Showing posts with label Eternal Security. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eternal Security. Show all posts

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Understanding Eternal Security: What about Simon the sorcerer?

 30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.  Ephesians 4:30 NLT

 The Gospel is the Good News of God's Grace pledged through Jesus Christ. This Grace Gospel is true. The truth is established and confirmed through God's Word. We can look to the Word as our source for all truth and see it as the final authority and distinguisher between truth and error. 

 God's Word not only reveals and establishes the truth, it also illustrates that truth. For instance, we know God heals, provides, protects, and is all-powerful because the Word not only teaches this it also provides examples of it. God declared I am your healer, and throughout the Word, we can see many people healed by Him.  

 We can trust that God's Word is true and confirms itself if you will by the practical illustrations of the truth. The Gospel of Grace reveals that once we are saved, we are always saved. We are eternally secure in Christ. Using this principle of illustrated truths in Scripture we can see that this truth is confirmed. 

 The Scripture establishes clear passages that we are eternally secure, and there is no place where we see a believer actually losing this salvation. This is where some object to this view. They, using obscure passages to silence clear passages claim we as believers can in fact lose our salvation. They then claim there are people in the Word that have lost their salvation. 

 They point to Judas Iscariot and say look at him. I have done a detailed study of Judas proving Scripturally how mistaken this idea is. They also point to another fellow mentioned in Scripture. Simon the sorcerer recorded in Acts 8. Some would point to him as proof a believer can lose or forfeit salvation.

 Is this an accurate assessment of the life of Simon? Those promoting the loss of salvation as a true possibility for Christians would argue, that Grace teaching says all one must do is believe and we see Simon simply believed. Look how Peter rebukes him, surely he lost his salvation. If so, he lost it as fast as he received it, Which is absurd when you reflect on it. Now some might claim instead he was a "false convert."

 This concept of someone being a false convert is concerning. This idea is not rooted in Grace or the Gospel but in man's tradition. It focuses on someone's behavior after the supposed conversion. It is not the truth because it contradicts Scripture, which states clearly, that believing in Jesus is enough. It also equates receiving salvation to some kind of formula, and even after hearing the Gospel, someone can get the formula wrong. Trusting in Jesus is enough.

 To understand eternal security and to understand this passage concerning the life of Simon let's look to the three Facts of the New Covenant. Let's see how this passage lines up with the three facts. Remember the three facts? God alone saves. Salvation is receiving eternal life, and eternal life is just that eternal. When we receive Jesus we receive the free Gift of Righteousness and all our sins are forgiven forever.

 Philip was ministering the Gospel in power and demonstration. Simon who was a "sorcerer" used to have the accolades of the people. He mystified the people. So much so that they thought he was something great. Yet Philip came and demonstrated the real power of God. This is what sincerely captured the hearts, minds, and attention of the masses. They believed in Jesus as a result of His great Love and power. 

 Simon seeing the real demonstrated saw past his false power or possible "parlor tricks" or illusions and made him focus on the Living God. Simon believed in Jesus. He knew the real when he saw it and had a genuine conversion.

 So who saves? God alone saves. God saved Simon because he believed in Jesus. Salvation is possessing eternal life and receiving the free Gift of Righteousness. This doesn't mean we are perfect in our thinking, our believing, and our motives instantly. This is why Paul introduced the truth of renewing the mind. 

 Renewing the mind is not an arduous and laborious task. Renewing the mind is simply coming out of agreement with the world system, and the lies of the enemy, and coming into agreement with God. We renew our minds when we agree with what God said about Himself. We renew our minds we agree with what God has done and said about our situation and circumstances. We renew our minds when we come into agreement with what God has declared over our life and identity. 

 What has God declared about himself? That He is Good and merciful and full of compassion and unconditional love. What has God done about our circumstances? He has given us His Word and all the promises that pertain to life and godliness. What has God declared over our life and identity? He declared we are made worthy by the Blood. He declared we are Righteous, accepted, and approved. He declared we are sons and not servants. He declared He is pleased with us and we are blessed, loved, and highly favored.

 God alone saves and salvation is found in no one else. If salvation is found in no one else, then He alone would determine if someone isn't saved. Some argue but look at Peter's words. This proves he lost his salvation. 

 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you…Acts 8:20a NKJV

 This passage seems to indicate Simon's now lost state. The issue is, that Peter cannot remove someone's salvation, regardless if he is an Apostle. Jesus said no one, no man, can snatch us out of our Father's hands. 

 Looking at this passage in another translation brings some clarity to Peter's words;

20 May your silver rot right along with you, Simon! To think the Holy Spirit is some kind of magic that can be procured with money! 21 You aren’t even close to being ready for this kind of ministry; your heart is not right with God. 22 You need to turn from your past, and you need to pray that the Lord will forgive the evil intent of your heart. 23 I can see deep bitterness has poisoned you, and wickedness has locked you in chains. Acts 8:20-23 VOICE

  Looking at this event transpiring, we also can see the second fact made clear, salvation is eternal. Simon can't lose something eternal. Once he receives it, it is his forever. 

  When we read the whole passage, Peter didn't say he lost his salvation anyway. He simply rebuked him for his sin and wrong thinking. What was Simon's sin? He was dealing with the unrenewed desire to have the spotlight and receive the accolades of the masses. In essence, he was addicted to the "limelight." 

 Now Peter sharply rebuked him for trying to purchase and then merchandise the anointing. While it is true Simon needed a mind renewal about this wrong belief and fleshly desire, we must know he was still forgiven of all his sins. He just needed to renew his mind to more loving desires, not fleshly desires to take advantage of people, and to seek "people worship."

