Lucia's Blog: 2020-01-19
Google Logo
Image Caption goes here.

Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, January 24, 2020

CAN A CHRISTIAN SIN AND BE LOST ETERNALLY? FALL FROM GRACE?

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.  But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."
I Corinthians 9:24-27


It takes both the carrot and the stick. I am picturing a mule harnessed to the wagon, and a long pole extended beyond his nose with a carrot tied to it. I can see that mule pulling the wagon forward in the hopes of getting a nibble of the carrot. Do you suppose the mule might get tired at some point and just decide it was not worth it anymore? What if your wagon has not quite reached the barn yet?  You just might need that stick to tap Mr. mule on the flank and encourage him to finish his day's work. Jesus Christ has taught us all we need to know about heaven and hell, to get us home with our God. The doctrine of "once saved always saved" has taken away the fear of hell as well as the fear of God from those who believe that they were saved forever the moment they first believed. They will never make it into God's barn.

In 2 Timothy 4:2-4, the apostle Paul clearly specifies that there is only one revealed, sound form of doctrine that is approved of God, the Word. Unfortunately, much of what is taught in the religious world today is a mere reflection of the constant stubbornness and desire of men to turn away from the Truth of God. Today as in the days of the apostles, many in the religious world have rejected “the yoke” of our Lord and Savior (Matt. 11:28-30) going after a different Jesus, a non-biblical pattern (model, form). Why? Because they refuse to abide in God's Word choosing to adopt other forms (patterns) of man-made inventions of religion since they are not satisfied with the one ordained by God. Thus, obedience to God's Word is replaced by loyalty to traditional religious practices and human doctrines. It is that simple!

Many passages in the Bible warn us about continuing steadfastly in the faith to remain in God's favor, Grace, to receive eternal life.  Many people believe that a Christian can sin and not be lost eternally.  This doctrine is called "the eternal security of the believer," "perseverance of the saints," "impossibility of apostasy," or "once saved, always saved."  This is one of the major tenets of Calvinism.  They believe that a Christian's sins do not affect his soul for eternity nor the way he lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, his attitude toward others.  None of these things, according to them, have anything to do with the salvation of their soul.  Those who believe that they still will receive eternal life regardless of their sins have no reason to be on guard against sin or repent of their sins since they believe in a false sense of security.  They don't realize that they will be lost if they do not repent of their sins, ask forgiveness for their sins, serve God faithfully, and study His Word diligently to receive salvation, eternal life.  There can only be assurance and eternal security when we obey God and do His commands.  So can a child of God become disobedient, stop being faithful, fail to repent and show fruits of repentance and be lost?  Absolutely yes!  We must remain faithful and endure until the end to receive eternal life.  I must stress that we Christians are warned that unforgiven sins will lead us to be lost eternally.  Consider some Scriptures that show that a Christian can sin and be lost eternally.

  1. John 15:1-6:  We must bear good fruit, or otherwise we will be cast off, cast into the fire, and burned.
  2. Romans 8:12-17:  We must live according to the Spirit and not satisfy the works of the flesh.
  3. Galatians 6:7-9:  We must sow to the Spirit and not the flesh, for corruption cannot inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:21).
  4. 1 Corinthians 9:27 and 10:12:  We must control and discipline our body and bring it into subjection, for we must avoid sin at all cost, or we will be disqualified and rejected (Rom. 1:28; 2 Tim. 3:8; Tit. 1:16). Those who are guilty of sin will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  5. Hebrews 3:6, 11-14; 4:9, 11:  We must avoid rebelling like the Israelites.  Israel failed to enter God's rest because of their lack of faith and because of their disobedience to God.  So we must hold fast our confidence (our faith) firm, steadfastly to the end.  If we depart from the faith and do not endure to the end, we will not enter the rest God has promised and prepared for His faithful ones.  The eternal reward is conditional based on our steadfast faithfulness.
  6. Hebrews 10:26-31, 39:  We must avoid willful sin, for there is no sacrifice for their sin.  But if they repent, God will forgive them.  As long as they refuse to repent and their sinful conduct continues, there is no sacrifice, for they trod underfoot God's Son and count the blood of Jesus with which they were sanctified unholy.  Their destiny is a fierceness of fire and punishment and vengeance from God.
  7. 2 Peter 1:8-11; 2:20-22:  We must grow in Christ and never return to the world of darkness.  There is security for those who keep growing in the Grace of God, adding those excellent qualities mentioned in verses 5-7 and making their calling and election sure to prevent stumbling and have an entrance in the everlasting kingdom of God (verse 11).  Remember, eternal security is conditional, for the Christian must not be entangled again in the kingdom of darkness (verse 20) and turn from the holy command (verse 21).  For if he does, he will be worse off than when he was ignorant of the Truth (verse 20).
  8. Romans 6:12-18:  We must not allow sin to rule in our bodies nor present our members as instruments of sin, unrighteousness for that will lead them to spiritual death.
  9. Hebrews 6:4-8:  We must avoid at all costs falling away, for it will hard to be restored.  Our destiny is to be burned like a field of thorns (verse 8).
  10. Revelation 3:5; Exodus 32:30-33:  We must avoid having our names removed from the Book of Life, for only those who are in the Book will enter the eternal city.  Those who are not in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 21:27).


CONCLUSION:

The false doctrine of “once saved, always saved,” is based primarily on the Calvinist error that man is born with a sinful nature, totally depraved of all good and unable to understand and obey the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, the Holy Spirit has to intervene directly on his heart to regenerate and save him. And since God is in charge of converting and saving him, He also has to prevent or spare him from falling (falling from Grace) so that he would not be lost.

The doctrine of "the eternal security of the believer," or "once saved, always saved" is a tempting doctrine, for it is comforting and tells people what they want to hear.  Many refuse to believe that they can fall into sin and be lost eternally.  It contradicts the Bible.  We Christians can only be secure when we heed the dangers, and guard our souls and avoid sin.  We must be watching for sin in our lives and repent from a sincere heart (i.e., a change of behavior and habits) when were are guilty because of the weight of our sins. The Bible proves that a Christian can fall from Grace and get entangled in sin and be overcome by it, thus running the risk of eternal punishment (2 Peter 2:20-21-22).  "And so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith"  (I Timothy 5:12).  For further reference (I Corinthians 15:2; 1 Timothy 4:1; I Corinthians 8:11; James 5:19-20; and Galatians 5:4). God has continually warned His children of the danger of being lost eternally. Are you resolved to continue faithful, guarding your service and devotion to God so that you will not lose your eternal reward and be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity?  Remember, the destiny of our souls is at stake!!

