Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Grace Q & A: Is universal salvation and inclusion the true Gospel of Grace?

17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 NKJV

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 NASB

 We've been in an extended study of the Gospel of Grace, the Good News of Jesus Christ. We've been getting back to the basics of the Gospel. We've been using a Q & A format, and so far we've seen that under Grace we are no longer under condemnation. We've seen that Grace is not a false message

 Today, I sensed the leading to address an area of the Grace Gospel that those just hearing the truth need to have established in their heart. When we hear the true Gospel of Grace, after having the Gospel shrouded from us by traditional religion, perfect peace and His amazing love cascades over us and our eyes are open to the sincere goodness and love of our Father. With our eyes open to the truth, we begin to see where religion misled us.

 With this Grace awakening, we can then begin to question everything we've ever been taught. It is ok to ask questions. It's ok to ensure what you're hearing is the real and not some tradition of men. However, what we use to discern what is true or false is key. 

 If we are using the words of social media "poets" or online video makers as the source of truth or error then we are making a stand on a faulty ground. In order to distinguish truth from error, to discern the real from the religious, we must use the infallible source of God's Word. God's Word is the only genuine source of truth.

 With this foundation laid, I felt impressed to ask and answer the question what about universal salvation or inclusion concepts? Is the Gospel exclusionary? Is the true Grace Gospel one that proclaims that all humanity is saved or will be saved ultimately?

 As I have said, when we hear the truth, the temptation comes to disregard each and everything we've ever been taught. That is incorrect. What we must do is filter what we've been taught through the lens of the New Covenant and God's Grace. 

 Now let's address some of these controversies. Let's ask the hard questions. Let's allow the New Covenant to answer all questions and concerns we may be having about life and eternity.

Is all humanity the children of God?

 This is the subtle lie the enemy seeks to mislead and trip up those who hear the Good News. If this news is so good, surely it means that all are partakers of this goodness regardless of their willingness right? If God is love, how could there be someone who is not His? How could God, who is a Father, not include all humanity as His children?

 The truth is because God is supreme love, there are those who are not His. Is that exclusive? Is God saying there are some welcome and those who aren't? If so what are the criteria for being cast aside? 

 There isn't anyone who ever existed who desired to belong to the Family of God and God said: "No. you're not welcome." True love is not an invasion of the will. Think of this. Say you had a daughter, and the richest man on earth, who was handsome and rugged and lived in a twenty-room mansion overlooking the ocean decided it would be best for her to marry him and partake of his kindness and goodness and riches. What if he just came and took her with him and disregarding her feelings or will, forced her to marry him? Would that be genuine love? Would that be for her best? No, for that was an invasion of her will. 

 The truth is it's not about a mythical exclusion. It's about love honoring the person's free will. God's love doesn't overtake you and force you to become a son or daughter. 

 See how John details this sonship, here. See how he details it here. In the Word of God, we see John describes a sonship because of belief in Christ. John distinguished the children of God and those of the World. Paul the Apostle of Grace also details this truth;

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26 NASB 

 Is all humanity the children of God? No, only those who've put their faith in Christ are now the children of God. Sonship is by faith not by natural birth. Again this isn't an exclusion, that's a myth. An open invite to all has been given. If one ignores or rejects the invite that's a refusal on their part, not God's. God isn't overriding anyone's will. 

 Because of the Cross are there no longer people who are lost, sinners?

   Here is yet another subtle error that many seem to fall for. Because we believe the Cross worked, surely it means all are partakers. Sadly, that isn't the case. The invitation to partake of the Finished Work has been made available to whosoever will receive. However, that doesn't mean all have automatically received.

 The truth is the social media "poets" proclaiming this error are in reality simply repackaging the lie of universalism and inclusionism without using the labels. They may twist the truth that all of humanity's sin was paid for at the Cross to mean all, therefore, are saved or will be saved. Or that all humanity was included and are therefore righteous and no one is seen as a sinner, a person separated by their sin and unbelief. 