 While meditating on this somewhat difficult passage, I asked the Lord to give me insight into this event. I knew the Bible didn't contradict itself. Once we are saved we are saved eternally. So what about Simon's experience? I am glad I asked because in my heart I sensed strongly the Lord immediately draw my attention to something people don't always focus on.

 The Lord impressed on me to look at Simon's response to the great rebuke. Simon was moved with remorse. He was moved with great concern. He didn't respond with a hardened heart. He responded with a soft heart. An unsaved man who didn't care about God would never have responded that way. 

 Eternal security is part and parcel of the Gospel message. Once we are in Christ we are sealed and secure forever. We never need to fear or concern ourselves with losing or leaving this great salvation. We are in His hands and He will never let go. We are engraved in His hands. There is nothing we can do to lose or forfeit this eternal life. Salvation is a sure thing, a guarantee because of Jesus.

 In summation, did Simon lose his salvation? Was he a "false convert?" Did Simon sin away salvation? Clearly, the answer is no. The Gospel worked for Simon just like it does for us. After you receive Christ as Savior and still struggle with wrong thinking, wrong words, wrong behavior, and addictions doesn't mean He is done with you. Salvation is a free gift purchased and procured by Christ alone. We can't mess this up. That is the good news of Grace. 




Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Answering Objections to the Gospel of Grace: Once you're saved are you always saved?

 For the Law was given through Moses, but grace [the unearned, undeserved favor of God] and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 AMP

  The Gospel of Grace is the Good News of the Grace of God pledged in Christ Jesus. Jesus is our perfect Redeemer. The entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation is a divine love story. God desired a family. He created mankind and then mankind through deception fell and lost his place. Still, God turned it around by becoming a man, paying the sin debt, and offering eternal life and relationship with the Father to whosoever will freely receive. 

  This is the Good News, the too-good-to-be-true but true Good News. God did this because of His great Love and Grace. He didn't redeem and pay this high price because we warranted it by our goodness or performance. Nothing we could do enough of or abstain from would cause us to receive this eternal life from God. 

 Yet in light of these clear truths spelled out in Scripture, we still find people objecting to Grace and claiming we still play a part in our salvation or the maintaining of it. That is aside from simply trusting in Christ alone, there are other requirements to be saved or to stay saved. I recently came across a concise list of objections to the Gospel of Grace. With such a concise list it seemed good to give a concise rebuttal. 

 So far I have answered the issue of who 1 John 1 was addressed to, and must we confess each sin after we are saved to receive forgiveness for that sin. I have addressed the objection that Grace relies too much on Paul's Epistles as if the rest of the Bible contradicts Paul. I addressed the concept that God punishes us for our sins and will judge cities or nations for their collective sin.

 In our last study, I addressed the Graceless notion that we still need the Law today to live upright and successful and be pleasing to God. Today I want to address this final objection that a believer in Jesus can actually lose or forfeit their salvation. This is an age-old argument. The problem is people get into the what-ifs and try to use obscure passages to deny clear passages that show salvation is forever.

 The objection listed familiar passages to argue against eternal security. Of course, they listed Hebrews 6 and Hebrews 10 and 2 Peter 2:20. I have detailed responses to them as well as other passages on this blog site which can be accessed by looking at either the topical reference or the year date reference. 

 There are some truths we need to establish in our hearts and thinking that bring clarity wisdom and understanding to this much-debated belief. First, it is God alone who saves. Salvation is found in none other than Christ Jesus. 

 God alone is the one doing the saving. Human efforts, good deeds, kindness, and sustained abstinence from sinful deeds will never merit salvation. If they don't merit salvation, why do we hold fast to the concept that though they don't earn salvation somehow after salvation is received these are what is needed and necessary to maintain it? 

The second fact we must know is that salvation is eternal. Salvation is receiving and possessing eternal life. Eternal life is just that eternal. Salvation is not a probationary period here on earth. Salvation is not eternal as long as you maintain it. Eternal is eternal, just as God is eternal and not temporal so it is with His salvation.

 Finally, the third fact we must know and understand is that when we trust in Christ alone, we receive the Gift of Righteousness and the complete forgiveness of all our sins. All our sins are forgiven forever. All our past, present, and future sins are forgiven completely. Our sins will never be imputed to us again, and because of Jesus' Blood, He remembers them no more forever.

 Now whenever you encounter an obscure passage that seems to contradict eternal security look to see if that passage seems to contradict the facts of the New Covenant and Finished Work of Christ. If it seems to disagree with these facts, then we know we aren't understanding it completely. 

 The author of the list of objections to Hyper-Grace also cited a passage in James as perfect proof that we can lose our salvation. He noted James 5 as clear evidence that the Grace message was wrong and that salvation was not unconditionally secure. 

 Using our facts, we can clearly see this passage is not talking about losing salvation. Who saves? God does, not any man. We can't save anyone. We can help someone struggling with sinful habits and lead them back on a more beneficial and profitable path. 

 Remember that salvation is eternal, so the person is not in danger of dying spiritually. The word soul there speaks not of the spirit man, but rather the mind,  the will, and emotions, the soul. James is showing we can save a person from much pain and suffering from the physical mental and emotional consequences of their sins. He was not speaking of the loss of salvation.

 So once we are saved are we always saved? Yes, a resounding yes! Look at Peter's words through his Epistles. He says we have an inheritance that is preserved for us. It is preserved for us, not by us or our efforts, spiritual disciplines, or abstinence from sin but by Him alone. 

