Showing posts with label Grace Vs Law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grace Vs Law. Show all posts

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

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, October 22, 2023

The Vitalness of continually feeding on the Gospel of Grace and the Word of Faith!

 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” This is the word of faith that we preach: that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, Romans 10:8-9 MEV

because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you have already heard in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has in all the world, and brings forth fruit, as it has also in you, since the day you heard it and knew the grace of God in truth. Colossians 1:5-6 MEV

 As New Covenant believers in Jesus Christ, two of the most vital truths we must know and understand are Faith and Grace. The truth of Grace and Faith are two primary factors in living victoriously in this world. We will never grow up into maturity, walk successfully, and overcome if we lack understanding of these two vital truths.

 Someone may say, I think you may be overstating it just a little. I am only agreeing with Paul and John;

  For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17 NASB

 because everyone who has been born of · God conquers the world. And this is the victorious power that has conquered the world—· our faith. 1 John 5:4 MOUNCE

 Okay, there be something to Grace and Faith, you may be saying. Glad to have your attention. The Word is not a list of rituals and rules to follow. It's a love letter from Heaven to us. The Word lets us in on the blueprint for an overcoming life in this fallen world.

 God is our Good Father. He is for us and never against us. He is not withholding anything from His children. He wants us to walk in blessing and victory even more than we desire. He has given us all the things needed to do just that. He is Love, and love gives. We could sum it up, Grace makes, Love gives and Faith takes!

 What is the Gospel of Grace? It is the Good news of God's Grace pledged through Jesus and His complete work of Redemption. It is God Almighty Himself stooping down to become one of us, living among us, and laying upon Himself the sins and iniquities of us all. 

 In His Redemptive work, Jesus became something He never was; sin, separated, and spiritually dead, so we could become something we never were. He exchanged our sins and poverty, and sickness and brokenness, for His forgiveness, His healing, His abundance, and His wholeness. None of this was done because we earned it merited it or worked enough for it. In truth, there is nothing we could ever do to merit this blessing of new life.

 What is the Word of Faith? This is the heart that is fully persuaded in what God has accomplished in and through Christ, and what His Word declared confirming it, is the truth. Faith is being fully persuaded that what God says is the final authority. Faith agrees with God no matter what it looks like, feels like, seems like, or appears like. 

 We could say Faith is having a good opinion of God. Faith is fully persuaded that He is a Good Father. Faith is found in two places. It is in our hearts and in our mouths. The Word of Faith is believing with our hearts and speaking in agreement with God with our mouths.

 Why is it vital then to continually feed on these two important truths? The reason is because one, we live in a fallen and fractured creation and it is not mending itself. Second, in this world, and in the Church there are tradition-rooted mindsets that bombard our minds frequently. They come through messages, conversations with family and fellow Christians, and various media platforms. Lastly, because the enemy is at work still on this planet, and he has not taken a vacation.

 Faith and Grace are not fad messages, or just the in thing in some churches but it's time to move on to the next "thing" or "message." Understanding Faith and Grace are just as vital as it always has been. We still have believers pushing concepts that God looks more at our performance than He is satisfied with Jesus' work. We still have believers wanting the Church to operate from the Old versus living out of the New Covenant exclusively. We still have churches that use condemnation as a tool to guide Christians into "living right."

 We also live in a fallen world where the works of the enemy and the effects of the fall are evident. We see pandemics, plagues, and poverty. We see rising inflation and inept leaders worldwide not making things any easier. Now more than ever our trust needs to be fully in God and nothing else. 

 We will not know how to successfully overcome these obstacles if we are not steadily and consistently feeding on God's Word concerning His Grace and the principles of Faith. In this age of technology, we have more than enough sources to help us in this endeavor. We have media and messages that are still proclaiming Grace and Faith.

 I just don't have time is not a real truth. It is the enemy deceiving. We all take the time to shower. We all take the time to cook. We all take the time to drive to work. In traffic, tune into messages preached on Faith and Grace. Joseph Prince has many of his messages for free on YouTube, as well Bro Kenneth E Hagin's messages are there as well. 

 When you shower, or prepare a meal in your kitchen, pop in a CD or MP3 message and listen while you get ready for work. While you sip on your morning coffee read a devotional or blog post proclaiming Grace and Faith. Bro Hagin has a devotional called Faith Food, and Joseph Prince also has several devotions that will uplift you. 

