It is a question you ask whether consciously or subconsciously. In fact, this question may even be as old as Eden itself. The question is this, “How is what I do connected to who I am?”
The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, said famously, “The doing makes the doer.” For example, the one who does good to others is, likewise, said to be a good person. It’s not terribly complicated. What I do constitutes who I am.
To the reader, this statement will appear painfully intuitive. Of course! What you do determines the kind of person you are! How could it be any other way?! Besides, everything around us confirms this to be true. Someone who is trained to nurse others is called a nurse. Someone who spends their time researching is a researcher. Someone who styles hair is a hairstylist. Someone who murders is a murderer. By all accounts, what you do is who you are, at least for all practical purposes. And so it is that society praises the “self-made man” and the “self-made woman.”
To be honest, the world becomes almost unintelligible to us unless one embraces this framework. However, I wouldn’t worry too much about that happening to you. Whether through the osmosis of growing up in this world, or through conscious decision, we have all embraced this framework to our core. You and I understand the world perfectly. It is the gospel that confuses us. For, in the gospel, we have heard a message so subversive, so revolutionary, that it threatens every human paradigm that tells me who I am.
The gospel marches right into the palace of human achievement and openly defies Aristotle’s truism. Upon his lofty throne “THE DOING MAKES THE DOER” stands aghast that this indignant Jew would threaten his unchallenged rule over humanity. No man, no woman, no ideology, no ethical system, no social structure, and certainly no religion had been so bold! The Jewish man turned his back on “THE DOING MAKES THE DOER”, that tyrant of humankind, and moved to make his exit. As he did, the servants of “THE DOING MAKES THE DOER” scoffed at this indignant Jew, and they praised the achievements represented by the king’s beautiful palace. The Jewish man turned to the nearest scoffer and spoke definitively, “Truly, I tell you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus we are simultaneously greeted with God’s rejection and acceptance of the world as we know it. A God who is both tight-fisted and open handed. A 20th century theology named Karl Barth wrote that in the wake of Christ’s coming (culminating in his resurrection), humanity is met by a moment of crisis that challenges our sense of identity at the deepest level. Jesus is the great crisis facing mankind. For, said Barth, in Jesus, God has definitively sounded forth his “No!” and his “Yes!”
To all of my Tower’s of Babel through which I seek to close the distance between me and God, to all of my bridges to God’s presence, to all of my attempts at self-made righteousness, to all of these and more, in the person of Jesus Christ, God has thundered his resounding, “No!!” (“THE DOING MAKES THE DOER” cringes on his throne.) However, to every moment from the cries of the manger to the cries of the cross, to every act of Christ’s love, justice, righteousness, and total obedience, God declares over his Son Jesus, “Yes!!”
Apart from Jesus, we, and all our “doing”, stand under God’s crushing “No!” And we have no hope to ever hear God’s “Yes!”, his affirmation over us, unless we stand by faith in Jesus Christ, in whose death and resurrection the righteousness of God is most pronounced.
The law of God calls us live justly, or righteously. Our sin has disqualified us from God’s righteousness. We have all done unrighteous acts, therefore, we are all unrighteous people. Once again, “THE DOING MAKES THE DOER” tightens his grip upon us. It appears inescapable. Once again, our identity is defined by what we have done. We have all been unjust, therefore, we are unjust people. But, it is precisely here that the gospel finds the unjust man, woman, or child who looks to Jesus with eyes of faith and that man, woman, or child is thereby justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. To be justified is to be declared just, or righteous. The accused party is justified in a court of law only if they are proven to have acted justly. However, in Christ Jesus we receive the righteousness of Christ as a gift of God’s grace through faith in the saving work of Jesus.
Your actions, or deeds, or in the Bible’s terms, your works, can never justify you before God. In the gospel, the doing does not make the doer. Through faith alone, you are that which you have not done. What you are is founded on the bases of what Jesus has done on your behalf. Through faith in him, what you are is righteous, despite what evil you have done in this life.
Soli Deo gloria! Glory to God alone!
I leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul, a man who died for what he believed in (around 67 A.D.). He wrote these words about justification apart from good works which are required by God’s just Law.