We are born again of incorruptible seed. Incorruptible means the seed is eternal and incorruptible. Incorruptible doesn't mean future deeds or actions or wrong beliefs can somehow cause the seed to become corrupted. Incorruptible means just that incorruptible;

having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever1 Peter 1:23 NKJV

For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 1 Peter 1:23 NLT

 We are believers in Christ. Think of it, we are Christians, and the Faith is referred to as Christianity. Christ is meant to be the central focus of our Faith. Through man's religious tradition, we have turned Christianity into "human-anity". Let's return to making Jesus central and our works, efforts, performance, and abstinence from sins as secondary or fruit of all Christ already performed and bestowed upon us. 

 In summation, there may be objections raised but the Gospel is the Grace of God. The message of Grace is the message of Jesus. It's not by our performance or anything we do or don't do that we have found love, acceptance, and approval from God. We have fully answered and responded to all these objections to Radical Grace. Grace is the truth and it is the Gospel of Christ Jesus. 




Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Radical Grace or Radical works?

 We have all received from His fullness grace upon grace. John 1:16 MEV

For from · his fulness we have all received · one gracious gift after another. John 1:16 MOUNCE

 The announcement of salvation found in Christ alone is glad tidings. The proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel of Christ brings fullness of Joy. The Gospel is the Good News of the Grace of God pledged through Jesus Christ. In short, it's supposed to be the most amazing news you've ever heard.

 As of this writing, we just came out of the Christmas season. This is the season of glad tidings, peace, and goodwill toward men. This is the season of giving gifts freely to the ones we love and care for. It's gift-giving season, did you then have to earn the gift you received?

 If you did, then you really didn't receive a gift but wages earned by your doing. When you go to a job and put in a work week, you aren't receiving a gift from the employer when you get your paycheck. It is a culmination of the wages earned by your efforts, your performance, and your doing. It is therefore not a gift.

 God our Father is not an employer. He is not a taskmaster. He is not a manager. He is not the chief executive. He is not assigning tasks to complete and then rewarding us based on the success or failure of our assigned tasks. If He is then He is not a God of Grace but of performance. 

 If God is not a God of Grace, then His standard is performance. If it's all about performance with God, then that means He is focused on our performance. If He is focused on our performance, then Jesus' performance isn't paramount. Jesus' performance wouldn't be enough and it would mean we are dependent on Jesus plus our works. This would also mean in one sense, Jesus' performance in the Finished Work, is pointless and meaningless because God still requires our good performance.

 Now to the one who works, his wages are not credited as a gift, but as an obligation. But to the one who does not work, but entrusts himself to the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited · as righteousness Romans 4:4-5 MOUNCE

This is so clear it is by Grace, a gift, not of works. Look at this same passage in another translation;

When people work, their pay is not regarded as a gift but something they have earned. However, when people don’t work but believe God, the one who approves ungodly people, their faith is regarded as the basis of God’s approval. Romans 4:4-5 NOG

 The Word of God, the will of God clearly revealed to us, is quite clear on this matter. It is either all work or it is all Grace. There is no mixture or middle ground. This is the essential Gospel message. Paul declared anyone preaching another message than this is not of God and said let them be accursed.

 Now to be merciful, some well-meaning ministries and churches do not preach the message of Grace but a mixture of works and Grace. Am I declaring these are all cursed and going to hell when they die? No of course not. It's just that there is no blessing or goodness associated with this "mixture messaging."

 I said all of this, affirming and reaffirming the Gospel, to kick over a sacred cow if you will. I said all this to establish the true Gospel and to expose the perversion of man. We can't contaminate, corrupt, or cast aside the pure message of the Grace Gospel to make way for man's performance or make way for a place for good works.

 This week, I came across a message from an internationally known mega-church. The speaker there was quoting and thus also affirming, the words of a very well-known minister and missionary who has long since passed away. This quote was so astounding to me. It was the words of a man, and even good men can miss it.

 In essence, this is what the minister quoted;

"If you want to go to Heaven then just do these three things. Read your Bible daily, pray every day, and go to church."

 The speaker of course affirmed this same message to the people present and those watching online. In fairness, this was done as an appeal for people to come to church. That said, the words are still problematic. The reason is they cut cross-grain to the Gospel. 

 What happens if we don't go to church one Sunday? What happens if we forget to pray? How much of the Bible are we to read daily? One verse? Three verses? A chapter? This is the problem with the works and performance-centered gospel of man. How much is enough? How do we know if we've done enough?

 The most concerning point about this quote is it diminishes the Cross and Finished Work in favor of man's performance. It says it's not by Grace alone through Faith alone we are saved and eternally secure it's our doing that saves us. Jesus once for all sacrifice and trusting in that alone isn't enough. We must add to it by our spiritual disciplines. 

 Now is reading the Word daily, praying every day, and consistent church attendance bad? No, it is highly beneficial and will result in spiritual growth and a better understanding of who God is and is part of a fruitful relationship with our Father. It is a fruit, not a root of our salvation and relationship with our Father above.

 Radical Grace or radical works? I believe the Gospel message is simple. I believe the Word is clear. It is all by Grace and never of our works. If anything from God is received by works, then it is not actually received it is achieved! If it's achieved it's not a gift received it's wages earned. That's not Grace.

 If it's wages earned it is not a free gift. If it's not a free gift then it's Jesus plus something else. The truth is God deals with us based on Grace not works. He has accepted Jesus' works and not ours. 

 We don't want God to relate to us based on our works or doings. For His standard is absolute perfection. If we come to God trusting in our performance then we are coming to an employer expecting a wage. We aren't coming to our Father to freely receive from His loving hands. It's Grace from beginning to eternity. 

 In summation, let's affirm the true Gospel. Let's receive from God based solely on what Jesus has done, what He has Finished, what He has procured and purchased for us. Remember it's from His fullness we receive one good thing after another after another, endless Grace. 



Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

The Spirit of life in Christ has made you free!

 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2 MOUNCE

 

 Did you know that you have freedom in Christ? This is not a mere Christian cliche or hyperbolic rhetoric designed to garner an emotional response. The spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed those who simply believed. 

 The question then is what exactly are we freed from? Many only scratch the surface of this freedom we have in Christ. Many only see this freedom as no longer a requirement to observe the ceremonial and sacrificial aspects of the Mosaic Law. 

 Yet, some still believe we must observe the Saturday sabbath and that much of the Old Covenant is still applicable to the Church. Then others will agree we aren't under the Old Covenant any longer and this is the freedom Paul speaks of. So what is this freedom Paul speaks of?

 In answering this, let me elaborate briefly. This portion of Scripture had been coming up in my spirit and I found myself periodically meditating on what Paul said in verse 2. The more this passage rose up within me, I finally decided to really examine this passage using the original Greek text, as well as various translations and lexicons I was quite astonished at this amazing freedom we have in Christ.

 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2 MOUNCE

 This powerful passage unlocks for us who believe, the staggering, and extraordinarily phenomenal freedom the life in Christ has procured for us. The depth of this triumphant freedom has been scarcely understood and fathomed in the Body of Christ. The implications of this freedom will rock the religious boat of man's traditions and shake the foundation of faulty theology. 

 When we simply define the terms of this freedom the light of His Radical Grace will enlighten the darkened caverns and crevices of our thinking left unexplored because of man-made tradition. We are made free from the Law of sin and death. What is sin?

 The word sin here means to miss the mark. To miss or wander from the path. Going deeper, it also means the propensity to sin, guilt, and the imputation of sin. Think of it the spirit of life in Christ Jesus frees us from sin! It gets better.

 The word death here is the Greek word Thanatos. Comic book fans don't lose focus because you recognize that name. Now in defining this word death, the depths of God's Grace became even more clearer and also reveal the immeasurable depths of His Love, Grace, and all the time Goodness!   

 The word death is not merely defined as the cessation of life. This word is defined as the separation of the spirit from the body with the implication of future misery in hell. Now this is only the tip of the full definition of this word.

 This word also includes all the miseries associated with sin, that is the fall, the lost state of the sinner apart from Christ, this would include all the effects of the fall. Shame, guilt, unrighteousness, as well as the curse. This has to include death, disaster, depression, desolation, disease, and despair. All the attributes associated with the full effects of spiritual death, that is separation from God. 

 Lastly and most powerfully, the word death means the forfeiture of salvation. Can you now see and understand just how triumphant this freedom we have in Christ actually is? It is truly astounding and astonishing when we grasp the full magnitude of this perfect Redemption we have through Jesus.

 The Law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the Law of sin and death! This truth is so powerful and so comforting. Through the life we have in Christ Jesus, there is no longer any guilt or shame. Not even if we sin! Through Jesus, our sins are no longer imputed to us! Instead, we have the life of Christ and we are made perfectly Righteous and therefore we are free! 

 Through the life we have in Christ, we are freed from sin and death. This life in Christ frees us from the effects of sin and death. The despair and misery associated with sin and separation cannot exist in our lives. The fall, the curse, and the fractured creation are around us but we can have victory and peace in their midst. In other words, they are on the outside but not on the inside. 

 The spirit of life in Christ Jesus frees us from eternal insecurity! We have hope and full assurance through Christ. He is our anchor in this fallen world. Fear, anxiety, and insecurity need not burden our thinking and emotions. We have full freedom from them in Christ. We are fully accepted and approved in Christ. We have hope, we are loved, we are cherished by our Father because of Jesus.

 This life in Christ Jesus means we are unconditionally and eternally secure! We are free from death, that is freedom from forfeiture of salvation. We are prisoners of hope and Righteousness. Nothing can cause us to fall away, be found wanting and unaccepted, and be lost again. This life in Christ makes us His forever and nothing can change that.

 In summation, this powerful passage reveals a redemption that only Grace could procure and provide for all. Apart from Christ, the way of life is if we sin just once we die. Hence what we are freed from, is the law of sin and death. That is if you sin, you die. In Christ, even if you sin you will not die or be separated. This is Radical Grace, this is the life we have in Christ Jesus! 


Image by Nadine DoerlĂ© from Pixabay

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Unfailing Love?

The grace that comes through our Lord Jesus Christ, the love that is of God the Father, and the fellowship that is ours in the Holy Spirit be with you all! 2 Corinthians 13:14 PHILLIPS

But God, with the unfathomable richness of His love and mercy focused on us, united us with the Anointed One and infused our lifeless souls with life—even though we were buried under mountains of sin—and saved us by His grace. Ephesians 2:4-5 VOICE 

How great is the Love of God? How wonderful is His great Love? If you've been a Christian for any length of time it's more than likely you've heard that God loves you. 
 
Hearing how much God loves us is wonderful and good. Singing worship songs proclaiming His great Love is amazing. All this emphasis on His Love leads me to ask some questions in light of what most churches teach and proclaim after they tell us God loves us.
 
Most ministries will readily affirm God's Love. They even declare His Love is unfailing. Yet shortly after proclaiming His great Love, the message begins to shift, and the focus becomes about our faithfulness, our obedience, and our performance, and less and less about the unfailing love of God.
  
The questions I have concern the apparent disconnect between a Love that never fails and a teaching that says mercy runs out. That God's forgiveness has limits. That we can sin away Grace. That in spite of unfailing Love, we as Christians can lose our salvation. 

Let's ask some questions in light of this disconnect, this contrast, this possible contradiction;

 Will God ever come to a place where He is done with us?

