Showing posts with label repentance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label repentance. Show all posts

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Grace, Foolishness, or Legalism: What does it mean to be Saved?

  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 

 We've been a new series, examining the practical aspects of the Christian life lived with a Grace and Finished Work perspective. We are locating ourselves in our walk with God in the form of a question. Are we actually abiding under Grace, or foolishness, or legalism? 

 We've already looked at many aspects of the Christian life under Grace, such as what about the Law or differing personal convictions. Today, it seems good to look at salvation in Christ. What does it mean to be saved, what are we actually saved from?

  Grace has been revealed to all mankind in the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul informs us in Titus that Grace has appeared to all mankind offering salvation to whosoever will receive it. Grace finds us where we are offering the free gift of New Life in Christ. Upon acceptance, no cleanup on our part is required. Grace sees us where we are in all our sins, depravity, brokenness, and spiritual death and stoops down and brings us out and lifts us up, translating us from death to life.

 What does it mean to be saved? What is a Christian?

16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16 MEV

 24 “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

 A Christian is simply one who believes and trusts in Christ alone, believing He is arisen and is seated at God's right hand. What does it mean to be saved? It is simply this, one who trusts in Christ alone and therefore has been delivered from spiritual death and now possesses eternal life. 

 Now the foolish cannot answer this question. For they believe that all humanity is already "saved" or righteous apart from any belief, any trust, or any conscious decision to willfully trust Christ alone. Love to them is a divine invasion of the will of all humanity. God knows what's best for all and therefore He forces all to abide with Him regardless if they choose to or not.

 They also can't answer the question of what it means to be saved because they deny that anyone was ever actually lost. Spiritual death or separation is a made-up concept that legalists push on humanity they claim. If no one was ever lost, no human was ever born with the lost Adamic sinful nature, what is there to be saved from? In essence, Jesus didn't even need to die. 

 The foolish's view of mankind's spiritual condition is clearly contradictory to Jesus' words and the words of Paul. So what about the legalist's view of what it means to be saved? How would they outline what it means to be saved?

 Legalists will claim Grace is great. Grace is amazing for it finds lost sinners and offers them salvation. Yet in the grand scheme of things Grace is insufficient in and of itself to save you. 

 Legalism tells the lost to come just as they are, Christ will receive them. Yet, with the passage of a little time, their salvation is unassured. The legalists will claim what it means to be saved is that you have begun living a life that is completely opposite to your old one. In other words, being saved means your performance, your behavior, and your actions are completely morally perfect and flawless. 

 Legalism points to our lives and how we lead them to prove one is saved. They don't to point Jesus' perfect obedience, they point to ours. If we fail to measure up, they will claim it is highly unlikely we were saved to begin with. For if we truly repented when we came to Christ we would be living like Jesus in the here and now. 

 Repentance isn't a change of mind to the legalist. Repentance is a change of lifestyle. A complete change. If we aren't living 100% morally upright it proves we were never made right with God. 

 Grace is so much better than foolishness and legalism. We received new life in Christ by freely trusting in Christ alone. We have been delivered from spiritual death and now possess eternal life. Once we possess this gift of eternal life it is ours forever and cannot be lost. This is what it means to be saved.

 In summation, follow Grace in its fullness and relinquish foolish pseudo-grace and legalism. Don't allow these false ideas of man to take root in your thinking. Instead, stay with the Word, with the Gospel of Grace and the Finished Work of Christ. Grace is amazing and needs no mixture or additives. 

Image by Shaarc from Pixabay 

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

Monday, November 29, 2021

Don't take the Amazing out of Grace: Everybody is already saved?

So you, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:1 MEV 

 In our last study, we detailed how even though God's Word and His Grace are powerful and amazing we can cause them to be diminished and ineffective in our own personal life. Grace is made effective when we fully receive it and aren't mixing it with Law. We want to experience all God has for us in its fullness.