 In summation don't neglect the hearing and reading the Word. It is not works or performance to feed on God's Word. It is life-giving and life-sustaining not self-effort. Build yourself up on the Word and watch your Faith grow exceedingly as well as your understanding of Grace. 


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Monday, August 28, 2023

Discover Grace: Nothing more to add

God saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace. He gave us this grace in King Jesus before all time and ages, 10 but has now made it visible through the appearing of our saviour King Jesus, who abolished death and, through the gospel, shone a bright light on life and immortality. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 NTE 
 

 Grace. Grace is not just another doctrine of the Christian Faith. Grace is not just a topical study of God's Word. Grace is not just for the sinner to receive Christ and His free gift. 

 Grace is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace is the person of Jesus manifest on earth demonstrating to us the Father and His great Love, mercy, Goodness, and kindness. Grace is the unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor of Almighty God. Once received, this unearned favor produces a divine influence upon the heart and empowers the believer. 

 There is therefore nothing we can add to Grace. We can't add our works to His Grace. It's a Finished Work. It's not an incomplete work waiting on our good behavior to be added in order to fully complete it. No human effort, spiritual discipline, or spiritual observance can add to His perfect sacrifice and gift of Grace. 

 It's not Grace plus something. It is Grace alone from the beginning to eternity. It's not Grace plus Law keeping. It's not Grace plus observing the Sabbath days. It's not Grace plus celebration and observance of Old Covenant feast days. It's Grace alone, through Faith in Jesus' Finished work alone. 

 With such amazing Good News of the Gospel, we still see leaders and ministers encourage, teach, proclaim, and demand that New Covenant believers keep the Law, observe the Sabbath, and celebrate the feast days. It's as if some have completely ignored Romans, Galatians, Colossians, and the Book Of Acts to proclaim this. It's as if the meeting in Acts 15 never occurred. 

 Some are claiming there is some special spiritual significance for Christians to observe Jewish customs today, post-cross and resurrection. Some claim that Christians, in order to have a better understanding of their Faith, need to get back to the Jewish roots of the Faith. Some teach that the Sabbath and the festivals and feasts are to be celebrated forever, therefore they are required to be observed by both Jews and believers in Christ alike. 

 This is nothing new. We saw this clearly addressed in Acts 15. This issue was settled back there. Why are we still discussing and having to address this today? Understand the New Covenant is rooted in Grace and Faith, whereas the Old is rooted in outward acts of obedience to the Law and observing all its ordinances. 

 Those looking to keep Sabbath days and Celebrate the feast days are walking by sight and not faith. They are saying the shadow is more real and relevant than the substance which is Christ and His Finished Work. That the shadow offers more Revelation and in-depth intimacy than the substance who is Jesus. 

 

 They say they are just honoring Israel and the Old Covenant words. If they want to show honor then honor God's New Covenant, which is a Covenant of faith, not sight. To embrace shadows and not the substance is to walk in unbelief. 


 Under the Old, you could "see" your righteousness by how you kept the holy days, honored the Sabbath, and abstained from forbidden foods. It is not a light thing to God to try to mix the Covenants and to teach the Saints that keeping or honoring or observing holy days, feasts, manners, and customs is honoring God and His Word when the substance has already appeared and fulfilled all the shadows by His redemptive Work. We are to honor the Finished Work and His New Covenant and keep it free from mixture and error. 


 Now what does the New Covenant declare about keeping the Sabbath and observing and celebrating the holy days and feast days?


10 You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days months or seasons or years. Galatians 4:10 NLT

16 So don’t let anyone criticize you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating Jewish holidays and feasts or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths.  17 For these were only temporary rules that ended when Christ came. They were only shadows of the real thing—of Christ himself. Colossians 2:16-17 TLB

 Grace is unearned favor. Outward acts such as keeping the Sabbath observing special days, and celebrating the Israeli feasts are a fleshly attempt to earn favor with God. It is telling God we are righteous by our doing and not by Faith alone in Christ's final sacrifice for sin. 

 If we are celebrating the feasts, we have fallen from Grace. The feasts were instituted by the Father to illustrate the perfect work of our Savior Jesus Christ. Those feasts revealed the coming Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Those feasts illustrate the life, death, perfect sacrifice, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His triumphant return. 

 If we still celebrate these feasts, then we are still looking for a Jewish Messiah to come. We are saying He has yet to come, we are also saying He has never come. Therefore in actively celebrating the feasts, we are denying Jesus as the Messiah.  If one is observing and celebrating these feasts today, they are denying Jesus and saying they do not believe in Him as being the Anointed One, the Son of God and Son of Man. 