 Will God ever say to us enough I am through with you?

 Will God ever say to us concerning our salvation, His relationship with us, it's over, we're done? 

 Is this Love really unfailing and unceasing? Can a Christian deplete God's Love and mercy and Grace? Will God's Love diminish the more a Christian fails and falters? 

 Traditional religion will declare His Love is unfailing. Yet they also say a believer can fail God so much that they can forfeit or suffer the loss of their salvation. In essence, a believer's failure can cause unfailing love to actually fail and result in forever losing the object of the unfailing love. 

 The Love that never fails means that it will never fail no matter what someone else does or doesn't do. There is nothing we can do to cause God to Love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God cease loving us. 

 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never turn away. For I have come down from · heaven, not to do · my own will · but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me: that of all that he has given me I should lose none but raise them up on the last day. John 6:37-39 MOUNCE

 God's Love is everlasting and eternal. God's Love is unceasing and unfailing. God's opinion of you has never changed and it will never will change. God's Love will never falter or fade from day to day based on our actions or words. In fact, His unconditional Love received within is the power of God that renews our thoughts and thinking which produces the change in attitude and behavior effortlessly. 

 So let's answer those questions. Will God ever say it's over? Will God ever tell you I'm through with you? Will God ever inform you that you're done? In light of the unfailing Love of God, a thousand times no! A trillion times never, no way, not ever. 

 God's Love is unfailing and unending. When the voice of the condemnation preaching of legalism speaks, God's Love speaks louder. When the voice of the accusation of the enemy speaks, God's Love speaks louder and silences these lies! God's Love is for us! 

 God's unfailing Love proves our relationship with our Father is unshakeable and completely secure. In Christ, we have the hope and reassurance that we are eternally secure and rest firmly, safely, in His hands forever. His Love surrounds us and shields us from the lies of condemnation, accusation, and a performance-driven relationship. 

 In summation, we are forever His. His unfailing cascades over us bringing hope, healing, and wholeness in every area of our life and relationship with God. Is His Love unfailing? Yes, we can boldly declare in light of Redemption, the Cross, the Resurrection, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and Grace, that God's Love never fails! 

 


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Grace Reveals: A Redemption that is Eternal

“Now, brothers, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified. Acts 20:32 MEV

 Grace, the magnificent and majestic Grace of God has appeared to all mankind offering hope, help, and wholeness. His Grace reveals so much about our Father in Heaven and His plans and purpose for our lives. On the other hand, religious tradition unveils to a lost world, a god who is a tyrant, who gets easily angered, is quick to condemn, and eagerly awaits to pour out wrath and judgment on people and nations whenever they sin too much. 

 Grace reveals our true Father God. Grace reveals to us a Father who loves us always and forever. Grace reveals a Savior greater than all our sins. Grace reveals a Righteousness that is a gift to be received and not something achieved by any works or performance. Grace reveals a Father who is always pleased with His children. Five is the number of Grace, and therefore Grace reveals one more aspect of God, His perfect redemptive work, and our identity in Him.

 Grace reveals to us a Redemption that is eternal, unconditional, unending,  irrevocable, and unchanging. Redemption is not based on our doing but on His doing. We didn't pay the wages due to buy us back from sin, satan, and spiritual death. Jesus alone paid the complete price for our Redemption through His substitutionary sacrificial suffering, death, burial, and triumphant resurrection. 

 If it was Jesus alone who paid for our Redemption, how can any believer reason we have the ability to undo this perfect purchased Redemption? How can we "unpay" the price? Traditional religious understanding reasons that we can in fact "unpay" for what has been forever purchased by our sinful thoughts, words, and repeated actions. That we have the power by our free will to "unpurchase" our redemption. 

 If we could "unpay" for Redemption by our actions and free will, then how is this Redemption eternal in nature and duration? 

 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:12 NKJV

 In another translation it reads;

With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Hebrews 9:12 NLT

 Take note of the language used to describe our Redemption. Eternal, secure, and forever. We can't change or alter the meaning of these words to affirm some man-made tradition or reasoning. What does eternal mean? Without end, never to cease, everlasting. Secure means successfully obtained, without fear or anxiety of loss, fixed or attached. Forever means lasting or permanent.   

 With these words, we can see the Father gave us full assurance of our Redemption. Think of this analogy. If a father paid the full price for say a vehicle or a computer and gave it to his son, could the son go back to the store and demand that the item be unpaid for? No, the item has already been purchased. It can't be "unpurchased."

 Religious-minded ones will be quick to claim yes but you could return the item to the store claiming you no longer want it. This analogy is perfect because many stores now have all sales are final policies. No returns or refunds are allowed. 

 God has a zero return policy on His perfectly purchased Redemption. Jesus purchased this Redemption and His purchase was for eternity. Our Redemption wasn't paid for with corruptible silver and gold but the precious blood of Jesus

 Corruptible speaks of something that will fail or fade or fall away. Gold and silver speaks of man's efforts and abilities. God declared our Redemption was purchased by Jesus' Blood.

 Seeing such great proofs from Scripture, I am baffled and bewildered as to why so many reject eternal security. I am truly baffled how Word of Faith Charismatic Christians also reject once saved always saved salvation. As much as they understand what Christ went through to purchase Redemption, and what He actually procured for us, I can't understand why they see healing and prosperity as ours forever but salvation is only secured by our behavior or free will choice.

 One reason that I know of is that one of the leading pioneers of Faith teaching once claimed to have seen a vision where it was revealed a Christian was lost eternally. As much as I love this minister and honor his life and legacy of Faith I cannot accept a vision or dream or word that contradicts Scripture. The Word is the source of truth not visions or dreams.