 Paul addressed these errors clearly in his Epistles. He speaks of those in Christ before he was. If people were in Christ before he was that means being in Christ isn't automatic. The truth is the Cross paid for the sins of all mankind but that benefit must be received by faith. Paul speaks of when we were included.
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:13 NIV

 This should settle the issue. We were not automatically included in redemption until we partook of the payment by faith in Christ. That's good news. We don't want a bully for a Father who declares He knows what's best for you and makes the decisions for you.

 So is all humanity saved? Is there no such thing any longer as a lost sinner? Does the Finished Work mean all are spiritually alive in Christ? No, that is false. That's why we proclaim this Good News to all giving them the chance to receive new life. 

12 He who has the Son [by accepting Him as Lord and Savior] has the life [that is eternal]; he who does not have the Son of God [by personal faith] does not have the life. 1 John 5:12 AMP

 John the Apostle of love makes it pretty clear. How can we argue this point? Unless we purposefully seek to mislead and deter people's faith this Scripture puts to rest all these falsehoods such as universalism and inclusionism. This passage reveals there are those in Christ and those outside of redemption. Those who possess life and those who choose not to. The Good News is salvation is made available to any who desires to receive new life.

What about Hell? Is there no real devil?

 The denial of eternal separation in Hell is nothing new. This idea is making a comeback along with the liberal theology that satan is not a real entity. We could spend an entire blog post about Hell. I don't like to focus on the bad news though. 

 The truth is Hell is a real place but it was not made for any man. Hell was made for the devil and his angels. It has never been God's will for any human to end there. So why does He send people there, you may ask? The truth is He doesn't.

 The lost soul has to leap over the obstacle of the Cross. They must sidestep the amazing Grace of God. They have to ignore the Good News Gospel. They have to run to and fro to resist the drawing of God's Spirit offering them freedom and life. They have to jump feet first into eternity apart from Christ. God has made the way for all to simply receive.

 The idea that there is no devil or any more battles spiritually because of Grace is clear error. All you need to do is live one day on this planet to see there is such a thing as spiritual warfare. The truth is though, we don't fight or strive for victory but stand triumphant, fighting from victory. In truth, we are simply enforcing the enemy's defeat by faith in the Finished Work. 

 In summation, relinquish the traditions of religious men, but don't then embrace the lies of the spirit of error. Stay in the center, stay with the truth. The great balancer is God's Word. When we abide in the truth, we will experience growth in Grace and walk in His triumphant victory.
 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Grace Q & A: What about the local Church?

17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 NKJV

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 NASB

We've been in an extended study of the Good News Grace Gospel of Jesus Christ. We're getting back to the basics of Grace. Utilizing a question and answer format. So far we've seen under Grace, there is no condemnation. We've answered is God always pleased with us? Does He require anything of us? Today, I feel impressed to address an issue that affects many under Grace. What about the local church?

 Has the local church been abolished under Grace? Do we no longer need Pastors and Teachers or Evangelists? Are these ministry gifts obsolete? Is church attendance and involvement somehow legalistic? What about the painful hurts and burdensome demands religion has perpetrated on the Body of Christ?

 First, let's address the most pressing issue. The pain caused by religion. Church hurts, are not just people being hyper-sensitive. There are real hurts and pains people have suffered through controlling leadership and tradition ruled regulations. I am certain there are times we've all at one point allowed our emotions to rule a situation and made something out of nothing like someone didn't shake our hand right away. Though that is true, it doesn't discount the real pain religion has caused.

Healing in the Finished Work, healing for our hurts

  We who have received this beautiful message of grace believe wholly that Jesus finished the work on the cross. He completely purchased our healing. Our complete and total healing. Any hurts we have received through the leadership of a particular church He has paid the price for. Jesus heals the wounds. He makes all things new. 

 Though the hurt is real and often cuts deep in our hearts, Jesus and His great Grace are stronger than any wound from religion. Don't give the enemy more credibility, God's healing is more powerful than any hurt religion can bring. When we know we are accepted by God and always loved and pleasing to Him what can religion do to you? 

