Showing posts with label New Covenant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Covenant. Show all posts

Monday, May 20, 2024

Will the Real Radical Grace Gospel please stand up!

  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 

 Who doesn't like to hear good news? The Word even declares a good report refreshes and strengthens our bones. What is the Good News? It is the glad tidings of salvation through Christ. The proclamation of the Grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ. This is the good news Gospel. It's glad tidings of total salvation in and through Christ.

 Grace is the Good News. We don't need the enemy's deception or errors distorting Grace. We don't need the traditions and misunderstandings from men to detract from it. Grace is amazing enough just as Paul first proclaimed it. 

 In the previous study, we addressed the enemy's counterfeit to Grace. We detailed the depths of the enemy's hijacking of the Grace message and exposed its full error. Dr. Brown sadly lumped Grace preachers in the same category as those proclaiming the error of inclusion/universalism in his book that attacks the Grace message. 

It is imperative to hear the Good News of the Grace of God. Grace is not just a new message or some fading fad. It is the Gospel of Jesus. Grace and the Gospel are simple. Mankind seems to always make the simple complex and hard to understand. 

We should know and fully understand the message of Grace. When we hear it we grow and have a more fruitful relationship with our Father and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Understanding the importance of hearing, we must also understand what the real Grace message is.

 Too often through our traditions, our various backgrounds, and our denominational experience we add to the message of Grace. Understand that the message of Grace is amazing just as it is. We don't need to help it out.

 What is the real message of Grace? It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the Good News that Jesus has fully completed the Work. It is the happy Gospel that Jesus paid the price in full and the Father has accepted the completed payment and is fully satisfied with Jesus' sacrifice. It is the wonderful realization that if Jesus' sacrifice is enough we can't add to it.

 This is the foundation of the Radical Grace Gospel. How do we know we are hearing the message of Grace unashamedly preached? It is simple, look at the sermon Paul preached. Look at the New Covenant described in Hebrews

For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. Ephesians 2:8-9 AMP

  To be more specific, the Grace messages preaches the main clause of the New Covenant. What is the main clause? The complete forgiveness of all sin, past and present and future. This forgiveness is not dependent on our apology or acknowledgment of our sins. It is because of Jesus' sacrifice we are forgiven.

 The Grace messages preaches that the Blood of Jesus alone is what forgives. No other sacrifice is acceptable. We can't apologize enough, or promise God we won't mess up for sin to be forgiven. No amount of abstinence from sin or good works brings forgiveness. Only the Blood of Jesus forgives, cleanses, and removes all sin, all guilt, and all shame.

 The Grace message is not a condemning message to those who fail or those who are continually failing. Condemnation kills and is not what motivates the believer to overcome sin. God our Father is merciful and long-suffering. Jesus has already paid the price in full and our Father will not impute our sins to our account nor does He remember them. 

 The message of Grace magnifies the wonderful work of Jesus. Grace honors God's New Covenant. Grace understands the New Covenant begins with Christ's once for all sacrifice. Jesus' death, not His birth ushered in the New Covenant. The majority of the four Gospels take place under the Old Covenant. 

 The Grace message is not a mixture of Law and Grace. It is not a blend of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The prerequisites to receive from God under the Old are not the same as the New Covenant. Under the Old, the faithful, obedient ones to the Law were blessed. Under the New, Jesus has already procured the blessing. 

 The Grace message understands our standing before God is Christ's standing. We don't come to God based on anything we do or don't do. We come to God based on Jesus' faithfulness and perfect obedience and receive the blessings and Goodness of God.

  The Grace message teaches that the believer is fully secure in Christ. The one who has trusted in Christ is completely forgiven and forever secure in their Father's hands. The Grace of God affirms the unconditional eternal security of the believer. 

 Grace reveals a Good Father who loves us. The Grace message proclaims a loving and merciful Father. God isn't sending judgment or tragedy today. Jesus paid the price and the Father has accepted the payment, He is not punishing us, nations, or cities because of sin.

 This is the beautiful message of Grace. This is what we who have experienced Grace should fellowship around. This is the common ground of Grace. 

 We shouldn't be divided on other doctrines that have nothing to do with Grace. Our fellowship is about Grace, not our views on tithing,  or the type of church services we have.

 We who have received Grace don't have to argue about end-time views. There is not a set "hyper-Grace" view of the end times. Some churches and ministries are Grace-based but don't agree with the charismatic gifts for today. It doesn't matter because we are fellowshipping around the Grace of God not our views about the Holy Spirit moving today.

 I have presented the clear message of Grace. This is something Charismatic, Word of Faith, mainline denominational, cessationist Christians who have had their heart ambushed by Grace can fully celebrate and fellowship with. We have this much in common let's celebrate Grace. Let's come together and advance this Gospel truth.

 In summation, we have already exposed the false, the counterfeit. We have revealed what Grace is not, works or performance. We have also seen what the Grace Gospel is. I would like to share a powerful resource a brother in Christ has put together. This is an excellent minister of the New Covenant and Grace and yes I am practicing my message, we disagree on the end times, but that's not important, and not what we fellowship around. 