23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because

“All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away,

 25. But the word of the Lord endures forever.”

Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:23-25 NKJV

Our Redemption as well as our New Creation identity is incorruptible. If the vision was true, then that would mean we were born again of corruptible seed, and our Redemption is in fact corruptible. This passage clearly rejects this and proves beyond doubt that Redemption is eternal and incorruptible. There is nothing we can do to change or alter it. We can't be "unpurchased." 

 In summation, Grace has revealed five things to us; a Father who loves us eternally and unconditionally, a Savior that is greater than all our sins, Righteousness as a Gift that is apart from works and a Father who is pleased with His children. Grace has lastly revealed a Redemption that is eternal and incorruptible. 

 When you first trusted in Christ alone, you received this perfect Redemption. This Redemption is eternal and forever. You never need fear loss of Redemption or salvation. No place in the New Covenant records a man losing this Redemption, because this Redemption is incorruptible and everlasting. Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so!

 


Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay 

Monday, January 16, 2023

Grace reveals: A Savior greater than all our sins

“Now, brothers, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified. Acts 20:32 MEV

 We've begun a new series seeing what the Grace of our Loving Father God reveals. Religion reveals a god who is easily angered and holds each and every sin against you. Tradition teaches about an austere taskmaster who demands you get it right or you're no longer accepted and must work your way back into his favor. Grace reveals a Father that is so much better.

 We don't have a firey judge quick to condemn and render swift harsh sentences. We have a Father who loves us. We have a salvation that has been sealed forever in eternity. We have a redemption that is once and for all and can never be undone. 

 Some see our sins and shortcomings as greater than what Jesus accomplished in the Finished Work. In the religious mind, the wages of sins committed is a loss of fellowship with God. It is prayers going unanswered. It is God temporarily disconnecting from you. 

 The Word declares something entirely different. The wages of sin is death. It's not loss of fellowship or unanswered prayer. This is why we need a Savior and not an austere taskmaster or an angry judge. 

Seeing that death is the only punishment or wage earned for sin what hope have we whenever we miss it, blow it, or just plain sin? The answer to our predicament, the solution to our problem, the only hope for any of us, is having a Savior that is greater than our sins. We have that Savior in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 Jesus and His once for all work on the Cross is greater than any of our sins. Jesus' work is finished. It is done. It is enough.

 So many see their sins as something that lets God down. They feel they have let God down because they didn't resist the temptation enough but instead succumb to it. They see God as being disappointed in them whenever they fail. God is let down, that is His hopes are dashed, His demeanor is downcast, and He is unhappy all because of His people's sins.

 Still, others see their sins as something that hurts God. That whenever they sin they are hurting Jesus all over again. God is so downcast and taken aback that His people just sinned. 

 Hear this loud and clear, the Finished Work actually worked. To think, to imply, or to believe our sins let God down or hurt Him is to say God is not satisfied with the once for all sacrifice of His Son Jesus. That God doesn't need Jesus' shed Blood alone. No, He needs your guilt, your shame, and your misery over your sins to forgive and cleanse you. 

 Contrary to religious mindsets, I am not making light of sin. Sin brings pain and brokenness into this world. Sin does have natural consequences. Rob a bank you'll go to jail, who wants that? 

 I am not making light of sin, I am making much of our Savior from sins Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior paid the highest price for all our sins. He stood bare for all to see hanging on that tree for you and me. He bore the shame and took the judgment we all deserved. He shed His perfect Blood cleansing sin once for all time.

 I am putting sin back into its proper perspective. I am not for sin in any way but I don't want believers to see sin as some cosmic kryptonite that stops God in His tracks and causes Him to flee from you and have nothing to do with you until its removal. God is not accounting or charging our sins to our accounts any longer. 

 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not credited as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 But to the one who does not work, but entrusts himself to the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 So also David speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and who sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account." Romans 4:4-8 Mounce  

 This is the blessedness of God's gift of Righteousness. Non-imputation of sins. This is the Work of our precious Savior. This is the once for all perfect work of our Savior Jesus Christ. We have a Savior greater than all our sins. Magnify Jesus and His Finished Work and not our failures and transgressions.

 Our sins aren't letting God down or "hurting" Him. Jesus saw all our sins and selfish acts before we ever committed them and He still laid His life down in order to purchase us and redeem us and be in eternal relationship with us. His Salvation is greater than our sins and shortcomings. 

 In summation, Grace reveals a loving Savior who is greater than all our sins, shame, shortcomings, and failures. Whenever you falter or fail run to your Savior. Run to Him without any sense of shame or fear of punishment or condemnation. He's already forgiven you, He has already seen your sins and He still loves you unconditionally. Magnify our Savior Jesus Christ. 

 



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Thursday, December 29, 2022

Living in Sin?

 “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. John 5:24 NLT

 1 What, then, shall we say? shall we continue in the sin that the grace may abound? let it not be! we who died to the sin -- how shall we still live in it? Romans 6:1-2 YLT

 Much of Christian theology and doctrine are realized and lived out practically based on mere human understanding and man-made traditions rather than God's Word alone. More plainly stated, much of what Christians actually believe and practice in their day-to-day lives is rooted in what they heard someone or some minister say. Often it's not actually rooted in the Word of God.

 Some of these Ideas and suggestions and concepts includes thoughts like all who commit suicide will surely go to Hell, if you get divorced you can never remarry, or God loves you but sometimes is displeased and disappointed with you. Or perhaps one of the biggest thoughts conveyed, if you sin too much God won't forgive you. Where are these concepts specifically addressed and stated this exact way in the Bible, God's Word? 

