Monday, November 29, 2021

Don't take the Amazing out of Grace: Everybody is already saved?

So you, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:1 MEV 

 In our last study, we detailed how even though God's Word and His Grace are powerful and amazing we can cause them to be diminished and ineffective in our own personal life. Grace is made effective when we fully receive it and aren't mixing it with Law. We want to experience all God has for us in its fullness.

 Again mixing Law and Grace takes the amazing out of Grace. The religious tradition that says we are only forgiven of our past sins removes the full impact of Grace in our life. It diminishes the full revelation that Grace forgave us of all our sins. It creates a sin conscienceness instead of a Righteousness conscienceness.

 Just as detrimental as religious tradition is to Grace, so also are additives to Grace. That is Grace alone is amazing and too good to be true but true. Grace doesn't need help from man to make it seem more palatable to the rebellious and bitter. Grace is great all by itself, it's the too good to be true but true Good News of Jesus Christ.

 Yet some insist on adding their own philosophies and reasonings and surmisings to "help" the Gospel or to simply "deconstruct" and tear down parts of the Gospel they don't like. Many conclude the Biblical concept of receiving by Faith is a work and therefore must be rejected. In doing so they are taking the amazing out of Grace.

How so? If no one needs to believe, if it's automatic, no response required on anyone's part then it's not love it's force. Grace isn't an overriding or invasion of the will of any individual. 

 Think of it, if one paid your way fully to a college, that is tuition, books, housing, food, and even recreational money for weekend trips home or to any destination of your choice, that would be gracious. All of this blessing apart from you doing anything to earn it or pay it back is Grace in action. It isn't a wage earned or some reward it's simply a gift.

 That's good news. However, what if the one who was willing to pay for all this, demanded you only go to a specific college? What if they made you major in business and economics instead of the major of your choice? How Gracious is it now?

 Imagine a 30-day vacation package with all expenses paid offered to you. The person offering says they will pay for all your personal expenses as well. They will pay all your debt and even give you a "better" job than you have now. Sounds great, but you can only go when they say and can only go where they say. What if you say you're not interested in this vacation for your own personal reasons, but then the one offering uses force to get you in their limo and on the plane there? Is it still good? Is it still Gracious?

 Yet some claim this is what Grace is. That God who paid the price at Calvary, placed all humanity in Christ, apart from their own knowledge and permission. That God placed His Spirit within them without their knowledge or consent. That all are saved whether they believed or not, whether they received His Grace or not, whether they trusted in Christ or never trusted in Him. This is Grace? Nonconsensual relationship with all? 

 That's not Grace. Universalism and inclusion use the enticing words of man's wisdom to sell a cheap copy of Grace. They hijack the love language of redemption to sell a false and fake philosophy that has zero power to produce hope or healing in the lives of mankind. Grace is inclusive and universal in its procuring redemption and making it available to whosoever will, but universalism and inclusionism are not Grace.

 Some have misapplied a passage in Colossians 1 declaring no one was ever really lost. They misunderstand and misapply the passage because they lift it out of its setting in Colossians as well as the overall message of the Scripture. let's see the passage in another translation that makes it clearer.

This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Colossians 1:21 NLT

If no one was really lost why did Christ even come? Think of it, if no one was really lost, no one was really spiritually separated, if no one was apart from God, then what's so amazing about Christ? What is so great about Jesus dying? 

 Teaching people that no one was really lost or separated takes the amazing out of Grace. For Christ to die on a tree for people that were just fine the way they were would be a colossal waste of time. If no one was lost, Christ never needed to come as a man. No need to die on a tree bearing a curse that apparently never even existed. Jesus could have just wandered the earth telling people you are all fine, don't worry about how you live or treat others, everyone is ok.

 The truth is so much greater. Grace is amazing. All humanity was lost, apart from God, spiritually dead or separated from a loving Father because of sin. God in His Goodness and Love stooped down to rescue us from ourselves. God became a man. Jesus took all our just deserved punishment and wrath for our many sins and paid the full price. Grace has now appeared offering Salvation, Righteousness, acceptance, forgiveness, healing, and wholeness once for all time to whosoever will freely receive.

 Another way man tries to add to Grace, thus taking the amazing out of Grace is by denying the reality of a literal hell. If there is no hell, what exactly did Christ save us from? If hell is "restorative", "temporal" or nonexistent then why did Christ die for us?

