Showing posts with label Lordship Salvation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lordship Salvation. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Grace, Foolishness, or Legalism: Is Grace and Faith enough?

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

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

 A life lived under Grace brings celebration, joy, and peace that supersedes natural expectations. Under Grace, we have confidence in our approach to God and a permanent sense of acceptance and approval from Him. The victorious Christian life is only realized by Grace alone through Faith alone.

 This is why it's important to have a working knowledge of Grace and Faith in our personal lives. The enemy likes to sow the seeds of legalism and foolish pseudo-grace in our thinking in an attempt to derail us off the Righteous path of the triumphant victorious life in Christ. This is why we've been examining Grace and foolishness and legalism in recent weeks.

 In our last study, we answered the question of what it means to be saved. Today, it seems good to continue along the same line and ask what must we do to be saved? This is an age-old question. Legalistic religion and tradition and pseudo-grace offer their answer but how does Grace respond?

 Again citing our last study, we can see that this question is moot for the foolish because they believe all are already saved regardless of personal Faith. Again, Paul and the other Apostles dismantle this foolish thinking. Jesus, Himself proves pseudo-grace foolishness is in error as well

 Legalism on the other hand, through mixture, brings much confusion to the Church on this subject. The simple question, what must I do to be saved has a simple answer. Yet legalism makes the simple complex, convoluted and complicated. 

 Legalism teaches that one must make a commitment to God in order to be saved. In other words, it's not about trusting God's promise, it's about us making a promise to Him. Legalism says we must promise or commit to God to live a life of complete obedience and submission. If you didn't commit to Him, are you really saved?

 Legalism claims we must repent in order to be saved. Repentance according to legalists is a change of direction, a cease and desist of any and all actions contrary to God, a sorrowful realization of one's faults, failures, and flaws. If you haven't repented are you really saved? 

 Legalism appeals to people regardless if they consciously agree with all they claim or not. The reason it appeals is because it always makes room for something for us to do. Natural human nature seeks to boast in what has done. Look how I did this noble act or performed this kind deed is something many of us have boasted about at some point in our life.

 Salvation is by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone. There is no boasting in human effort. There are no requirements to meet. There are no checklists to complete. It's simply trusting in Jesus alone and nothing else.

 It's not trusting Jesus plus our commitments or change of behavior. It's not trusting in Jesus plus our pledge to live pure. Jesus plus something always equals nothing, but Jesus plus nothing equals everything!

 Allow Grace to give the simple answer to the question what must one do to be saved? Paul the Apostle of Grace was asked this very question. What was his response? The Holy Spirit through Paul answered this way;

  30 He then led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you and your household will be saved.” Acts 16:30-31 MEV

 Grace answers the simple question with a simple answer. Simply believe. The Spirit through Paul didn't respond with believe, plus stop all your sinning and ungodly habits and pledge to never do them again. The Spirit through Paul didn't respond with, nothing, you don't have to do anything you're already saved or will be after you die, didn't you know? 

 Grace has the best response. Believe in Jesus and receive salvation. It's that simple. No matter how far in sin you feel simply believe/trust in Christ alone and you will be saved. It is that simple.

 In summation, let's ask again. What must we do to be saved? Simply believe in Jesus. Trust in Christ alone and you will be saved. Grace is the Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ! 


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Is His Grace enough?


For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 MOUNCE 

For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore no one should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 CJB

I would like to ask an honest question concerning the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and salvation. Is Grace truly enough? Is Trust in Christ alone sufficient? Is there something else we must do?

 There is within the Body of Christ, various believers who adamantly oppose the idea that salvation is received simply by trusting in Christ alone. That Salvation is not just by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone. Rather than this, salvation is really about change. Changing one's ways, their actions, continually acknowledging they are a sinner, and persevering in a life free of sin, enduring till the end. This doctrine has been called reformed theology.

 Not to be disparaging or derogatory, but I would agree it is reforming. It has reformed the Gospel from the Gospel of Grace to a gospel of works and performance. After hearing some comments and commentaries of the proponents of this message I was truly astonished by their theological views. They put much emphasis on the sovereignty of God and very little on God's Love, mercy, compassion, and His great Grace.

 Religion does its best to find ways to disqualify and declare ineligible God's people, and the lost looking for help and hope in a fallen world. Whereas Grace has approved all to receive by simply believing, religion disapproves all until they meet certain requirements, stipulations, and requisites. Religion gives you a thumbs down, but God's Grace and love give you a thumbs up.

 This reformed ideology is where Lordship salvation was birthed. The idea is that what one must do to be saved is to not only believe but also repent for all their sins, not merely apologizing for them, but turning away from all sin completely. If one still has desires for sin then this proves they were never "converted" or saved. Even if one were to live a moral life for several years but later fall into sin, this proves they were never saved, never making Jesus Lord of their life. 

 Where is mercy in this theology? Where is God's Love in this kind of thinking? Where is God's Grace to be found in any of this teaching? When Peter denied Christ, did that mean he never believed in Jesus as the Messiah? Of course not.