 I will help you, they are not in the Word. Christian believers and ministers alike infer, assume, and reason certain things to be true based on a flawed, traditional, and veiled view of Father God. Often, believers assign their own attitudes and reactions, and conclusions to God. Allow me to elaborate. 

 Christians many times knowing how we might personally react or respond to a certain situation unconsciously assign that same attitude to our Father God. We then form and fashion a theology of Father God based on this and not the character of God we see clearly demonstrated in the Word. In general, we wouldn't continue fellowshipping with someone who fails us, wouldn't forgive someone if they continued in the same action repeatedly, and would judge someone swiftly if they continue wronging us, thus we conclude God is the same as us.

 Understanding this, I want to examine a concept in the Church I have heard expressed throughout my Christian life. This concept transcends all denominations and ministries I was ever involved in. This concept and idea of living in sin.

 What is living in sin? The response to this in the average believer's mind is a person who is actively committing adultery, someone living with someone they are not married to, someone who has a drinking problem, or a homosexual. Is this what living in sin means?

 I submit to you that this is not the actual meaning of living in sin. I certainly concur based upon the writings of Paul the Apostle of Grace, that adultery, fornication, alcoholism, and homosexuality are indeed sinful actions. However, that is not what it means to live in sin.

 When we consult the manual, the Basics Instructions Before Leaving Earth, the Bible, God's Word, the phrase living in sin is not found anywhere. When we need the truth revealed it's essential we check the Word. We desire God to instruct us not man or experience.

 In our text, we see Paul instruct us not to continue in sin. The word sin is the noun, not the verb. Paul is speaking of position, of identity, not actions. Of course, identity and position affect our actions. 

 Now when it comes to claiming to live in sin is defined by our actions, we see much hypocrisy in the application of this label. What I mean is, we see the man living with a woman he isn't married to and say they are living in sin. Yet we don't look at our lives and see how often we worry. We don't look in the mirror and see the bitterness we still harbor at old bosses, family, and former friends. 

 The Word tells us that which is not of Faith is sin. How often do we label those who fail to walk by Faith as living in sin? Worry is the sin of not trusting God, yet so many Christians are world-champion worriers. Where is their condemnation? 

 Let's allow the Word to be the final authority. Paul was telling us not to continue living in our old identity. We are New Creations in Christ. We are made alive in Christ anew. Dare to take your place as the very Righteousness of God in Christ.

 I believe the reason the concept of living in sin describing our behavior is so popular is that it becomes a means to control believers. The enemy uses it to control our thoughts by throwing flaming darts of condemnation at us. We won't press in to God relationally because we believe He is mad at us. We believe He hasn't forgiven us. 

 Religious tradition controls believers through guilt. Better give and participate in all our programs cause if you don't you'll be living in sin. Your prayers will go unanswered. This is why we must understand Grace and the New Covenant.

 The enemy and religious tradition try to convince believers that answered prayer is rooted in our behavior. Often Healing and wholeness are seen as rewards for good behavior. Don't be misled. Grace is unmerited and unearned favor. Healing, protection, prosperity, deliverance, favor, and abundant life are already ours because of Christ, not our own works. Therefore we can't do more good to earn them, and we can't do anything bad enough to disqualify us from receiving them. 

 As true as it is that our sinful actions are detrimental to ourselves and others, (natural consequences), it doesn't mean we should accept guilt and condemnation. Guilt and condemnation won't motivate us to make better choices. All they do is make us mask our flaws even deeper. 

 In summation, live in Grace. Live in the new identity Christ has made us. Don't walk in guilt and condemnation. Though sinful actions may have natural consequences, know God isn't punishing anyone. Finally, let the Word of God, not tradition be the final authority for truth in our lives. His Grace is greater. 



Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Grace, Foolishness, or Legalism: Becoming Established in Grace

 For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) Romans 5:17 AMPC

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ...2 Corinthians 8:9a MEV 

 We have been in an ongoing study examining the practical aspects of the Christian life in light of Grace and the New Covenant. This explorative study comes in the form of a question. Are we living under true Grace or are we embracing foolish pseudo-Grace? Or are we living with a mixture of Grace and Law, or some other form of legalism?     

 Our Father's desire is for us to live victoriously in Christ. To live the abundant life Jesus' triumphant resurrection and Finished Work procured and purchased for us. But this overcoming life is only realized when we fully receive abundant Grace and of the gift of Righteousness. 

 This is why we must become established in the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is also why the enemy is so set against the Church discovering who we are, what we have, and what we can do through Christ. The enemy sows seeds of foolishness and raises up religious traditions to pervert the Grace of God. This is why we must contend for the Faith and not allow the enemy any footing. 

 In concluding this study, it seems good to look at the other practical everyday aspects of the Faith. Things like giving, soul-winning, and daily Bible reading. Again we want to examine them in light of Grace so we can become more and more established in Grace. 

Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace... Hebrews 13:9a

What about a prayer life under Grace? What about a daily devotional time set apart with God? Is this somehow legalistic or a performance-driven activity that we need to be free from?

 The foolish pseudo-grace thinking may claim it is. This is of course would be erroneous thinking. What is legalistic or performance-driven to spend time in fellowship with the One who loves us with everlasting love? That may be the root of the opposition, if devotional time or prayer time hasn't been joy-filled or fulfilling one could understand why someone wouldn't be interested in continuing it. 

 Time spent in prayer, reading and studying the Bible, God's Word, and meditating on His promise and provision, and goodness is not legalistic. It is connecting with our Savior intimately. It's not a work or a chore or a duty to fulfill. It's actually a receiving time. It's a time where God pours even more of His Love and mercy and Grace out upon all areas of lives. It's a time that heals our wounded hearts and brings stability to our emotions and calms our fears and anxiety. It's Facetime with our Father and He's always glad we came.

