Showing posts with label Forgiveness of sins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Forgiveness of sins. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Holy Communion:truth vs. tradition

 24 When He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take and eat. This is My body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He took the cup after He had supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:24-26 MEV

 Holy Communion, this is the one sacrament or ordinance all Christians observe and regularly practice. With any common practice, some traditions and differences may arise. Some differ on whether actual wine is used or if it's just grape juice. Some like wafers others prefer actual bread. 

 These are more preferences and minor differences if we stay with Scripture alone as our source. What we must address however is not preferences surrounding the Lord's Supper, but the traditions of men that arise concerning it. We need to discern truth from tradition.

 Paul the Apostle of Grace addresses the issue of Holy Communion in the Epistle to the Corinthians. The first issue we must focus on is discussing the Holy Communion in the full context of Paul's words. Within these passages, we see words and concepts like self-examination, and judgment and even see some who got sick and some who died prematurely. 

 Traditions arise when we isolate statements and words and then take these words and concepts out of their complete setting and context. This gives place for new concepts and attitudes about God and His character how He sees us and how He corrects us. This gives birth to new ideas about how the Christian life must be lived.

 What helps in understanding passages in the New Covenant is to remember the three basic facts of the New Covenant. God alone saves. Salvation is found in God alone. He saves us we don't save ourselves. We didn't earn it therefore it is a gift we receive by Grace through Faith. Secondly, eternal life is just that eternal. Eternal life cannot be lost if so it wouldn't be eternal. Lastly, when we receive salvation, eternal life, we receive the free Gift of Righteousness and the complete forgiveness of our sins.

 Let's look at the passages that taken out of their full and complete context tend to form this idea that God is judging believers for their sins and other troublesome ideas;

 27 So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. 29 For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. 31 But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. 32 Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 NLT

 These are some heavy-handed and harsh-sounding passages. It seems to convey the idea that if we partake of communion wrong God is going to kill us. It seems to teach believers that they need to examine their lives before they receive communion. That if there are sins in their life they will be judged for their sins if they partake of the bread and wine. It creates a sin consciousness rather than a Christ and Righteousness consciousness.

 Some translations even render this passage that if your heart isn't right with God, if you are in sin, that you are taking judgment on yourself. The phrase examine yourself tends to make people think God is saying to examine your life and see how you measure up. Tradition therefore says to examine yourself and see how wicked and sinful you are. Acknowledge how much you have failed, who you have offended, who you need to forgive, and how far you've fallen from God's standards.

 Is this what God was really speaking through Paul? Recall the three basic facts of the New Covenant? They still apply here. Using our Bible facts we can see this interpretation of Paul's words doesn't agree with those facts. Therefore, we can know confidently that Paul was not teaching what tradition claims. 

  Stay within the context. Look at what was going on. The one word that can summarize the Corinthian church at this time is excess. They were excessive in finding division among themselves. They sinned excessively. They utilized the gifts in excess, that is, they would disrupt the meeting, and they would shout in other tongues to each other to show off. They also observed communion in the excess.

 They were actually having a full feast meal with the elements. Some would eat so much and leave nothing for others. Some would even get intoxicated on the wine. Paul addressed this because they weren't observing the Lord's Supper properly by this behavior. The gluttony and drunkenness are what prompted Paul to give us New Covenant instruction on Holy Communion.

 Whenever the words correction and instruction are brought up people immediately conjure up images of God's anger, wrath, and fiery indignation and punishment. Brethren this isn't what the New Covenant is about. Jesus paid the price in full, therefore God is not punishing His children. 

 Let's address this first misunderstood verse and the subsequent tradition of man. This idea of examining ourselves has created much confusion and brought about much condemnation surrounding the Lord's Supper. What then did Paul mean when he said to let a man examine himself?

 Looking again at the full context we can clearly see what Paul is saying. The Corinthians were receiving the Holy Communion as a mere meal. They were not looking at the price Jesus paid. They were not honoring the Finished Work. In fact, they were taking it for granted and only focusing on filling their bellies. 

