The Most Common Mathematical Error in the World
May 12, 2014 1874
I remember, as a teenager, trying to understand salvation in terms of this formula:
Salvation = X + Y
where X = My Perfection and Y = The Righteousness of Christ.
I remember thinking how wonderful it was that Christ made up the difference between my character and His own! I was so excited I remember sharing this great discovery in a youth group!
Now I look back and realise how absolutely wrong I was! ([tippy title=”Rom 3:22; 11:6″ class=”myclass” showheader=”true” href=”http://www.biblestudytools.com/tniv/romans/passage.aspx?q=romans+3:22;romans+11:6″ width=”auto” height=”auto”]22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,
6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.[/tippy]; Eph 2:8–9). It’s the most common mathematical error in the world!
The truth about the gospel was one of the hardest lessons I have ever had to learn. And I am still learning it every day, that…
Salvation = Y + 0
(where Y = the righteousness of Christ, where 0 is the value of anything I have ever done…). In other words,
The Righteousness of Christ + Nothing
My performance, deeds, character, past, or present, doesn’t even make it into the formula – never, ever!
The truth is, I was never much good at maths. I really should trust God on this most important equation of all. But no matter how good you are at maths, the simple equation Salvation = Y + 0 is the hardest one of all to learn.
Here’s why. Because we say the words, sing the hymns, but because of our religious traditions and authorities, because of people we respect, and even just because of our social expectations and culture – all of these things conspire together to tell us that Salvation = X + Y. Surely there is something you must do? Surely your character must count for something?
But those weren’t the greatest reasons why the truth about the gospel was so hard to learn.
The greatest obstacle that any of us will always have to understanding the truth about the gospel is not from outside us, but from inside us. For the lesson we must learn is not intellectual, but experiential. Because our fallen sinful natures will rage against the beauty and simplicity of the gospel. They will tell us that it cannot be so simple, that we can and must contribute to our salvation, and that there must be a part of our characters that is good enough to be included in the salvation formula. They will even try to formulate them into statements of doctrine that sound good but are based on the wrong formula!
Don’t listen to these powerful voices. They are the voices of sin within.
This has been my greatest and constant battle. I have had to understand the depths of my sinfulness so that I may come to a total dependence on Christ.
When you have accepted Christ by faith, His Spirit will surely come into your life and bless it with the fruit of the Spirit and healing and power and service for the kingdom of God. When you have accepted Christ by faith you are called to a life of obedience and sanctification. But these things are not the reason for your salvation. They’re just not part of the formula!
And the formula for my salvation will always be:
Salvation = Y + 0
Salvation = The Righteousness of Christ + Nothing
And on that, I will for ever take my stand.
All the glory will be to Jesus Christ alone, and I will always be unworthy.