Therefore, the doctrine of “once saved, always saved,” "the eternal security of the believer," "perseverance of the saints," "impossibility of apostasy," taught by Baptists, Presbyterians, and many others is completely false. Such a doctrine contradicts all of the Scriptures that simply affirm that any Christian can indeed sin and fall from Grace and be lost eternally.  The man-made system of Calvinism from beginning to end is false.  It is a system of doctrines of men! whose primary purpose is to deceive millions of souls not to obey the Gospel of the Grace of God (Romans 10:16; 2 Thess. 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17).  Let us be wise to differentiate between the Bible Grace of God and the false Grace of Protestant theology!

May the Truth prevail over the false doctrines of men, and may we all see with clarity the great dangers that may drown us in perdition. May our Lord preserve us perfect and entire until we reach our goal.

Luci

Thursday, January 23, 2020

HOW DO WE LEARN ABOUT THE GRACE OF GOD?

"And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified."
Acts 20:32


It is disturbing to see how the doctrines of men about Grace overflow with speculation.  Our friends affirm that the Holy Spirit acts directly on man's heart, over and above the power of the Gospel, to give him "irresistible Grace."  Others say, "Surely the Grace of God will cover the sins" of a person or group  or "I just can't bring myself to believe that a God of grace would condemn such a person."  I wonder how do they know that to be true?  Do they have a Scripture to support what they believe to be so?  Yet even when they are unable to provide a Scripture to support their argument, they still speculate endlessly.  So, how do we know what Grace will or will not do?  Do we have the right to declare that God's Grace will cover certain sins even when we cannot find any Scripture to support that?  


  • The Gospel is Our Only Source of Knowledge About The Grace of God:
    • The Grace of God and The Gospel Go Hand in Hand:  

Grace gives us the revelation, the Message of God, the Gospel that was preached by the apostles, and that was passed on to us.  God's Grace is revealed through the Word which serves as a channel for God's Grace,
"11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age"  (Titus 2:11-12).  

Thus, the Grace of God that brings salvation is that which teaches us to deny ungodliness so that we can live righteouslyIt is the Message of God where Grace is found.
"6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed"  (Galatians 1:6-9).

Here in this passage, Paul is contrasting the "grace of Christ" with a "different gospel."  That is the Gospel of Christ with a different Gospel.  Hence, Grace is a term used as an expression of revelation.  Acts 20:24  speaks of "the grace of God."  Acts 14:3, as well as 20:32, refer to "the word of His grace."  Acts 18:27-29 states that some had "believed through grace" which is explained by the statement "showing by the Scriptures."  This definite article is found in the Greek Text, "believed through the Grace," to stress something special about the word "Grace."

Grace also includes obedience to God (Titus 2:11-12).  It involves the standard of God's Word and our obedience to it.  Indeed, this is the Grace of God that saves!  Romans 6:1ff states the same about God's Grace and our obedience to it. God's Grace teaches!  So to know about Grace, we must first be taught.  How can one be taught?  By God's only revelation, His inspired Word (Col. 1:5,6; 1 Peter 5:12; 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:2; Gal. 6:16; John 1:17; Acts 4:33; Eph. 3:2-8).
"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 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.  5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin"  (Romans 6:1-6).

So if Grace abounds where sin is, then the more we sin, the more Grace there is.  That is not what Paul is saying!  Paul says we must not continue in sin, and we must die to sin.  Baptism is an analogy of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  We are joined together with Christ in the likeness of His death, burial, and resurrection in baptism.  Baptism is that likeness.  When we die to sin, we rise to walk in newness of life.  This is salvation by Grace through faith (Colossians 3:1ff).  It harmonizes with Titus 2:11-14.  You see, the Grace of God that saves teaches us what we must do to be saved and live in all godliness and righteousness.  These are things we must do to be saved by Grace.  Without our obedience to God's will and conforming our lives to His will, there won't be any understanding of Christ's sacrifice.  When we Christians sin, Christ's blood and that same Grace of God gives us forgiveness.  But of course, not without godly sorrow, which leads to real repentance and a change of behavior which is called the new life in Christ Jesus (1 John 1:6-2:1-2).  The only way that God’s Grace can be brought together with our faith is by our full acceptance of Jesus’ Gospel and by putting it into practice. So there is no other way to know God's will, according to His Grace.

Ephesians 1:5-11 says that we become sons of God according to God's will (verse 5).  We receive forgiveness according to His Grace, which He made to abound to us, having made known the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself (verse 9).  So we inherit according to God's purpose, for He works all things according to His will (verse 11).  I want to stress that in all these things, God's Grace is working according to His will and purpose.  God is the one who extends favor, and He has every right to choose how and to whom to extend it (Ephesians 3:3-5).  Paul stresses in verse 9 that the mystery of God's will is already revealed in the Scriptures.  Thus, the only way for anybody to know about God's Grace is through His revealed Word!

In 2 Timothy 1:8-10, God saved and called us according to His purpose and Grace, which is revealed in Christ, who brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.  So God's Grace works or functions according to His purpose.  The Gospel reveals God's purpose to all men.  So if we want to understand Grace, we must study the Gospel!!  We have no right to teach or assume that God's Grace will do anything else without obeying the Gospel or doing what it commands to be saved.  In Acts 15:11, the Jews and the Gentiles were saved by God's Grace in the same manner, for God's Grace saves in a certain manner.  There is a way Grace operates.   So how do we know the manner in which the Gentiles (all men) were saved?  Simply by hearing and believing the Word of the Gospel (Acts 15:7). 
"Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God"  (Acts 13:43). 