 This is why Paul said don't partake of Communion in an unworthy manner. He was instructing us to honor Grace, the work of the Cross, and redemption. He was telling us to put Christ and His Grace in remembrance. 

 Yet people take Paul's words to mean we need to examine ourselves and our flaws and sins. If we partake of communion with sin in our lives, we are partaking of the cup and the bread in an unworthy state and manner. So before we receive the elements we must examine our life and see if we qualify to partake.

 Concerning Holy Communion, Jesus said as often as you partake of communion do this in remembrance of Me. Jesus said do this in remembrance of Me, not thee! We are not to put into remembrance our sins or shortcomings. We are to remember Jesus and all He did for us in His perfect redemptive work of Grace. Communion is a time to reflect on Grace, not on our failures or flaws.

 What did Paul mean when he said examine ourselves? He was saying to examine yourself and ensure you are receiving the elements and partaking worthily. Again how do we partake worthily? We do it by remembering all Jesus did for us and adding our agreement to His perfect work of redemption in our lives. 

 Examining ourselves isn't the act of introspection and acknowledging how flawed and fallen we are. I heard a mixture preacher once say examining ourselves would reveal to ourselves how flawed we were and where we were actively disobeying God. This concept completely disagrees and dishonors the Gift of Righteousness and total forgiveness that Christ's shed blood and great exchange procured for us. 

There are several of these traditions surrounding communion. We will examine them in light of the New Covenant and full context. In summation, we need to come in agreement with Grace. We need to put Jesus and His Finished Work in remembrance whenever we are taking communion. The focus is on the Finished Work, not our sins. 


Image by Vesa Leppänen from Pixabay

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

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Answering Objections to the Gospel of Grace: God is angry with and will punish believers who sins.

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

 Throughout the last one hundred years God has been restoring truth to the Body of Christ. These truths are verifiable by examining the Word of God. Even though truth is restored certain traditional religious-minded ones will reject the truth if it contradicts their tradition.

 Recently I came across a concise list of objections to the Gospel of Grace. With such a detailed list, a detailed response seemed the best way to address these objections. I have already responded to the objections concerning 1 John 1 and confessions of sins to receive forgiveness. 

 In the last study, I responded to the objection that all Grace teaching does is focus on Paul. That Radical Grace teaching simply ignores the rest of the Bible, as if the rest of the Bible contradicts and disagrees with Paul. Today I want to respond to the objection of the Grace message that we miss it because we teach that God isn't angry with believers when they mess up. That God won't punish believers who sin too much.

 This concept of the angry God who punishes His own is a deeply rooted stronghold in the minds of tradition-ruled believers. Why? Guilt over their own transgressions and sins. Guilt means they are guilty and recompense must be made in some way or fashion for their wrongs. It's either their own guilt or condemnation they project on others whom they deem guilty of too much sinning. 

 Does God get angry with believers? Does God punish us when we sin? These are valid questions that beg an answer. Many believers have lived with guilt and shame over their sins and transgressions. Many look at the circumstances of their life and conclude God must be punishing them for some sin they have committed.

 Let's address this objection to the Gospel of Grace. Does God get angry with us and even punish us when we sin? In addressing this objection, let's examine facts about our Father in Heaven. 

 Let's look at the character of our Father in Heaven. Let's look at what was accomplished on the Cross. Let's respond using the light of the New Covenant.

 The first fact we must consider is that God our Father has accepted the final sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Father has fully accepted Christ's sacrifice and no other is needed. Jesus was enough.

 whereas Christ, having offered the one sacrifice [the all-sufficient sacrifice of Himself] for sins for all time, sat down [signifying the completion of atonement for sin] at the right hand of God [the position of honor], Hebrews 10:12 AMP

 God the Father has fully accepted the perfect once-for-all sacrifice of Christ Jesus for sins. He isn't unsatisfied with Jesus' sacrifice. He isn't looking for our sacrifices for our sins. Where there is a once for all sacrifice for sins offered there will be no other sacrifice accepted. The Father is satisfied with Jesus!  