 Here is this resource here, locate Grace Ministries. Looking for a Grace church? Looking for Grace teaching online? Looking for Grace resources? This is the place. Let's come together under the banner of Grace, the real Gospel of Grace.

  

Image by Azeddine Behlouli from Pixabay

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

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Holy Communion:truth vs. tradition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Image by Vesa Leppänen from Pixabay

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Understanding Eternal Security: What about Simon the sorcerer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, April 4, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Answering Objections to the Gospel of Grace: We still need the Moral Law, the Ten Commandments?

 For the Law was given through Moses, but grace (God's unearned, undeserved favor) and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 AMP

 Scripture shows that when the Gospel was presented, religious-minded ones objected. They would demand that the Old Covenant and the Law still be observed. Even Peter the Apostle got carried away with this insomuch Paul publicly rebuked him.

 Recently I came across a concise list of objections to the Gospel of Grace, the "Grace message." With such a detailed list of objections, it seemed good to give a detailed rebuttal. So I have been taking the time to respond to these objections thoroughly.

 So far, I have addressed the issue of 1 John 1 and who it was addressed to. I have responded to the claim that Christians must confess to God every time they sin so they will receive forgiveness for that sin. I have addressed the concern that Grace only focuses on Paul's Epistles as if the rest of the Bible contradicts Paul. 

 In our last studies, I dealt with this issue concerning God either punishing us for our sins or judging nations or cities because of their collective sin. Today, I want to address an objection to Grace that is not new. This idea is that we need both Grace and the Law to live victorious in Christ today. 

 In Acts 15, the Church dealt with and settled this issue, we are under Grace, not Law. The enemy wants to keep the Church in mixture so the believers in Christ will be confused about their identity. They will become hesitant to take their place at the King's table and freely receive all their Father has prepared and provided for them and all Jesus has procured and purchased for them. 

 For sin will not have mastery over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14 MOUNCE 

 Yes, that's true we aren't under Law but Grace, but this must be only referencing the ceremonial laws, the dietary laws, and the sacrificial system. By following the Ten Commandments sin won't have mastery over us. Yes, we must keep the moral Law today. So says the religious-minded ones. Does the Bible teach it's the observance of the "Moral Law" and keeping the Ten Commandments that makes us free from sin's dominion?

 The · sting of death is · sin, and the power of sin is the law. 1 Corinthians 15:56 MOUNCE

 Clearly, it's the Law that gives sin its strength. The Law stirs up sinful desires and passions. The Law reveals mankind's true heart. Its motives desires and cravings. Grace is the answer to sin not Law. 

 The Law also is not divided into 3 or more parts allowing mankind to prop up what is ended and fulfilled. The Law isn't separated into 3 parts so man can therefore "keep the Law" now. Man likes to dilute God's standards into something man with enough "discipline" "willpower" and sustained abstinence from everything physical and natural can actually keep. 

 Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount put this concept away. Religious Grace claims the Sermon on the Mount proves that Grace has a higher standard than Law. No, religion has blinded minds so they can't discern Grace. Jesus was giving man the full weight of the Law. He was showing the Law is impossible to keep no matter how much you "discipline" yourself. This message wasn't about Grace, but God revealed to mankind their only hope is found in a Savior apart from their works and performance. 

 For Christ is the end of the law, so now there is righteousness for everyone who believes. Romans 10:4 MOUNCE

They don’t understand that Christ gives to those who trust in him everything they are trying to get by keeping his laws. He ends all of that. Romans 10:4 TLB

Christ is the fulfillment of Moses’ Teachings so that everyone who has faith may receive God’s approval. Romans 10:4 NOG

Christ has made an end to the law as a way of getting right with God. Everyone who believes in him is put right with God. Romans 10:4 WE

 One passage, this one passage has so much depth. Sharing this one passage in various translations brings out the richness of God's Grace. Christ is the end of the Law. Paul doesn't divide the Law like man tries to. Christ is the end of the Law for acceptance, approval, and right standing with God forever. 

 The Word is clear the Law is fulfilled in Christ. The Law is no longer how God relates to us. We have a new and living way to God and to enter into relationship with Him. This new way is the way of Grace. This new way is Jesus, the Person of Grace.

 The Law is the Ministry of Condemnation. The Law is the ministry of death. The Law is fading away and is now obsolete. Paul declared this in his Epistle to the Corinthians

 The ministry of Righteousness is the ministry that should be the focus of the Church today. Yet, it seems some want to keep mixing Moses' way of righteousness with Jesus' gift of Righteousness. Jesus' Righteousness is received freely by Faith. 

 When Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared beside Him. Peter declared let's build a tabernacle for all three. Peter in essence was saying let's keep all three as permanent fixtures. Peter said we should always have Moses and Elijah, the Law and the Prophets mixed with Jesus!