 This works and performance gospel, believes there are millions of professing Christians who will die and end up in hell, lost and separated forever. Not only are they dismissing Grace, but they are also promoting doom and gloom messaging. They are presenting The Father as a wrathful angry God to all. God was angry at injustice and the pain and suffering sin caused, so He did something about it, He sent His Son to suffer all the pain, punishment, and judgment of sin. 

 Religion is rooted in the sensory realm. It is mankind attempting to relate to, and understand God based on intellect, reason, and the senses. Just as traditional religion rejects the supernatural, signs and wonders, divine healing and provision, and the Gifts of the Spirit in operation today because of intellectual reasoning, they also reject the Grace and mercy towards the fallen by reasoning Grace doesn't allow for long term mistakes, misdeeds, or immorality.

 Is His Grace enough? Is His Grace enough to be saved when we simply believe? Is His Grace enough even when we fail, falter, foul-up, or just plain sin? What else must we do to be saved? What can we do if we have failed or fallen? 

 When we are serving the austere taskmaster instead of the Father,  there isn't much hope. We will continually beat ourselves up, walk-in condemnation, and try to earn the attention and affection of God. When we through reason, intellect, and what we sense, try to understand and relate to God we will always feel distant, and displeasing to God.

 The root of this false gospel is self-righteousness and pride. Reformed theology is basically Calvinistic. Calvinism teaches that God sovereignly chooses who will be saved and who will be lost, that He ordains some to salvation and some to eternal separation. The proponents of this false gospel believe they were the chosen, therefore pride and arrogance swell within their minds, intellect, and emotions.    

 All the while they are passing judgment on the salvation of others, none of the accusations and condemnation they hurl at others ever comes their way. This is how this false gospel spreads among the proponents of reformed theology. If they believe they are the chosen, they then can pass condemnation and judgment on others freely.

 Again, I ask, is His Grace enough? The answer is a resounding yes! Grace wrecks this false gospel. Grace reveals we are all unworthy apart from Christ. Grace reveals that it is His Grace from start to finish. We trust in this Grace, we boast in His Love for us, never our works or performance or even our behavior. We trust in His Goodness and Love alone.

 Salvation is simply trusting in Christ alone. This New Covenant reveals what we must do to be saved. Jesus and Paul the Apostle layout how simple salvation really is

 He then led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you and your household will be saved. Acts 16:30-31 MEV 

 Paul let us know just how simple salvation is. Paul didn't say believe, and change your behavior, your thinking, promise to do better, commit every single aspect of your life and you just might be saved. He simply said believe. 

 The Gospel is Good News! The Gospel is the Grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ. The Gospel reveals God isn't mad at anyone. The Gospel reveals how much God loves you. The Gospel reveals how much He loves me. The Gospel heralds the acceptance and approval God has made available to whosoever will receive it. 

 Grace is enough. God doesn't ask that we get our act together. God doesn't give us a timetable to meet His standards. He doesn't put us on a probationary status. His Grace is sufficient. 

 God is a loving Father who sought a family. He sowed His Son and reaped a family. He gave us His best because of His great love toward us. We can't earn our place in His family, or kingdom. We can't do enough to qualify. We can't perform well enough to earn our keep. All He asks is that we believe. 

 In summation, man is looking to earn their keep. To prove they were worth saving. God is simply wanting us to enjoy this eternal life He paid such a high price for. God wants everyone to know and experience His Love. For all those who responded God wants you to know God isn't mad at you. God is pleased with you. God wants your highest and best. Your His beloved, the one in whom Jesus loves. Receive the true Gospel, the Gospel of Grace, accept no substitute. In Him, you're greatly blessed, highly favored, and deeply loved. 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Receiving Righteousness: Freely received or Earned and Achieved?

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

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

We have been in an extended study of Righteousness. We are focusing extensively on receiving of the Gift of Righteousness. It is not enough to know you have been made Righteous we must also receive of that gift in every area of our lives to see the full benefits.

 We have seen how Righteousness blesses and strengthens relationships, how Righteousness covers our faults and failures. We have seen the healing power in God's gift of Righteousness.

 Today, it seems good to examine a major truth we touched on in our last study. When it comes to healing or any other promise, often people tend to focus on their works, their doings and not on Jesus' perfect work and once-for-all-time sacrifice. They aren't seeing the finality of the Cross, but merely the beginning of the work. They see the Cross as the downpayment and their actions, performance, and efforts as the continued payments needed to appropriate all God has for them.
 The Cross is a Finished Work. It is final, once for all time. Jesus said it is finished, not, to be continued. The finality of the Cross is what the writer of Hebrews rejoiced over. With Christ's once for all sacrifice there can be no other sacrifice offered. Therefore our works, our performance, our attempts to earn or achieve the blessing, are unaccepted currency.