 The next fact about our Father is that He isn't counting our sins against us. In other words, the Father isn't charging our sins to our accounts. Thanks to the shed blood we are free!

Even David describes the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness without works: 7 “Blessed are those  whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8  blessed is the man  to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” Romans 4:6-8 MEV

 The next fact about the Father is that in the New Covenant, the Father isn't remembering our sins. He declared under the New, our sins and iniquities He remembers no more. He said He doesn't remember them and neither should we.

 then he says, · “Their sins and · their lawless acts I will never again remember.” Hebrews 10:17 MOUNCE

 God declared He would never again remember our sins. If He doesn't remember them who are we to bring them up? If He said He will never remember them who then can bring a charge to God's Righteous and forgiven children?

 The last fact about our Father is that He said He would never be angry with us again. Grace teachers didn't say it He did. He cannot lie.

“For this is like the days of Noah to Me, When I swore that the waters of Noah Would not flood the earth again; So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you Nor rebuke you. Isaiah 54:9 NASB

 We have looked at several truths concerning redemption and the facts about our Father concerning sins. God is a Good Father. He is not an angry harsh taskmaster. 

 For God to be angry with us because of our sins, would mean He has not fully accepted the once-for-all all sacrifice for sins. He is still counting believer's sins against them. He still remembers our sins. In essence, He would be nullifying the New Covenant. The Good News of Grace is that He is fully pleased with Jesus and will never do that.

  Jesus took the full punishment of all our sins in His body when He suffered on the cross. The wages of sin is death, and Jesus died for our sins. He bore all our sins. He didn't bear just the sins we committed before we got saved, He bore them all. Therefore God isn't holding them against us ever again.

 God is angry with and punishes believers who sin? What about Jesus? Why is God punishing us when Jesus took all the punishment for us? This concept is so absurd and reveals a clear misunderstanding and ignorance concerning the New Covenant. 

 To some religious-minded ones, the New Covenant simply means we don't sacrifice sheep or goats any longer. God still judges, condemns, and is angry with His people for their failures. The cross didn't change anything, especially how God addresses our sins and shortcomings. 

 Thanks be to God Jesus paid the highest price. God is satisfied with Jesus' once for all sacrifice and is not remembering our sins. He is not counting them against us any longer. In fact, because of Jesus, we can always have boldness concerning the day of judgment. 

 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 1 John 4:17-18 NLT

 In summation, is God angry with Christians? Is God punishing them? Based upon the precepts of the New Covenant, Jesus' once-for sacrifice, the perfect Blood of Jesus shed, and the Word of promise from God Himself the answer is clearly no! God is not remembering your sins or mine. We can run to our Father whenever we miss it because His love is always there for us. 



Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Answering Objections to the Gospel of Grace: Confession of sins, is it for the Church?

 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

 On this site, I have addressed many concerns and objections concerning the message of Grace. I have even allayed some myths about grace teaching. Recently I came across a concise list of objections to the message of Grace. 

 With such a concise list of objections, I felt compelled to give a detailed response. So far I began addressing the issue of who 1 John was addressed to and answered if it was to Christians or not. Today, I would like to address this issue of confessions of sins so we may be forgiven of our sins. 

 On this site, we have addressed this issue several times. Each time, addressing different perspectives on the issue of confession. I will proceed with fresh insight on this matter of confession but want to allow you to study the issue further. You can find further study here, here, and here

 Are confessions of sins so we may be forgiven of our sins the system God designed in the New Covenant? Think of how this reflects on Jesus' once for all sacrifice for all of our sins. If we no longer have to offer lambs as a sacrifice for our sins to be covered but still must offer the "sacrifice" of apologizing, acknowledging, and admitting that we sinned to receive forgiveness for that sin, what does that say of Jesus' sacrifice? It says His sacrifice, His shed Blood,  is insufficient and we must add our apologies and admission in order to be forgiven.

