Of all the things that bring up the absolute most controversy in christendom is the old Grace vs. Works debate. What I think makes this controversial is, as Christians most of us understand this in different ways. Those of us who for the most part get it know full well their are those who abuse it… Easily, and we’ve seen plenty of people do so. We ourselves whom, I would contend, are actually in the spirit learn to be very careful in how we talk about “Grace” or “salvation”.
I was in this very debate today with someone and I just found something very interesting. I said something, then he completely disagreed with me. Then he went on telling me what he thought about it… As I listened carefully, he basically said the exact same thing I said… I simply asked him, “what part of what I said did you disagree with?”. He paused, and said that he forgot with a chuckle… I was left to tell him I think we agree entirely with each other but perhaps from a different direction. The thing is, I’ve found myself in this very same conclusion on this very topic with just about every christian I ever met… Which is why I maintained earlier, it seems we each understand Grace a bit differently and are very careful about how we describe it to each other…
I felt compelled to spell this out before I went on to the topic of salvation and grace itself. I just want to break down any barriers the reader may have, and ask that you respect my opinion and consider what I already said. Perhaps you have another way of putting it, or even understanding it. In either case, you can tell me all about it in the comments section below 🙂
It’s not by works we are judged by god, they are as wrags to the lord… yet we are asked by christ to poduce good works anyway… but we are saved by “grace and mercy”… It’s quite convoluted when you write it out like that, but yes and the bible does clarify it, probably more so in Galatians. I think the best way to do this is go step by step.
1. Your born, and by default your worthy of damnation. You can not go to heaven, because your not a perfect person.
2. However, god has a deal for you. Simply accept Jesus, his son, as your savior and don’t worry about your in perfection. Now you go to heaven.
3. Jesus himself says, you must be born again and he will give you his spirit. You will be saved only by receiving the spirit, not by works.
4. Then Jesus says “Go and Sin no more” also “give to the needy, heal the sick, do this or that and your rewards in heaven will be great. He also gives us a parable about talents which in itself is drenched in doing works…
So here’s where we are… it’s all contradicting isn’t it.
Galations, Galations, Galations. This very confused arguement is answered in probably the shortest book in the Bible, no one ever seems to pay attention to. I would contend it’s probably Satans doing as he doesn’t want you reading Galations!!
Now I will go through Galations in a minute, but before I do let me just explain this as best I can.
#3, we are born again and receive the spirit from Jesus… Aka the Holy spirit.. The spirit is what makes everything make sense. What people argue about this depends on how much they invest into spiritual things actually. In their view the spirit is meaningless because it isn’t physical, therefore – I believe, they believe it has little to none merit or its something to take lightly… Then there’s people like myself the spirit is just as real as whats physical. I can feel it the same way I feel a fire burning or a gust of air. There’s times I hear it guide my instincts and conscience and times I don’t.. overall I am convinced entirely God was being litteral when he told the prophet Ezekiel
Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.
I also believe Ezekiel actually did prophesied Jesus many centuries beforehand when Jesus said:
But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
(Just to add a bit of context, he said this before he was crucified)… where this puts us Christians is indeed we are given a brand new spirit. We are literally born again into a whole new person. Though I would agree, not everyone takes this as literally as I do, hence why I myself can be skeptical sometimes…
But what about the law?
There is no other law other then The Royal Law that we are bound to particularly this applies to the laws of Moses. Now there’s lots of ways that contention can go, but it boils down to something very simple. The spirit replaces the law. The spirit guides your conscience and tells you what to do. AND because it is now your spirit, your wanting and willing to do it…
To some degree I think a better way of describing this is, think of it as reprogramming your heart. Jesus wipes away the old hard drive and downloads all new software. In much the same way my laptop went from windows 8 to windows 10, I myself became a saved person in christ. In the very same manner my computer wants to include a start button and tiles on the home screen, I myself want to serve the Lord and do what ever it is he tasks me to do…. In that understanding how can I sin when I am simply responding to my program?
Yes works are expected, even though they are useless… There expected because it’s part of the program:
Romans 2:14-16 – for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
2 Corinthians 3:3 – clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
Hebrews 8:10 – For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
I would contend Christ’s way of doing things is even better then Moses… because it’s genuine, your works come from your heart, not because you were following a list of rules written down… This is God, not the dmv driving manual or the Tax code with the IRS. You as a person are not bound to the law but have freedom within the law, because your own will is shifted into alignment with the will of the law.
Now even as a Christian you will not be a perfect person, I guarantee it. BUT it’s because you have this spirit is what makes you alright with god and worthy of heaven… ok let me clarify, You repented to christ, he gave you his spirit, now your worthy of heaven… The only way to get the spirit is through christ… but anyway. You will still make mistakes, you will still sin, and you won’t be entirely connected to god all the time as you probably should… It doesn’t entirely matter, because it relies on your commitment to the spirit… Have you heard the song “This little light of mine” – What do you think it was talking about?
The spirit does need maintenance over time, all christ asks is that you just keep it burning 😉 AND the spirit will make that easy to do actually… in a way I think the spirit works a bit like a crutch, just in my experience… maybe it’s the equivalent of driving a car with a license. The day comes and you don’t renew your license yet keep driving your car… With the DMV’S permission… So ask yourself this, are you still capable of driving the car without a piece of plastic in your wallet if the DMV says ‘go ahead’? Maybe that’s just too much for our purposes here.