  So to understand the finality of the Cross, we must first ask the most important question in the universe next to the question of who do you say Jesus is. What must I do to be saved? This seems so basic, so elementary yet it is the foundation of our entire relationship with God. 

 Let's allow Paul to answer this question.

He then led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you and your household will be saved.” Acts 16:30-31 MEV

 What must we do to be saved? Believe. We simply must believe. Any response other than only believe is in serious error and opens the door to all types of burdensome toil in relating to God. 

 There are those who hold to the idea that only believing makes the Gospel too easy. That believing is not enough. You have to promise God you will quit being bad and will start being good. You have to promise God you will give up all your bad habits right away. If you don't then you really aren't saved.

 If salvation must be earned in some way shape or form then all the promises of God must be received in the same manner. What must we do to be saved? Believe. Paul said to believe. Paul didn't say believe but also stop smoking, stop gambling, stop your cussing. Behavior change happens from the inside out, not by our outward efforts and works.

 Still, some acknowledge salvation is by Faith alone but put stipulations and clauses on receiving all the other promises of God. They will quickly agree we are saved by believing in Jesus but healing or provision? Better earn it, better get busy achieving it, activate the promise by your actions, your doing, your efforts.

 They will use phrases like you need to position yourself to receive it. Answered prayer, God's provision, healing, favor, blessing? You have to live exemplary lives, free from all sin, no strife or unforgiveness allowed, and then and only then will you possibly receive. Salvation is freely received by believing but everything else is on a wage and earning system?

 If salvation is only received by Grace through Faith then so are all the other promises and provision of God. We aren't Righteous by works or any other thing we have done. We are Righteous by what Christ has done. In the same manner, we are only healed, prospered, blessed, favored, and protected by what Christ has done not by what we have done.

 Look at provision. Paul declared a powerful truth in 2 Corinthians 8. he revealed the Grace of Jesus who through His poverty we might be increased. Christ bore the curse of poverty on the Cross. So what brings the increase? Our doing or was it Jesus' Grace and His becoming poor so we could be blessed?

 Listen, I am not suggesting all believers are promised that they will be millionaires but I am sharing what Jesus provided on the Cross. How could imperfect humanity dare ask a thrice Holy God to provide for their needs? It's because of Jesus' work. The Cross made it possible to receive provision and blessing in this life.

 The Cross provided the wholeness we all need. The Finished Work provided salvation, Righteousness, healing, provision, deliverance, protection, and direct access to the Father. It is Jesus' work that has achieved this not our works. It's by His stripes we are healed, not our efforts. It's by His becoming poor that we have divine provision, not any action on our part. 

 On that Cross, Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law. Christ's perfect work of redemption perfectly purchased our complete wholeness. We are redeemed through His work. So if the work of the Cross is only appropriated by simply believing then why add stipulations to receive the other aspects of redemption, that is, healing, protection, or provision? 

 In summation, the work of the Cross is only realized and received by Grace through Faith. Therefore, your healing, your provision, your protection, your favor, your wholeness is received by simply believing. 

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 8:10 MEV

 Freely we have received. That word freely Jesus uses here is the Greek word meaning undeserved. We have received because of Jesus' goodness not our own. So in times of need, look not at your performance, your efforts or achievements, or even your giving. Look only at Jesus' perfect work, put your whole trust and Faith in that alone and freely receive all He has freely provided. 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Monday, February 8, 2021

Sin, Grace, and our Liberty in Christ Jesus


For freedom Christ freed us. Stand fast therefore and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 MEV

 We've concluded a series answering the question, what are the laws God has written on our hearts. In the last post of that series, I touched on a controversial topic. Freedom and sin. 

 Today, I sense the impression to continue examining this subject more closely. With a topic so sensitive and controversial it is important to give it the proper attention so as not to lead anyone astray. So is it ok to sin, knowing we are forever forgiven? are we free to sin? Is it even possible to sin under this New Covenant? We will fully answer these questions in depth. 

 First, is it possible to sin under this New Covenant? Some reason that since sin can be defined as transgression of the Law, and the Law having been fulfilled in Christ, therefore there can be no sin. That is a foolish and ignorant assumption. This is the result of a lack of understanding and study of all the New Covenant Scripture. 

 Paul defines sin this way in Romans. James defines sin this way in James 4. John defines it this way in 1 John. So we see, wrongdoing, knowing to do good but refusing to, and doing something apart from Faith are all defined as sin. The Greek word for sin is hamartia. It simply means to miss the mark. What is the mark? God's perfect standard. Since He is Love it may be defined as missing that mark of perfect love, love toward ourselves or others. 

 So can we sin under the New? What does Paul say in Romans 6? How can Paul admonish us not to let sin reign in our bodies if it is impossible to sin under the New? Don't follow foolishness, we can sin under the New.

 Having then established the truth that we can in fact sin under the New, let's dig deeper and answer these hard questions, is it ok to sin, and are we free to sin? Is it ok to sin? To answer this, we must really ask what do you mean by ok? 

