Having grown up in the South, a particular section of Mohler's post resonated with me. He mentions how the novelist Ferrol Sams described the deeply-ingrained tradition of being "raised right.":
"As he explained, the child who is 'raised right' pleases his parents and other adults by adhering to moral conventions and social etiquette. A young person who is 'raised right' emerges as an adult who obeys the laws, respects his neighbors, gives at least lip service to religious expectations, and stays away from scandal. The point is clear -- this is what parents expect, the culture affirms, and many churches celebrate. But our communities are filled with people who have been 'raised right' but are headed for hell."This is by no means an indictment on my parents or any other set of parents necessarily. It is the sin nature in parent and child that makes us hard-wired to believe that following rules makes us righteous. And living in the South, with a "church on every corner", makes it very easy to continue to believe right behavior equals right standing with God.
Over the last few months, God has pointed out some major ways that I have embraced behaviorism without even knowing it. I am thankful that He is continuing the work that He promised to complete in me, by stripping me of all my self-made righteousness, and causing me to cling only to the righteousness of Christ.
Mohler's conclusion sums it up well:
"We are justified by faith alone, saved by grace alone, and redeemed from our sin by Christ alone. Moralism produces sinners who are (potentially) better behaved. The Gospel of Christ transforms sinners into the adopted sons and daughters of God.
The Church must never evade, accommodate, revise, or hide the law of God. Indeed, it is the Law that shows us our sin and makes clear our inadequacy and our total lack of righteousness. The Law cannot impart life but, as Paul insists, it 'has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.' [Gal. 3:24]
The deadly danger of moralism has been a constant temptation to the church and an ever-convenient substitute for the Gospel. Clearly, millions of our neighbors believe that moralism is our message. Nothing less than the boldest preaching of the Gospel will suffice to correct this impression and to lead sinners to salvation in Christ.
Hell will be highly populated with those who were 'raised right.' The citizens of heaven will be those who, by the sheer grace and mercy of God, are there solely because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Moralism is not the gospel."