I am writing my third respond to this article who has accused the Grace Movement as a false teaching: http://www.learningfromthemaster.com/apps/blog/categories/show/1666488-grace-movement
Part 1 of the article is here: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/grace-teachers-are-not-false-messiahs-grace-is-not-a-false-movement-1/
Part 2 of the article is here: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/myths-that-itching-ears-want-to-hear-grace-is-not-a-false-movement-2/
I want to respond to this part of the article today:
“Exemption from the penalties of sin
Grace theologians believe in what they want to hear and that is “once saved, always saved.” Now, this is true in a sense, because no one can take our salvation from us. They have been lured into a false sense of security by believing that certain parts of the Bible no longer apply to them because they are “saved.” For example, where there is sin in their lives, Grace theology proponents believe that they do not have to confess it or repent of it, because they did that when they accepted Jesus as Saviour. Hence the”once saved, always saved” belief. It is mainly those parts of the Bible that require a response or action from them that they discard. For example, when we look at 1 Peter 1:15-17, it reads:”15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;16 for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.”
The Grace movement believes they don’t have to “do” anything to earn God’s favour. Again, that is true. Christ died for us all when we were sinners, nothing we could have done for Him prompted that love. He did it on His own. Unfortunately, it is because of that love that the Grace Movement believes they don’t have to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling” as Philippians 2:12 commands. In fact, they believe that even if they sin while a Christian, they don’t have to confess it because they are already covered.” Yet listen to what Hebrews 10:26-27 says in regard to that belief:
“26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”
Let us go through the 1st paragraph.
Hence the”once saved, always saved” belief. It is mainly those parts of the Bible that require a response or action from them that they discard. For example, when we look at 1 Peter 1:15-17, it reads:”15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;16 for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.”
“Once saved always saved”
Firstly, “once saved, always saved” is not what grace theologians want to hear. It is what is being taught in the Bible. To question that is actually to commit the sin which is mention in Hebrews 10:26-27. The writer here does not know the background and the message the writer to trying to convey to its Hebrew readers through the book of Hebrews. I will share more of this later when I reply to her reference to Hebrews 10:26-27.
“Some are about us, but everything is for us”
Secondly, grace theologians do not say certain parts apply to them and certain parts don’t. The whole Scriptures speak to us but there are parts which do not speak about us, although they speak to us.
For example, if you read 1 Corinthians 6, you will see these words “9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived:Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” How many times have these verses been used to warn Christians.
However, if we read this in context, you would note that Paul is not referring to believers in these verses, he was referring to the Roman Magistrates whom Christians are bringing their cases to.
If you read further this is what he says in relation to Christians “11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Notice the “them” and “you”?
Another common misreading of this is found in the passage in Revelation in relation to the warnings in the book of Revelation. Let’s take an example from Revelation 2 regarding the church in Perganum: “14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”
Look at the passage clearly, this passage has been constantly taught to Christians for them to repent or else Jesus will remove their right to salvation from them. Read carefully. Let’s look at verse 16: Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. See it “come to you” “fight against them”. Is Jesus taking salvation from us or protecting our salvation?
So you see, while the whole Bible speaks to us, certain passages speak about us, and certain passages speak about unbelievers. This is simply good bible exposition and not what the author of that article speaks about.
Thirdly, the allegation that grace believing Christians “do not have to confess sins or repent of sins, because they did that when they accepted Jesus as Saviour” is not entirely correct. It is pertinent to note that confession of sins as an acknowledgment of wrongs before a Father who has taken away sins once and for all, and confessing your sins to be forgiven are different things. Christians do not ask for forgiveness of sins. They already have forgiveness of sins.
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
Notice your forgiveness of sins is in Christ Jesus and not in your confession.
You must understand, we are not just forgiven, we are justified. Justification unlike forgiveness is a once and for all thing. Our forgiveness is not sentimental, it is judicial. In fact in Hebrews 10, our sins are taken away once and for all. ONCE. Not again and again.
Pastor Robbie Tan, a brilliant speaker said this, “many times our wives forgive, but they don’t justify us. Whenever we quarrel again, she will bring back all that happen in the past. So she forgives but she still remembers your deeds in the past. God does not forgive us, he justifies us, he remembers our sins NO MORE.” That’s the difference between being forgiven and being justified. One is based on feelings, the other judicial. One is an old covenant practice, the other a new covenant reality.
Hence, when we do wrong, we thank God that we are already forgiven. We thank God that our sins do not separate Him from us. We thank Him that we are still the righteousness of God. We trust in the Spirit’s power to change us. We trust in the fact that in our power we cannot be righteous on our own. We thank Him for understanding us to be human and trust in His grace fully to change us and transform us day by day. Is this not acknowledgement of wrong and humility before God and asking for His Grace.