Look clearly at Leviticus 23. We can see Jesus in these feasts. Because Jesus fulfilled these types and shadows why do we need to go backward and celebrate them? These Feasts were but shadows of He who was to come. Now that He has come, we have the substance and no longer need the shadows and types. 

 Again to observe and celebrate the feasts and keep the Sabbath today, we are saying the shadows are greater than the substance, Jesus. We are also saying we are still waiting on divine rest and the completion of the Work. We are saying the Messiah has never come yet and we are still looking for our substitutionary sacrifice to be made. We are denying Jesus and embracing an obsolete ordinance and Covenant. 

Now some of these who push for the Church to go back to Judaism try to misapply some New Covenant passages to justify their error. These Judaizers want to put the Church back under the yoke of the Law and blend the Old and New Covenant. For further study and a detailed response to the objections raised by these Judaizers and legalists see this post here

 In summation, let's celebrate Jesus. Let's give honor to the New Covenant. Let's give high praise and honor to the Finished Work of Christ. Let's not embrace dead works and deny Jesus as Savior and Lord. Let's discover Grace more and more. 


Image by Alessandro Macis from Pixabay

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Discover Grace: No More Sacrifices Needed

God saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace. He gave us this grace in King Jesus before all time and ages, 10 but has now made it visible through the appearing of our saviour King Jesus, who abolished death and, through the gospel, shone a bright light on life and immortality. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 NTE 

 God is such a Good Father. The more we see the Father and look at the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ,  we discover Grace more and more. Grace isn't just a message of hope and healing and happiness. Grace is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 Grace reveals a Savior greater than our sins. Grace reveals forgiveness that is eternal and isn't obtained through apologies or our words, but rather only through the shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace reveals how forgiven we are.

 Grace is what our focus should be. Our focus shouldn't be on our flaws and faults and failures. The only way to overcome failure and walk in victory over sins and habits is to realize and understand and comprehend the depth of His Love, His Grace, and how cleansed and forgiven we are through the Blood of Jesus, His death on the Cross and Him bearing all the judgment for our sins forever.

 When we mention sin, apparently in the thinking of believers and ministers it appears to be some majestic mountain that not even God can climb or remove. To many, sins can halt, hinder and hold back our Father's Love for us. That the moment we sin we are dead to God and alive to satan and destined to eternity in hell. 

 Why is this? We can see how the New Covenant speaks of sin. Look at Romans 6 and Ephesians 4 and 5. Sin is not something we celebrate. We don't make light of its effects on our lives and on those around us. We can see where there is a loss of heavenly rewards for perpetuating sinful lifestyles. We can see that sin can put us in bondage to bad habits and such. 

 Yet nowhere did it state a loss of God's Love, mercy, favor, or Grace in and on our lives. One quick point. Much of what people focus on when it comes to "sinning" is the "R-rated" stuff. Sex outside marriage, pornography, adultery, cussing, R-rated movies, and TV shows, and secular music. 

 What I see little of is the way we treat others. The bitterness we hold inwardly toward others. The way we behave in traffic, the way we work at our jobs. Such as coming in late and leaving early, which can be stealing time from the company. My point is, if sins hinder all of God's Goodness in our life, what about the "little things?"

 Grace, the Gospel isn't saying sin all you like it's cool. Grace isn't winking, saying boys will be boys it's not that serious. Grace isn't saying let's pursue sin because there are no lasting consequences. 

 That said, we must not also go to the other side of the road and believe and teach that sin is greater than His Grace and Love. That sin is some great barrier between the believer and Christ. That sin makes God turn away from us. 

 Often we as believers as soon as we sin feel a need or urge to make up for our sins. Why is this? Because we are not fully persuaded and deeply convinced that all our sins are completely forgiven and the price totally paid in full. 

   And after everything is forgiven, there is no more need for a sacrifice to pay for sins. Hebrews 10:18 ERV

 This is a powerful clause of the New Covenant. Everything is already paid for. Therefore since it is paid in full what else is there to pay? What is it you can offer as payment?

 This powerful, awe-inspiring, majestic merciful loving sacrifice of Jesus' shed Blood is enough. Jesus is enough. His Blood is enough. God has accepted this final once for all payment.

 There is nothing we can do to make up for our sins. There is no price we can pay to cover our failures or mistakes. There is no sacrifice we can make that will pay for our sinful habits or deeds. We must fully accept and receive this absolutely free gift of God's Grace.

