Why I'm No Longer a Oneness Pentecostal: Part Seven

by E.L. Anglin

Are you perfect? By that I mean are you in perfect obedience to every command in the Bible? If so, congratulations. You're the first. If not, how do you expect to make it to heaven?

Even the harshest Apostolic legalist eventually admits that the best human efforts fall short of God's standard. The difference between Apostolic legalists and other Christians is timing.

The legalist exhausts herself in the attempt to live perfectly. At some point, perhaps on a deathbed, she reaches the end of her strength. She looks back over her life and remembers all of her sin. Her quest for personal perfection has failed. At that point she cries out to God for grace and mercy.

The non-legalist appeals to God's grace all throughout life. She daily recognizes her imperfections. She realizes the bar is too high to reach on her own. She confesses those sins to God and rests in His mercy. She faces eternity with no fear.

The legalist sees Christianity as work toward a reward, the non-legalist sees Christianity as the reward. Why wait til the end of life to realize salvation is only by God's amazing grace? Why do we exhaust ourselves trying to achieve perfect obedience?

According to John it's impossible.

"If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth." 1 John 1:8 NLT

According to Paul it's impossible.

"No one is righteous-
not even one." Romans 3:10 NLT

"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." Romans 3:23 NLT

God is perfect, we are not.

I am no longer Oneness Pentecostal because I've learned that a lack of jewelry won't save me, neither will the lack of a television. I've learned that even if I never attend a sporting event or movie I still need grace. Abstinence from those things isn't biblically mandated. Obedience to those rules, or any others, won't make me perfect.

Every Apostolic standard, whether it's mandated by a church, pastor or self, falls short of God's standard. That's because humans cannot produce spiritual perfection. Perfection is imputed, or granted, by God through faith in the work of Jesus on the cross.

"But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are." Romans 3:21-22 NLT

So to those who state that one must obey all of the Bible to be saved I ask, have you? Are you confident you're perfect?

If not, you have two choices...work harder, or ask for grace.

Read part eight here.


This writing is the copyright of E.L. Anglin and is reprinted on this site by permission. View all of his available articles here.


Page added February 10, 2015

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