 Think of it, man sinned, man fell. God, in essence, was the offended party if you will. So who must be pleased with the remedy? The offended or the offenders? Obviously, the one offended. God made a way, He sent His Son, He has declared He is satisfied with the Finished Work. Why are we then worried, overly concerned, and anxious about pleasing religion? About honoring traditional rules? Tradition puts demands on the Church that have nothing to do with God's Word. Stay with God's clear Word for our standard of living and disregard the tradition of men.

The Good News is through His healing Grace we can move on triumphantly, instead of allowing self-pity, bitterness, or angry rebellion to dominate our thinking and motives. The real truth is the institution of the local church isn't the problem. It's the religious, law-minded, controlling leadership and tradition-bound rules and regulations, that is the issue. We don't have to neglect church altogether. We just need not align ourselves with insecure leadership. Now allow me to elaborate on why the local church is a gift from God.

1.) Love and Unity
We don't attend church weekly just to get something out of it. Church gives us an opportunity to express our love to other believers. 

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1 KJV

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10 NKJV

He joins and holds together the whole body with its ligaments providing the support needed so each part works to its proper design to form a healthy, growing, and mature body that builds itself up in love.  Ephesians 4:16

 Being a part of a church allows us to abide in unity with each other. There we can build each other up in love. Belonging to a local church affords us the opportunity to be a blessing to our fellow believers. Sure you can love others in your living room. You can be a blessing anywhere. So why not leave your four walls and bring your love to a group of believers who have set aside time each week to worship Jesus? It isn't performance or works to bring your love to others in a corporate gathering. 

2.) Ministry of the Holy Ghost and His gifts.
Being joined to a local church brings about a solid foundation where we can be encouraged through the gifts and ministry of the Spirit. It offers us opportunities to grow in exercising and flowing in these gifts ourselves. It allows us to encourage other believers.

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 1 Corinthians 14:1-4 KJV

Belonging to a local church allows for more of the corporate anointing to flow and bring about these gifts more and more. Again we can learn to flow more in these gifts and therefore build up others. 

3.) Opportunity to bring your supply of the Spirit
For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ Philippians 1:19 NKJV

How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification 1 Corinthians 14:26 NKJV

Belonging to a local church offers us the chance to bring our supply to the Body of Christ. Never mind what religion, or friends our family have spoken over you, you have been given gifts by your Father in Heaven, you have a supply to bring. When we come together we can share insights, prayers, victories with others. We are corporately built up. We can help the hurting and downtrodden. Instead of keeping our gifts and insights to ourselves we can give to others.

4.) Belonging to a local Church provides fellowship for the Saints
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV

Belonging to a local Body of believers provides us with the essential fellowship we all need as Christians. Contrary to popular opinions, Christians aren't "lone wolves" or "mavericks". We all need one another. Let me touch on one subject that is of great importance.

Concerning fellowship with whom exactly do we fellowship within our Church? Do we only have Caucasians in our midsts? Or do we only have Hispanics among us? Or do we only have African Americans in our house of worship? Brethren this ought not to be so! We ALL need each other. There is no "white" church or "black" church. There is only ONE blood-bought Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Racism and identity politics is the way of the World. Not so for the believers in Christ Jesus! We are ALL brothers and sisters in Christ. Belonging to a local church allows us to fellowship across cultural lines if you will.

Keeping ourselves out of a church and because of bitterness or hurts creating "house" churches may not give us the opportunity to interact will all the Body. I refuse to go to a church that is only one "color" and others aren't welcome. I want to fellowship with ALL my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. You know each culture has something worthwhile to bring to the house of worship. While I'm on this subject let me just go all the way. This brotherhood and fellowship we have through Christ means there is no such thing as a "mixed" marriage. The Biblical definition of a mixed marriage is when a believer marries an unbeliever. 

 There is only one true color for Christians. It is red. Blood red! The blood of Jesus, amen! Let me make this as clear as I can. All cultures and "colors" are included in the Family of God if they have received Jesus as Lord. Therefore, I love all my brethren in Christ regardless of their skin color. If you're from Africa, or Russia, or China, or even Saudi Arabia and have received the Lord you are my family. I love you in Jesus Christ. The Cross is the great equalizer. We all need a Savior, so there is no superior ethnic group, we all were lost apart from Faith in Christ.