 Legalism tries to make daily devotionals a duty to perform. They say God is upset if we miss our time with God. That if we don't have time for Him, He won't make time for us nor hear us when we call upon Him. This is wrong thinking because it turns intimacy into an obligation and forced fellowship. 

 Spending time with our Father is part of life under Grace. Don't allow the foolish to abolish this out of your life. Don't allow the legalist to pervert it and turn it into some chore. 

 What about giving? Should those under Grace continue giving to the local church and missions? Of course. God so loved the world He gave...love gives. We are loved unconditionally by God. That Love received, compels us to be a blessing so others can also hear the Good News. This isn't legalism or trying to earn anything from God. This is a gracious and loving response to a loving God who wants to win the lost and use us as a channel of blessings.  

 Speaking of the lost, under Grace should we still try to win the lost to Christ? Of course. Knowing how Good our Father is, is a great motivator in witnessing to the lost. Contrary to the foolish, not all humanity is saved and made Righteous. The lost are still lost and need to receive this wonderful gift of Grace. 

 Winning the lost to Christ doesn't mean God loves you more. It's just taking part in Christ's ministry to a lost world. It's sharing His Grace with all. What about our manner of life under Grace? 

 Though legalism has taken this out of balance and turned holy living into a harsh message doesn't mean there isn't a true Grace-filled life that honors Christ. Foolishness says our behavior doesn't matter. Legalism says our behavior is our savior. Both are equally wrong. Our thinking, our speaking, and our actions will bring honor to Christ when we become more and more established in our true identity as the Righteousness of God in Christ.

 Grace received produces an empowerment. Grace gives us new desires. Paul gives us some insight in his Epistles. Watching what we "feed" upon is a key to cultivating the Godly desires Grace has deposited within. 

 It's just like junk food. Under Grace and the following the Spirit, we can limit how much of this world we allow in our thinking. Think of it, if we stuffed ourselves on stuff crust pizza all the time we wouldn't be as healthy as we could be. It's the power of right believing that produces a life that honors God.

 In summation, renewing the mind, daily devotionals, prayer time, witnessing to the lost, giving, and belonging to a local church or fellowship, (though I didn't touch on it here I have in previous articles), are not legalistic. It is foolishness to omit these from our life simply because we have now seen the truth of Grace. Grace found us, saved us, made us Righteous, and approved of God. 

 Let's live our lives in triumphant victory. Victory over all the schemes of the enemy. Victory over fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. Victory over condemnation and a sense of unworthiness. Let's boldly reach out and receive all God has procured for us in Christ. Salvation, soundness, wholeness, preservation, and prosperity are ours because of His Grace. Embrace true Grace and walk in victory. 

   

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Undone: Can a Finished Work be undone?

 

When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished.” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:30 MEV

 One of the extraordinary revelations of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the truth of the once for all sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. When He hung on the tree for all mankind that meant no other sacrifice for sin will ever be needed. Jesus' substitutionary work was enough.

 The basic foundation of Christianity is that Jesus' work of redemption is a Finished Work. The total price of redemption was paid in full by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is done. Finished.

 This should ring loud from the rooftops. From every mountaintop, this great truth should be heralded. The work is finished. The price was paid in full. 

   With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Hebrews 9:12 NLT

 The Word confirms it. Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection proved it. The Work is finished. Redemption is a done deal!  

 In spite of this overwhelming evidence, why does it seem when hearing the sermons of many preachers, reading their books, and attending their services, that somehow this finished work can become undone? The work seems to be complete yet so many in their communication of the gospel make it seem salvation and fellowship with God are on an unstable, and unsteady foundation. That what's been done once for all time can become undone for us personally.

 I've listened to messages where the pastor has told the whole congregation that 3/4ths of them needed to come to the altar and make sure they were even saved! This wasn't a small church, this service had thousands in attendance. This is the work of religion and not Grace. 

Religion vs Redemption

Religion wants to strip the full assurance of redemption from the believer. Religion points out the flaws, foul-ups, and failures of the believer to attempt to prove they've somehow undone the Finished Work. Religion says Redemption is a flimsy work, not a finished work. Religion says Redemption is not a once for all work but a downpayment. That the remainder of the price is to be paid by the currency of the believers' performance, good deeds, faithfulness, and abstinence from sinful thoughts, words, and actions. 

 Religion says our works can undo a finished work. Jesus has a proverbial rescue line tied firmly to us. Religion says our doings, our actions, and our unfaithfulness can undo and untie that line. 

 Redemption reveals that He who began the work will complete it in you. Jesus is the author and finisher of our Faith. If He is the author and finisher how then can we undo it? 

 Redemption is a completed work. It is finished. It is done. There is no more sacrifice for sin. There is nothing we can do to complete the work. We can't add to "finished." If a building has been completed there is no brick, no cement, no nail, no wood, that you could add to the building. It's finished. It's done. 

 If we can't add to our redemption, then we can't undo it. How can we undo what we had no part in its beginning, no part in its working, and no part in its completion? It's Jesus from start to finish. 

 This is Good News! This means we can't add to or undo our salvation. We can't undo or add to our Redemption. We were redeemed from the curse. Therefore we can't undo our redemption from poverty and lack. We can't undo our redemption from sickness and disease. We can't undo our redemption from spiritual death.

 In summation, we who have believed are redeemed. It's a Finished Work. It is a completed work. It cannot be undone. Rejoice in His Faithfulness. We are redeemed eternally. It is forever settled. We are His forever, we can't undo it, it's all because of Jesus. 

 


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