Q. Your explanations on the difference between Union and Fellowship have been very helpful to me in quelling the fears about a salvation that can seem so tenuous when it is not properly understood. I was just about to breath a big sigh of OSAS relief until I re-read the “cutting off the hand that causes you to sin” teaching in Matt. 5:29-30. Jesus seems to be saying that we must excise sin in our lives with drastic measures or there is a danger that we could go to hell. Do we just content ourselves with all the clear passages of OSAS and write this off as an unclear teaching? Do we assume that Jesus is saying something other than that sin will cause us to go to hell if we don’t take measures to quash it?
A. Stop and think about it. Can your right hand really cause you to sin? And will you stop sinning if you cut it off? Or how about your right eye? A few verses earlier Jesus said thinking about sinning is as bad as doing it. Therefore, even a blind quadruple amputee could not be guaranteed to stop sinning.
From Matt. 5:17-48 the Lord was preaching on the need for a Savior because it’s impossible for man to achieve the level of righteousness the Law requires. We would have to be perfect, as our father in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48). And not just for a little while, but for an entire lifetime, without a single lapse.
Since we can’t do that we have to have the righteousness of God imputed to us by faith. This is what the Lord made possible for us on the cross.
Romans 3:21-24 says,
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.