It is impressed upon the christian that he and she are no good, that the deeds of any person is seen as filthy rags before God. It is a necessary building block in the structure of the necessity of sacrifice, payment for sins. As Paul said in Galatians, if righteousness could come from obeying what God says (deeds of the law), if all our deeds were not filthy, Jesus would have died for nothing (Galatians 2:21).
What is the right response to this claim?
God told Cain as very early in human history that, although sin desires Cain, Cain can rule over it (Genesis 4:7). God said through Moses that obeying the law would be righteousness for Israel (Deuteronomy 6:25), that he gave Israel a choice of good and evil, and that good and life was accessible and possible by keeping God’s way of doing right (Deuteronomy 30). God showed Ezekiel that a person changing his ways to do good merits forgiveness and life (Ezekiel 18).
Again and again and again, the Jewish Bible says that the acts of a person is what is needed and sufficient. Again and again, the God who made humanity reinforces the idea that man is not helpless. God has given man the ability to come closer to him by doing what he says.
Our acts only become filthy when we reject God. Our goodness is like rags when they are wicked acts. But God tells us what is required and it is not the doctrine of Paul. God does not say that the ONLY or even the best way to come approach him is with blood. He never even says that a perfect blood sacrifice is what he wants.
How shall I approach God, to bow to the God of heaven? Shall I approach him with ascent offerings, with calves a year old? Does God find pleasure in thousands of rams, with a multitude of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my womb for the sin of my soul? It has been shown to you, oh man, what is good and what God requires of you …”
That’s Micah 6:6-8a. It’s what God is saying to any man. Does God require the death of God, or the death of a perfect man? Does Micah preach that a man can do nothing to approach God because man is but a sinner and God is so holy he can’t even look at sin? Does he preach the “altogether dirty” doctrine?
It’s been shown to you, O man, what is good and what God asks of you, if only to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
The simplicity of the Jewish Bible, the direct message of the prophets show Paul to be the deceiver he is.
Yet even up until today, people are repeatedly told what contradicts God’s foundational revelation and accept it as if God has said it. What a contemptuous doctrine Paul promulgated, one of his many sins against God!