 Again mixing Law and Grace takes the amazing out of Grace. The religious tradition that says we are only forgiven of our past sins removes the full impact of Grace in our life. It diminishes the full revelation that Grace forgave us of all our sins. It creates a sin conscienceness instead of a Righteousness conscienceness.

 Just as detrimental as religious tradition is to Grace, so also are additives to Grace. That is Grace alone is amazing and too good to be true but true. Grace doesn't need help from man to make it seem more palatable to the rebellious and bitter. Grace is great all by itself, it's the too good to be true but true Good News of Jesus Christ.

 Yet some insist on adding their own philosophies and reasonings and surmisings to "help" the Gospel or to simply "deconstruct" and tear down parts of the Gospel they don't like. Many conclude the Biblical concept of receiving by Faith is a work and therefore must be rejected. In doing so they are taking the amazing out of Grace.

How so? If no one needs to believe, if it's automatic, no response required on anyone's part then it's not love it's force. Grace isn't an overriding or invasion of the will of any individual. 

 Think of it, if one paid your way fully to a college, that is tuition, books, housing, food, and even recreational money for weekend trips home or to any destination of your choice, that would be gracious. All of this blessing apart from you doing anything to earn it or pay it back is Grace in action. It isn't a wage earned or some reward it's simply a gift.

 That's good news. However, what if the one who was willing to pay for all this, demanded you only go to a specific college? What if they made you major in business and economics instead of the major of your choice? How Gracious is it now?

 Imagine a 30-day vacation package with all expenses paid offered to you. The person offering says they will pay for all your personal expenses as well. They will pay all your debt and even give you a "better" job than you have now. Sounds great, but you can only go when they say and can only go where they say. What if you say you're not interested in this vacation for your own personal reasons, but then the one offering uses force to get you in their limo and on the plane there? Is it still good? Is it still Gracious?

 Yet some claim this is what Grace is. That God who paid the price at Calvary, placed all humanity in Christ, apart from their own knowledge and permission. That God placed His Spirit within them without their knowledge or consent. That all are saved whether they believed or not, whether they received His Grace or not, whether they trusted in Christ or never trusted in Him. This is Grace? Nonconsensual relationship with all? 

 That's not Grace. Universalism and inclusion use the enticing words of man's wisdom to sell a cheap copy of Grace. They hijack the love language of redemption to sell a false and fake philosophy that has zero power to produce hope or healing in the lives of mankind. Grace is inclusive and universal in its procuring redemption and making it available to whosoever will, but universalism and inclusionism are not Grace.

 Some have misapplied a passage in Colossians 1 declaring no one was ever really lost. They misunderstand and misapply the passage because they lift it out of its setting in Colossians as well as the overall message of the Scripture. let's see the passage in another translation that makes it clearer.

This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Colossians 1:21 NLT

If no one was really lost why did Christ even come? Think of it, if no one was really lost, no one was really spiritually separated, if no one was apart from God, then what's so amazing about Christ? What is so great about Jesus dying? 

 Teaching people that no one was really lost or separated takes the amazing out of Grace. For Christ to die on a tree for people that were just fine the way they were would be a colossal waste of time. If no one was lost, Christ never needed to come as a man. No need to die on a tree bearing a curse that apparently never even existed. Jesus could have just wandered the earth telling people you are all fine, don't worry about how you live or treat others, everyone is ok.

 The truth is so much greater. Grace is amazing. All humanity was lost, apart from God, spiritually dead or separated from a loving Father because of sin. God in His Goodness and Love stooped down to rescue us from ourselves. God became a man. Jesus took all our just deserved punishment and wrath for our many sins and paid the full price. Grace has now appeared offering Salvation, Righteousness, acceptance, forgiveness, healing, and wholeness once for all time to whosoever will freely receive.

 Another way man tries to add to Grace, thus taking the amazing out of Grace is by denying the reality of a literal hell. If there is no hell, what exactly did Christ save us from? If hell is "restorative", "temporal" or nonexistent then why did Christ die for us?