5.) The local church offers us a place to exhort one another
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25 NKJV

Do you know the definition of exhorting? It means to comfort. It means to strengthen. It means to encourage. It also means to summon others to one's side. This is proof enough why we need the local church. We need each other! Again, church membership is not just so we can get something out of it. It is an opportunity for us to encourage and build up our fellow believer. We can be used by the Lord to stir up our fellow believers. What a great blessing to be a blessing!
6.) The gift of the five-fold ministry

God gave the Body of Christ a gift package. We haven't always received this gift package. Some have abused their gift that is sadly true. It doesn't negate the truth that a gift package has been given.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV

 God gave these ministry gifts to the Church to build up the Church, to equip the Church. God raises up leadership to help us reach this World. There are some under Grace, who have claimed that these gifts are not for us today, especially the gift of the Pastor, that there never was any place for ministry gifts in the New Covenant because of the Finished Work.

 God gave us the gift of the Pastor in the New Covenant. How can some deduct because of grace that the Pastor is no longer needed? The office or gift of Pastor is a New Covenant gift. How can one come to the conclusion it is a legalistic office or Old Covenant mindset? Sadly this is the apex of rebellious thinking. 

 Yes, many leaders have abused their position. That doesn't diminish the truth that there are sincere leaders in the Body of Christ. Let me also say this. It is not religious bondage or control to honor a Pastor or Teacher. I personally honor Pastor Joseph Prince because of the revelation of grace God has given him to share with the Body of Christ. The only time honor is out of order is when we must dishonor ourselves to honor a minister. When we create an atmosphere where the minister is the only one worthy of honor. We don't place anyone on a pedestal, or a status of "celebrity". A minister isn't "better" than anyone if you will. He does, however, have a gift from God for the Body of Christ, and we can gladly receive it. Think of it, if God gave us the office of Pastor then this is proof enough we need the local church.

7. Instruction of the Word of God.
Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word. Acts 6:4 NLT

And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. 2 Timothy 2:9 NLT

 Finally, belonging to a local church affords us the opportunity to hear the instruction of the Word on a regular basis. This can bring much contention and disagreement because some will say I can find that on the internet or by buying a teaching message from a minister. That is true. However, being involved in a local gathering affords us to hear a right now word from one of God's ministry gifts.

 Again, we as Christians we are not lone wolves or mavericks. We aren't a one-man Jesus show. We need each other. We need the fellowship of the brethren. Paul saw the need for the preached Word.
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? Romans 10:14 NKJV

 Hearing the Word preached has great benefit to us. It inspires us, it informs us and instructs us in the love and truth of God. Faith comes by hearing God's Word. Isolating yourself from others is never profitable and allows the enemy the opportunity to bring deception to derail your spiritual life, I didn't say cause you to lose salvation, we are secure in Grace.

 In summation, it's clear we need the local church. Grace revelation doesn't do away with the local church. By His Grace, let go of all the hurts and misdeeds of others against you. Let the peace of God flow within you. Let His healing remove all shame and hurts from poor leadership. Find a loving, Bible-believing fellowship and bring your gifts to be a blessing there.

 What about those who have no Grace ministry near? This is something we need the Grace of God to help us with. Because some have left the local church in pain they don't want anything to do with organized gatherings. Yet if we isolate ourselves we are preventing others from hearing this Good News Gospel and to find freedom from religion. Why are there so many Charismatic or Word of faith churches? Because, when they left the traditional denominational churches, they began raising up churches to proclaim those messages. We need to raise up by the Spirit Grace gatherings to minister to the lost and hurting. 

 If you are outside a local church, try to find fellow believers to fellowship with and don't isolate yourself. Find some good Grace teaching that is solid and Bible-based and continue to grow in Grace. Until there is a Grace gathering near fellowship with fellow Christians who are as close to Grace as possible. Remember, there is still One Church, One Body of Christ. No man is our enemy. We can show love even when some revile us. Remember, we all need each other, One family of God,  just pray for our brethren to get an understanding of His Grace.
Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Grace Q & A: What about Sin?

