Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Falling from grace

Can a grace believer fall from grace?

Well, yes and no. 

Paul says in Romans 4 and Galatians 3 that Abraham was justified in Genesis 15:6.  James says in James 2:20-24 that he was justified in Genesis 22.  He bypasses Genesis 17 (the Abrahamic Covenant) and goes all the way to Genesis 22 (the sacrifice of Isaac).  James is saying, ‘You need to offer a sacrifice.’  When it comes to the Jewish prophetic program of Israel it is saying, ‘You need to offer a sacrifice on the altar.’  (Animal sacrifices were a type of the ultimate sacrifice of God the Son that should have taken place on the altar in the Temple.)

When you’re outside the dispensation of grace, that principle of Abraham being justified by works applies.  Abraham has a dual fatherhood, a dual purpose in scripture, and a dual justification.   Paul explains what it means to fall from grace in Galatians 5.  The curse for failing to keep the Law is equivalent to falling from grace.  The Jews, in Romans 4 and Galatians 5, say to Paul that performance-based acceptance is not the issue.  They say (as people do regarding the tithe), ‘Abraham was justified by works.’ 

In our dispensation, God tells us that Abraham was justified in Genesis 15.  God is silent about Genesis 15 in James and skips all the way to Chapter 22 to say, ‘this is how you’re justified under the Prophetic program’ (but not now in the Dispensation of Grace). 
If someone tries to use Abraham as an example of being justified by works in this Dispensation of Grace, Paul (unlike James who exalts that idea) objects to that false teaching in Romans 4:

Romans 4

 1What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

Why bring up flesh?  Because Paul tells the Galatians and the Romans (chapters 7 and 8) the Law is flesh (carnal and religious performance-based acceptance, where your flesh is involved).

 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
 3For what saith the scripture?

Both James, an apostle to the circumcision (Israel), and Paul, the apostle to the uncircumcision (Gentiles), appeal to scripture.

Abraham believed God, and it (his belief in what God said) was counted unto him for righteousness.  Look how Paul starts verse 4.  He doesn’t start, “to him that worketh.”

 4Now [in this dispensation] to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Before (in Time Past) to him that worketh, the reward (eternal life) was reckoned of grace; God is gracious in every dispensation.  But Paul is not saying that in every dispensation mankind was saved through faith and God’s grace plus no works.  If that is true, what makes the dispensation of grace unique?  Why do we even need a dispensation of grace if everyone has always been saved the same way?

 5But to him that worketh not [in the ‘But Now’], but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly.

Not that they’re sinners, but they’re not doing the religious rites and rituals that God gave Israel – godliness has to do with god-likeness.  But God justifies a person today who does not do those things – the ungodly.  His faith is counted for righteousness.

Romans 5:6-7

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

God is looking for the person today who is not trying to be justified by his own works.  He wants an ungodly person.  Believing what God has said about the cross of Christ is accounted to him as righteousness.


Galatians 5:1-2

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage [the Law].  Behold, I Paul say unto you, [He is focusing on his unique ministry.  He’s telling them something that Moses, Jesus and Peter didn’t tell them.  It has something to do with ‘this grace given unto me.’] that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

In Time Past circumcision was profitable.  They received eternal life in the Kingdom.  They were part of the covenant.

3For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

Reward is reckoned of grace, not of debt.  Paul is telling Gentile grace believers that if they try to go back and try to be justified in the eyes of God based upon the law by being circumcised, they are putting themselves under a performance-based acceptance system. 

Today the equivalent is water baptism which is a human work intended to make someone right in the eyes of God or man.  Most who support water baptism say that it isn’t required for salvation (a fabrication); although in context the bible said it is.

Acts 2:38

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Then they say it is ‘an outward sign of an inward faith.’  That is also a fabrication.  The bible never says that.

Romans 11:6

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Paul is saying in Galatians 5:3 and Romans 11:6, ‘pick a side: grace or works.’  That’s the danger of trying to tithe. 

Galatians 3:10

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

If you’re trying to do anything that is under the law, Paul says you’re under a curse.  This is the issue:

 Galatians 5:4
 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

Paul is talking to saved people so we know he’s not talking about their initial justification at salvation, but rather their sanctification.  Justification has a lot of different meanings.  The main one is a general term for ‘declared righteous’ when initially saved.  Sanctification (one’s ‘being set apart’ resulting in growth, service) follows justification.

But the church is also justified in the spirit – a daily justification.  How am I living today as a Christian?  Not my sin, but am I trying to gain God’s approval as a grace believer by serving under the law?  If so, it will be of no effect – not only in my daily life, but there will be no profit at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  I might be ‘working,’ but in my works I’m actually denying Him.

The only thing God is looking for is whether your heart believes Paul’s message.  You don’t have to do anything.  Are you trusting what God says about Paul and the grace of God today?  Most saints are not, so they’re not justified (living right) in the eyes of God.  They’re saved, but they’re not right with God.  It’s not about sin; it’s about what they believe.  This is how they fall from grace:  by wanting God to accept them, not by the blood of Christ and who they are in Christ, but by what they are doing – a performance-based acceptance.

Galatians 5:4
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

There is the curse.  How can a grace believer be cursed today?  By not believing God’s grace.  He’ll allow you to try to be justified daily in his sight by the works of the law, but you can’t do it.   Your life will be useless to the Lord. 

The only thing He will reward you for is what you believe about the grace of God.  Denominational brethren who believe in the pre-tribulational rapture will be rewarded for that.  God rewards you on the quantity of grace doctrine that you adhere to.  We all have different levels of understanding and will be held accountable accordingly.  How do we adhere to what we have learned, what we believe?  By operating in it!

When Paul talks about the law, he’s talking about it in this dispensation of God’s grace.  Paul is not looking back to Times Past.

Titus 1:16

They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

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