 Some would argue that sin needs no punishment. How foolish. Look at what Paul the Apostle of Grace declared via the inspiration of the Spirit.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23 MEV

 Clearly, the just recompense for sin is death. This is clearly punishment for our sins. Here we clearly see Grace defined and illustrated. God's gift was Jesus dying for us and purchasing eternal life offering new life as a gift. 

 Now, understand, a gift no matter how free must be received. The concept of receiving a gift is not works or self-effort. All are offered a free gift. It's not forced upon anyone. Jesus made a way for all to simply receive. That's the Gospel. That's the amazing Grace of God.

 I sense some are still fuming and agitated because I mentioned hell. Hell was never made for any man. It was made for the devil and his angels. God never sends anyone there. Men choose hell over a loving God.

 Listen, for one to go to hell, they must bypass the Cross, dismiss His great Grace, reject His everlasting and unconditional eternal Love, and refuse the gift of eternal life. They jump feet first into eternity without God fully understanding the consequences. It's not His will that any perish but He will not override anyone's will or choice.

 People claim hell is a construct of men to scare people into giving money. Hell is real. Hell is the dark place of eternal separation for all those who want to gain acceptance and approval by their own sense of goodness and works. The Cross shows us we can't earn anything. 

 There is no bad news in the Good News. We share His Love and Amazing Grace to a lost and dying world. We let the world know it's only in Christ will you find true rest and peace and fullness of life and joy. We proclaim God isn't angry at anyone. God is a Good Father who Loves all unconditionally. 

 In summation, let's keep the amazing in Grace. Jesus came to die for the unworthy. He came to find the lost and offer them new life. Though hell is real and there awaits final judgment for all who reject the free gift, our message is the same, God is Good, He isn't mad at you, and He longs for a personal relationship with whosoever will. Grace is Amazing. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Taking the Amazing out of Grace: Religious traditions of man

So you, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:1 MEV 

 Grace, the Grace of Almighty God by nature is amazing. It is over the top, too good to be true but true Good News. Grace did for us what no personal achievement, action, or accomplishment could ever do. If it's Grace plus our work, then it ceases to be Grace, but a wage earned. 

 Grace is undeserved, unearned, and unmerited favor. It's God Himself stooping down to lost humanity and becoming one of us and taking our place on the Cross of judgment. Jesus is Grace. Grace is amazing.

 As wonderful as Grace is, did you know it's possible to take the amazing out of Grace? You may be thinking I am out of my mind to dare suggest something like this. Let me show you how it's possible.

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

Here we see Jesus speaking clearly of God's Word. How can mere man make the Word of God of no effect? When we understand what Jesus is saying in context it becomes clearer. God's Word is established forever. However, it can become ineffectual in the personal lives of men when we exalt tradition over truth when we accept man's ways and reject God's ways.

 The same way man can make of no effect His Word, we can make His Grace of no effect in our life by adopting and embracing the traditions of men, and false teachings of deceived and misguided "ministers". We are in essence taking the amazing out of Grace. How do we know we are taking the amazing out of Grace?

 We are taking the amazing out of Grace when we exalt the Law over Grace. Jesus preached the sermon on the mount to bring clarity back to the Law. Matthew's Gospel records it beginning in Matthew 5

 The Pharisees and Sadducees had preached the Mosaic Law only as an outward display of righteousness. Jesus masterfully brought the Law back to its intended glory and purpose. He brought it back as an inward matter of the heart, not merely an outward display.

 Tradition declares that Grace brought a higher standard. That Jesus was ministering Grace as He taught the Sermon on the Mount. No, Jesus was revealing the full force and weight of the Law. Why? To reveal to all that we all need a Savior. 

 When we dilute Grace into something we do or something we need to achieve we've just cheapened Grace. When we create a view that Grace is a list of rules, regulations, and rituals to follow to the letter, we have taken the amazing out of Grace and reverted back to works.