 Let's use the Word as the final authority on this subject. If we wish to believe in a "doctrine" that says after conversion, acceptance of Jesus' and being born again, each and every time we sin thereafter we must confess it or acknowledge it so we can be cleansed from unrighteousness and receive forgiveness for it, we must consider some important truths. What truths? Let's look closer at the Word as a whole.

 For one to believe the premise of confessing to be forgiven, one has to overlook, disregard, and ignore some important Bible facts. First fact, we are only forgiven of sins by the shedding of blood not our apologies or admissions of guilt. Look at the Word;

In fact we can say that under the old agreement almost everything was cleansed by sprinkling it with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 9:22 TLB 

 Let's look at the second Bible fact. We as believers are forgiven of all our sins once and for all time. This is Jesus' sacrifice alone not His plus ours equaling forgiveness. 

12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of GodHebrews 10:12 NASB

 Let's look at the third Bible fact. We are forgiven of all our sins. Not just forgiven of our past sins. Not forgiven only up towards the time of conversion. No, we are forgiven of all our sins past and present and future. 

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

 Let's look at yet another Bible fact. Truth is established in the mouth of two or three witnesses. 1 John 1:9 is the only place that tells us to confess our sins so we can receive forgiveness. If we must admit it before we are forgiven, this concept should be repeated throughout the entire New Covenant. 

This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” 2 Corinthians 13:1 NKJV

When we allow the Word to be the complete truth and final authority we can see how some ideas can't hold up to scrutiny. Another truth we must look at is the context of the Epistle. John is not contradictory as an Apostle.

 Look at his words in the second chapter of 1 John. John specifically addresses Christians who have sinned. Why didn't he tell them to admit it? Why didn't he tell them to acknowledge it? Why didn't he tell them to apologize? 

 Doesn't John know if they don't apologize they won't be forgiven? Doesn't John know if they don't admit it their sin will go on being unforgiven? What is John thinking?

 The Apostle John is not contradicting himself. In 1 John 1:9, he points sinners to their admission of sins, so they will see the need for a savior. He points to the acknowledgment of sins so they will receive the Grace of once for all forgiveness. In 1 John 2, John points believers to Jesus and not themselves. He points those who have sinned to Jesus and reminds them of His sacrifice, not theirs. 

 In summation, the facts are clear. 1 John is not teaching believers we must confess in order to receive forgiveness. The second chapter of John proves this. John reminds us of Jesus' sacrifice. He reminds us of our forgiveness in Jesus. We don't confess to be forgiven under the New. 

 When we sin, we confess what Jesus did about our sins. We confess who we are because of Jesus despite our sins. We confess our Righteousness and redemption in Christ when we sin. Because we are forgiven we can freely admit when we have failed and know we are not condemned.  This is the Good News of Grace. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Monday, February 19, 2024

Objection?! Answering objections to the Gospel of Grace

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

 Grace and truth came through Christ. Take note that Grace and Truth are listed together. They are on the same side if you will. Some religious minded say preach Grace but we also need truth. As if Grace isn't speaking the truth. As if Grace opposes truth. 

 If Grace and truth are together, which John 1 clearly demonstrates, then Grace and truth are not opposites. It means that Grace is the truth. That truth is also Grace. They go hand in hand. With this understanding, I want to look at some serious objections some Christian leaders have concerning Grace.

 There may be many objections you have heard previously. On this site, I have spent considerable time answering concerns about the Gospel of Grace. That said I recently came across a concise list of objections to the message of Radical Grace. It was so detailed I felt a detailed response to each objection was warranted. With that let's begin.

 The biggest objection to Radical Grace is the concept of confession of our sins and 1 John 1:9 being written to believers. The Gospel of Grace has revealed that 1 John 1:9 is not to believers but rather to unbelievers. This is a strongly controversial point to some. 

 This objection must be responded to by tackling two questions.  Is 1 John 1 written to Christians or sinners? Is confession of sins (in order to be forgiven of sins) for the believer? Let's answer objection one part one, who is 1 John chapter 1 addressing? 