 Some would argue that sin needs no punishment. How foolish. Look at what Paul the Apostle of Grace declared via the inspiration of the Spirit.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23 MEV

 Clearly, the just recompense for sin is death. This is clearly punishment for our sins. Here we clearly see Grace defined and illustrated. God's gift was Jesus dying for us and purchasing eternal life offering new life as a gift. 

 Now, understand, a gift no matter how free must be received. The concept of receiving a gift is not works or self-effort. All are offered a free gift. It's not forced upon anyone. Jesus made a way for all to simply receive. That's the Gospel. That's the amazing Grace of God.

 I sense some are still fuming and agitated because I mentioned hell. Hell was never made for any man. It was made for the devil and his angels. God never sends anyone there. Men choose hell over a loving God.

 Listen, for one to go to hell, they must bypass the Cross, dismiss His great Grace, reject His everlasting and unconditional eternal Love, and refuse the gift of eternal life. They jump feet first into eternity without God fully understanding the consequences. It's not His will that any perish but He will not override anyone's will or choice.

 People claim hell is a construct of men to scare people into giving money. Hell is real. Hell is the dark place of eternal separation for all those who want to gain acceptance and approval by their own sense of goodness and works. The Cross shows us we can't earn anything. 

 There is no bad news in the Good News. We share His Love and Amazing Grace to a lost and dying world. We let the world know it's only in Christ will you find true rest and peace and fullness of life and joy. We proclaim God isn't angry at anyone. God is a Good Father who Loves all unconditionally. 

 In summation, let's keep the amazing in Grace. Jesus came to die for the unworthy. He came to find the lost and offer them new life. Though hell is real and there awaits final judgment for all who reject the free gift, our message is the same, God is Good, He isn't mad at you, and He longs for a personal relationship with whosoever will. Grace is Amazing. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Taking the Amazing out of Grace: Religious traditions of man

So you, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:1 MEV 

 Grace, the Grace of Almighty God by nature is amazing. It is over the top, too good to be true but true Good News. Grace did for us what no personal achievement, action, or accomplishment could ever do. If it's Grace plus our work, then it ceases to be Grace, but a wage earned. 

 Grace is undeserved, unearned, and unmerited favor. It's God Himself stooping down to lost humanity and becoming one of us and taking our place on the Cross of judgment. Jesus is Grace. Grace is amazing.

 As wonderful as Grace is, did you know it's possible to take the amazing out of Grace? You may be thinking I am out of my mind to dare suggest something like this. Let me show you how it's possible.

 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV

Here we see Jesus speaking clearly of God's Word. How can mere man make the Word of God of no effect? When we understand what Jesus is saying in context it becomes clearer. God's Word is established forever. However, it can become ineffectual in the personal lives of men when we exalt tradition over truth when we accept man's ways and reject God's ways.

 The same way man can make of no effect His Word, we can make His Grace of no effect in our life by adopting and embracing the traditions of men, and false teachings of deceived and misguided "ministers". We are in essence taking the amazing out of Grace. How do we know we are taking the amazing out of Grace?

 We are taking the amazing out of Grace when we exalt the Law over Grace. Jesus preached the sermon on the mount to bring clarity back to the Law. Matthew's Gospel records it beginning in Matthew 5

 The Pharisees and Sadducees had preached the Mosaic Law only as an outward display of righteousness. Jesus masterfully brought the Law back to its intended glory and purpose. He brought it back as an inward matter of the heart, not merely an outward display.

 Tradition declares that Grace brought a higher standard. That Jesus was ministering Grace as He taught the Sermon on the Mount. No, Jesus was revealing the full force and weight of the Law. Why? To reveal to all that we all need a Savior. 

 When we dilute Grace into something we do or something we need to achieve we've just cheapened Grace. When we create a view that Grace is a list of rules, regulations, and rituals to follow to the letter, we have taken the amazing out of Grace and reverted back to works.

 We take the amazing out of Grace when we mix Law and Grace. When we preach that we are made Righteous by Faith the moment we are saved but if we sin afterward we have lost that Righteousness and must do something to achieve that Righteousness again we have made Grace ineffective. Never forget, we are made Righteous once for all time apart from performance or our behavior the moment we believed, that's Grace!