17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 NKJV

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 NASB

 We've been in an ongoing study of the Good News of Jesus and His great Grace. We've been getting back to the basics of the Gospel of Grace. We've addressed issues like is Grace only for those living in sin? Is Grace a false teaching? We've also seen how under Grace we are free from condemnation

 Today, I feel impressed to answer the question, what about sin? What about our sins? What is our standing before God when we sin? What is God's response to our sin?

 There is in essence only three responses to the question. There is the legalists, religious, traditional response. There is the foolish response. Finally, there is the truth of God's Word and what He says about our sin. Who will you believe?

 The legalist and the foolish go to the opposite extremes. To the legalist religious folk, your sins disqualify you and make you unworthy, unrighteous and of no use to God. Sin too much and your salvation is lost. The foolish goes to the opposite extreme. Their mantra is to do what thou wilt, the Cross paid for it anyway. This extreme ignores the obvious, sin carries with it consequences.

 Setting aside these extremes, let's "be real." You don't have to be told it's ok to sin and all is going to be ok to know that that is a falsehood. How many lies have we told only to have them "blow up in our face"? The adulterer who lost his spouse and family's trust can tell you sin isn't really that fun. The addict who lost it all pursuing their addiction can also testify, sin isn't so glamorous.

 Those who have seen His Grace and mercy in their life can also testify of God's goodness and faithfulness even when they weren't so faithful. They can readily see the legalist view discounts and disregards His goodness and Grace. 

 So laying aside the traditions, let's see how God responds to our sins. What we're really asking is, when we actually commit sin, what does God say about it? Does He require that we "repent" or turn away from that? Does He require that we confess that sin in order to be forgiven? When we sin does that mean we break fellowship with God? 

 We could probably spend several weeks studying all these issues but we're going to briefly answer them all today. To begin with, let's get the obvious out of the way. What me must remember is we live in a fallen World. Sin abounds in this Earth. The enemy is the tempter, seeking ways to allure us to fall. We also aren't perfect and we are maturing into who He made us. 

 So we may fail, we may succumb to temptation. That doesn't mean we have to, doesn't mean the enemy and our flesh is stronger than Grace. It just means we aren't perfect. That said, its also obvious sin is not God's best for us. We don't celebrate sin or wrongdoing. We don't take Grace and misuse and misapply it saying sin is ok and there is no right and wrong. Grace supplies us the power to overcome sin and bad habits.

What about repentance?

 When addressing sin and repentance, we must define our terms. To repent means to change our mind. So repentance isn't crawling, prostrating ourselves at an altar weeping. It is us renewing our minds to what God says. So do we repent when we sin? We do change our minds about our actions. 

 When you cut someone off in traffic, or lose your cool with people, soon afterward you say to yourself, I shouldn't have done that. Or say I could have handled that better. News flash, that is Biblical repentance. You changed your thinking about that behavior. 

 You may say what about the Godly sorrow Paul spoke of? When we miss it or blow it, we may experience feelings of guilt or even sorrow. When we hurt others it is natural to regret those actions. We have the love of God within so we don't desire to hurt others. But guilt and regret aren't from God.

 Paul's words here showed that Godly sorrow not worldly sensual, or emotional sorrow brought these to repentance. So sorrow isn't repentance. Godly sorrow isn't an emotion. It's us realizing who we are and acknowledging that our actions aren't in line with our identity in Christ. 

What about the confession of sin?

Tradition is quick to point us to 1 John 1:9 as the remedy of sin. What tradition forgets or dismisses is the truth that all our sins past and present and future are already forgiven in Christ. 

13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. Colossians 2:13 NLT

 Are we to confess our sins when we blow it? Are we to 'fess up when we mess up? Do we confess our sins to get forgiven?