 We take the amazing out of Grace when we mix Law and Grace. When we preach that we are made Righteous by Faith the moment we are saved but if we sin afterward we have lost that Righteousness and must do something to achieve that Righteousness again we have made Grace ineffective. Never forget, we are made Righteous once for all time apart from performance or our behavior the moment we believed, that's Grace!

 We take the amazing out of Grace when we preach insecurity and partial forgiveness. Messages saying we are only forgiven up to the point of salvation but for any sins committed afterward we must apologize and confess in order to be forgiven means we are taking the amazing out of Grace. Remember we are forgiven once for all time the moment we believed, that's Grace!

 Any message that suggests we can undo the Finished Work of Christ by our actions, our sins or unfaithfulness, or unbelief is taking the amazing out of Grace. There were no achievements or amount of good works that would merit our salvation, therefore there is no amount of bad works or unfaithfulness that could undo what only Christ could do. Once we believed, we were made forever secure in the Father's hands, that's Grace!

 In summation, let's allow His Grace to have the final say. We could never earn or achieve His Goodness or favor. Let's exalt His Grace and not our works. Let's look to Jesus and not ourselves. In Heaven, the worship song will not be worthy is the Lamb...and me. It's Grace alone from beginning to end. 

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Receiving Righteousness: what about our failures?

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 begun a new series studying Righteousness. We have seen what Righteousness is, right standing with God. We have seen who the Righteous are, those who have trusted in Christ alone. Now we are examining the importance of actually receiving of the gift of Righteousness.

 We have seen the great importance and benefit of receiving of the gift of Righteousness. For instance, receiving a brand new car is great, but profits you little if you never actually drive it. So it is with Righteousness. 

 We have seen how Righteousness received positively affects our relationships. We will continue looking at the various aspects of the Christian life that are more successful when we receive of this great gift. Today, though it seemed good to pause and address a question that many have concerning Grace and Righteousness. 

 Maybe this is new to you, this concept of Grace and Righteousness. Maybe you have heard of Righteousness but only in a religious traditional setting. Or maybe you heard of Grace but it wasn't taught well and left you with more questions than answers.

 We are the Righteousness of God in Christ. We have received the gift of perfect and complete right standing with God. We have received the gift that enables us to come before God always welcomed, always approved, and always accepted. We have received the gift that allows us to stand before God without any sense of guilt, shame, condemnation, insecurity, or inferiority. 

 Righteousness and all it encompasses is a gift. It is not a work we achieved. It is not a result of measuring up based on our good deeds outweighing our bad. It is not acquired by our performance or behavior or conduct. There are no levels of Righteousness. Either you're Righteous or you're not. Righteousness is a gift we receive not anything achieved.

 Knowing who you are, Righteous, how it is received, it is a gift and can't ever be earned, will completely answer the big question. Am I still Righteous even when I sin or fail? What about sin? What about when we fail? 

 Let me state this loud and clear. Your sin, your failures, your unrighteous deeds cannot ever undo your Righteousness in Christ. Your behavior, your conduct, your actions never made you Righteous, therefore, your behavior, conduct, or actions can never make you unrighteous.

 This is the plain truth of the Gospel. We could never achieve right standing with God by any action or work on our part. Why then do we think after we have received Righteousness we can somehow undo it now by our actions or behavior? 

 Answered plainly. Are we still Righteous when we sin or fail? The answer is yes. Righteousness is a gift. God isn't in the business of giving gifts and then taking them back. Righteousness is an irrevocable gift. 

For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:28 MEV

 Some may claim I am promoting a "license to sin." I get somewhat tired of that phrase. What even is a license to sin? All sin has consequences. Now I am not speaking of God punishing us or the do good and get good or do bad and get bad Law mentality. 

 All sin has some form of consequence. For something to be a license it would mean there is no harm, no-fault, no consequence to that action. A commercial driver's license or a pilot's license means one has demonstrated the necessary skills and know how to operate those vehicles or aircraft without any adverse reaction. 