 We take the amazing out of Grace when we preach insecurity and partial forgiveness. Messages saying we are only forgiven up to the point of salvation but for any sins committed afterward we must apologize and confess in order to be forgiven means we are taking the amazing out of Grace. Remember we are forgiven once for all time the moment we believed, that's Grace!

 Any message that suggests we can undo the Finished Work of Christ by our actions, our sins or unfaithfulness, or unbelief is taking the amazing out of Grace. There were no achievements or amount of good works that would merit our salvation, therefore there is no amount of bad works or unfaithfulness that could undo what only Christ could do. Once we believed, we were made forever secure in the Father's hands, that's Grace!

 In summation, let's allow His Grace to have the final say. We could never earn or achieve His Goodness or favor. Let's exalt His Grace and not our works. Let's look to Jesus and not ourselves. In Heaven, the worship song will not be worthy is the Lamb...and me. It's Grace alone from beginning to end. 

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

More Good News: All your sins have been forgiven

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings good news of happiness, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7 MEV

In our last study, we began sharing some Good News truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a fallen, fractured creation we all need to feed on Good News not bad news or sad news. We need to shift our focus on the good things God has done through Jesus and is doing each and every day of our lives, and not on the schemes of the enemy or the lies of tradition, or the fallen world system.

 Last week, we shared the Good News that our salvation is fully secure in Christ. That Jesus is more than enough. Today, I want to continue sharing how secure we are in Him by proclaiming the Good News that in Christ all our sins are forever forgiven.

 Admittedly, I once struggled some with this notion. It wasn't that I didn't believe it in my heart. I had heard this truth when God captured my heart with the truth of the Gospel of Grace. My spirit immediately received this. My head was a little hesitant. I wanted to see more Scripture on this.

 In one sense, that is commendable. We must establish and confirm the truth with the Word of God. God is so Good and is THE Truth so He quickly took me on a journey through the New Covenant. Upon searching the Scriptures, my heart and mind were even more refreshed. The Word established over and over that all our sins were forgiven once for all time by Jesus.

14 who bought our freedom with his blood and forgave us all our sins Colossians 1:14 TLB

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

12 I am writing to you, little children (believers, dear ones), because your sins have been forgiven for His name’s sake [you have been pardoned and released from spiritual debt through His name because you have confessed His name, believing in Him as Savior]. 1 John 2:12 AMP

He is the one who took God’s wrath against our sins upon himself and brought us into fellowship with God; and he is the forgiveness for our sins, and not only ours but all the world’s. 1 John 2:2 TLB 

32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 NLT

13 bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive. Colossians 3:13 AMP 

 Through Christ, God has forgiven us of all our sins. God is not keeping scores or tabs on how often we screw up or fail. Our Father has accepted the Work of Jesus. His precious blood was enough.

 These powerful passages reveal the heart of God and the Love of our Savior. It displays plainly the clear truth that God in Christ has in fact forgiven us of all our sins. These passages exhibit the fullness of the work of Jesus on becoming a curse for us. He has forgiven us of all our sins.

 One may say yea but for how long are we forgiven? How much are we forgiven of? Don't these passages simply state we are forgiven only of our past sins? Are we forgiven of our sin if we continue committing the same sin?

14 For by one offering He has forever perfected those who are sanctified... 17 then He adds, “Their sins and lawless deed will I remember no more.” 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. Hebrews 10:14,17-18 MEV

This passage answers these questions. Couple this with the ones we just shared and it eliminates all doubt and settles any disputes. God has through Christ and His precious perfect blood forgiven us of all our sins once for all time.

 We are forgiven of all our sins for all time and eternity. God has accepted the work of His Son. We are forgiven of all our sins, past present, and future. The Word clearly declared we are forgiven of all our sins. All means all. All of our past has been wiped clean and all our future sins have already been paid for and forgiven. There is no more judgment and condemnation and punishment for our sins the moment we believed. 

 This is the Good News. We are forgiven forever. What about those sins we commit and sometimes keep committing? The Finished Work of Christ, the once for all sacrifice and payment for sin is not some vessel that runs out eventually. This work of Grace is an endless well of love and mercy and forgiveness that never runs dry. Rejoice that your failings and foul-ups will never exhaust His supply of mercy and Grace and forgiveness.

