Showing posts with label Grace vs. law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grace vs. law. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Redeemed from the…Blessing?


  But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises...
In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:6, 13 NKJV

God speaks of these new promises, of this new agreement, as taking the place of the old one; for the old one is out of date now and has been put aside forever. Hebrews 8:13 TLB

 I have good news to share. The New Covenant has come. God has instituted a new and better Covenant. The Old Covenant has been fulfilled and now is done away. We have a new and living way to God.

 The Gospel of Grace is the Good News of Grace pledged in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. The Work is Finished and the Father has fully accepted the redemptive work of Christ. There is nothing we can add or do to complete the work in our lives. All He asks is that we believe. 

 This is the Good News of Grace. Grace has been revealed with the revelation Paul proclaimed in the Scriptures. Some still can't see the message of Grace. This is why God restores the truth from generation to generation whenever it gets lost through man's tradition. 

 Whenever God restores truth, He raises up teachers to explain the truth. When the truth is proclaimed and explained, it falls upon hearers in different stages of spiritual growth: new, older, and mature believers. Now spiritual immaturity is not necessarily a bad thing, we are still growing.

 Spiritual immaturity can be detrimental however when the immature hear the truth but don't fully understand the truth. Some only hear a portion of the truth and end up in a proverbial ditch. We need to hear the truth but also need to understand it for it to benefit our lives.

 When a spiritually immature person hears just a portion of the truth of Faith or divine healing or Faith's confession, and don't understand it, they make foolish decisions such as quitting their job, refusing medical care, or denying their circumstances mistakenly believing they're acting in Faith. Grace is no different. When the immature hear a portion of Grace they begin to misunderstand Redemption and how to rightly divide the Word of God.

  How does the spiritually immature misunderstand redemption? How do they wrongly divide the Word? They misunderstand what it is we have been redeemed from. They don't understand how to rightly divide the Word, distinguishing between the Old Covenant and New Covenant. 

 We are redeemed from the curse of the Law. We are not under Law but Grace. We are not under the statutes and precepts of the Mosaic Law. We don't approach God the same way they did under the Old. Now religious tradition likes to cite Old Covenant passages about how to receive the blessing of God. The problem is that's the Old Covenant's standard of how to receive. 

 That's not how we receive in the New. Under Grace, we receive from God by Grace through Faith. Under Grace, we rest in Jesus' perfect obedience. We come to the Father based on Christ's perfection, not our own. Our hope and Faith to receive is Faith in His Faith and Finished Work not our own. 

 Understanding Christ met all the requirements on our behalf then we know we are now prequalified for all the blessings and benefits God has promised and provided for us. This begs the question which blessings are we prequalified to receive? Are we only promised what God declared in Acts through Revelation? 

 What about all the promises of provision, peace, protection, and prosperity found in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation? Are we limited to what Peter and Paul and James and John wrote? That is if a promise of provision or blessing is found in the Psalms or Isaiah does that mean it's not for us? Some who misunderstand Grace are teaching that yes they are not for us.

 Has Grace then redeemed us from the curse of the Law and the blessings? Some spiritually immature ones claim that looking at the promises and provisions found in the Old Testament means you are putting yourself back under the Law. This is simply not true. 

 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, not the blessings. Look at David's words in Psalm 35. God takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servant. God derives pleasure when His servants experience nothing missing or lacking in their lives. If God takes pleasure in His servant's prosperity how much more in His beloved sons? Christ's Redemptive work didn't "redeem" us from this blessing! In fact, His work purchased it for us!

 Look at Psalm 91. We see promises of protection and long life. Does this passage mean this is only for those under the Law? Of course not. Under Grace, this provision of protection and long life is more sure because it's purchased by Christ. 

 Look at Isaiah 49. If God our Father won't forget His servants and has them engraved in His palm how much more His children? There are many many promises and provisions and blessings found in the Old Testament. They are not solely for "the Jews." 

 The provisions and blessings of the Old are for us in Christ today. We are not redeemed from them. We aren't placing ourselves under the Mosaic Law by claiming these provisions and promises. We are simply receiving the full salvation package.

 All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correcting, for training · in righteousness, so that the man of God may be proficient, fully equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 MOUNCE

  All the blessings, benefits, provisions, and profits from the Old are now ours through Christ. We are in a better Covenant established on better promises. If the New does not include at least the same level of prosperity, peace and provision as the Old how then is it better? 

 The New has better promises than the Old. One of the better aspects of the New versus the Old is how these promises are made available to us. Under the Old, we had to do, we had to obey perfectly, we had to perform to receive. In the New, Christ has already done enough. Christ has already obeyed flawlessly. He has performed perfectly on our behalf. Our basis for receiving all these blessings is Christ never our behavior, our performance, our good deeds, or charity. 

  In summation, when Christ freed us from the Law, He didn't redeem us from the blessings found in every book of the Bible. Provisions of peace, long life, healing, protection, favor, fullness of joy, and strength are ours in Christ. We have the fullness of life, prosperity, and wholeness, in Christ Jesus. We are not just blessed, we are the commanded blessed because of Jesus!



Image by ariesjay castillo 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