 All sin has consequences, so to claim anyone can preach in such a way giving someone else the "license" to sin is absurd. Sin is birthed from unrenewed desire, often coupled with the temptation of the enemy. In some instances, sin is birthed by believing the lie that there is something better outside of Christ.

 Sin's consequences can be greatly measured or only seen and experienced by the offender. The one stealing may find themselves in a jail cell. The adulterer potentially loses their family through divorce, but certainly loses respect and trust in those around them. Still, most consequences seen from sin are the lack of confidence before God, and corrupting thoughts it produces.

Because there are always consequences for sin, the concept of a license to sin then is absurd. When speaking of sin, most Christians really are only speaking of certain kinds of sin. Only certain kinds of behavior.

 Holiness is basically defined then by one who isn't committing adultery, having sex outside of marriage, watching pornography, isn't drinking alcohol, isn't using tobacco, doesn't watch R-rated movies, and never listens to secular music, and doesn't use profanity. These are basically the biggies. These are the real obvious sins.

 Truth is, I have seen believers who meet these criteria. Yet they are unkind to others. They are impatient in public. They are envious of others. They gossip. They hold grudges. These are sinful deeds as well, just the ones not preached about much.

 When we look at God's definition of sin and not man's we all realize we need a Savior. We all realize we need someone who could mediate between us and God. We realize we don't always have it all together. 

 It's humbling, and that's where Grace comes in. We acknowledge we can't overcome in our own strength or willpower. We need a perfect gift that keeps us in right standing even when we fail. That gift has been given, it is the gift of Righteousness. 
 In the great exchange, we received this great gift. Because of the triumphant work of the Cross, no believer needs to bear their sins and guilt and shame. Think of it, if all the guilt of our sins was on Christ it has no place on us. He was condemn in our place, therefore we never need feel condemned. He took our shame, therefore shame is has no place on us or in our thinking. Christ took all the punishment for our sins, so therefore we need never fear reprisal or retribution coming to us for our sins.

 In summation, we are the Righteousness of God in Christ. It is who we are right now. Jesus won a complete victory. He arose triumphant defeating death, hell, the grave and the enemy. We who believe are forever forgiven, forever saved, and forever Righteous. Righteousness is an irrevocable gift. 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Grace Q & A: What about Sin?

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 an ongoing study of the Good News of Jesus and His great Grace. We've been getting back to the basics of the Gospel of Grace. We've addressed issues like is Grace only for those living in sin? Is Grace a false teaching? We've also seen how under Grace we are free from condemnation

 Today, I feel impressed to answer the question, what about sin? What about our sins? What is our standing before God when we sin? What is God's response to our sin?

 There is in essence only three responses to the question. There is the legalists, religious, traditional response. There is the foolish response. Finally, there is the truth of God's Word and what He says about our sin. Who will you believe?

 The legalist and the foolish go to the opposite extremes. To the legalist religious folk, your sins disqualify you and make you unworthy, unrighteous and of no use to God. Sin too much and your salvation is lost. The foolish goes to the opposite extreme. Their mantra is to do what thou wilt, the Cross paid for it anyway. This extreme ignores the obvious, sin carries with it consequences.

 Setting aside these extremes, let's "be real." You don't have to be told it's ok to sin and all is going to be ok to know that that is a falsehood. How many lies have we told only to have them "blow up in our face"? The adulterer who lost his spouse and family's trust can tell you sin isn't really that fun. The addict who lost it all pursuing their addiction can also testify, sin isn't so glamorous.

 Those who have seen His Grace and mercy in their life can also testify of God's goodness and faithfulness even when they weren't so faithful. They can readily see the legalist view discounts and disregards His goodness and Grace. 

 So laying aside the traditions, let's see how God responds to our sins. What we're really asking is, when we actually commit sin, what does God say about it? Does He require that we "repent" or turn away from that? Does He require that we confess that sin in order to be forgiven? When we sin does that mean we break fellowship with God? 