It is undeniable that the Grace of God and the Gospel are inseparable.  Why?  Because "we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus”  (Acts 15:11).  Moreover, Paul declared in Romans 1:16, that the Gospel is "the power of God for salvation."  As we can see from Acts 15:11 and Romans 1:16, the Grace of God and the Gospel are inseparable. Those who teach a certain "Grace" without connecting it to the demands of the Gospel are but false teachers that preach a false Grace.

In Acts 11:14, Peter spoke to the Gentiles words by which they were saved (cf. 10:33-48).  I must stress that no one will be saved by the direct operation of the Holy Spirit above and beyond the Word of God, the Gospel.  Grace can only save through the Word!  

In Acts 20:24, 32, we read that the Grace of God is manifested to all men through the instruction or teaching made  possible only through the "Gospel."  Paul's ministry was to testify about the Gospel of the Grace (verse 32).  We must understand the connection between Grace and the Word, the Gospel.  The only way to understand Grace well is to learn it through the Gospel (verses 20, 21, 25, 26; 14:3).
"But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God...  And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified"  (Acts 20:24, 32).

Galatians 1:6-9 declares that we are called in Christ's Grace.  If we follow or preach another Gospel, we are cut off or removed from God, who called us in Grace. We are also accursed.  So to receive the benefit of God's Grace, we must first hear and obey the Gospel, for if we follow a different Gospel, other teachings, we are automatically removed from Grace (Gal. 5:4).  Take note that those who desire to receive the benefits of the Grace of God must obey His instructions found in the Gospel.  The Grace of God does not annul man's obedient faith, but rather it demands it.  The Grace of God is conferred only through the Gospel and is inseparable from it.  For this reason, all who reject the Gospel reject the Grace.  At the same time, the one who perseveres in the Gospel continues in the Grace of God.  To persevere in the Gospel is to continue in the Grace.  It is the same thing.

Paul and Barnabas urged the congregation in Antioch of Pisidia "to continue in the Grace of God," which means that they had begun to enjoy the favor of God as they listened to the Gospel that Paul preached and believed. Paul intended to continue teaching the rest of his message as the Grace of God permitted.  The apostle Paul defines, describes, and thoroughly explains "the Grace of God."  He points out two fundamental constituents of Grace:
  1. The teaching or instruction of the Gospel of Christ  (Titus 2:11-12) and 
  2. Christ's sacrifice on the cross (Titus 2:14).

The Bible teaches the will of God to all men (Titus 2:11), but not everyone will be saved (Matt. 7:13-27).  It is through God's Grace that men receive instruction on how to live godly and holy to be saved.  The Grace of God is a gift that man must accept by responding to it with obedience to God's commands.  All men can easily understand the Gospel of the Grace of God.  On the contrary, Calvinism speaks a lot of the "enabling Grace," but this is NOT the Grace of God, the one the Bible speaks of.  And according to this same theology, God's Grace is miraculously and irresistibly bestowed upon man without any effort whatsoever on man's part, even without man's desire to receive it.  This false doctrine arises out of another false doctrine called “original sin” or "total hereditary depravity," i.e., man has been utterly and hopelessly depraved since Adam's fall in the garden. Thus, it is impossible for man to even desire to be saved.  They also assert that man is depraved (corrupted) of all good and is not able to believe. This, of course, contradicts the Bible passages that teach that the Gospel must be preached to all men and that all men must obey it to be saved.  The Gospel of the Grace of God is not obscure and mysterious or something inexplicable.  On the contrary, the Gospel must be preached to all men so that they can be saved (Matt. 28:19).

Thus, the Gospel cannot be separated from the Grace of God with which He teaches all men (Titus 2:11-12). So much so that the Gospel is called the "Gospel of the Grace of God" (Acts 20:24). Man cannot find favor (grace) with God without obedience by faith in Christ. To reject the Word of God is to reject "the word of His Grace" (Acts 20:32). To be saved by faith is to attain the mercy of God by obedience to the Gospel of Grace. All this has been possible through the blood and cruel death of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20-21).

Salvation by faith in Jesus is founded on the Word of God (Romans 10:17) that leads the sinner to obey the Gospel of Christ (2 Thess. 1:8). There is no justification without obedience to Christ, His Gospel. Why? Because,
  1. The sinner needs to hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to have faith (Acts 8:35).
  2. The sinner needs to believe in Christ (Acts 16:31-34).
  3. The sinner needs to repent of his sins since Jesus will judge him one day (Acts 17:30-31).
  4. The sinner needs to confess his faith in Jesus (Jesus as Lord), (Acts 8:37; Matt. 10:32).
  5. The sinner needs to obey the Gospel of our Lord and Savior and be baptized for the forgiveness of his sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:37-38).
  6. The sinner must persevere in the doctrine of Christ to live a pure, godly life and have an abundant life of good works (Col. 3:16; Eph. 2:10, 4:20-21).

So, it is through the preaching or teaching of the Gospel that God teaches us how to be saved. It is the Gospel Truth that compels us to obey the Father since the One who heard the Father (Jesus) tells us that all who hear the Father and learn from Him can come to Christ (God, the Father, gives them to Christ). This also explains John 6:39All who obey the Gospel will not be lost by physical death, but rather Christ will raise him up on the last day. Verse 44 makes mention of the word "draw." So, How is it that God draws man to Himself? We are drawn to Him simply by Christ's death (John 12:32-33). The Gospel teaches us that Jesus Christ died, was buried and raised on the third day.

Therefore, it is only through the Gospel that we are drawn to the Father and given to Christ. The Gospel is all that we need for our salvation. We are not drawn by "irresistible Grace" as Calvinism claims. But rather, we are drawn to God by our own enlightened will when we learn who God is and desire to obey Him from the heart through His Gospel. Romans 8:30 explains this by saying, "and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." Those who are called through the Gospel (2 Thess 2:14) as revealed by the Holy Spirit and recorded in Scripture and later obey it are the ones that are destined to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. We are not called by the "irresistible" Holy Spirit entering our heart to countermand our "corrupt nature" miraculously!

  • What Grace Does, It Does Through The Gospel:
God’s Grace has already provided the blood of Jesus, the Sacred Scriptures, and faithful brethren who teach and edify one another in the church. What God's Grace does for men now is carried out through the Gospel. Consider the connection between what the Grace of God does and what the Gospel also does.