 Let's look at the first chapter in full context here. Take note of how John the Apostle begins the Epistle. Look how there is no greeting. Every Epistle in the New Covenant begins with a greeting. Even in the Epistle to the Hebrews though it begins with a statement, this statement is clearly addressing those in the Faith. 

 In John's other two Epistles, he specifically addresses the believer with a greeting. Looking at 1 John 2:1, we can see the standard greeting begins here. So why no greeting in the first verse or two of this Epistle? This should make us pause, and ask why there is a deviation from every Epistle in the New Testament. 

 Next, let's look at some of the passages in the first chapter. 

 3. we declare to you that which we have seen and heard, that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things to you so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:3-4 MEV

 Now let me take this passage and highlight some words that indicate who John is addressing. 

 3. we declare to you that which we have seen and heard, that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things to you so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:3-4 (emphasis mine).

  Have you noted the pronouns being used? We (those in Christ) are addressing you (those not in Christ yet), and telling you (those without Christ) about Jesus. If this first chapter is to believers why is John distinguishing himself from the audience? Who are the "we" and who is the "you?"

 I trust you are tracking with me. Tradition is such a powerful force. It creates a stronghold in the minds of believers that can be a struggle to pull down. This stronghold of tradition is so strong it makes the Word of no effect. 

 The Word being of no effect means that even when reading and seeing clear passages presented from God's Word, the clouded mind of tradition cannot see the light of it. Tradition won't allow the person to grasp the truth of the Word. In fact often times it causes them not only to reject it but to aggressively fight against it. 

 If not written to believers who is John addressing? John is addressing the Gnostics who have infiltrated the Church. Understand the Church is in its infancy growth stage when the Scriptures were given. The Scripture must address certain mindsets attitudes and issues that pose a threat and hindrance to the development of the Church. 

 This is exactly what John was doing in writing the Epistle of 1 John. The Gnostics believed flesh was evil and therefore rejected Jesus being a flesh and blood man. This is why John went to great lengths to describe Jesus in the first two verses of this Epistle. John describes perfectly both the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ.

 When we understand that this first chapter is written to the Gnostic lost, the rest of the chapter makes more sense. Verses 5-10 have been a source of condemnation and shame to the Church for generations. Look at them again. The passages seem to suggest we can walk in and out of fellowship with God when we sin.

 This is not what this passage is saying. Think of it this way. Replace the word light with the word morality. If we walk in morality as He is morality we have fellowship with God and the blood cleanses us from sin. Wait, if we are walking morally then why would we need cleansing from sin? We would only need cleansing when we are immoral.

 Yet tradition creates a doctrine from this one passage that says if we sin we have no fellowship with God until we say I am sorry. Is this right? Again, who is this addressing? It is talking to lost Gnostics who think they are in the light because of knowledge. 

 If we think we are in the light because of our doing, and our thinking, then we are deceiving ourselves and actually walking in darkness. This passage is an invitation to accept Christ, to walk in true fellowship with Him, and to receive continual cleansing from the blood. This is not addressing the saints who have sinned.

  In Christ, we are forgiven once for all time. He declared we will never be forsaken or abandoned. He didn't say oh wait, let me add a clause here. You're only unforsaken if you don't commit sin. 

 No, we don't lose fellowship with our Father when we sin. Whenever we do sin, our Good Father draws us closer. He doesn't run from us. He doesn't distance Himself from us. He doesn't disown us. He runs to us and reminds us of who we are in Him. We are the Righteousness of God in Christ. We are forgiven of all our sins. 

 With this truth established of who the audience is, we can know that 1 John 1:9 does not address Christians but unbelievers. If we rightly divide the Word apart from tradition we can clearly see it. If we allow the Scriptures themselves to establish precedence, we can see how this Epistle is distinct. 1 John 1 is not addressing believers it is speaking to the Gnostic lost. 

 In summation, relinquish tradition and embrace truth. If we embrace Grace we embrace truth. Let's not man's understanding lead us astray from this Gospel of Grace. Next time we will address part two of this objection. Must we confess our sins? 




Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

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