 Having it be ok to sin would mean that there would be zero consequences or repercussions for sinning. We only have to read a newspaper or watch television news to know that is not true. People robbing a bank go to jail. 

 Yet when you answer the question are we free to sin it seems there is a contradiction. If I answer we are free to sin, then it appears as if I am saying it is ok to sin. Nothing can be further from the truth. Why?

 Having the freedom to do something doesn't necessarily mean it is an encouragement to do so. In America, we have the freedom of speech. Does that mean the founders were encouraging me years and years ago to go curse my neighbor with my words? That's absurd, of course not. 

 So it is with the liberty and freedom we have in Christ. 

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things edify. 1 Corinthians 10:23 MEV

 Are we free to sin? Does Grace give us the freedom to sin? The hard answer is yes. Don't stop there though. Though you are free to sin, you are also free to reap the full consequences of that sin. 

 I liken this freedom to a flame. It's like a lighter, a match, or a torch in our hands. With this flame, we can provide warmth to someone by lighting a fire. We can cook someone's food to bring nourishment to them. We can use this flame to light the path so that others won't stumble. It's up to us.

 We can also use this same flame, to burn their house down, of course injuring ourselves in the process. We could take this flame and lead someone down the wrong path, getting lost ourselves. We could take this flame and start a forest fire thus hurting many others including ourselves. The freedom of choice is ours, in essence, we are dangerously free. 

 Why does Grace give us this dangerous freedom? Because God looks upon our hearts and our thinking. He desires above all else sincerity. Look at Paul's prayer here.

 God looks for sincere hearts. Not mere rule-keeping hearts. A heart motivated only to keep the rules, observe the regulations, and obey the laws, is not a heart moved by love. It is a heart moved only by the rules. If the rules change, then one's actions will surely change. A heart motivated by love is only moved by love. No matter the rules or laws, love will always be the guide, and that is the heart of Grace and Righteousness.

 So can we sin under Grace? Yes. Is it ok to sin? It is if you are ok with negative consequences, harming yourself and hurting others. Obviously then it isn't ok to sin. Are we free to sin? Yes, God looks for sincerity. 

 Why do we sin? Because we want to. We have allowed an unrighteous desire to reside in our thoughts and we look for ways to act on this desire. The enemy can't make us sin.

 Now if we do sin, is that it? Are we out? Are we done for? Are we going to experience eternal damnation? 

 I've heard preachers declare if they were sinning the moment Christ returns they'd be going to hell for all eternity. They truly make light of Grace and magnify sin's power over God's Love.

 When speaking of sin we must always be reminded of the eternal security of the Believer in Christ. Why? Because we have all sinned and missed the mark. Secondly, as soon as we sin or are reminded of our faults, flaws, and failures, the enemy is quick to move in with accusation and condemnation. Why? So you will draw back from God's Love and Grace and stay in the place of shame.

 Let the Words of Jesus be a refreshing stream to your soul.

“Truly, truly I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24 MEV

No matter your sin, no matter how often you've sinned, no matter when you sinned, you will never come into condemnation. Jesus bore all the pain, the shame, and punishment for all our sins once for all time. Jesus' Blood was enough, God isn't going to hold you accountable for the same sins Jesus paid for. We are eternally secure in Him.

 Again, this freedom isn't an encouragement to sin. Sin will cost more than you want to pay. Sin will take you further than you want to go. Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay. Thank God under Grace we aren't under the dominion of sin.

 In summation, rejoice in the freedom we have in Christ. Rest in the eternal security His Finished Work procured for all those who believe. Enjoy the power and dominion we have in Christ over sin and the works of the enemy. We are free in Him, forever free. 

Image by Briam Cute from Pixabay 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Still Another Mistaken Idea: The Remnant Church

  13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:12 NKJV

    In our last study, we debunked yet another mistaken idea perpetuated onto the Body of Christ, that Luke 6:38 is referencing finances. It seemed good this week to continue addressing these mistaken ideas. Mistaken ideas about God, what His Word says, and how He sees us, brings much error and wrong thinking in the minds of believers the whole world wide. 

 Today, I want to address the mistaken idea of the remnant church. In Spirit-filled, Charismatic, Pentecostal, "prophetic", spiritual warfare centered, end time focused, churches, and ministries the phrase remnant church is spoken of often. I heard it often when I was in Bible College. 

 The idea expressed is that there are a select group of Christians, who in the last days as Jesus returns, are found to be the most faithful. The truest of believers. The most sincere, the most obedient, the most spiritual. Those who've "kept all the commandments" and honor God most by their living. 

 The preacher would shout it from the stage. God has always had a people within a nation. A family within a family. A Church within the Church! These were the most committed of believers. Those proclaiming this idea generally were certain they were part of this "remnant church." As for the rest of us, they weren't so sure. 

 This begs the question, so what must one do to be more accepted and favorable to God? What must one do to find God more approving? What must one do to find God treat them differently, or look upon them more fondly? What must one do to be a part of these more special believers?