 In summation, we can rejoice in the Good News. It is good news that we are forgiven of all our sins. We are forgiven and have perfect acceptance before the Father. We can approach God with boldness. We can have a bold, and loving expectation of mercy and relinquish a fearful expectation of judgment and condemnation. Focus on the Good News of Grace. Turn away from the bad news and lies of the enemy, the world system, and the religious tradition of men. The Blood has cleansed you of all your sins and shortcomings. You are accepted and loved and forever forgiven in Christ Jesus. 

Image by Daniel Reche from Pixabay

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Good News: Once you're Saved, you're Saved eternally


How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings good news of happiness, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7 MEV

In a fallen and fractured creation it's refreshing to hear some good news. What better news than the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The Gospel, free from man made religious tradition brings peace, comfort and joy to the hurting and downcast and the outcast. 

 Many suffer from depression, discontentment, and feel so downtrodden because of the insecurity religion and a lost world produce. The world offers hope with no substance. Religion offers conditional hope. The Gospel is the hope for all mankind.

 Many churches and ministries believe they are in fact in the service of God when they strip the security of the believer away each Sunday morning. I have listened to messages from a church that had literal thousands in attendance and after the minster preached a message that salvation is not eternally secure, sincerely believed 3/4ths of those in attendance should be at the altar in "repentance" ensuring they are still saved. 

 The world system offers no real hope or goodness. Surely the church is where we should find hope and peace and Good News. Yet through religious tradition we have only offered partial hope. Let's bring the full Gospel of Christ to a lost world and bring the real hope and change they long for.

 Wait brother, you're inferring that salvation is eternally secure. That once one is saved, they are always saved. That can't be true, look at what Jesus said in Revelation. 

 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments. I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. Revelation 3:5 MEV

The beauty of the Gospel is that we can see God's Goodness and Love and Grace in the Word. Traditional religion, on the other hand can only see doom, gloom and condemning judgment throughout the Word. Even passages that are meant to comfort are twisted into a condemning statement by the religious minded.

 Before Christ, we were alone and apart from God. We had no method, no principle, no formula, and no performance that would ever warrant us receiving eternal life. We could never earn it, could never do enough, could never achieve or attain any form of spirituality that would make us worthy of eternal life. 

 It was only trusting in Christ alone that caused us to receive eternal life. How could we ever think after receiving Him, there is something we could do that could undo what only He could do? How could we ever think that we could reverse what Jesus did in us? Grace is greater!

 In addressing this passage that seems to contradict eternal security, look at what Jesus actually said in context. Jesus begins to speak of those who haven't soiled their proverbial garments with the lies of the enemy and religious tradition. Then He makes this statement that tradition has misunderstood and misapplied. 

 Jesus said He who overcomes will be clothed in white and their names will not be blotted out of the book of life. In reality, this passage isn't some dire warning of an unsettled and unsteady foundation of an eternally insecure salvation. This passage is a promise not a warning. He is reminding those who follow Him that their salvation is secure and eternal.

 What about the overcoming part? He wouldn't say that if there aren't things to overcome. Salvation then is based upon us overcoming something? What is it we specifically need to overcome in order to be saved? Or in order to stay saved? Jesus didn't create some list of obstacles we need to overcome in order to be saved and to remain saved. Here is a passage that explains what Jesus meant. 

 for whoever is born of God overcomes the world, and the victory that overcomes the world is our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world, but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-3 MEV

 When you believed, you are the overcomer and have overcome the lies of the enemy and the traditions of men. This passage then doesn't reveal we can lose our salvation. The passage is a promise not a warning.

 When some say Revelation 3 shows Jesus rejecting eternal security they are forgetting Jesus' own words. How could Jesus the author and originator of eternal security contradict and counter His own words and His own Finished Work at the Cross? In John's Gospel Jesus declared three times our salvation is secure. He said we would never again be condemned for our sins. He said those who come to Him will never be lost. He stated that when we received Him we are forever in His Father's hands and will never perish. Jesus wouldn't contradict His own words! 

 In summation, the full Gospel is the Good News we all need. We may not see much hope in this fallen world. We can however find hope and healing and happiness in the Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus and His Grace is for us and never against us. In Christ, we are eternally secure and saved.

Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay