I realized someone has posted a link to my blog accusing Pastor Joseph Prince and D L Moody (yes the great D L Moody) of teaching false doctrines. Here is the article: http://www.learningfromthemaster.com/apps/blog/categories/show/1666488-grace-movement
This is the final note in the series, the rest of the reply can be found at the end of this note. I have noted that the issues raised by the author of the above article are generically raised against the Grace Gospel. The replies I have made, I pray, may provide answers and truths for those who are confused. Today I want to address this part of the article.
“Salvation is easy and permanent
The false grace theology teaches that our eternity and our relationship with Christ is already settled so we can sit back, relax and enjoy God. According to it’s teachings, whether or not we are obedient to God doesn’t matter as it won’t affect our eternal destiny. In other words, those who have been taught the false-grace doctrine believe that they play no part in salvation other than believing that Jesus was the Son of God. Even Satan believes that! This “easy faith” is perfect for those who don’t want to invest their lives in serving God, or who don’t want to feel guilty when they mess up. Anything else would scream of works and the leaders of this movement have convinced their followers that if it feels like human effort then it is wrong.”
I would like to approach things differently today. I will rebut the above by way of a series of questions and answers. Let’s start with the 1st one.
1) Is salvation easy?
That really depends. Paul gives a wonderful account on this when he wrote Romans 10. Paul argues that there are 2 ways to earn salvation. I purposely use the word “earn”, this is because salvation is not free. It has to be earned. The issue here is this, did you earn it through works or did Jesus earn it by his work?
Let me reproduce Romans 10 via the Message so that you can see it easily.
“1-3 Believe me, friends, all I want for Israel is what’s best for Israel: salvation, nothing less. I want it with all my heart and pray to God for it all the time. I readily admit that the Jews are impressively energetic regarding God—but they are doing everything exactly backward. They don’t seem to realize that this comprehensive setting-things-right that is salvation is God’s business, and a most flourishing business it is. Right across the street they set up their own salvation shops and noisily hawk their wares. After all these years of refusing to really deal with God on his terms, insisting instead on making their own deals, they have nothing to show for it.”
Paul hits the nail on the target doesn’t he? Salvation is God’s business. That is his terms! Israel was trying to “make their own deals” via the works of the Law. How did Paul addressed that. “They are backward! They have nothing to show for it-that despite there are impressively energetic”.
Jesus says the same thing when he preached about the parable of the Merciful Master who paid everyone an equal share regardless of when the servants went to work.
“Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’
So in God’s curriculum does working your heads off mean anything to God with respect to salvation? (Caveat: I am not saying serving Jesus becomes irrelevant, I serve him because I love him, and not because I am afraid I will go to hell, if I don’t. No one I believe writes more blogs to glorify His work and His grace.)
Check out what Paul says:
Galatians 2:15-16 (the Message)
“We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good.”
He then continues in verses 19-20:
“What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.”
Let’s see what Paul actually says:
1) We are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ;
2) No human being can please God by self-improvement;
3) We might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good;
4) I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work;
5) I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man.(By the way, that is what Jesus meant by “deny yourself, take up the cross and follow me);
6) I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me;
7) The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.”
8) Last but not least verse 21: “Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”
Let me repeat: If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily!
Does that seem to echo what the author says as “whether or not we are obedient to God doesn’t matter as it won’t affect our eternal destiny. In other words, those who have been taught the false-grace doctrine believe that they play no part in salvation other than believing that Jesus was the Son of God.”?
The question here is that is what Paul saying “false-grace doctrine”? My answer: If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily!
Let’s continue with what Paul says in Romans 10.
“4-10 The earlier revelation was intended simply to get us ready for the Messiah, who then puts everything right for those who trust him to do it. Moses wrote that anyone who insists on using the law code to live right before God soon discovers it’s not so easy—every detail of life regulated by fine print!”
Works salvation is referred here as the earlier revelation. Anyone who insists on using the law code is NOT EASY. Every detail of life regulated by fine print!
Hence it is imperative for us when we read accounts of Jesus’ parable about how difficult it is to be saved, he is actually addressing people in regards of trying to be righteous by keeping the 10 commandments.
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
The question here is that who are “the many who enter through it”? Jesus was speaking to Jews. What does every Jew has in common? Obedience to the Law of Moses. Hence that is why Paul says “We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen!”
Trying to be righteous by the Law is the wide gate! Jesus is the Narrow way.
Let’s go on. Now let us see what Paul now says about salvation through faith on what Jesus earned for you. “But trusting God to shape the right living in us is a different story—no precarious climb up to heaven to recruit the Messiah, no dangerous descent into hell to rescue the Messiah. So what exactly was Moses saying?”
Paul is saying “no need to climb up to heaven, no need to go to hell”. In other words, “IT IS NOT HARD!” rather:
“The word that saves is right here,
as near as the tongue in your mouth,
as close as the heart in your chest.
It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation.”
THAT’S SALVATION! “You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you.”
WHO THEN IS THE FALSE TEACHER?
For salvation that comes from trusting Christ—which is what we preach—is already within easy reach of each of us; in fact, it is as near as our own hearts and mouths.”
It’s not hard, it’s easy.
2) Is salvation permanent?
11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here,[a]he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining[b] eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,[c] so that we may serve the living God!
Dear friends, check this out:
1) The Blood that was offered was offered once and for all. That is to say, it has eternal value and effect;
2) It was offered in eternity in the more perfect tabernacle. In fact the lamb was slain before the foundations of the earth;
3) It was offered through the eternal spirit, the Holy Spirit;
4) It offers to you eternal redemption.
Which part of “eternal” does not spell out permanent?