 This teaching also begs the question, is accepting and believing in Christ no longer enough? After we believed, it's still not enough? We need to do more to be found in the more accepted group?

Heaven has no VIP Lounge

 In our human experience, that is, as long as mankind has been on Earth, there have always been sects and cliques and VIPs. It's in our thinking. Night clubs, fraternities, sororities, parties all have some type of measuring line they use of who gets in or doesn't. The Good News of Jesus has a different measuring line.

 The Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ measuring line is whosoever will may come. The "cool", the popular, the rich, the affluent, the poor, the downtrodden, the hopeless, the "loser", the "dork", the "nerd", the "geek", the unpopular, the tall, the fat, the thin, the pretty, the ugly, no matter what list you create, all are welcome with open arms to the Father's house! Whosoever may come. You are a whosoever.

 Heaven has no VIP Lounge. God doesn't have any popular kids and unpopular. He will always pick you for His team. Even better, He picks you first! He saw you and chose you. He gave His own Son for you. All who believe and receive the free gift of Grace, are VIPs to God.

 This idea that there is a more special class of believers has already been debunked by Jesus Himself. The mother of James and John petitioned Jesus for the privilege of sitting on His right and left when He came to His kingdom. This was a status position in the eyes of men. Jesus said the one who serves is the most honorable. 

 They asked who is the greatest in the kingdom? Jesus answered saying, become like this child. A child cannot fend for themselves. They are dependant on their parents for sustenance, shelter and provision and protection. Interesting, that Jesus showed them that becoming dependant on God apart from their own doing is what made them great. Jesus is showing us that Grace is great, not ourselves or our performance.

 There are a couple places where the word remnant is found in the New Testament. All the word remnant means is a part of the whole. It doesn't mean special ones. In Romans 9, Paul is speaking of the physical deliverance of Israel

 In Romans 11, Paul addresses the part of the whole of Israel who has accepted their Messiah. What is amazing, is in the context of this mention of a remnant, is the Bible definition of Grace. 
 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. Romans 11:6 NKJV

 God looks upon us with Love and goodness. His Goodness. He beams with pride when He sees us, His Church. He has made us accepted into the Beloved. We need to embrace this light. The light of how God truly sees us and rejoices over us. He has made us Righteous, accepted, and approved with the Father once for all time. 

 Our belief in Christ is enough. We need not seek to attain to some special level in Christ. We need not strive to be more pleasing, more favored, more accepted, more loved, more righteous, and more saved. 

 When we received Jesus, we were completely recreated in Him. We were made perfectly Righteous in Christ. We were forgiven once for all time for all of our sins, past present, and future. We were made eternally secure, never ever to lose or forfeit our salvation no matter what.

 Having received all of God's fullness within our spirit, made holy once for all time, certainly, we encourage growth and maturity in Christ. Of course, we desire to grow up in Christ. We desire to mature, learn to discern right and wrong, learn to avoid sins, and overcome temptation. This is all right and good, but these don't make us better or more "special" to God our Father. 

 God, our Good Father, knew us from the time we drew our first breath and knows when we will draw our last. He has seen beforehand all the times we would fail, foul-up, fall down, blow it, plain sin. Yet He still chose us. He still wants us. Jesus is the full expression of God's Grace and everlasting mercy. 

 In summation, we are not trying to attain to some special level in God. We need not try to become some sort of Christian VIP group. When we received Jesus, that was enough. We're eternally His. Rest in the Grace and goodness of God. 

Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS at

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Once You're Saved...

And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. But if it is by works, then is it no longer by grace; otherwise work would no longer be work. Romans 11:6 MEV

And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved. 

 Have you responded to the Good News Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you heard of His Goodness and eternal, never failing Love for you? Have you've seen His hand of Goodness and Mercy poured out upon your life in some form or fashion? Since you've seen this Jesus in all His fullness have you received Him, that is putting your trust in Him alone for your eternal salvation?

 It's great news when we hear someone has responded to the Good News Gospel. It's a wonderfully glorious moment when one comes to Christ and receives a new life in Him. Jesus says all of Heaven rejoices. We rejoice along with all of Heaven.

 Now that you're saved, what's next? This next phase of Christian growth and development is a crucial time for the new believer. How you see God and yourself and the relationship you will have with Him depends on receiving the truth of the Gospel not just for initial salvation but for your entire Christian life.

 When new converts emerge, something else also is quick to converge. The checklist/rule book led leader/believer.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

 Once you're saved it's time for you to get busy proving your worth. You need to get busy knowing all the rules and straightening up your act. You'll be needing to get it together before next Sunday or there will be repercussions.

Remember the truth is it's about Grace from start to finish. However, the checklist believer has forgotten this truth. They are much focused on other's behavior and conduct, never mind their own love walk. They need to ensure these new converts are really saved.

 Once you're perfectly holy by next week! That is, you need to quit smoking. Stop cussing. Put away those bad habits right now. Don't go to the movies anymore. Get your behavior in line.

