Don’t misunderstand grace


 

Stop Sinning and Be Healed, by Alan P. Ballou

Don’t misunderstand grace. While working with the homeless, I have seen many people, who were addicted, or who lived alternative life styles that were delivered from sin by grace in a few days, but most of them reject righteousness.

What do I mean? First of all know that it was grace that saved us, which came through faith (Ephesians 2:6-8). However, being saved is only the beginning of the Christian life.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, NKJV

Like most of us, you may not have known what happen to you, but you know that something happened when you were saved, and just like new-born animals looking to their mother, you accepted the explanation you were given by whoever was standing there when you opened your eyes. Your mind was telling you, “this is real,” and so you accepted the explanation you were given.

I’m telling you to test that explanation with truth, found in your Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Why? Most evangelist on TV and radio never preach the Gospel, but they only lead people into repenting of their sins using worldly wisdom, which we are instructed not to use (1 Corinthians 1:17, below). I haven’t heard anyone preach the Gospel in the past twenty years, but just maybe there is someone out there somewhere.

1 Corinthians 1:17  For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. NKJV

Because no one is preaching the Gospel, millions of saved people, reject the teachings of Jesus, and hold to the doctrines of men.

Matthew 15:8-9 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”  NKJV

“Go have a personal relationship” with Jesus is not in the Bible; nor are many other sayings that the unrighteous use.

The unrighteous suppress the truth (Romans 1:18), and they do not submit to God’s way of being righteous (Romans 10:3). If you don’t want to be unrighteous, start practicing righteousness (1 John 2:29, 3:7). By their fruits you will recognize them (Matthew 7:15-20). Let us repent and return to the Lord our God.

Christians, who are righteous by faith, do not speak against the faith, even in their heart (Romans 10:6-8). That’s the passage of scripture that you should have heard right before you were told to say “Jesus is Lord,” but the unrighteous always suppress it.

Romans 10:6-10  But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. NKJV

Notice that the sentence does not start with verse 9, but that’s where the unrighteous start every time. Do not be like them, but accept God’s way of being righteous. Don’t be like the Pharisees of old, who traveled land and sea making sons of hell (Matthew 23:15). Teach people about God’s righteousness in accordance with what is written in the Bible.

You’re not getting into Heaven because you said a sinner’s prayer, and nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to go out and have a million people say a sinner’s prayer, but to preach the Gospel, and make disciples (followers) of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-16).

You never read in scripture where Jesus, or any of His disciples, or the Apostles had people repeat a sinner’s prayer, promising that people would go to Heaven because of it, but all of them made disciples (followers) of Jesus Christ, and taught people to obey Jesus (John 15:14, Romans 15:15-19, 1 John 2:3). Jesus is the source of eternal salvation for those who “obey Him!”

Hebrews 5:9  And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, NKJV

The way that we get to know Jesus is by obeying Jesus (1 John 2:3-4), and the way we become a friend of Jesus is by obeying Him (John 15:14), and if we love Jesus, we will obey Him (John 14:21-23). After you learn these verses then you will realize that it is deceiving at best to instruct someone to go and have a personal relationship with Jesus. How can they unless they obey Him?

Now that you are saved, you got to believe the Gospel in order to be sealed, and guaranteed and inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Ephesians 1:13-14  In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. NKJV

Try telling someone who got saved while listening to a worldly explanation of the Christian life, that now they got to be righteous by faith in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and they will call you the enemy. They were told that they would go straight to Heaven when they die, simply because they said that prayer, but that’s not written, even in their Bible.

The unrighteous do not inherit the Kingdom of God, point, blank, period. They can be saved, because we come as we are, but the unrighteous have no inheritance.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. NKJV

Even Jesus said that the unrighteous will not make it. He didn’t say that the wicked could not be saved, but that we got to righteous in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 5:20  For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. NKJV

You may have been told that you were imputed righteousness, or credited righteousness, but here is the truth. If you believe God, as Abraham believed God, then you will be imputed righteousness (Romans 4:18-24, Galatians 3:6-7, James 2:20-24). Check those verses.

How did Abraham believe God? If God spoke it, Abraham believed it, point, blank, period.

If you believe like Abraham believed then you will be imputed righteousness, but that would mean that you accept and believe every verse in your Bible, point, blank,  period.. Show me anyone who does not believe certain verses in their Bible (God’s Word), and I will show you someone who cannot possibly have the faith of Abraham, or be imputed righteousness as he was.

Think about it. If you do not believe God (God’s Word), how can you be imputed righteousness as Abraham was? God says, do not add to His Word.

Proverbs 30:5-6  Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. 6 Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar. NKJV

Does teaching people to “go have a personal relationship” show that you believe God as Abraham did, or should you be teaching people to obey Jesus (John 14:21-23, 15:14, Romans 15:15-19)? Does teaching people to believe in the trinity show that you are righteous by faith in keeping with Romans 10:6-8, and 2 Corinthians 4:13? Does the Bible say that God is a person (Numbers 23:19)?

Can we be righteous by faith and promises the unrighteous that they are going straight to Heaven when they die? By their fruits you will know them (Matthew 7:15-20), and fruit includes what we say (Matthew 12:33-37). Satan’s ministers always transform themselves into ministers of righteousness. Christians who are born of God practice righteousness (1 John 2:29, 3:7).

2 Corinthians 11:13-15  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. NKJV

The Gospel itself contains an explanation of the righteousness, which is by faith, and it instructs those who are justified, “How to live;” by faith.

Romans 1:16-17  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” NKJV

First of all, notice that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, and in it (in the Gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed, or made known.

This righteousness is from faith to faith, meaning that it starts with the faith we were given as a gift (Romans 12:3, Ephesians 2:8), and it continues to come through faith, which means that we have got to continue in our faith after we hear and believe the Gospel (Colossians 1:21-23). The just, or those who have been justified, will live by faith.

If you have never heard what I am explaining to you right now, then you have never heard the Gospel. I have found this to be the case even with people who have been attending church services for thirty years because very few around here is preaching the Gospel, if any, and I live in the Bible belt. Isn’t that ludicrous?

What happens if we do not continue in our faith as the Gospel instructs us to do?

Hebrews 10:37-39  “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”  39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. NKJV

If we do not continue in our faith, we will draw back to perdition; the destruction of the soul. We must continue in our faith in order to remain holy in God’s sight after we are saved (Colossians 1:21-23). Check that, and notice the word “if” at the end of verse 22, and the beginning of verse 23. That means it is a condition.

What happens to new converts after they are saved, when they have no knowledge of continuing in their faith, or they refuse to continue in their faith? They are eventually cut off from the rain (grace, Hebrews 6:7-8, John 15:1-2).

Why? We only gain access into grace through faith (Romans 5:2, below). If you never hear the Gospel, you will probably think that receiving grace is automatic, because that’s how the unrighteous explain it, but grace only reigns for those who are righteous (Romans 5:21). Without faith, we do not have access to more grace.

Romans 5:2  through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. NKJV

The life cycle of a typical Bible belt Christian starts with being led into repenting of their sins, and declaring Jesus as Lord, without any knowledge of the righteousness of faith. Because of this, about four or five years later many of them begin to live in the same way that they lived before they got saved.

What happens next? Most of them simply seek to get saved all over again, because that’s what most preachers teach; get saved, get saved, get saved. However, the believers who pick their Bible up and begin to read the Word of God for themselves will again experience grace, because they unknowingly started back continuing in their faith.

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). In most Bible belt churches today, we get about four actual verses a sermon. We got to have more than that.

What can you do to help? If you find a Christian, who was saved years before, but is now slipping away, and you can get him to start reading the New Testament, then he will receive more grace (Romans 5:2). Just by turning him back to the right path, you will save his soul, especially if you can get him to read out loud; faith comes by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17).

James 5:19-20 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. NKJV

All of a sudden that new grace will make him desire to stop sinning, and he will once again have the ability to live by faith. Why? Grace itself teaches us.

Titus 2:11-14  For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. NKJV

Grace itself will teach him to deny ungodliness, and to live righteously, but he still needs to learn righteousness. That new grace will deliver him again from sins that he had no control over without it, but receiving grace is not the end of the Christian walk. It’s just the beginning.

Isaiah 26:10  Let grace be shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness; In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, And will not behold the majesty of the Lord. NKJV

During our time of grace, we are expected to learn righteousness. If we do not learn righteousness during this period of time, then we have received grace in vain, and are in danger of falling short of the intended outcome of receiving grace.

2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. NKJV

Hebrews 12:14-15  Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; NKJV

Galatians 2:21  I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” NKJV

If we had heard Romans 10:6-8, before we were taught Romans 10:9, then we would have known that the Christian life is not just about getting saved, but being righteous by faith.

Romans 4:13  For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. NKJV

The inheritance is through the righteousness of faith, and the beginning of that process is to always speak in line with the faith, even in our hearts. That can’t be done in places where Christians are constantly taught things that are not in their own Bibles.

Romans 10:6-8  But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): NKJV

Once Christians realize that we are instructed to allow ourselves to become slaves of righteousness, in order to be set free from sin (Romans 6:17-18), healed (1 Peter 2:24), and have everlasting life (Romans 6:22), then it becomes obvious that they were previously deceived.

Romans 6:17-18  But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. NKJV

Romans 6:22  But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. NKJV

1 Peter 2:24  who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed. NKJV

Only a Christian who wholeheartedly obeys the teachings to the point of becoming a slave to righteousness is set free from sin (Romans 6:17-18 , above). Can we wholeheartedly obey the teachings and reject the righteousness of faith?

Those who are set free from sin by allowing themselves to become God’s slave will enjoy everlasting life (Romans 6:22, above), but those who live according to the flesh will die.

Romans 8:12-13  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors — not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. NKJV

On top of that, those who die to sins and live for righteousness will be healed (1 Peter 2:24, above). Imagine that. That’s why I wrote “Stop Sinning and Be Healed.” Every Christian in the world is supposed to stop sinning and be healed in this life-time.

It is evident that those who are not set free from sin, will not have an inheritance, even though they may be saved.

Galatians 5:19-21  Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. NKJV

Ephesians 5:3-7  But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. NKJV

Let no one deceive you. Yes, Christ came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), but He also came to destroy the devil’s work in us (1 John 3:8), and to redeem us from every lawless deed (Titus 2:14). Don’t hide the truth, but proclaim it, and always speak in-line with it.

1 John 3:7-8  Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. NKJV

I’m alan ballou; a servant. I help believers for free, anywhere in the world, even if they never buy one of my books. However, I charge the unrighteous, and non-believers for my time. Let us repent and return to the Lord our God. Let us awake to righteousness and stop sinning (1 Corinthians 15:34)!

 

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