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
“Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”
-Found in Paul’s letter to the Christians in the city of Rome written around 57 A.D.
to worship and bear witness to Christ as we allow the gospel to speak to every area of life.
We meet at 7pm at the Hughes' house every other Tuesday night. Dates for upcoming meetings: Oct. 14th & 28th, Nov. 11th & 25th
2761 Altadena Lake Dr. B'ham, Alabama 35243
For more info call Gabriel: 205-223-7426 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Come join us at the Mondy's house at 6:30 every other Tuesday night. Dates for upcoming meetings: Oct. 14th & 28th, Nov. 11th & 25th
Call or Text Daniel @ 205-447-5540
116 Edgemont Dr. Homewood, Alabama 35209
|PHONE:||205 447 5540|
|ADDRESS:||2250 Blue Ridge Blvd Hoover, Alabama|
We believe that a Statement of Faith should be more intent on fostering unity among God's people than about erecting doctrinal walls among believers. Hope Culture Church strives to be a safe place for various streams of Christ-followers to unite in love for God, the church, and the world. Doctrinal differences should be shared (and listened to!) with a spirit of love and respect. We should celebrate what unites us in Christ as holding far greater importance than lesser doctrinal differences. In Christ Jesus, we always have much more in common than we could ever comprehend. In fact, eternity will be an ongoing discovery for us all of how much we have in common through the victory of the gospel.
For this reason, we offer, as our Statement of Faith, an ancient document written by Christians many hundreds of years ago that is filled with gospel truth called the Nicene Creed. If you ascribe to this, then you believe what we believe, and are fellow partakers in the same inheritance common to all the saints of God.
NICENE CREED (A.D. 325)
We believe in one God,
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
he suffered death and was buried.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
We grabbed these phrases from Jeff Vanderstelt and the guys over at Soma. For information and resources check them out at www.wearesoma.com
Here, at Hope Culture Church, we have taken this language of "life on life, life in community, and life on mission," and adapted our own definitions of how we understand this within the life of our church. We seek to live lives that are Christ-centered, gospel-shaped, God-glorifying, and grace-motivated. The organic approach to Christian life expressed below is the primary means by which we hope to flesh-out our church mission statement: “to worship and bear witness to Christ as we allow the gospel to speak to every area of life.”
Authentic, Christ-centered, relationships characterized by the desire to be a blessing.
Gospel-shaped, God-glorifying, community defined by a culture of love for God, the church, and the world.
grace-motivated living that is intent on bringing the good news of Jesus, in both word and deed, to the poor and the lost.
It is our conviction that these components of life on life, life in community, and life on mission, are vital elements of biblical church life. It is also our belief that these components of Christian living are best nurtured in home fellowships. These we call Discipleship Groups.
The name of these groups is intentional. One may be a son, servant, sheep, evangelist, intercessor, and a great deal many other things in the kingdom of God. We self-identify with those kingdom specialties to which we find ourselves most drawn. It is only right that we do so, as we respond to God’s specific call on us as individuals. However, the primal, and universal, call of the believer is to become a follower and a learner of Jesus, also known as a “disciple”. A disciple’s highest goal is to say and do everything that his Rabbi (teacher) says and does. So, when it comes to being a disciple of Jesus Christ, we are talking about taking on an identity that seeks to conform to the image of Jesus in every way. A true disciple is never content to specialize in one area of his Rabbi’s teachings.
For example: Did Jesus heal the sick? I will seek to do the same. Did Jesus teach that those who will save their life must lose it? As scary as this sounds, I say, “Yes Lord.” Did Jesus love the poor in both word and deed? “Father, make me like your son.”
We do not judge progress by quick results, but by the earnest desire and steps taken to look more like Jesus in every area of our lives. To, more and more, live into our identity as a disciple of Christ. Jesus said, “Follow me” and again, “learn from me.” It is easy to follow Jesus to the places you like to go with him. It is easy to learn from Jesus the messages that most resonate with you. But the Spirit is asking, “Will you follow Jesus to that place? Yep, that place you don’t like to go to." "Will you learn from this teaching of Christ, the one you have held at arm’s length until now?” Simply put, “Will you be a disciple?”