 Though it is true that Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust and immorality, this process doesn't happen overnight. In my past, I've seen believers go to a church meeting on Sunday but on Monday they were smoking a cigarette. Being this was before Grace renewal, I condemned that person. 

 "Why are they even going to church? They're a sinner. Look at them smoking!" I am certain Jesus did a facepalm. Didn't I ever read where He said the sick need a physician not the well? Truth is none of us have it all together and that's why we always need Grace and our Savior Jesus.

Once you're saved...never miss a meeting or gathering!

 True, it's good to gather together with other believers. It's beneficial to bring our supply of the Spirit and encourage each other. However, it's also true that attendance isn't some legal obligation we need to fulfill to prove our salvation.

 Once you're better be praying and reading your Bible!

 Of course, we should read and study God's Word. The Scriptures are where we see Jesus. They bring us comfort. However, daily devotion and study times, aren't some kind of chore we need to drudge through. 

Once you're saved...learn the rules from our denomination and remember all others are false and wrong and we're the only ones right!

 The rule/checklist believer wants to ensure the new convert lives up to the denominational traditions as soon as possible. They must also be quick to condemn other churches and ministries that are outside their church. Grace, on the other hand, reveals God's Love for all the Body of Christ. 

 God wants us to grow in His Love, not in the rules and traditions of the various denominations. Receiving His Love and sharing it with others is what God desires. God sees one Body, not divisions.

Where's the Grace?

 Years ago there was a fast-food campaign that used a similar slogan about hamburger meat. They were comparing the size of their company's burgers with other rival companies. This is a good question to ask churches and ministries. Where's the Grace? 

 Instead of focusing on getting believers to follow the rules, why not get them focused on Jesus? Focusing on Jesus and His Grace is what brings true transformation. He changes us from the inside out.

 The true purpose of ministry and devotion is to get the focus off ourselves and onto Jesus. On who He is, and what He has accomplished on our behalf. Rule book/checklist minded Christianity takes the focus off Grace and Jesus and makes it about us. It shifts the focus off the Finished Work and focuses on our personal obligation, obedience, commitment, and perseverance.

 What we need to be continually reminded of is that it's about Grace from start to finish. We were unworthy in and of ourselves. We were undeserving of mercy and goodness yet He poured His Love out upon us in abundance. When we focus on Jesus we find true transformation and real sincere growth in Him, and in His Love and Goodness.

 In summation, always keep Grace in the forefront. Rejoice when New Life in Christ has been received by those trusting in Him. Remember to keep giving these new converts Grace. Get their focus on Him and never on themselves. Remind them of how loved and valued they are in Him. True growth will always be the result.
Image courtesy of iosphere at

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Grace Q & A: What about Repentance?

17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 NKJV

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 NASB

 We've been in a study of the Grace of God. The Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ. We've been getting back to basics and asking and answering simple questions about the Grace of God. So far we've discussed what Grace is. We've seen how we're no longer under condemnation. We've addressed the issue of cheap Grace and answered the charge that accused Grace teaching of being only for sinful people and the Lazy

 Today, it seemed good to address the issue once again about repentance. What is the relationship between Grace and repentance? Some accuse Grace teaching as being against the idea of repentance. Some say we teach we can sin all we wish and never need to repent? Is this an accurate assessment?

 This is not an accurate assessment because this assessment of Grace is based upon hearsay, conjecture and even some hyperbole. What we must consider is that among all denominations, churches, and Christians are differing theology on sin and repentance. Allow me to elaborate. Some simply feel repentance is a sense of "sorrow" over sin and then asking God to forgive it. Still, others, feel that true repentance is to turn from committing sinful deeds, that is if one is habitually sinning the same sin they still haven't repented.

 Still, in the face of differing views, Radical Grace is charged the same. We are accused of teaching that when you sin you need not repent. Or that we can freely pursue sin and never concern ourselves with sin. How should we respond to this charge?

 First, we must understand the enemy opposes the work of God. He brings these false accusations to deter us from proclaiming the glorious truth of the Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ. The enemy uses many voices to distract people from hearing the Good News. Religious tradition, legalism use the same accusations they charged Paul the Apostle with. That Grace teaches sin is acceptable. That Grace says it's good to sin without restraint and there is never the need to change. 

 I understand the need to bring clarity. I understand the need to qualify what we say at times. Certainly, no one should desire to be misunderstood. That is understood but at the same time we must not get so distracted we spend more time trying to explain to legalists what we are actually saying than actually proclaiming the Gospel truth. 

 To once again answer religion's accusative charge, what Gospel are they hearing? The truth is they can't grasp the concept of once and for all time sacrifice. The Finished Work of Christ. Hebrews clearly reveals it had to be a once for all time sacrifice. 

  Jesus bore the sin of all, once for all time. He paid the ultimate price. Once He shed His sinless perfect divine blood, that settled the sin issue once for all time. Once the sacrifice was made what other sacrifices are equal to it? Is it our apologies? Is it our sorrow? Is it our groveling? Is it our confession? Only His Blood bought us once for all time forgiveness and perfect righteousness. 

