Hey guys here’s an FAQ I wrote in response to the recent backlash over the whole, Grace Message . . . Okay not quite an FAQ because Christians don’t really ask questions. We accuse and object . . . And maybe some occasional name calling . . . Uh, slander . . . gossip . . . backstabb—okay, you know what I mean.
So call it what you want. It’s kind of long and if you’re anything like me, you hate that sort of thing. Great thing about FAQ’s is they allow you the freedom of skipping around until you come across a question you’ve actually had. Feel free to ask more in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.
Question/Objection: “The Grace Message gives people a license to sin.”
ANSWER: Over a decade ago, some friends and I found this message in the New Testament on our own. But we didn’t call it the, “Grace Message” we called it, “The End of the Sin Problem” because of the absolute freedom from sin we experienced. We even wrote a book on the subject with that title.
This message sets people free from sin by unveiling what the strength of sin has always been—The Law (1Cor 15:56). Romans 7 is clear that the struggle with sin is energized by commandments (Rom 7:5, 7:8). Apart from the law, sin is dead (7:9). People have been trying to solve the sin issue by adding more commandments when the Bible says, “The law entered so that sin might abound (Rom 5:20)”! Trying to get someone to stop sinning by pushing more commandments is only adding fuel to the fire. APART from the law, sin is dead.
Question/Objection: “This is the, ‘Once Saved Always Saved” doctrine.”
ANSWER: No. This is simply stating that we are saved by faith (Eph 2:8). We stand by faith (Rom 11:20). And if we are to be saved, we must CONTINUE in the faith (Col 1:21-23). Not a combination of faith and our best efforts.
In other words, God doesn’t change the qualifications for salvation AFTER we are saved. He doesn’t say to the sinner, “you’re saved by faith apart from works” but then to the believer, “you‘re saved by faith plus works.”
Question/Objection: “God is just and He must judge sin.”
ANSWER: This is true. But the question is, who is judged for our sin? See, In Christ, God condemned sin in the flesh (Rom 8:3). The word, “condemned” in Greek means, “to judge guilty.” Christ took the judgment of sin so that now, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Rom 8:1).”
Question/Objection: “Without holiness no man will see the Lord (Heb 12:14).”
ANSWER: This is true. But how do you get holiness? By trying your best not to sin? No.
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become FOR us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, HOLINESS and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30 NIV)
Christ became it FOR YOU. When something is done FOR YOU the result is, you don’t have to do it. It’s already been done!
Question/Objection: “Galatians 5:19-21 and 1Corinthians 6:9-10, saythat people who practice such sins will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
ANSWER: This is true. It just isn’t ALL THE TRUTH. The Bible has more to say about this subject.
Read the following passage closely . . .
“Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted
as a gift but as his due. And to the one who DOES NOT WORK but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is COUNTED as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God COUNTS righteousness APART FROM WORKS:
‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord WILL NOT COUNT his sin.”
(Romans 4:4-8 ESV)
See, your faith in Christ is counted as righteousness. The word, “righteousness” in Greek means, “Acting right or virtuous.” So you see, if righteousness is accredited to you, it’s AS IF YOU ACTED RIGHT. It has nothing to do with trying to abstain from sin. It’s counted to your charge APART FROM WORKS. Otherwise, if the Gift of Righteousness depended on whether you ACTED righteous, how would that be different from just ordinary righteousness?
So you see, the only way you could miss out on entering the Kingdom of God by sinning, was if those sins and actions were held to your charge. But as a believer, they’re not! You have righteousness accredited to you and IT’S APART FROM WORKS.
Question/Objection: “1John 1:9 says that every time we sin we need to confess it in order to be forgiven. So these Christians who don’t confess their sins are living in sin and have no forgiveness.”
ANSWER: This is an assumption. We’re assuming because it mentions doing it once that it should be done continually.
When we are born again we all fulfill this passage. We confess (or the Greek says, ‘acknowledge’) our sin and He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all (not just past and present but ALL) unrighteousness.
Then, after we place faith in Christ, we are counted righteous. And the benefits of righteousness that God imputes (and keep in mind this is APART from works) are as follows . . .
Sins are covered (past tense)
Iniquities are forgiven (present tense)
Sins shall not be imputed (future tense)
Knowing this, at what point could a believer in Christ be without forgiveness?
Question/Objection: “If God is no longer imputing sin to the Christian, why are there so many warnings against it in the New Testament?”
ANSWER: If you want to know why there are still warnings against sin in the New Testament, just read the New Testament. For instance, in Romans 6 why does Paul tell us not to sin?
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:1-4 ESV)
Notice he did not say, “shall we sin that grace may abound? No. Because if we do we’ll all go to hell.”
No. Paul says “how can we if we are dead to sin?” Then goes onto say that if we shared in Christ’s death then we SHOULD walk in newness of life. So what is the reason? Because we died to sin, and were raised to new life.
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (1 Corinthians 6:12 NKJV)
If you think Grace teachers today are radical, you should talk to the apostle Paul! And he didn’t just say this once but twice (1Cor 10:23)! One translation says, “I can do whatever I want.”
But notice what else he said. “I will not be brought under the power of any.” See, for Paul it wasn’t a matter of being scared of losing his salvation. He said he was free to do whatever he wants (thus distancing himself from the strength of sin which comes from rules and commandments, 1Cor 15:56). Yet he made a decision that NOTHING would have power over him (something you can’t do while sin is still empowered by the law).
This sounds much like Romans 6 where he said “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that ones slaves whom you obey, (Rom 6:16).
See, it isn’t a matter of losing salvation, but of staying free from ANYTHING that might enslave us.