 As the Body of Christ, we need to fully honor and embrace the perfect sacrifice of Jesus as being enough. We as believers need to cease from our own works trying to make up for our failures and freely accept Jesus' payment for our faults and failures. Jesus is more than enough.

  Honor the Finished Work. Exalt the mighty name of Jesus. Give thanks for His final sacrifice. Be thankful His shed Blood is enough. Uplift the once for all payment for all the sins we have committed or will commit. Stand in awe of this lavish gift of forever forgiveness and complete cleansing from all sins. It's all because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ.

 In summation, discover His Grace more and more. Discover this Loving Father and amazing Savior. See the work of Jesus as final and finished. See all the sins of all of us cleansed and forgiven forever. Discover Grace, the Lord Jesus Christ.


Image by bohed from Pixabay

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Discover Grace: Focusing on Grace


  God saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace. He gave us this grace in King Jesus before all time and ages, 10 but has now made it visible through the appearing of our saviour King Jesus, who abolished death and, through the gospel, shone a bright light on life and immortality. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 NTE 

Grace, God's Grace, is not just a doctrine or a minor aspect of the Faith. Grace is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace is the person of Christ manifest on earth. Grace is never earned, merited, or deserved. It's all about Jesus.

 Grace reveals Jesus and keeps Him as the central theme and figure for all we do in God's name. Grace reveals that we need not confess our flaws and failures in order to receive forgiveness for our sins. Grace reveals our sins are completely forgiven.

  What are we focusing on in light of this perfect redemption and the price wholly paid for our total forgiveness? Are we still focusing on our failures and flaws and sins? Or are we focusing on the Grace of Christ?

 Do we still have a sin consciousness or a Righteousness consciousness? Do we have a Grace awareness? Or are we more mindful of our sins and misdeeds? 

 In light of the perfectly purchased redemption Christ died and rose again for, and the Grace of God revealed in Jesus, are our sins actually hindering and creating a barrier between us and God? Does our sin cause the blessing of God not to flow in our lives? Does sin stop the rain of God's Goodness and favor and abundance?

 The truthful answer according to the New Covenant is no. We must agree with what Jesus actually accomplished. We must honor His Finished Work. We must align with the revealed Word of God.

 Sin is not a barrier between the believer and the Father. Sin is not blocking the blessing from manifesting in our lives. Sin is not hindering our prayers nor is it stopping the rain of the free favors of God. Why? Because Jesus' offered a perfect sacrifice for our sins. Why? Because Jesus perfectly procured and purchased our eternal redemption and forgiveness through His sinless, spotless Blood.

 Look at the New Covenant in its fullness. In light of all Jesus has done and the Father's acceptance of Jesus' once for all sacrifice for all time, how can we now claim our sins are greater than Jesus' Finished Work? Our sins and shortcoming hinder the flow of what only the Blood could pay for? In essence, Jesus' Blood could provide salvation regardless of our sins, but anything else; joy, peace, answered prayer, healing, provision, and protection all are only procured by our good behavior. This is wrong believing and thinking, the Blood is greater than our sins. 

 But exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13 MEV

  Now this passage seems to indicate everything I just said is incorrect. Let's take a closer look. Look at the context fully.

 This passage is dealing with the hardness that comes from rejecting God which produces even more unbelief. This passage is not instructing us that our personal sins cause the promises of God to be kept from us. This passage is dealing with stubborn, hard-hearted, unbelief in those who hear the Gospel of Grace, the Good News of Jesus but reject it for their own sense of goodness and what's right and wrong. 

 Jesus and His perfect redemptive work have fully procured every promise, every blessing, and every good thing the Father has for us by His Blood. Let's honor the New Covenant. Our sins are forgiven forever. He said He would never remember our sins again. He said our sins are no longer imputed, or charged to our account. Jesus is enough.

 Now we don't rejoice in sin. Sin is not God's best for us. Sin can put us back into bondage, or service to habits or thoughts, or addictions. Like the master ringing a bell, and the servant dutifully reporting, sin can become a "master" if we allow it to dictate our thinking and believing.

 In summation, Jesus is more than enough. His Blood is more than enough. Grace is an ocean and we are overcome with His kindness and free favors. The blessings are ours, always through Jesus alone. Let's focus on Grace and not our works. 