 We could probably spend several weeks studying all these issues but we're going to briefly answer them all today. To begin with, let's get the obvious out of the way. What me must remember is we live in a fallen World. Sin abounds in this Earth. The enemy is the tempter, seeking ways to allure us to fall. We also aren't perfect and we are maturing into who He made us. 

 So we may fail, we may succumb to temptation. That doesn't mean we have to, doesn't mean the enemy and our flesh is stronger than Grace. It just means we aren't perfect. That said, its also obvious sin is not God's best for us. We don't celebrate sin or wrongdoing. We don't take Grace and misuse and misapply it saying sin is ok and there is no right and wrong. Grace supplies us the power to overcome sin and bad habits.

What about repentance?

 When addressing sin and repentance, we must define our terms. To repent means to change our mind. So repentance isn't crawling, prostrating ourselves at an altar weeping. It is us renewing our minds to what God says. So do we repent when we sin? We do change our minds about our actions. 

 When you cut someone off in traffic, or lose your cool with people, soon afterward you say to yourself, I shouldn't have done that. Or say I could have handled that better. News flash, that is Biblical repentance. You changed your thinking about that behavior. 

 You may say what about the Godly sorrow Paul spoke of? When we miss it or blow it, we may experience feelings of guilt or even sorrow. When we hurt others it is natural to regret those actions. We have the love of God within so we don't desire to hurt others. But guilt and regret aren't from God.

 Paul's words here showed that Godly sorrow not worldly sensual, or emotional sorrow brought these to repentance. So sorrow isn't repentance. Godly sorrow isn't an emotion. It's us realizing who we are and acknowledging that our actions aren't in line with our identity in Christ. 

What about the confession of sin?

Tradition is quick to point us to 1 John 1:9 as the remedy of sin. What tradition forgets or dismisses is the truth that all our sins past and present and future are already forgiven in Christ. 

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

 Are we to confess our sins when we blow it? Are we to 'fess up when we mess up? Do we confess our sins to get forgiven?

 We must begin with the truth as our foundation. We are forgiven once for all time. Our sins are completely forgiven and the price is fully paid. As Hebrews declared where there is an offering for sins there is no more need for another offering to be made. 

 One thing striking about this idea that we must confess our sins to be forgiven that is overlooked by most is the year the Epistle of 1 John was written. Jesus died and rose again around 33 AD. Paul's Epistles were written sometime in AD 50s. Paul never taught that we must confess our sins to be forgiven. 

 1 John Was written around 95 AD. So what were believers to do when they sinned around say 58 AD? How about 90 AD? If we are to confess in order to be forgiven of our sins post being born again, why didn't God ensure that this message is the first one brought to the Church? I submit this was because 1 John 1 was written to unbelievers, not believers. 

 So do we confess our sins when we miss it? Under Grace, we don't confess our sins in order to receive forgiveness of sins. Because we are already forgiven, we can confess or agree with God about our sins. He said they're forgiven so we say the same thing. We agree with God.

What about the breaking of fellowship?

 This is the insidious lie of religious tradition. That when we sin we break fellowship with God. The idea is that God turns His back to us until we say sorry. Is that the picture of God? 

 Tradition uses 1 John 1 to promote this idea. The idea is that when we sin we actually are walking in darkness. So to tradition we walk in light and darkness. We are in the light when we are good little Christians, oh no we blew it, we are in darkness, oh you confessed, your back in the light. That is not the truth.

 Paul tells us otherwise. We are the children of light. We are not of darkness. Paul tells us those in darkness are not saved. John in the first chapter of 1 John is addressing the Gnostics, those who were not saved, he was not addressing believers. So the idea that we lose fellowship is a falsehood. 

 God declared He would never leave or forsake us. There is no fine print. There is no added clause. There is no stipulation that said I won't leave or break fellowship unless you sin.
God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 NASB
 Our fellowship with God is based upon His faithfulness, not ours. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is with us no matter what. 


