    Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

    Posted by John Samson on November 12, 2012 11:12 AM


    Dear John:

    This is a superb, excellent short Gospel presentation! Thank you. Has all the key ideas in it, and the critical concept of : "It is finished." (John 19:30), being related in the metaphor of mountain climbing, such as what Moses did 3500 years ago. The metaphor as you have described it gives food for thought...

    But I had thought your post this week was to be about the literal Mount of God (prob. Jabal Al Loz, 8461 feet, in Saudia Arabia)... An interesting topic in itself (!) But your post proved more noteworthy. Only with His help can we make it to the mountain top, being Redemption (a return to God).

    To redeem something is a taking back of what was lost, but at a price. And that price was very great. This is why Redemption focuses on the Lord, and his work, rather than us, and our efforts to obey the law.

    - John G. Lewis

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