    • Calling:  
      • We are called according to the Grace of God (Gal. 1:6).
      • We are called through the Gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14).

    • Teaching:
      • The Grace of God appeared to teach and train all men to live godly and righteously that they might be saved (Titus 2:11-12).
      • The Grace of God, the Scriptures, instructs us and equips us for good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

    • Produces Faith:
      • We believe through Grace.  In Acts 18:27, the disciples believed through Grace.
      • Faith comes by hearing God's Word. By believing we have life in Christ (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).

    • Saving:
      • We have been saved through the Grace of the Lord Jesus, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and Grace (Ephesians 2:5-8; 2 Timothy 1:9; Acts 15:11).
      • The Gospel is God's power (the implanted Word, the Message) to save our souls (Romans 1:16; James 1:21; Acts 11:14).

    • Strengthening:
      • We are strengthened by the Grace that there is in Christ Jesus through His Word that we may be equipped for good works (2 Tim. 2:1; 2 Thess. 2:16-17).
      • The Word of God's Grace can build us up and sanctify us so that we might receive our inheritance.  We are filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that we can walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him and bearing abundant fruit in every good work (Col. 1:9-11; Acts 20:32; Rom. 16:25, 26).

    • Giving Eternal Life:
      •  We are justified by His Grace that we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  His words are spirit and life.  They are words of eternal life!  (Titus 3:7; John 6:63, 68).


CONCLUSION:

The Gospel of Grace is where we stand (1 Corinthians 15:1-11), and we must stand in the Gospel, for we were saved through the Gospel.  Thus we must hold fast to that Gospel Message!  Our whole life is declared on this Message.  Our past (before we obeyed the Gospel), our present (we're presently standing on the Gospel Message), and our future (we are being saved, eternal life) are founded in the Truth of the resurrection of Jesus.  Thus we must not lose our grip and neglect to stand in the hope of the resurrection of Jesus.  The foundation on which we stand,  is that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures and finally that He made many resurrection appearances.  The Gospel Message compels us to see ourselves for who we really are, for we are nothing, have no life within us, our sins are overwhelming and beyond.  Indeed we are unworthy!  The Gospel Message demands humility, for it causes us to see the wretchedness of our sins.  The Gospel changes who we are, for God takes us from our state of unrighteousness and ungodliness to being declared righteous when we obey the Gospel of Grace from the heart.

May we learn Christ through Grace so that we may walk in the likeness of God, in His righteousness and the holiness of the Truth.  May we also abide in the Gospel of Grace with all perseverance.  May we be on guard for false doctrines as well as their false teachers, always abiding in Christ's Truth, striving with all of our heart and soul so that our Father in heaven can perfect our work.

Luci



Wednesday, January 22, 2020

THE BLOOD OF JESUS IS A VITAL EXPRESSION OF GOD'S GRACE

"Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins."  
Hebrews 9:22


God's Grace provides forgiveness of sins.
"7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace"  (Ephesians 1:7)

Jesus' blood is vital to Grace.  Why?  Because God had to provide a sacrifice (His Son) to die for us so that we would not have to die, for men could not die eternally for their sins.
"8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God"  (Ephesians 2:8).  

The word "save" means to rescue or deliver one from harm or danger.  You see, sin endangers and harms our soul by condemning us to eternal punishment.  But God offers us deliverance even though we do not deserve such deliverance. Thus, deliverance from sin is not of ourselves but it a gift of God.  So it is of "Grace," which is "unmerited favor."
"5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—"  (Ephesians 2:5)

According to Ephesians 2:5, and 8, we are saved by "Grace" through faith.  Again, "Grace" is the unmerited favor of God.  God's Grace is not provided by an automatic bestowal of favor just because Christ died.  Nor is it granted by just a mental acceptance of Jesus.  We don't "get saved" by some "better felt than telt" process.  God's Grace is not offered to us in some mysterious manner.
"4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus"  (Ephesians 2:4-7).

Because of God's great love toward us, He gave His rich mercy to show the exceeding richness of His Grace in His kindness toward us.

"3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life"  (Titus 3:3-7).

Because of God's loving-kindness, mercy, and Grace, He saved and justified us.  The word "justify" means to declare one to be right or just; to pronounce one to be what he must be.  We do not merit or deserve such a righteous standing before our Almighty God because of the deeds we have done.  Rather, we have all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  Sin deserves punishment, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  So, without Jesus' sacrifice and His blood, our deeds, our sins merit their due punishment.  We do not deserve our right standing before God, our Creator!  We can never deserve eternal life, for we have all sinned against God.  We have the hope of eternal life only because of what God did for us by sending His Son to be sacrificed so that we might have the forgiveness of our sinsDespite all this that Jesus did for the forgiveness of our sins, we cannot be saved unconditionally without us doing our part.  We are not worthy of the smallest of God’s blessings, but that does not mean that our obedience to the Gospel call has no value or merit. God has always placed conditions on man to be forgiven. One of those things is repentance (Acts 17:30), and another is confession of sins (1 John 1:8-9). There can be no pardon without man DOING his part. No one can claim salvation on his own merit without any dependence on God.
"20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord"  (Romans 5:20-21).

Because Grace is so abundant, there is no sin that God cannot forgive, if a man will meet God’s conditions for pardon.  But God's Grace cannot forgive sins if we are not genuinely willing to repent and seek God's forgiveness according to His will.  The Grace of God is God's favor toward us because of His Son's sacrifice.
"9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone"  (Hebrews 2:9).  

Romans 3:24-25 gives us more detail saying,
"24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. It was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins."  

Romans 5:15 declares,
"15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many."

Thus, we are saved, justified by the Grace of God in Christ, which was made possible by His sacrifice.  Because of our sinful deeds, we all deserve to be punished eternally, but thanks to God's lovingkindness and mercy, He sent His Son to die for us so that we could have eternal life instead.  The gift of God is something we indeed do not deserve!  (Titus 2:11-14; Rom. 3:23-26; Luke 1:76-78; 2 Tim. 1:9; Acts 15:11; 20:32; Rom. 5:12-21; 4:2-8; 1 Tim. 1:13-16; 1 Peter 1:3-16).  We must thank God until our last breath for such an undeserved gift!!

