I am writing my 6th response 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 response 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 response can be found here: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/myths-that-itching-ears-want-to-hear-grace-is-not-a-false-movement-2/
Part 3 of my response can be found here: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/penalties-and-repentance-grace-is-not-a-false-movement-3/
I want to respond to this part of the article today:
“Repentance and confession of sin is not needed once you are saved.
Grace Theology believes that their sin is covered and so they don’t have to confess it. They believe they won’t go to hell, but even Paul himself struggled with sin when he said in Romans 7:14-25:
14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful natured a slave to the law of sin.”
One wonders how those in the Grace Movement can let sin go unconfessed or dealt with – yet they do because they believe that as humans living in a fallen world, we are expected to sin and God knows that, so it’s okay. They believe that focusing on sin (not sin itself) puts us into bondage. Unfortunately, people with this belief have no fear of the Lord or fear of damnation. While false-grace teachers don’t encouarge a sinful lifestyle, they also don’t warn people that they are at risk of eternal damnation.”
1st and foremost Romans 7 is not about Paul’s struggles with sin. It is about Paul’s former struggles with sin. If we are to interpret the passage the way she does, that would mean Paul never sinned after his conversion. That is ludicrous interpretation. It is crucial for us to read Romans 7 together with Romans 6 and Romans 8.
Romans 7 begins with “Do you not know, brethren—for I am speaking to men who are acquainted with the Law”. Hence you note those who know the Law are the Jews. Paul thereafter speaks about the adultery. If one reads Romans 6 you would note that Paul is extending his thoughts on Romans 6 and now introduces an illustration to make his point. So he is not speaking about adultery but using adultery as an illustration.
Romans 6 is about our death with Jesus. When Christ died, we died. When he was buried we were buried with him. What Paul is trying to say is that, when one party dies his obligation to the law also ends. Hence when the husband dies, the woman is free to remarry. If she marries another man when the husband is alive, she is bound by the law still and hence commits adultery. As such her obligation towards her husband by way of the law of marriage ends when he died. Paul in Romans 6 tells us that we died. In Christ.
“3 Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.
5 For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].”
Hence we are no married to the Law. We died. That is why Paul says “that legal claims have power over a person only for as long as he is alive?” Romans 7:1. Key word “Only”. Hence we are no longer bound by the Law. Look at Romans 8 now in particular verse 4:
“4 So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].”
Do you see it? Jesus’ death ensured the righteous and just requirement of the Law is met. Apologies. FULLY MET in US. It is already fully met. 100% met. Here’s another incredible truth. It is met so that we move not in the ways of the flesh anymore. Dear friends, once you died with Christ you do not move in the flesh anymore. So moving in the flesh is a thing of the past. My past articles I believe have dealt with this very important point. Walking in the flesh is nothing more than trying to be righteous by observing the law of Moses.
Why Romans 7 itself says that:
“5 When we were living in the flesh (mere physical lives), the sinful passions that were awakened and aroused up by [what] the Law [makes sin] were constantly operating in our natural powers (in our bodily organs, [a]in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh), so that we bore fruit for death.’
See it? We WERE living in the flesh and the sinful passions were operating in our natural organs. Notice aroused by the LAW! So living in the flesh is a thing in the past for Paul. Paul is saying that he was living under the Law hence living in the flesh. Paul in fact says once you believe in Christ, you have died to the law and thus set free.
See Romans 7:4 “Likewise, my brethren, you have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.” Tenses are crucial in the Bible. We have undergone death. We are not going to undergo death. We have! Through the body of Jesus and we died to the Law.
Let’s look at verse 6: “6 But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life]. Is Paul not clear enough? DischargED. TerminatED. DiED. ALL intercourse. We are totally severed from the Law.
That my friends is the context!
So the references that the author referred to are an extension of this thought. Here’s the whole thing in context:
“7 What then do we conclude? Is the Law identical with sin? Certainly not! Nevertheless, if it had not been for the Law, I should not have recognized sin or have known its meaning. [For instance] I would not have known about covetousness [would have had no consciousness of sin or sense of guilt] if the Law had not [repeatedly] said, You shall not covet and have an evil desire [for one thing and another].
8 But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment [to express itself], got a hold on me and aroused and stimulated all kinds of forbidden desires (lust, covetousness). For without the Law sin is dead [the sense of it is inactive and a lifeless thing].”
Notice something very crucial here? Sin derives it power from the Law. There is nothing wrong with the Law. What is wrong is actually us. We have sin in us and the reason the Law is given by God to us is because sin is activated by the Law.
“9 Once I was alive, but quite apart from and unconscious of the Law. But when the commandment came, sin lived again and I died (was sentenced by the Law to death).
10 And the very legal ordinance which was designed and intended to bring life actually proved [to mean to me] death.
Hence when Paul speaks about the Law of sin and death, he was actually referring to the 10 commandments. These are the commandments which were designed to bring him life but instead brought death to him.
“11 For sin, seizing the opportunity and getting a hold on me [by taking its incentive] from the commandment, beguiled and entrapped and cheated me, and using it [as a weapon], killed me.”