So NO, you can’t just do whatever you want. The works you do come from receiving the spirit, that’s why it’s expected. Only then you can understand what it is you are judging with righteous judgement…. that is the “fruit of the spirit”… Your not judging the person parsè
your judging whether or not this is a person who carries the same spirit as you do. If they do not you are told to either evangelize, or walk away. In either decision, base it on your instinct which is guided by the spirit.
What Christ ultimately wants is authenticity from people hence why he says his laws are even stricter then Moses. He doesn’t even want you to lust for another girl other then your wife, where as with Moses laws, you can atleast take a look…
The wisdom of this new system is you can’t really force people to be Christian – but you can force them to talk about Jesus. And sure they can talk about him when you hold a gun to their head. What it doesn’t mean is they have his spirit… can you see the difference? If not, how many people in your church do you suspect is just there to socialize, and show off how ‘christian’ they are… yet something seems to be missing from them…
… At least I think my description makes a lot better sense at least say to a modern reader… Not to say the Bible needs an ‘upgrade’, rather someone just needs to explain it sometimes within a framework people can understand.
“To be convinced in our hearts that we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God by grace alone is the hardest thing.” – ‘Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians’ 1522
I think what confuses people about the book of Galations is a couple things:
1. It’s very short, and it’s easy to undermine just on appearance.
2. It talks alot about Abraham and Jesus and the law. Plus it addresses a specific situations… it can be a little convoluted, there is a lot of context to understand with it.
I Highly recommend Martin Luther’s (Protestant reformer) book ‘Commentary on the Book of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.’
The reason being Luther gives alot of the back ground as he goes through the book and breaks it down step by step.. It helps add context, and Luther did a very good job of it. If you can only barely understand what I’ve already had to say about grace then maybe, Luther’s book can help you fill in the holes for yourself. None the less, it is SO important as Christians we tackle this basic concept – as satan will try to take away this thing from us that many take for granted.
In another article I was talking about how our own preconceived ideas can be mental blocks when reading the Bible…. Galations in particular would be one of those pitfalls for many people. I know you’ve heard you need to repent to christ, but let me through a wrench in the gears of your mind by asking; Why, do you need to repent to christ?
That’s precisely the question Galations answers aswell as
“How does repentence in christ work, what does it entail?”…. or ” Whats in the terms of service agreement” – if you will…
Abraham is an excellent example of how much the laws of Moses matter. The reason being Abraham was clearly found righteous by God, even though he himself was not bound by the law of Moses in any way…. he came almost 500 years before Moses was even born, after all… yet by faith and dedication to God alone righteousness was accounted to him by god. This is why Paul writes about Abraham ALOT in Galations. He names specific things Abraham did and didn’t do like circumcision, and Lamb sacrifices, etc etc… which as Paul explains to the church of Galatia is unnecessary. Paul also talks about the spirit and why we do the things christ commands us. He talks about why Jesus died on the cross, what and why the prophets said what they said… and the whole picture surrounding this issue of “Grace”…
Yet for how simple of a message grace is, Martin Luther was correct in saying: To be convinced in our hearts that we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God by grace alone is the hardest thing.
Grace alone through faith alone given by Christ alone as the Bible alone Explains it
As Christians we believe that indeed Jesus is the Messiah the prophets spoke about. That alone is the foundation of our “faith”.
Think about what a big leap that actually entails…. Many Christians today I am convinced will say this is their belief or some degree of it thereof… Yet I can tell they don’t really put much thought into it… Jesus could have been false prophet. He might not have even existed… maybe he never rose again, after all the only account we have of his resurrection comes to us by the apostles… whom were men obsessed in starting a kind of ‘movement’…. If I were a Pharisee in the time of christ, I could think of a hundred million ways that indeed Jesus was not THE ‘messiah’…. However, I am not a Pharisee in ancient Israel. Yet I challenge you to look at the disciples from their direction….
They were not without good intentions. Infact they really did honestly want to always do the right thing, and they put a good deal of effort into what they thought that was…. Their mistake however was, they were trying to maintain the status quo, meanwhile their own god was moving on to something else entirely… You might say they were like Congress or the senate, maybe the EU or UN. They were leaders who were not really leadership material, and they used burrocrasy as a crutch for their inability to adapt to situations as they arose… in the case of Jesus, his problem was he challenged that status quo. Whats worse he had followers… A lot of them…
That is a very dangerous man…
So the question isnt “Do you believe Jesus is the messiah”- Rather ask yourself this.
Why do you believe Jesus is indeed the Messiah?
As for myself I agree with atleast one pharasee who said in the book of acts:
“Let these men go, if what they say is not from god it will not be lasting. But if it is from god let it continue and grow”
It’s been over 2000 years since he said that, and I would say his theory has been proven correct. 😉
God would not have let this deception continue this long in his name if Jesus was not the Messiah. Nor would their be such force in empty lies or ramblings of mad men. The apostles simply told what they saw to ancient people, and I believe their account. More so I have read the real history of Christianity and where the bible comes from and where people get their ideas from. I am convinced with absolute certainty the account I have been given is 100% in the apostles own words. While all of this was only revealed to me after I became Christian in the first place, I think what brought my faith into Christ was simply his message… Things he said, I had no idea he said, as many churches never taught me as a kid. I was spoon fed fire and brimstone by one church the other loaded me up on candy and puppet shows.. while these churches have their own sins to consider, I’m the sheep who eventually made it back to the flock. And it can only by the hand of a shepherd am I here, as I was a very far gone lost person.
Listen carefully. Do not simply agree with what I said, as I may only answer for myself why I believe Christ is the Messiah. Reflect on your own reasons, it may be deeper then that, it might be shallow. Either way what matters is that your on his side.