 This is the answer to the sin issue. God deals with us in our new identity. Because sin has been forgiven and washed clean past and present and future, God deals with us on that basis when we miss it. His response to our sin is to bring Godly correction in love.

 How does He correct us? By reminding us of who we are. He reminds us we are the righteousness of God in Him. God doesn't hold our sins against us because Jesus already paid the price for them. He isn't going to punish sin in the Body of Jesus on the Cross and then turn around and punish us when we sin.

 This also means He isn't sending disaster or destruction to nations because of sin. There are wildfires raging in the US State of California as of this writing. Some tradition ruled believer publicly declared God is burning this state because of sin. That idea is an insult to the Blood of Jesus and Finished Work.

 We are under Grace, not a probationary period. Our sin isn't going to cause us to lose our salvation. Think of it, when we were lost no amount of good deeds we did could cause us to become righteous. So after we are righteous by faith, there is no amount of badness that will cause us to become unrighteous. We are in right standing because of Jesus not our actions. Where sin abounds Grace much more abounds. Grace is greater than sin.

 Sin is missing the mark. Sin is not something we should pursue or celebrate. When we do miss it though, God responds with His Grace and reminds us of who we are. 

 His correction may be uncomfortable at times but He is just reminding us of who we are. Paul spoke of turning one over to the enemy. Tradition says this was God punishing the person. No, in light of the Cross, all Paul did was after exhorting the person to let go of that sin and the person refused, he allowed the person to experience the full consequence of sin, of following the devil's guidance. Once the person experienced all sin offered he was ready to forsake that lifestyle.

 Sin costs more than we want to pay and keeps us longer than we want to stay. But God is always there reminding us of who we are and whose we are. We must remember we have right standing before God even when we blow it, sin doesn't make us lose our righteousness in Christ. We must remember His Grace abounds wherever there is sin. 

 In summation, what is God's response to our sin? Is it to break fellowship? Is it to demand we fess up? Does He forsake us? No, He corrects us by reminding us of who we are in Him. He shows us the better way. His Grace supplies us the power to overcome. God never responds in anger, judgment or condemnation. He responds in His love and goodness. He is faithful even when we are faithless. This is the Good News.
 Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong 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, September 5, 2017

Opponents of Grace:Tradition

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 NKJV

7 min 

We've begun a series examining the insidious opponents of the Grace of Almighty God. Paul the Apostle of Grace instructs us to stand fast in the liberty we have in Christ. If there exists no opposition or opponent why the need to stand fast?

 Today I want to expose yet another opponent of Grace. The slithering enemy of tradition. Tradition rears its ugly head when we aren't walking fully in the light of the Gospel. It seeks to fill the void. It attempts to fill in the blanks of areas we are unsure of. Sure we are righteous by faith, but tradition will add but righteousness under the New Covenant still has some behavioral aspect to it. 

 Now to clarify, tradition in and of itself is not always an enemy. For instance, family traditions around holiday times aren't detrimental. Tradition that is birthed by experience and exalts itself over truth is our opponent. The Gospel reveals Jesus heals, tradition looking at experience says nope, healing has been done away with today. 

Sinner saved by Grace?

 As an example when it comes to Grace, religious tradition says Christians are merely sinners saved by Grace. This is a classic case of tradition exalting itself over truth. Yes, they will say but didn't Paul say he was a chief sinner? That is lifting a comment Paul made out of its context and setting. Read that passage in a different translation other than King James and see it more clearly explained, here

 Paul was revealing the greatness of God's Grace in saving the worst of us. If He can save me, Paul says, then He can surely deliver and save you. What a glorious Gospel truth. Yet tradition seeks to rob us of identity. 