 We must begin with the truth as our foundation. We are forgiven once for all time. Our sins are completely forgiven and the price is fully paid. As Hebrews declared where there is an offering for sins there is no more need for another offering to be made. 

 One thing striking about this idea that we must confess our sins to be forgiven that is overlooked by most is the year the Epistle of 1 John was written. Jesus died and rose again around 33 AD. Paul's Epistles were written sometime in AD 50s. Paul never taught that we must confess our sins to be forgiven. 

 1 John Was written around 95 AD. So what were believers to do when they sinned around say 58 AD? How about 90 AD? If we are to confess in order to be forgiven of our sins post being born again, why didn't God ensure that this message is the first one brought to the Church? I submit this was because 1 John 1 was written to unbelievers, not believers. 

 So do we confess our sins when we miss it? Under Grace, we don't confess our sins in order to receive forgiveness of sins. Because we are already forgiven, we can confess or agree with God about our sins. He said they're forgiven so we say the same thing. We agree with God.

What about the breaking of fellowship?

 This is the insidious lie of religious tradition. That when we sin we break fellowship with God. The idea is that God turns His back to us until we say sorry. Is that the picture of God? 

 Tradition uses 1 John 1 to promote this idea. The idea is that when we sin we actually are walking in darkness. So to tradition we walk in light and darkness. We are in the light when we are good little Christians, oh no we blew it, we are in darkness, oh you confessed, your back in the light. That is not the truth.

 Paul tells us otherwise. We are the children of light. We are not of darkness. Paul tells us those in darkness are not saved. John in the first chapter of 1 John is addressing the Gnostics, those who were not saved, he was not addressing believers. So the idea that we lose fellowship is a falsehood. 

 God declared He would never leave or forsake us. There is no fine print. There is no added clause. There is no stipulation that said I won't leave or break fellowship unless you sin.
God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 NASB
 Our fellowship with God is based upon His faithfulness, not ours. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is with us no matter what. 


 This is the answer to the sin issue. God deals with us in our new identity. Because sin has been forgiven and washed clean past and present and future, God deals with us on that basis when we miss it. His response to our sin is to bring Godly correction in love.

 How does He correct us? By reminding us of who we are. He reminds us we are the righteousness of God in Him. God doesn't hold our sins against us because Jesus already paid the price for them. He isn't going to punish sin in the Body of Jesus on the Cross and then turn around and punish us when we sin.

 This also means He isn't sending disaster or destruction to nations because of sin. There are wildfires raging in the US State of California as of this writing. Some tradition ruled believer publicly declared God is burning this state because of sin. That idea is an insult to the Blood of Jesus and Finished Work.

 We are under Grace, not a probationary period. Our sin isn't going to cause us to lose our salvation. Think of it, when we were lost no amount of good deeds we did could cause us to become righteous. So after we are righteous by faith, there is no amount of badness that will cause us to become unrighteous. We are in right standing because of Jesus not our actions. Where sin abounds Grace much more abounds. Grace is greater than sin.

 Sin is missing the mark. Sin is not something we should pursue or celebrate. When we do miss it though, God responds with His Grace and reminds us of who we are. 

 His correction may be uncomfortable at times but He is just reminding us of who we are. Paul spoke of turning one over to the enemy. Tradition says this was God punishing the person. No, in light of the Cross, all Paul did was after exhorting the person to let go of that sin and the person refused, he allowed the person to experience the full consequence of sin, of following the devil's guidance. Once the person experienced all sin offered he was ready to forsake that lifestyle.

 Sin costs more than we want to pay and keeps us longer than we want to stay. But God is always there reminding us of who we are and whose we are. We must remember we have right standing before God even when we blow it, sin doesn't make us lose our righteousness in Christ. We must remember His Grace abounds wherever there is sin. 

 In summation, what is God's response to our sin? Is it to break fellowship? Is it to demand we fess up? Does He forsake us? No, He corrects us by reminding us of who we are in Him. He shows us the better way. His Grace supplies us the power to overcome. God never responds in anger, judgment or condemnation. He responds in His love and goodness. He is faithful even when we are faithless. This is the Good News.
 Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Grace Q & A: Does God ever require anything of us?