 This is exactly what religious tradition is doing now. They are saying we need Jesus, we need the Law and the Prophets too. The Father spoke out from Heaven, revealing it's not Grace (Jesus) and Law (Moses), it's all Jesus (Grace). The Father declared this is my Beloved Son hear Him, not hear them! 

 In summation, we have the person of Grace, Jesus Christ revealed to us and He is who we should listen to and follow now. The Law brought us to Christ. The Prophets foretold of Christ coming. Now that He is here we can hear from Him ourselves and don't need stone tablets to tell us how to live, we have the living Savior indwelling us. Jesus is enough.



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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Answering Objections to the Gospel of Grace: Too much of what Paul preached?

  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

  Whenever God restores truth to the Church oftentimes it is met with critical skepticism. Certainly, it is not wrong to confirm what is brought forth to ensure it aligns with God's Word. This is seeking to confirm the truth, not resist the truth. That said, when truth is being restored sometimes objections are raised.

 Sometimes these objections come about because it cuts cross-grain to how things have been done for so long. Sometimes these objections come about because religious leaders feel like they are losing the control they have over their congregants. Sometimes these objections come about because of misunderstandings and minds rooted in the tradition of men. 

 In light of this, this is why it is good in a spirit of love to answer such objections. Recently I came across a concise list of objections concerning the Radical Grace of God. It seemed good to me that with such a concise list of objections, a detailed response was warranted.

 So far in addressing this list of objections I have addressed in detail this issue of 1 John 1:9 and confessions of sins to be forgiven. Today, I want to address this objection that the Gospel of Grace only focuses on Paul's Epistles. That Grace teaching disregards the Gospels and the Old Testament and ignores the other Epistles. 

 This may seem like nothing concerning to some believers, but to our mainline, denominational brethren it is a serious issue. It seems as if we are saying only Paul is inspired by God and everything else is false. Is it Paul's Gospel or is it THE Gospel?

 The answer to this objection is very simple. Look at what Paul himself said about the Gospel he preaches. Paul said it was Jesus Himself who taught him the Gospel. Jesus taught Paul. Paul's teachings are Jesus' teachings. 

 The true issue is that believers are not rightly dividing the Word. When we present the Gospel are we to teach the Old Testament? When we minister the Word do we need to present all the teachings of Jesus as what is required of New Covenant believers?

 If so what portions are active for believers today? Not eating our steaks medium rare or wearing clothing with mix fabrics? Are we to present ourselves to the priest when we are cleansed? 

 I am not being critical or "snarky." The issue is these objections are raised by angry believers who have simply taken the Bible and never rightly divided it and therefore don't even understand it all and presume it all pertains to all people forever. They can't distinguish between Jesus' preaching of the Old Covenant requirements and Jesus' teaching of the coming New Covenant. 

 Those who object to Grace preaching claim we have dismissed Jesus' teachings. They argue that we are to follow all of what Jesus taught. What do we do then with this word from Jesus?

24 But He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24 MEV

 For those who object to Grace teaching, and claim we should follow Jesus' words to the letter where does this statement leave us? If we are not literal Jews then we are lost without God and still in our sins. Jesus was only sent to Israel, His own words. Unless of course we are to rightly divide Jesus' words and apply what is New Covenant to our lives and leave the rest in the Covenant they pertained to. 

 When we rightly divide the Word, we get a clear picture of God's great love and all the time Goodness. Though we see wrath and judgment under the Old, we still see a Father longing for the day of Redemption. We see a Father who said He delights in mercy and not judgment. We see a Savior, God incarnate who revealed the full weight of the Law, revealing the need for a Savior. We see a Savior who said it is Finished ending the Old and ushering in a New Covenant based on His Grace, not our works. 

 Jesus' words are not disregarded just rightly divided under Grace. The Old Covenant is not thrown out. It is clearly seen as fulfilled and now obsolete. The other Epistles are not ignored. Peter and James did not disagree with Paul. In Acts 15, James and Peter agreed with Paul that the Old Covenant and Law are fulfilled and no longer in effect. 

 Look at Peter's own words;

10 Now then, why are you testing God by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to endure? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the [precious, undeserved] grace of the Lord Jesus [which makes us free of the guilt of sin and grants us eternal life], in just the same way as they are.” Acts 15:10-11 AMP

 This objection is simply a result of tradition-ruled men not rightly dividing the Word. This objection is a result of those who still desire to mix Law and Grace. This objection is a result of those who simply want to blend the Old Covenant with the New Covenant. 

 The Gospel of Grace is the Gospel Paul preached. This Gospel is the Gospel that Jesus taught Paul directly. Jesus purchased the free gift of Righteousness apart from man's work, performance, and behavior. He purposefully entrusted Paul with the task of proclaiming this Good News to all. The Lord also thought it best to have Paul pen 2/3rds of the New Covenant.  

 In summation, there is not too much Paul preaching. Paul's message is the Gospel. Jesus taught it to him. Jesus called and appointed him to proclaim it. When we rightly divide the Word we see Paul and Jesus and the other writers of the New are in harmony, not disagreement. 


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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! 


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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. 


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