 The truth is we were a sinner. We got saved by His great Grace and are now the righteousness of God in Christ. Tradition responds, well only sinners need a Savior. True, and what happens after the Savior saves us? Does He leave us in the same state? Righteousness and unrighteousness can't co-exist in the same spirit. So the lie that believers have still have a sin nature is ludicrous and turns God's redemptive work into some partial, shoddy, half complete work. 

Of No Effect

 The Person of Grace, the Lord Jesus Christ had something to say about tradition.
13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV

 Tradition makes the Word, the truth of no effect in our lives. Let's see what Paul the Apostle of Grace says about tradition.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2:8 KJV

 Tradition makes void, brings to no effect God's truth in our lives. Sadly too many believers filter the truth through their traditions.  Yet, because of His mercy and goodness, God still responds to His people as much as they will allow. So how does God interact with those bound by tradition?

 I heard a great testimony of healing. Now, this event transpired many many years ago. A fellow had some severe pain abdominally. Well, this man of God prayed for his healing. The fellow had belonged to a Pentecostal church. As he ministered the Lord revealed that the brother hadn't been paying his tithes. As soon as he started paying them He supernaturally recovered. As I heard this, I was deeply disturbed. 

 Only God could've revealed that the brother wasn't paying tithes. The man of God who prayed was a traveling minister and didn't know the man. Had no knowledge of who he was or anything about his finances. So this healing occurred only after he paid tithes. I pondered this event. 

 I said, "Lord, there is no curse for not tithing." I said, "under the New tithing is not a requirement." Yet, God seemed to respond to this particular believer as if tithing was a requirement and he wasn't healed because of his lack of tithing. Then the Lord spoke to my heart a truth I have suspected to be true based on the experiences I've heard others share.

 He shared with me that He is loving and good and will interact, relate and address His people the way they come to Him. If you see God as a harsh taskmaster and come to Him as a timid servant, who is unworthy to even be in the same room, God will relate to you that way. The key is to understand God actually isn't this way. But that is the only way some people will relate to their Father. In a nutshell, God meets people where they are. He will send truth their way until one day they will embrace Him as the true Abba Father He really is. 

 I saw this, it bore witness with my spirit but I needed some scripture to back this up. The Lord immediately responded and told me to look at Matthew 15. See the account in Matthew here.

 What we see is a woman who is a Gentile. Jesus appearing under Law and ministering under the Old Covenant, was only sent to the children of Israel. She was living in the days before the New Covenant would be established that would grant access to all of God's blessings for Jew and Gentile alike. Yet, she wasn't content with waiting for that day to come. She had the faith that takes. She used her faith to reach beyond the current Covenant and into the New and take her child's deliverance and healing. Jesus commended her saying great is her faith.

 The Canaanite woman, while currently abiding under the Old, chose to relate to God as if she was abiding under the New and Jesus honored that. Thus proving beyond doubt God will relate to you as you come to Him. This is why we must defeat this opponent of tradition. Tradition will rob us of the full benefits of a rich fulfilling relationship with God.

 So many mix Law and Grace, blend the Old and New Covenant together and drink this confusing cocktail. They then see God in His mercy relating to them by this standard and sadly try to promote that this is the way to relate to God. In reality, all God is trying to do is to bring them to an end of themselves. An end to their works, efforts and performance and to just receive His Grace and goodness in its fullness. 

 Examine your own heart and thinking. Are you holding fast to the truth or merely embracing tradition? Is God relating to you as a harsh taskmaster? Is God holding you to some standard you created? The children of Israel at Mt. Sinai told God we can keep whatever command you give. God met them where they were and the result was 613 commands that no one can keep perfectly. 

 The answer to tradition is to embrace the will of God clearly revealed in the Scriptures. Look past your experience and with an open heart and mind and just accept what He said. He said you're righteous and not a sinner, just accept it. He said none of His will ever perish but be eternally secure forever, don't fight it, don't protest just agree and accept it. He declared you're forgiven once for all-time. Don't debate it just receive it. Readily receiving God's Word and not debating and arguing against it is how tradition is defeated in your life.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at