17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 NKJV

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 NASB

 In the recent weeks, we've been in an extended study of the great Grace of God. We've been getting back to the basics of the Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ. We've just been doing a simple Grace question and answer format. If you have questions, by all means, leave them in the comment section below. 

 So far we've seen that we are not under condemnation under Grace. We've asked the question is God always pleased with us? Today, I sense the guidance to address another issue. Does God ever require anything of us? If He does how does that reconcile with Grace?

 Does God ever require anything of His redeemed? His children? This is a question that requires the delicate balance of the Word of God. Because legalistic religious tradition and the unlearned foolish would misapply and mislead. Religion would have one to believe God demands and requires works and achievement and performance to secure God's love and favor and goodness. The foolish would float around thinking there is no standard of conduct, no perimeters within to operate, a do what thou wilt philosophy.

 We must use the Scripture, rightly divided because there are times and situations where God does require something from us. Under the Old Covenant God required the Children of Israel to follow the demands of the Law. In His mercy, He instituted the sacrifices, which do give us a foreshadowing of the once for all sacrifice of Christ, for when they missed it. 

 In the New Covenant, we also see passages that seem God is putting forth requirements for believers. Rightly divided we see God requires things of Christians who are called into ministry and leadership roles. The key here is understanding these are Christians who are freely entering the service of the Lord. 

 Serving in ministerial leadership has some requirements because we are representing Christ to a fallen and fractured World who need to see real people. People who can help lead them to the Savior. Leaders who won't take advantage of them. Who aren't out to hurt them or mislead them. 

 Now the religious among us who fight Grace and wish to institute a performance centered gospel would readily say if there are requirements of a believer then that isn't Grace. They would proclaim I thought you hyper-Gracers say that God did it all? Why do you have to "do" anything? 

 Their motive is to get people back under works. What they fail to understand is what the Hyper-Grace Gospel is all about. Grace isn't a do-nothing message. It is a do-nothing in order to receive His love, goodness and favor and blessings. If you're engaging in spiritual disciplines or works in order for God to do something for you, then you are operating under Old Covenant principles. 

Whatever the demand Grace is the supply

 Now, let's bring all this together. Even if there is a demand or requirement under Grace we must understand God has already given us the supply. This is the aspect of Grace that some forget. 

 The Law demands but it can't supply. Religion can see portions of the New Covenant that address behavior or spiritual disciplines like prayer and turn them into requirements that must be met in our own effort and strength. Any aspect of the Christian life can find its supply in Grace.

 Whatever the demand Grace is the supply. The Law demands righteousness. Grace supplies that righteousness in the person of Christ. 

 Religious tradition makes ardent, strenuous demands of people. Grace supplies the believer with the truth of who they are in Christ. Grace reveals their true identity and acceptance with their loving Father God. 

 The flesh makes a demand that we fulfill its lusts and unrenewed desires. Grace supplies us with the empowerment over that addiction and the freedom and deliverance from darkness and destructive habits. Grace shows us we don't have to surrender to that addiction or habit. 

What has He required of us?

What has God asked of us as New Covenant believers?
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” John 6:29 NASB

23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. 1 John 3:23 NKJV

 What has God asked of us? Simply to believe and walk in His love. When we believe in Him and love others we will walk in wholeness and uprightness. The standard isn't rules or regulations from men, it's adhering to what God said in His Word. Well brother, if He is asking this of us then we are earning something, right? No, God also has given us faith and put His love in our hearts when we received Him. 

He commands us to walk in love but supplied that ability to do so. Romans 5. He commands us to believe but He gave us His Faith, Ephesians 2 and Romans 10. Wherever we see demand know Grace brings a full supply.

 In summation, we can't say it enough. Wherever there is a demand God has already supplied it. God tells us to forgive, but He has already forgiven us, so we can forgive others. He gave us His righteousness and made us holy once for all time in the Finished Work. So we can walk uprightly because He already made us holy. Grace did it all and any requirement finds its full supply in Grace.
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