Tobit- Unrighteousness Masquerading as Righteousness

Tobit 12:1-10

Despite the fact that God has not been described as working through the entire narrative, Raphael privately instructs Tobit and Tobias to praise God for Him many works. In this, the archangel attributes Tobias’ mystic workings to God who hates mysticism (see notes on 8:1-3). Raphael goes on to prescribe how Tobit and Tobias must continue to labor and work instead of resting in God’s work. The incoherent worldview presented by Raphael, here, is the sort of incoherent worldview presented in the world and in many churches today—praise God for His works, but you are actually the one who must be working; praise God for making you righteous, but you must be the one to act righteously; God saves you by grace, but you must somehow merit that grace. It’s a self-defeating worldview. No wonder people have exalted themselves in the church and reduced the teaching to either moralism or self-empowerment.

According to Tobit, Tobit, Tobias, Raphael, and God are all living in sin against God’s perfect law. The author(s) calls that righteousness. This is about as much sense as most human religion makes. Almsgiving doesn’t really save from death; God does (Ephesians 2:8-9). Doing good things doesn’t really bring lasting happiness; Christ alone works out our obedience and joy (John 15:1-11). Almsgiving does not really purge away sin; the Holy Spirit alone sanctifies God’s people (1 John). Giving alms will not give a person a full life; Christ alone gives life more abundantly (John 10:10). Our sins do not condemn us; Christ alone was a propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2) and there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). Again, we see that on every count, Tobit’s theology is contrary to Scripture.

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