18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.  Hebrews 10:18 NASB

 This is the answer to the charge. When we sin we aren't confessing the sin or sorrowing over it, in order to receive forgiveness of that sin. That is what people selectively hear. They hear what they wish and discard the rest. No one said we should keep sinning that Grace will abound. No one said sin is ok or something to be pursued.

 In truth, no one is even saying we should never confess our sin. That we should never feel sorrow over sin. In reality, there are times when we blow it and it can affect others. In those situations, we may experience sorrow and remorse for how our actions were detrimental to others. Why? Because we have the Love of God shed abroad in our hearts. Our heart desires to bring joy and gladness to people. 

 That said, we stay with the Gospel. We know and understand our confession, or as it is really defined in Scripture, agreeing with God about our sin, acknowledging it, doesn't make us more or less forgiven. Sorrow may come about after we miss it but we can't allow that to dominate our thinking or dictate our identity. 

Some things to remember

1. Under Grace right and wrong are still right and wrong.
Truth hasn't changed under Grace. Meaning, right, and wrong is spelled out for us in the Scripture. It is still wrong to commit adultery or lie or steal. Because God's Love is our guide, He wouldn't direct us to sin. 
2. The Scripture is still the absolute highest authority and is the truth of God. 
If we disregard the Scripture as God's Word. If we do some mental gymnastics to dismiss clear warnings and clear statements of right and wrong because it messes with our emotional sentiments we've disregarded His Word, His truth. 
3. If we disregard His Word, then there are no standards and anything is "permissible".
Once we operate outside the perimeters of Scripture, feelings, unrenewed desires, ideologies become the foundation of right and wrong.

 With the foundations once again established, and this charge about Grace and repentance addressed, how then do we define repentance? Is repentance defined as turning from sin? How about sorrow for sin? Is groveling to our Father when we blow it the right image of repentance?

No, these are the definitions of men. Repentance is clearly defined in the Scripture. It means to change one's mind. It means to embrace right thinking and reject wrong thinking. Hence the need to reestablish the foundations. Right thinking is possible when we renew our thoughts to His thoughts. How do we know His thoughts? They're found in God's Word. 

 Religious traditional holiness concepts claim repentance is a turning away from sin. This may be the way repentance was seen and understood under the Old Covenant. Look at how the ministry of the New Covenant distinguished repentance and turning here.

 The issue with this turn and cease from all sin definition becomes a works oriented gospel. That is not good news and is not the Gospel. New Christians and those who've been a Christian for many years may be struggling with a sin. If the leadership holds this definition of repentance, it translates to them teaching these particular Christians either lost their salvation or were never saved. They did not truly repent. That's contrary to the simple Good News Gospel Paul preached.
30 Then he led Paul and Silas outside and asked, “What must I do to be saved?”
31 They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved—you and all your family.”Acts 16:30-31 TPT

 What about repentance? What must we do to be saved? What about repentance and Grace? It is simple if we stay with the Scriptures. Follow New Covenant truth. 

 Repentance is a change of mind, that's it. What is the role of repentance in our salvation? Changing our minds about Jesus. Changing our minds about our condition. Changing our minds about the simplicity of the Gospel. This change of mind is not a conscious effort. It's a natural response to the hearing of the truth of His Word, the Gospel truth. 

 Salvation isn't a commitment to turn and cease from all wrong. It isn't a turning to good works. Good works and walking out our holy identity is a fruit of the Gospel not the root of our salvation. 

 Grace and repentance are always active in our relationship with our Father. We are constantly changing our minds about who we are and what He said about us. In other words, When our thinking contradicts His Word, that is what He said about us, our circumstance or our standing before Him, we change that thinking to align with what He said, not what we feel in our minds. 

 In summation, don't allow tradition to move you away from the simplicity of the Gospel. Don't allow man's words to define repentance. Stay with God's Word. Repentance isn't a scary word. It is part of the Good News that we can change our minds and think His thoughts. It's Good News because it shows us we can relinquish traditional religious thinking, wrong Worldy concepts, lies of the enemy, and embrace what our Father says. 
image courtesy of jesadaphorn

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Grace Q & A: Cheap Grace?

17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 NKJV

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1 NASB

  We've begun a study getting back to the basics of the Good News of God's Grace. So far we've seen what Grace actually is. In our last study, we saw the truth that under Grace there is no more condemnation for the child of God.

 Today, I sense the leading to address a rather controversial aspect of the Grace of God. There is a concept being used heavily by many churches and ministries. This idea that the Radical Grace of God, this "Hyper-Grace" is really a substitute "cheap Grace". That it's not the real Grace of God. Is this right? Are we proclaiming a knock-off, cheap Grace?