Here is one more passage on warnings against sin . . .
and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. (Ephesians 4:24, 25 NKJV)
Notice the, “therefore“. Paul tells believers they are to put on the new man who has true righteousness and holiness. “THEREFORE putting away lying . . .”
What is the reason he gives for putting away lying? Because of the New Man.
So again, the warnings are there for good reason. Because we are dead to sin. Freed from it. So now we should walk in newness of life.
And as I previously noted, this is not possible until we are out from under law
For sin shall not have dominion over you: BECAUSE you are not under law, but under grace.
Question/Objection: “If you tell people that they can’t lose their salvation by sinning, they will go out and live sinful lives.”
ANSWER: Let me just say that if the Gospel you preach doesn’t make people raise this objection, then it may not be the same one the apostles preached because this was a constant issue Paul addressed in the epistles as a result of his message.
That being said, it’s been 2000 years since Paul penned the book of Romans and the majority of the Body of Christ still does not understand one of the major components of his revelation: The power of sin is the law (1Cor 15:56).
The reason I say the majority of us don’t understand it is because we ask questions like this. We think that if you remove any obligation to conform to a set of rules, people will go out and sin like there’s no tomorrow.
It’s just the opposite. This message identifies where sin was getting it’s power from and frees the believer from the STRENGTH and DRAW of it.
Question/Objection: “Hebrews 10:26 says . . .
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.’
So if you continue to deliberately sin after you are saved, you will lose your salvation.”
ANSWER: This verse does not say, “if you sin willfully, after you are saved, you will lose your salvation.”
And you should be glad. Because if that were true, this would be the most horrifying passage in all the Bible. Every Christian has sinned deliberately at some point. So not only did you lose your salvation by sinning, but somehow you also made Jesus’ sacrifice go away. It no longer remains!
The problem here is we think that, “no longer a sacrifice for sins” equates to, “you’ve lost your salvation and you‘re going to hell.”
Rather than assume that is what is meant, let’s just read a few verses up and it will tell us . . .
Now where there is absolute remission (forgiveness and cancellation of the penalty) of these [sins and lawbreaking], THERE IS NO MORE OFFERING FOR SIN. (Hebrews 10:18 AMPa, KJVb)
So notice, the absence of a sacrifice does not indicate a loss of salvation, but a remission of sins!
Further confirmation of this can be found in verse 12 . . .
. . . [Christ], after He had offered a SINGLE sacrifice for our sins [that shall avail] FOR ALL TIME, sat down at the right hand of God, (Hebrews 10:12 AMP)
Jesus took care of sin once and for all. We don’t need any more sacrifices to look forward to. THERE ARE NO MORE SACRIFICES. His AVAILS for ALL time.
Question/Objection: “Romans 6:16, 1John 5:18, James 1:5 say that sin leads to death. So if you sin too much, then you will lose your salvation.”
ANSWER: Since the Love of God is located IN CHRIST JESUS, then we know that death cannot seperate us from Christ (Rom 8:38-39)
Question/Objection: “1John 3:6, 9 5:18 Says that those who are born of God won’t practice sin.”
ANSWER: It says more than that. He also tells the believer that he knows all things (2:20), receives whatever he asks for in prayer (5:15), overcomes the world (5:4), and even that he cannot sin AT ALL (1Jn 3:9b NKJV). God calls the believer many things in the New Testament. But they don’t happen automatically. Paul said it is our responsibility to, “walk worthy” of what we are called (Eph 4:1).
If we are going to measure our salvation based on how well we do that, then we are all in trouble.
Question/Objection: “It’s only when you sin over and over with no intention of repenting or being sorry that you are in danger of losing your salvation.”
ANSWER: This is what I call the, “Sin-O-Meter” theory. Which basically states that there is an undefined amount of sins God has set for you . Once you hit that amount (or, the sin-o-meter reads too high), you lose your salvation.
Not only is there no Scripture that says this, but if this were true, the next logical question to ask would be: How many sins is too many sins? At which point, this view requires even more added explanation.
I have a general rule of thumb when it comes to Bible interpretation that has served me well over the years: if it takes too long to explain, it’s probably made up.
Question/Objection: “It’s not about sinning too much. It’s a condition of the heart.”
ANSWER: If it isn’t a matter of someone sinning too much, then it needs to be clarified what we are talking about. What is it we are we saying makes someone lose their salvation? This is one issue we run into with this type of reasoning. It becomes hard to nail down exactly what the qualifications are. So in an attempt to answer questions like these, instead of going to the Scriptures, we have to go through agonizing hypotheticals that make you want to fall on a knife.
Question/Objection: “Why are you trying so hard to excuse people’s sin?”
ANSWER: Because this is the very essence of the Gospel. We are justified before God by faith APART FROM WORKS (Rom 4:5-6).
Notice what this passage says . . .
One man (Adam) disobeyed God, and many became sinners. IN THE SAME WAY, one man (Christ) obeyed God, and many will be made right. (Romans 5:19 NCV)
What have we been preaching to the unsaved man who thinks he will make it to heaven because he is a, “good” person? We tell him no amount of good deeds can change the fact that he is a sinner because of what Adam did. He can’t somehow escape his sinfulness by trying to be good, can he?
Well what does that verse say? IN THE SAME WAY Adam made us sinners, so by what Christ did we are made righteous. So how can we tell the sinner he CAN’T escape his sin by trying to abstain from it, yet tell the believer he CAN escape his righteousness by sinning too much? We are inferring that the work of Adam has more, “staying power” than the work of Christ.
No. We were made righteous THE SAME WAY we were made sinners. Neither had anything to do with our performance.