Hence Paul describes how his life under the Judaism before he met Christ was like in Romans 7:14-25.
When he reaches Romans 7: 24 O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death?, he answers his own question by saying “25 O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”
It is imperative for us to realize in the original text, there are no chapter divisions. Hence chapter 8 reflects Paul’s continuing thoughts on this subject. He now speaks of his new life after his conversion and his RECOGNITION that he died to the Law and now lives by the Spirit. Here Paul experiences no condemnation and is free from the condemnation he experience under the Law.
“3 For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [[a]the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [[b]subdued, overcame, [c]deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice],”
See also in the following verses Paul describes his new life under the grace of God, the Spirit of God. This is also our experience. We do not live under the flesh anymore. We live under the Spirit. Yes it is the experience of every Christian. Unfortunately like the author of the said article, many are not experience this.
“9 But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. But if anyone does not possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God].
10 But if Christ lives in you, [then although] your [natural] body is dead by reason of sin and guilt, the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you].
11 And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.”
It is imperative that Paul mentions much about the Spirit. One very significant thing he speaks about deserves our attention: the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you].
You have a righteousness that has been imputed to you! That is why we tell you that you are eternally secure because you do not enter heaven by your righteousness base on confession or even repentance.
Hence I will reply this part of what she says line by line.
“One wonders how those in the Grace Movement can let sin go unconfessed or dealt with – yet they do because they believe that as humans living in a fallen world, we are expected to sin and God knows that, so it’s okay. “
Sin has also been dealt with. It has been taken away once and for all. Paul tells us that Christ became sin for us. He already became sin for us. We have now become the righteousness of God. Secondly there is a difference between confessing your sins to be forgiven and acknowledging you did wrong. Confession to be forgiven is actually insulting the Holy Spirit. You are saying the blood of Jesus is like the blood of the bulls and goats.
Hebrews 10: 29 How much worse (sterner and heavier) punishment do you suppose he will be judged to deserve who has spurned and [thus] trampled underfoot the Son of God, and who has considered the covenant blood by which he was consecrated common and unhallowed, thus profaning it and insulting and outraging the [Holy] Spirit [Who imparts] grace (the unmerited favor and blessing of God)?
If you read Hebrews 10 in its context, trampling underfoot the Son of God and treating the covenant blood as “common and unhallowed” simply means treating the blood of Jesus and blood of bulls and goats. What does the blood of bulls and goats (common blood) do? They secure your forgiveness for a year. What did the blood of Jesus do for you? It took away your sins once and for all.
When I do wrong, it is only gracious that I seek forgiveness from people. However, between God and me, forgiveness is a judicial thing. That is done for me. Once. And for all. We have the forgiveness of sins. We do not confess our sins to be forgiven. That is Judaism. Our forgiveness lies in the finished work of Jesus.
3rdly, we are not expected to sin. You honestly think we can avoid sinning? You think by our own righteousness (basing it on our own obedience) we can avoid sinning? No, it is by God imputing his own righteousness that we are first positionaly righteous and thereafter this righteousness that empower us to be righteous in our character.
They believe that focusing on sin (not sin itself) puts us into bondage. Unfortunately, people with this belief have no fear of the Lord or fear of damnation. While false-grace teachers don’t encourage a sinful lifestyle, they also don’t warn people that they are at risk of eternal damnation.”
Dear friends, grace teachers do not teach you fear of the Lord in the same vein as damnation because of Romans 8:1. There is really no condemnation left. This is not because we are saying God is soft on sin. He wasn’t. He made Jesus sin for us and punished and condemn sin in Him. If you say that “Oh we can repent and repent, then we have power over sin, you are saying our repentance or our “fear” suffice as payment for sin, then my dear friends, you have a very superficial attitude towards sin. Only by the death of His Son, can the payment be made. Also the payment in sufficient. Martin Luther the great reformer understood this and hence he said ““Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.”
Our righteousness is not a matter of feeling guilty but secure in the finished work of Jesus. Luther understood this. So I close with this hymn about feeling guilty and fearful.
“Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God—
Naught else is worth believing.
Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.
I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!”
Let’s look at this:
Psalm 130:4 (New International Version)
4 But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.
I have always come across may who claim that by telling other people God is most ready to forgive your sins will make people take God for granted. I wonder have you been accused of the same thing? For me I humbly beg to differ.
It was John Newton who said this:
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.”
“It was GRACE that taught me to fear! It was GRACE my fears relieved!” The kind of fear God wants is for us to be in reverence and worship. The kind of fear that God wants to get rid of is fear that keeps us from being intimate with Him. It is not that kind of fear that speaks about condemnation or punishment or even judgment. This is because God has punished us in His Son.
It is this kind of understanding that God would punish His own Son in order to purchase our forgiveness that makes me bow my knees in awe and wonder. It is through this sacrifice we learn what an awesome God He is.
David says this in Psalm 130: 3,4
3 If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.
People don’t fear God because you scare them with the fear of the Lord. People fear God because He forgave their sins.