The greatest act of the Grace of God is His Son's ultimate sacrifice.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life"  (John 3:16).

No man can die for himself, thus redeeming himself, and bring about his own salvation. Why?  Because man's defiled (spotted) conscience can only be made pure by the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:19; 3:21; Heb. 9:14).  It was through Christ's death that He was able to do for man what he could not attain by himself.  This is what Grace is!  And man must respond to the Gospel of Grace if he wants to benefit from the blood of Christ.

God's Grace Provides Fellowship With God
"21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds"  (Colossians 1:21). 

Our sins alienate or separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2).  Our sins make us enemies of God, causing hostility between Him and us (Col. 1:21).  On the other hand, forgiveness by Grace reunites and reconciles us back to Him.  We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus because we have been justified by faithWe have obtained access by faith into this Grace in which we stand through Him as well.  So, we are no longer enemies of God, but instead, we are at peace with Him, and we rejoice in the hope we have in Him (Romans 5:1-2).
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved... 11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ... 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God"  (Ephesians 2:1-5, 11-13, 18-19).

Before we were saved, we were dead in our trespasses and sins because we had disobeyed God (Ephesians 2:1-5).  That is, we were alienated or separated from God (Ephesians 2:12).  Salvation by Grace (Ephesians 2:5, 8) makes us alive and reconciles us to God so that we can have access to Him, making us His children and members of His family or household (Ephesians 2:19).  God, in His lovingkindness and mercy, allowed His righteous Son to die for us so that we could enter into His family.  God's Grace did that for us!  Indeed, we could have never been reconciled and have peace with God if it had not been for the Grace of God.  We do not deserve such a blessing!  It is the gift of God to us because of His mercy (goodness) and love for us.
"9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy"  (1 Peter 2:9-10). 

Our sins have been canceled out only by the Grace of Jesus and not by our own righteousness or doing.  What Jesus did was the biggest giftThe gift overflowed to many because of the Grace of Jesus, for sin and death have conquered and defeated us, but Grace overflowed because of what Jesus did.  Notice the parallel here.

  1. Jesus introduced Grace to the world.  
  2. Adam's transgression introduced sin and death (separation from God).  
  3. The Grace of God reverses the power of sin.  
  4. Grace overflows only through Jesus, our Lord!!   


Those who are saved by Grace, redeemed, must be set apart and cease from sinning for God to remain with them.  The Grace of God teaches us to be holy in His presence.  The Grace of God must transform our lives into holiness and righteousnessWe must strive for holiness, for God is holy and demands that we be holy.  God makes us holy through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (1 Corinthians 6:11).  Those who have been forgiven of their sins because of the Grace of God through His Son must be worthy of their calling, for God has sanctified them and made them holy.  Thus we, the redeemed, must live our lives reflecting the holiness of God, for His Son has paid the ultimate ransom price that we may live holy and be in fellowship with Him and receive eternal life.  We must continue being obedient, serving Jesus and standing firm in the Grace of God to receive our ultimate reward, heaven.  This is the Grace in which we stand!

May He help us walk by Grace and grow in His Grace so that we may have victory over sin to make our calling and election sure; for if we do these things, we will never stumble.   It is the only way to heaven!

Luci

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

CONDITIONAL GRACE

"The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the LORD said, 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.' 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Genesis 6:5-8


Salvation by Grace under the Gospel is conditional. Paul's treatise on salvation by Grace in the Book of  Romans demonstrates that Grace is conditional, and one of those conditions is baptism.  Paul was saved by God's Grace.  He became a pattern to others who believe the Gospel to receive eternal life.  Paul is the apostle who emphasized the "doctrine of salvation by Grace."  So was Paul's salvation a pattern of conditional or unconditional Grace?  It was a pattern that we, too, must follow to be saved.  Remember that Paul had been a persecutor, but by the Grace of God, Jesus appeared to him on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:1-6).  Jesus commanded Paul to go into the city to be "told what he must do."  You see, Paul had things that he must do (i.e., conditions to be met).  He had to be told what those conditions were (evidently, he believed and repented at this point so far).  Paul was baptized in Damascus, for the man whom God sent told him what he must do.  He told him to be baptized and wash away his sins (Acts 9:18; 22:16).  The apostle Paul, who taught salvation by Grace, and who established a pattern for our salvation, was saved by conditional Grace.  Of course, that pattern included water baptism to have our sins washed away!!

Although forgiveness is a gift from God that we do not deserve, we still must meet the conditions to receive the gift. The Bible presents many great examples of people who received God's blessings by Grace, but they had to meet God's conditions to receive His blessings!  They never would have received God's blessings had they failed to obey God's terms or conditions.  However, though they met the conditions and received the blessing, they still were not worthy of the blessing.  So, it was still a matter of Grace, after all.  Let me give you a few examples of conditional Grace:


  • The Cure of Naaman:  (2 Kings 5:9-14)

Naaman was told by the prophet Elisha to dip seven times in the Jordan to cure his leprosy (verse 10).  Naaman afterward did as he was commanded to do so.  He went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to what Elisha had told them to do through God.  His flesh was then restored and clean like the flesh of a little child (verse 14).  It was a simple command, and he simply did it. So, my question again.  Was this also a favor or a gift from God?  Yes!  Did Naaman dipping in the Jordan earn the gift? No!  Why?  Simply because dipping in any river to be cured of leprosy could have never healed him and taken away his leprosy.  Again, this was an unmerited favor, so it was Grace!  You see, Grace is conditional!  Why?  Because we must do something to receive Grace. The fact that one must do something to benefit from Grace does not contradict the concept.  So if Naaman is cured of his incurable leprosy, it is still a gift of Grace even though he had to dip himself in water to be cured and cleaned.  Why can't the removal of sin still be a gift by Grace even though one must dip, immerse in water (baptism) to receive the cleansing of sins?