Judas has all the feelings of guilt and where did it get him? The very fact that Jesus died was to free us from guilt. See Hebrews 10: 2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.
You see Jesus was given to us to cleanse us once and for all, it is to remove our guilt for our sins. Have you consider this very important fact, who makes you holy? You keeping the law or going to God who is holy?
Honestly, filling people with guilt only drives away from the one person who can make you holy. God. That is why God wanted guilt to be removed. He wants you to come to Him, He is the only one who can make you holy. Look at this: “19 confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God full assurance that faith to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
Confidence to enter! A new and LIVING way! Opened for us! Draw near! Full assurance! All this only possible. HOW? Cleanse from a guilty conscience. That my friend is how we become holy just as our Father is holy.
“1 Peter 1:15-17, it reads:”15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;16 for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.”
Let’s look at the verses before and after these verses? How are we made holy?
“10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow.”
“13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”
“18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”
How do become holy? Jesus made you holy. How did he make you holy? By his grace. How did you believe in God in the first place? Through him. How is that possible? Grace. Are you already holy? Hallelujah. We have already purified ourselves. How? By obeying the truth. What is this truth? “it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ!” The grace of God!
“Salvation to be worked out, not worked for”
So what is this? Reverent fear and “working out your salvation with fear and trembling” about. I amazed at times how foolish some self-professing Bible teachings are sometimes. Why do we quote something not in its entirety?
Let’s look at the passage again in Philippians 2. “12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
We tell people you must work out your salvation with fear and trembling by obeying the 10 commandments. Here is my problem with this interpretation.
Look at Philippians 3. Paul calls confidence in the flesh “legalistic righteousness”.
- Paul also called what he achieved through the Law of Moses dung compared to the righteousness he receives from Jesus through just believing Jesus.
- He also says, the mutilators of the flesh are dogs and calls believers the true circumcision, then these “dogs” are really Jews who want believers to be circumcised according to the Law of Moses. Paul calls them dogs in Philippians and savage beasts in Ephesians.
- You don’t work out something you don’t have. You work FOR something you don’t have. You can only work out something you have. You already have your salvation.
- God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
- Do you know the words “work out” and “work in” in Greek are different? One talks about “going along” and the other means “With all his energy”.
- Do you know “fear and trembling” is merely a Hebrew way of saying “in awe”?
English Standard Version
And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.
Philippians 2: 12-13 (how it should be read)
Work out your salvation because of all the good and all the prosperity God will provide for it, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
So please study your Scriptures before you criticize someone.
Now therefore what does ““26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” mean?
Again one must consider the context of such a statement. Let’s look at it. What is Hebrews 10 about? If you read the whole chapter carefully, you would note that the writer of Hebrews is addressing the Hebrews (not Gentiles) in relation of temple worship also known as the worship by way of the blood of bulls and goats as compared to a new and living way of worship offered by the blood of Jesus.
The writer stresses that while the blood of bulls and goats secure forgiveness year after year. The blood of Jesus offers forgiveness once and for all. It is here, the writer of Hebrews tells the Jews to believe in Jesus rather than the worship of the blood of bulls and goats.
Today many believers think the reason the veil of the temple is torn is to allow Christians to enter into the Holy of Holies of the temple of Solomon. It is not. The reason the veil was torn because God does not want the worship to continue in that temple.
He wants us to worship in His temple. The temple of eternity. That is why there is a new veil. It is the body of Jesus. See: Hebrews 10: 19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God…
Note the new and living way is the new curtain, the body of Jesus. Now look at the purpose why the veil of Solomon’s temple is removed. See Hebrews 9: 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning.
Notice there is a difference between the Most Holy Place and the first tabernacle.The first tabernacle refers to the temple of Solomon where as the Most Holy Place is the very seat in heaven.
So long as the Temple of Solomon stands, the Holy Spirit will not disclose the way to the Most Holy Place of heaven.
God wants to rid the temple practices because God does not live in the temple of Solomon anymore but in everyone of us who has placed their belief in the Son. This is because the system of bulls and goats doesn’t work. The offering of His Son did. Hence there is a new curtain, a new veil, a new and living way. The body of Jesus!
So the writer writes about a fiery indignation. A few years after Hebrews is written, the Romans burn the temple of Solomon down. See: 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
The following is probably the text that confused many Christians. This is the passage which speaks about “Sinning Willfully” which presupposes that the blood of Jesus only clean your past sins.
Here is the passage from the Jewish New Testament.