To answer, we must define this terminology. What is cheap Grace? I can look through the Scriptures and can't find the phrase "cheap grace." So where does it originate? Not to disparage a fellow brother in Christ, who was in a sense martyred for taking a public stance against evil, but this phrase was coined by man, not God, a man, a German theologian. 

 This theologian wrote a book on something he called costly grace. He wanted to express that there is a cost to becoming a believer in Christ. If one wasn't paying any price, then is that conversion to Christ sincere? 

 Is this debate new? No, this is the same issue we have today with Lordship Salvation and Free Grace. What's at the heart of the debate? Would you as a Christian, a believer in Christ, a child of God, like to see more commitment from your leaders? Fellow believers? How about in your own life?

Costly Grace, Cheap Grace, or Free Grace?

 Sure, we can all agree as Christians, we desire to honor the Finished Work. Look, the Radical Grace of God isn't a humanistic philosophy that follows the sole commandment "do whatever thou wilt, regardless if it hurts you or harms others." As much as that is true, sometimes I do what I want and sadly I don't care if it harms others or mars my witness at that moment. 

 Now I am not talking about felony criminal activity, obviously. I'm speaking about that jerk in traffic, he deserved me getting angry and yelling at him and throwing all kinds of hand gestures. That slow cashier, it's her fault I am losing my patience, didn't they know I'm in a hurry? The person with me may stumble because I choose to enjoy a drink in public? Hey, I work hard, I deserve a break

 See the real world situations I am speaking of? We all have the flesh to contend with, that is that wrong thinking we acquire from living in a fallen world. So how do we address that? Tradition has got a solution. It's costly Grace. It's Lordship Salvation. 

 The German theologian defined this "cheap grace" as a forgiveness without repentance, that is without a complete turning from all sin. It's a grace we give ourselves, as an excuse to pursue sin or stay in sin. It's coming to Christ without commitment. Is this, in fact, cheap grace?

Not Cheap Grace but Cheap Law

 When researching this lesson, I came across a wonderfully written article based on another good theologian refuting this idea of cheap grace. They coined the phrase cheap Law and it exploded in my spirit. This is the solution to cheap grace accusations.

 Tradition wants to eliminate the wrong choices, the wrong thinking which produces wrong actions by supplanting God's free Radical Grace with a more works centered Gospel approach. They mean well, but in exalting performance and commitment, all they have done is cheapened Law to a place where man can keep it and practice it and diluted the Grace of God.

 When we supplement effort and personal performance with God's Grace we have cheapened Law. The Law is an impossible standard not designed for us to keep perfectly but to stir up sin and thus reveal to us our glaring shortcomings which then leads us to Christ, the Savior. 

 I want you to see the definition of supplement;
Supplementsomething that completes or enhances something else when added to it. 

 Now armed with this understanding, tell me what can complete or enhance the Grace of God? Does our promise to do better enhance His Grace? Does our obeying perfectly every statute or command we can possibly find complete His Grace in our life? Let's see Paul's definition of "costly grace" and "cheap grace."

And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. Romans 11:6 NKJV

see this same passage in another translation
And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved. Romans 11:6 NLT

Cheap Grace?

 Paul so masterfully defined Grace and perfectly contrasts works and Grace in Romans 11.  If we believe, no matter our motive, that we can supplement Grace with anything Grace no longer becomes Grace, it instantly transforms into works. What is cheap Grace?

 Grace isn't cheapened when we declare it's free and completely unmerited. Grace is cheapened when we dilute it down to a place where man can enhance or complete it by their works, their commitment, their performance or ability to remain steadfast and faithful. If Grace is anything but unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor and received freely, it is not Grace but works. 

 Grace is cheapened when we shorten its power to totally forgive. When we say Christians are only forgiven up to the point of conversion and from that point, onward, forgiveness is achieved only by personal repentance and confession of sin we are cheapening Grace. Grace forgives us once for all time. We are forever forgiven, past present and future. 

 Grace is cheapened when we declare it can't completely save us. When one proclaims Christians can lose or forfeit their salvation they are proclaiming potential life, not eternal life. They are treating Christianity as a probationary period until we finally persevere until the last day. This cheapens His Grace. Once we are saved, we are eternally saved. 

 In summation, accept no substitute. Only His Grace alone will satisfy. His Grace will lead us to bring forth fruit. His Grace will correct our times of disobedient behavior. After I "flesh out" it isn't long before I hear, "you're better than that." "That's not who you are." "I have so much better for you." 

 Supplements of performance, promises to do better, to be more committed only cheapen Grace and actually dilutes it from leading and guiding us. Why? Because Father God is upset or turned away from us? No, its because we are saying we can complete or perfect what He is doing in our strength and our efforts.

 In Him, we are accepted. We are loved unconditionally. We have a bright future, and He has great plans for our life. Don't accept tradition's lie that we are promoting a cheap grace when we speak of the Finished Work. Remember they are in reality promoting cheap Law and are deceived into thinking our labor completes what's already be Finished and completed by Christ Jesus, the person of Grace.