  • Gideon's Defeat of the Midianites:  (Judges 7:1-22)

Gideon defeated a vast number of Midianites with only 300 men.  So, was this a favor from God?  Of course!   God promised He would save them and give the Midianites into their hands.  God saved Israel as He promised He would (verses 7, 9).  Again, did Israel earn the blessing?  No!  Why?  Because according to verse 2, God deliberately arranged everything so that they could not claim glory for themselves, claiming that they were saved by their own hand.  Notice what God said to them,
"2 The Lord said to Gideon, 'The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me."' 

 So, again, did not Israel have to meet conditions to receive the gift?  Of course, they had to obey and do exactly what they were told to do to receive God's favor or gift!  Would Israel have received the victory if they had not surrounded the enemy, held torches, blown trumpets, and shouted with all their might? As He did with Jericho (Joshua 6:1-20)?  Would Israel have succeeded if they had not met God's conditions?  Never!  So it was conditional Grace after all!!

So, can we still deny that Israel was saved by Grace but still had to meet God's conditions to receive His favor, gift, or blessings?  So, why deny that salvation by Grace also demands conditions to be obeyed?


  • Noah's Salvation From The Flood:  (Genesis 6)

"So the Lord said, 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord"'  (Genesis 6:7-8).

Was Noah not saved by Grace?  Of course, he was!  He found Grace in the eyes of the LORD.  In Proverbs 3:24, the word "Grace" is used in this same manner.  Notice what both say,
"Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor (or grace)."  "6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'"  
"13 And God said to Noah, 'I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits.  22 Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.  5 And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him"'  (Genesis 6:13-15, 22; 7:5).

So, according to Genesis 6:13-15, 22; 7:5, did Noah have to do anything to be saved by Grace?  Yes, for he built the ark as God had commanded him.  He did all that God told him to do to build the ark to save him and his family.  So, do you suppose Noah would have been saved if he had not obeyed God about building the ark?  No!  So, it was conditional Grace!  

In Hebrews 11:7, we are given an excellent example to teach us how we are saved from sin (Hebrews 10:39; 11:6)  by faith using Noah's obedience by faith toward God.  God used Noah's excellent example from the Old Testament to show us the New Testament salvation by Grace through faith.  Notice that both demanded meeting God's conditions (1 Peter 3:20-21; Romans 15:4).  So there are conditions attached that must be met even though the gift, favor, is unmerited (not earned). Grace is conditional, for one must do something to receive the gift of Grace.  Unmerited does not mean unconditional! Salvation by Grace is received conditionally.  Some more Bible examples of conditional Grace (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 21:6ff; Genesis 19:19; Hebrews 11).

Thanks be to God for the Gospel of the Grace of God, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes!!!  (Romans 1:16).


May all men come to know Him and keep His Word, living by Grace and bearing good fruit.  May He help us walk by Grace and grow in His Grace so that we may have victory over sin.  May we learn Christ through Grace so that we may walk in the likeness of God, in His righteousness and the holiness of the Truth.  May we also abide in the Gospel of Grace with all perseverance.  May we stand firm, striving together for the Gospel of the Grace of God.  May we glorify God for His indescribable Grace to us.

Luci

Monday, January 20, 2020

IS GRACE CONDITIONAL OR UNCONDITIONAL?

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Titus 2:11-14


The Grace and Mercy of God is one of the most beautiful and critical themes in the Bible. We cannot sincerely claim to know God's will through His revealed Word and still deny man's need for God's Grace. The doctrine of Grace has become a great controversy among many in the religious world. There are many conflicting views of Grace, leading to a lot of confusion even in the church. Take, for example, those who claim that God's Grace will save everyone no matter what they do. Others teach that God’s Grace is extended unconditionally to a limited and predestined few whom God has already chosen before the world began, despite their character, conduct, will, or heart. And of course, their famous claim is that once God saves the elect, they can never fall from Grace and be lost eternally. Protestant denominations commonly teach salvation by "Grace alone" and "faith only." So God's Grace is granted only to those who have a good attitude, a good conscience, and are sincere toward God. Their biggest problem is that obedience is not essential to salvation. Others among us, claim that all that matters is the sincerity of our heart and our well-intentioned will to remain in Grace despite whatever sinful practices. That is, no matter how long we continue to live in sin, refusing to repent, we still cannot fall from Grace. Hence they declare that we must not be “judgmental” and rebuke those who are rebellious, walking in sin but instead must have fellowship with them despite their errors and sinful practices.

When one teaches those who practice sin that they must repent and obey God's terms to be saved, some accuse us saying that we are "playing God," "putting ourselves in God's place," or that "we are limiting the Grace of God." They imply in an accusatory manner that we are in God's place, for we are deciding who will be saved through God's Grace. Yet, they often say, "I just believe the Grace of God will cover those people." Now the only real question at stake is, What does the Bible say? You see, they ignore that the only way to know the Grace of God is to learn what God's Word says! So if God's Word declares that all people who sin must repent to obey and please God, then how on earth can we be playing God when we preach and teach them the Gospel?! We are just God's messengers who love their souls enough to teach them the Word of God's Grace. We are just declaring what God says they must do to receive and benefit from His Grace!

Moreover, those who claim that God will save them even when they continue practicing sin, but for some reason, cannot find a Scripture that teaches or proves it according to them, aren't they the ones who are putting themselves in God's place? What do you think? Aren't they placing themselves in God's place when they decide who will be saved without God having spoken anything about it? According to John 1:17, Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ, and thus, there is no conflict at all between Grace and Truth, for they go hand in hand, are inseparable, and must work together! God's Word is Truth. Thus Grace works according to God's Word! (John 17:17). I must stress that Grace is not some kind of vague or elastic concept that we can stretch out and twist as we please just to cover whatever sins people want. Indeed, that is God's place to say what His Grace will cover. So, the only way to know that is by examining thoroughly what God has said in His inspired Word. We must not "play God" even when we want to extend God's Grace, where His Word has not spoken or given authority. We must not limit His Grace, where His Word has not limited it either. We must not speculate about God's Grace, but rather do what God has said to do!