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Discover Grace: Forgiven of all our sins


 God saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace. He gave us this grace in King Jesus before all time and ages, 10 but has now made it visible through the appearing of our saviour King Jesus, who abolished death and, through the gospel, shone a bright light on life and immortality. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 NTE 

 We are on a continued journey of discovering Grace. Looking at the Grace of God and its effects on our lives. We are examining all aspects of the Father's extravagant Love and Grace. 

 Grace is the person of Jesus manifest on earth. Grace is the unearned, undeserved, and unmerited favor of Father God. Grace reveals our forgiveness in Christ. 

 Today, I want to continue examining further our complete forgiveness in Christ. We had asked some questions concerning sin in our last study. We answered what must we do if we sin. We asked and answered if it was required to confess our sins in order to receive forgiveness. You can find this study here.

 We also asked how much are we forgiven of and do we lose fellowship with our Father if we sin. Let me briefly answer the loss of fellowship question. If we stay with Scripture we will see this notion of lost fellowship is not substantiated by the Word.

 We have already seen how 1 John chapter 1 was addressing the lost gnostics and not believers in Jesus. The notion of confession of sins finds its roots in this chapter. What you won’t find is this confess your sins and be forgiven repeated anywhere else in the New. So it also is with this concept of broken fellowship when we sin.

  Now if we sin we may see natural consequences as a direct response. Tell a lie to someone and the truth may come back and reveal your lie. That's a consequence, that's not God punishing you. Remember Jesus said He is always with us. He didn't add a clause saying the only exception is if you sin. 

 The idea we break fellowship with our Father when we sin is simply a misunderstood and misapplied scripture turning into a tradition and thus into some new doctrine. Grace is greater than our failures. God isn't turning His back on us. Here are some more detailed studies answering this question about broken fellowship, here and here

 Just how forgiven are we in Christ? Maybe you've heard only to the point of conversion. That your sins were forgiven only up to the point of conversion, of accepting Christ as Savior. Is this true?

 The issue this raises is what happens when you sin after receiving Christ? What must you do to receive forgiveness? The same ones saying this would claim you must confess it in order to be forgiven. 

 We have already addressed this issue about confession. Only the shedding of blood forgives sin. Does Jesus need to shed His Blood over and over and over to bring us forgiveness? This is of course an unreasonable idea. Jesus' once for all sacrifice for sins was enough.

 In light of Jesus' perfect work of Redemption, His once for all sacrifice for sin, and the Father's acceptance of this final offering for sin, we are forgiven of all our sins. Not just the sins we have committed up to the point of conversion, but all our sins. We are forgiven of all our sins. We are forgiven past and present and future.

 One may say that can't be possible. That's saying we are forgiven of sins we haven't even committed yet. Let's look at what the Bible actually says;

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

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

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

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


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

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

  The Scripture is clear. We are forgiven. We are forgiven forever. Take note of how often the word all is used in conjunction with our sins. 

 All means all. All our sins past and present and future are forgiven in Jesus. Rejoice this is the Good News of Grace. 

 What about that passage in 2 Peter that mentions only past sins forgiven? What about James 5 saying sins will be forgiven us? Glad this concern was raised. Let's answer with the Word.

 We can see 2 Peter 1 here. The wording here from the Greek word some translated past is actually better stated as former. This is Peter simply reminding the believer they are a New Creation in Christ. The old has passed away and the New has come. 

 Not considering your new nature is what Peter was warning about. He was not claiming we are only forgiven for our sins up to conversion. Peter wasn't contradicting the Scripture. What about James?

 James 5, deals with an order of gathering and offering prayers one for another. While a surface reading of the passage could give credence that we aren't forgiven of all sins, we know Scripture cannot and does not contradict other Scripture. Whatever God was conveying in this passage we know what it can't mean. 

 The forgiveness of sins is in relation to prayers offered for healing the sick. Based on the context it can be simply seen as a sin that may have the consequence of sickness, (not claiming sickness is the result of sin), such as smoking or some poor choice, because the next passage refers to confessing our faults to other believers to find wholeness. 

 Whatever the purpose the passage isn't offering a doctrinal stance that forgiveness isn't once for all time. We can't take obscure passages and create doctrines all the while ignoring clear, plain Scripture.

 In summation, we have discovered the Good News of Grace. We are forgiven of all our sins in Christ. Christ's perfect redemptive work, the Father's acceptance of the final offering for sin by Jesus, and the Word of God make it clear, we are forgiven of all our sins, past present, and future.