1) The Blood- does Jesus have to die again?
2) The heavenly tabernacle – does God have to rebuild a new one?
3) Does the Holy Spirit lose his eternity?
4) Can redemption which is eternal be revoked?
Dear friends, the cleansing of our sins is permanent otherwise Jesus does not sit next to the Father. He sits there by merit. That is why I said salvation has to be earned by man. The man Jesus Christ.
3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being,sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
It is a finished work. Our High Priest sits. He doesn’t stand.
3) Does Satan believe in justification by faith alone?
The answer is no. That is a misquotation from James. This what it actually says: James 2:9 “19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”
Notice it does not say the devil believe that if you believe Jesus you are saved. It says “he believes that there is one God.” That is the 10 commandments. For a fuller discussion on this I have already written an article in respond to the question at hand: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/does-the-phrase-even-the-devil-believes-in-god-mean-works-is-necessary/
Satan’s number 1 tool and power is the 10 commandments. That is why Paul calls it the ministry of death. That is Satan’s gospel. Salvation by works or salvation maintained by works!
For a fuller discussion on this issue: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/the-gospel-of-satan/
4) Are Christians supposed to invest in works?
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Have you ever wondered what these works are? And why it is we “walk in them”?
How do you walk in the works God has prepared for you? It is not referring to works salvation.
It is about this….
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
It is about loving one and another just as Jesus loved us.
Now you may say “love” is works. Friend, read Romans 5: 5, it’s the Holy Spirit’s working, and its not about your love. Can you love like Jesus? It is about the Father’s out pouring.
5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Its not about your love. Its about his!
We do not invest in works. We already have our inheritance in Christ!
5) Should Christians be feeling guilty?
Let’s just take a look at 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.”
“22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
Hebrews 9: 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,[c] so that we may serve the living God!
Is this not clear? Does God want you to feel guilty for your sins? If so how are you going to draw near? If you cannot draw near to God (the one person that can empower you not to sin) how can you overcome sin? By your will power?
Now here’s the issue. Why is it that while we understand we have been forgiven, know that we have been forgiven, believe that we have been forgiven, preach we have been forgiven, yet still not experiencing forgiveness?
The writer of Hebrews identifies the problem in:
1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 If it could, 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.
The real problem here is not whether you experience the forgiveness or not. It is the problem with your own conscience. It is your conscience that condemns you. How does it condemns you?
This is how, it keeps on reminding you that you still have to do something to acquire forgiveness. Hence the very thing you do to seek forgiveness becomes the very thing that reminds you of your sins. Whilst many would argue this is the way to grace, Hebrews 10 tells you it comes from the law. So the problem is created not by God but by your conscience.
You may then argue and say “isn’t conscience something that God gave you to tell you what is wrong and what is right?” The answer is yes. However not only does it tells what is right and what is wrong, it also tells you “You are wrong. you are guilty, God cannot stand you”. Hence, it is your conscience that keeps YOU from God. It does not keep God from you. Had it been, God would not have looked for Adam. Adam was the one who hid.
Still not convinced?
Let’s read further on at verses 2 and 3:
“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. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins”
The writer states that the sacrifices could not make such people perfect because they felt guilt for their sins. Why couldn’t it do so? Because they asked for forgiveness through the bulls and goats endlessly. In fact in verse 2, the writer offers a solution. If the sacrifice for forgiveness had worked. You need to only do it once. Why didn’t it work? Because he sacrifices brought could NOT TAKE AWAY sin. Note, I said said “TAKE AWAY SIN”. Not “covered your sins” or “washed your sins”.
See 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Here lies our problem. Many believers think that when Jesus offered his blood it was to cleanse of your sins or to cover your sins. It is not, he came to take away your sins.
Some of you may quote Peter and say “its only your past sins”. Nah that’s not right. You see if that is true, then the problem of having to offer again and again comes in, cause only your past sins have been forgiven hence your conscience will still haunt you for your future sins. That doesn’t cut it.
Let’s read on:
15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”[b]
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[c]
The forgiveness that is “never to be repeated again” is to solve the problem of the conscience. It is your conscience that keeps you away from God not God’s unforgiveness.
3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins,
So that’s why Christ died once and for all, he died to establish once and for all the fact that you are forgiven. This means there is nothing your guilty conscience can condemn you for, so that you may really experience experiential and relational forgiveness.
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
How is this done? The answer is this
Hebrews 10: 11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
Here lies the crux of the matter. The priests could not sit down because the sacrifices were not able to take away sins. They could not sit down. Jesus on the other hand TOOK AWAY your sins. How many times did he have to do that? Note, once and for all, he sat down.
As such the only way to really to experience real forgiveness is thanking God for his once and for all forgiveness. The constant requirement of asking for forgiveness in order to be forgiven is merely a modern form of offering the blood of bulls and goats I may say. It gives power to the a conscience which does nothing for you to experience forgiveness. It in effect produces even less security in the finished work of Christ.
Then what do you do then, continue to sin and don’t ask for forgiveness?
No. 1 do not presume I live a callous life when I say I live a carefree life. I hate sin. Note Hebrews 10;1 says it is not God or Jesus that required this continual ritual of asking for forgiveness it is the LAW.
To me, we are just not being honest with ourselves, the problem is not with God, the problem is that we have to rid ourselves of the conscience that bothers us. Let’s face the biblical fact, your sins are taken away once and for all. God remembers your sins no more. The problem is not him. Its you. Unless you know and believe God has really once and for all forgiven you you will never feel forgiven. Its your conscience talking its not God.
So does DL Moody advocate a false grace gospel?
Check it out yourself:
As you would have known, this is my 9th 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/