26 For if we deliberately continue to sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but only the terrifying prospect of Judgment, of raging fire that will consume the enemies.[f]
28 Someone who disregards the Torah of Moshe is put to death without mercy on the word of two or three witnesses.[g]29 Think how much worse will be the punishment deserved by someone who has trampled underfoot the Son of God; who has treated as something common the blood of the covenant[h] which made him holy; and who has insulted the Spirit, giver of God’s grace!
Notice this sin is a singular sin. It is the same sin mentioned in Hebrews 12:1. One sin. That sin is only possible “after receiving the knowledge of the truth”. Before receiving the knowledge of the truth, you cannot perform this “sin” and the damage only comes when you do it “willfully”. Thus it cannot mean your every day “sins” because all your daily sins are willful.
What then is this “sin”? If you read about this “sin” in Hebrews 12, it is also the sin that entangle “us”. By now you should know the word “us” mean the Jews. What is the cure for this “sin” then? The writer of Hebrews says to look at Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
So what then is this “sin” that only be cured by fixing our eyes upon Jesus? It is found a few verses thereafter. It is to treat the blood of Jesus like common blood. Look at the context of Hebrews 10. We do not treat Jesus blood like common blood when we sin. We treat the blood of Jesus like common blood if we treat it like the blood of bulls and goats. How?
Well the blood of bulls and goats give you annual and temporal forgiveness. Jesus’ blood cleanses you forever because your sins are taken away (yes even the ones which you have not done) once and for all. Some of you here would argue your future sins are not taken away. But let me ask you something, when Jesus died were your born yet? Were the sins you committed before you came to Jesus future sins the moment Jesus died? Of course. So are the sins you will commit from the point of the cross.
As such “the knowledge of the truth” is to know the sacrifice provided the law, the Torah i. e. the blood of bulls and goats (common blood) cannot save you. Only the blood of Jesus can.
Thus this “sin” simply means not believing Jesus but reverting to believing to that the religious system of the blood of bulls and goats saves you. Simply said going back to worship provided by the temple of Solomon. In short, going back to the Torah to obtain your salvation. Going back to confession and feeling guilty for your sins.
By the way this is what Peter spoke about as “deny Him AFTER having escaped the pollutions of this world through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and your latter end can become worse than before you knew Him. 2Pet 2:20-22. What he then called “ a dog going back to his vomit”.
So then after they have this knowledge and you go back to the law there is no more sacrifice for them. This is because they have rejected the one and only way for [absolute] forgiveness for sins.
The fiery indignation here is not a reference to hell. The context of Hebrews 10 is about the ritualistic forgiveness via the temple. 7 years from the writing of the book of Hebrews, the temple was burned down by the Romans, and temple worship and the offering of bulls and goats was finally eradicated. That is why it means by “but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God”. The judgment and raging fire, is the burning down of the temple. You can read about this here: http://www.tyndalehouse.com/tynbul/library/TynBull_2002_53_1_06_Gleason_Hebrews10Warning.pdf
“Repentance from dead works”
Finally, do grace believers repent? Yes they do. They repent all the time. Repentance is the “changing of the mind”. We are asked to do that all the time. The only problem here there is a difference between the new covenant repentance and old covenant repentance. One is about repentance from “dead works” the other repentance from sins. You see dear friends, grace does not teach you how to sin. Your nature does that. You were a sinner. You were born to sin. You cannot help but sin. Your nature was Adam’s. You are born a sinner so naturally you sin. When you were in Christ, you suddenly are given a choice, to sin or not to sin. You never had that before. You now have it.
So the Christians do not repent from sins. He does however repent from thinking that he can turn away from sin by what he does. He repents from thinking he can win the favour of God by doing right. He repents from thinking his good works earn him a place in God’s good books. If you have a faith and a teaching like this, let me be very blunt that is heresy to its deepest core. That is religion and not faith in Jesus Christ. Its dead works.
The Christian does not repent from sins. He is already dead to sin. Romans 6:2 “By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” It is this business of repenting over and over again that gives the Christian a lying doctrine that sin has still power over him. No, we are already dead to sin. We are alive to Christ. See Romans 6:11 “11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
So does a Christian repent? Yes, by reckoning he is already dead to sin. He does not repent by changing his behavior. He repents by realizing that he died with Christ, and now made alive in Christ. That is the only way he has power over sin, he died to it. It has no more power over him.
Do grace believers hate sins? You bet! They hate it to the very core. BUT! If you say that you can master sin by changing your behavior, you are dead wrong. Sin can be conquer not by a change of behavior. It demands a change of nature. From Adam’s to Christ’s. God did not make us new “repentees”. He made us new creations. So we hate it so much that we are willing to die to it. What about you?