So is Grace conditional or unconditional? Our religious friends disagree about whether Grace is received conditionally or unconditionally. According to God's Word, to receive forgiveness and continue receiving the blessings that result from conditional Grace, there are certain things that we must do. Surely, to receive Grace is dependent on our individual choice, how we act, think, speak, walk, etc. Unconditional Grace implies that forgiveness and the resulting blessings are granted despite one’s choice or conduct. That is, God would grant Grace completely on His own determination without taking into account one’s will, desires, and actions. That is nothing more than "unconditional election," one of the most fundamental doctrines of Calvinism. Surely, they reject that God offers salvation to all men in every place and that He gives each person the power to choose for himself. It is up to each individual, their choice, to accept or reject God's offer of salvation! God offers salvation to all men and desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth (2 Peter 3:9)!

They also claim that since we don't deserve Grace, there is nothing that we can do to receive it. According to them, God will save the undeserving regardless of what they do: obey or disobey the Gospel Message. The Bible presents many great examples of people who received God's blessings by Grace, but they had to meet God's conditions to receive His blessings! They would never have received God's blessings had they failed to obey God's terms or conditions. However, though they met the conditions and received the blessing, they still were not worthy of the blessing. So, it was still a matter of Grace, after all.

The fall of Jericho (Joshua 6:1-20). In verse 2, we notice that God gave Jericho to Israel. Do you suppose they did not have to do anything to receive that gift? Verses 3-5 give us the answer. You see, for the people to receive the gift, they had to march around the city once each day for six days and seven times on the seventh day. They also had to blow the horns and shout. When they did all of that, the walls fell down flat. So, my question is: Was this act a favor from God? Of course, for it was a gift from God (verse 2). Did marching, blowing the horns, and shouting with a great shout "earn" the gift? No, marching does not merit the destruction of a walled city like Jericho, for it was "unmerited favor." A blessing they did not earn. Thus, they received it by Grace. So, were the people commanded to meet the "conditions" to receive God's gift? YES! Would the people have received the gift if they had not met the conditions? NO! So, it was conditional Grace! 

In Hebrews 11:30, we read,
"By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days." 

This is a perfect example to demonstrate the kind of faith we must have to please God and be saved under the Gospel system of Grace (cf. Hebrews 10:39; 11:6). And just as Israel's faith demanded obedience to receive God's gift by Grace, so our faith demands obedience to receive God's gift of salvation by Grace. Yet, it is still Grace, for the conditions do not earn the gift.

So, if God's Grace is unconditional, then all humanity will be saved, for Grace extends to all! This is nothing but "universalism"! This is false doctrine, and there is no Truth in it because it contradicts God's Grace and His revealed Word. Furthermore, it contradicts those Scriptures that state that many will be lost (Matt. 7:13-14, 21,-23; 25:31-46; 2 Thess. 1:6-9 and many other passages). The only truth is that salvation by Grace is received "conditionally," and it is offered to all people. But each person must choose if he wants to meet the conditions given by God, and thus to benefit from His gift or favor. God is no respecter of persons, for He offers salvation to all humanity. However, many will be lost since they reject and refuse to meet God's conditions of Grace! And since the Word of God explicitly affirms that the Grace of God is extended to all people, we must conclude, saying that all men will be saved if they meet the conditions given by God to receive His Grace. But we must stress one more time that many will be lost, for Grace is conditional!

The Gospel teaches salvation by Grace. Is baptism a commanded condition to receive the forgiveness of sins? YES! In Acts 2:36-41, the Jews obeyed the Gospel or were converted to Christ. Peter spoke to them (Acts 2:14, 38). The Jews had to be taught what to do to be saved, for Grace works through God's revealed Word (the Gospel) instead of some mystical and speculative way. They had to believe in Jesus completely (v. 36). They had to be told what they had done and who Jesus was. In verse 38, we learn that they had to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, that is the forgiveness of sins. That same day they were taught the Gospel, and 3,000 souls were saved and added to Christ, His church (verse 41). So was their obedience not essential to receive the gift? Of course, it was!! Because Grace and salvation are received conditionally!

Luci

Sunday, January 19, 2020

THE GREAT PHYSICIAN, "YOU NEVER MENTIONED HIM TO ME"

“He said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”’  
Matthew 9:12-13


We marvel at the single-minded way that Jesus worked at bringing the hope of a new life to people who were hopeless cases, mired in long habits of sin and corruption. He has shown us the way. Now it is our turn to carry His message to those marred by sin, redeemed sinners rescuing others still lost and dying in a twisted world of darkness and despair.

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He left His disciples with instructions about going into the world to preach the Gospel.  They were supposed to preach the Gospel to every creature, to every human being, whether king or beggar in the street.  They were to preach the good news to everyone, all the lost.  So what is the good news?  It is the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4).  Jesus came to bring Grace and Truth to this world of darkness (John 1:17), bringing salvation, but we must have the faith to obey God’s terms of salvation.  We are commanded to strive to live by the perfect Law of liberty, and that includes evangelism.  We are to repent and seek God’s forgiveness and keep being faithful to Him until the end (1 John 1:7-9; Phil. 3:12-14).  Those who have not yet obeyed the Gospel must obey the Gospel to become God’s children.  That is, they must bury the old man of sin and wash their sins away in the waters of baptism, for one must die to rise into newness of life (Romans 6).

After we obey the Gospel, we must share and teach it to the lost, for it is God’s command!  He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not obey will be condemned (Mark 16:15-16).  This boils down to how we treat the lost in this world.  Are we treating them like Jesus did?  Are we treating them like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did?  Why not stop and think about it, for you will be judged?  Are we more like Simon the Pharisee or God the Father?  Do you suppose the Pharisee of Luke 15 would have welcomed or received the prodigal son as his father did?  What would have happened had you and I been on the front porch to receive this prodigal son?  Would we show compassion toward the one who has repented or show indignation?  Why is it that unbelievers treat others better than we who are Christians?  There must be something wrong!  We must imitate Christ and treat the lost like friends and not enemies as our heavenly Father would do.  We must make sacrifices to give the lost a chance to hear the good news, the Gospel of our Lord and Savior!

The Gospel is the power of God to save men that they may turn away from their evil ways to God for direction and guidance.  God saves men by the preaching of the Gospel of salvation.  It is the only WAY that Jesus is going to heal the sin-sick soul that is dying.  The Gospel is given into our hands to teach it to all men that they might be saved from their sins.  Every day people are dying unprepared for eternity! God has already provided all the means and the Message to save the souls of men, and we must bring the two together (John 3:16; Romans 1:16).  Can we expect to find favor before God with the blood of the lost on our hands (Acts 20:26-27)?  Is there any other way of hope for a dying world?  What is the condition of the lost without Christ?  Is there any other place where the lost can turn to?  For that reason, we must carry God’s precious Message and guide the erring back to Him.  There are so many lost souls in this world in need of the Gospel to save them.  Look up and see how the fields are already white for harvest!  (John 4:35).  We must lift up our eyes and notice them and approach them the way Jesus wants us to.  The opportunities to teach the lost the Gospel are abundant!  So let us not slip back into our comfort zones, but let us move forward with to seek and find these lost souls.  So we must pray to God to lead us to a lost soul in need of the Gospel!  

The Grace of God and the Gospel go hand in hand. In Acts 11:14, Peter spoke to the Gentiles words by which they were saved (cf. 10:33-48).   In Acts 20:24, 32, we read that the Grace of God is manifested to all men through the instruction or teaching made possible only through the "Gospel."  Paul's ministry was to testify about the Gospel of Grace (Acts 20:24, 32).  The apostles ordained by God carried out this commission that began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) where 3,000 souls obeyed the Gospel of the Grace of God (Acts 2:37-41).  The apostles preached the Gospel not only in Jerusalem but all Judea, Samaria and to the remotest part of the earth (Acts 1:8).  All the cases of conversion in the book of Acts show the efficacy of the Gospel.  Today as well, we are saved by the Grace of God when we obey the Gospel.  It is only by the Gospel that we learn how to please God.  Obeying the Gospel of the Grace of God demands that we fulfill the terms of salvation found in the Gospel.  To be saved by faith is to attain the mercy of God by obedience to the Gospel of Grace. All this has been possible through the blood and cruel death of Chris (2 Cor. 5:20-21).  Salvation by faith in Jesus is founded on the Word of God (Romans 10:17) that leads the sinner to obey the Gospel of Christ (2 Thess. 1:8). There is no justification without obedience to Christ, which is obedience to His Gospel.

Therefore, we must share the Gospel with the lost. God has commanded us to do so (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16; 2 Tim. 4:1-2; 1 Peter 3:15).  We must share the Gospel with the lost, for it is the power of God to salvation (Rom. 1:16).  We must share the Gospel with the lost, for by doing this, we show the lost that we love their souls and don’t want them to be separated from God eternally (Col. 1:28).  We must share the Gospel with the lost because we have compassion for them and don’t want them to perish.  When the Gospel is taught and is believed and obeyed, it is God’s power to save and transform men.  Men like Saul of Tarsus, the worst sinner of our day, and even people like you and me!  We must pray fervently to God that He might send us to those who are diligently seeking Him and want to turn away from the wicked way.  I was one of those souls who was found when I was diligently seeking God!  I was taught the Gospel by someone who reached out to me.  We must pray for God’s help that we may find these precious souls, for they are desperately waiting for us to teach them the good news!  We must pray to God to use us in whatever way He can to lead us to a lost soul that he might be saved through the Gospel of Christ.  Paul instructed Timothy saying,
“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also”  (2 Tim. 2:2).  

That harmonizes with the Great Commission as recorded by Matthew  28:19-20.  Jesus wants Christians to teach people everywhere about their need to obey the Gospel to become children of God and be saved.  But to teach others the Gospel, we must personally study the Scriptures so that we may teach others (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:15-17).  It is the responsibility of every member of the Lord’s church, for God will judge us on that final day!  The Great Commission begins with the Word, the Gospel.  God never said to wait for the lost to come to you, for He has commanded us to go to them.  There is no need for fear or intimidation, for God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7).  When Jesus sent the apostles, He assured them saying,
“Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”  (Matt. 28:20).

There is a beloved hymn that’s called, “You Never Mentioned Him to Me.”  This moving song stresses the consequences of not speaking to warn the wicked.  The song should move us to teach the lost!  The words stress our need to get busy in the Lord’s work of sharing the Gospel with the lost, for there is a coming day of judgment when before the bar, we will stand.  "The bar" is often-used poetically to refer to judgment, that we must all face (Rom. 14:10).  And though we know that many will be lost, we still must teach the Gospel so that no one on that day will be able to say to us, “You never mentioned Him to me,” and then go into the everlasting fire (Matt. 25:41).  Therefore, we must help others prepare for judgment so that they will not hear those words, "Depart from me”  (Matt. 7:21-23).  The Gospel can guide the lost to Christ (Acts 11:14).  Hence, each Christian must mention Christ and what He did to redeem us.  We must labor in sharing the Gospel so that none may say on that final day of judgment, "You Never Mentioned Him to Me."  

What will we do? How will we feel, if at the day of judgment, some lost soul should cry in deep despair, “You never mentioned Him to me?!”  If on judgment day, we find ourselves having not obeyed the Great Commission, having not tried to teach lost souls the Gospel of salvation, what do you suppose our Lord will say to us?  If you know the lost need to hear and be taught the Gospel, have you mentioned Him to them?  God is interested in our souls and the souls of our families as well.  So we must open our eyes and see the harvest! The harvest is plenty, and there is much labor to do!  

“You Never Mentioned Him to Me”

When in the better land before the bar we stand,
How deeply grieved our souls may (will) be,
If any lost one there should cry in deep despair,
"You never mentioned Him to me."

O let us spread the word where’er it may be heard,
Help groping souls the light to see,
That yonder none may say, ‘You showed me not the way,
"You never mentioned Him to me."

A few sweet words may guide a lost one to His side,
Or turn sad eyes on Calvary;
So work as days go by, that yonder none may cry,
"You never mentioned Him to me."

 The chorus,
"You never mentioned Him to me; You helped me not the light to see."
"You met me day by day and knew I was astray, Yet never mentioned Him to me."


May we understand that the Great Physician is here among us, to heal those who are woefully ill, that our great Shepherd seeks those who are lost and gently restores them to the flock.  And so we should approach those He brings into our path in the same graceful manner as He did with gentleness, humility and a servant's heart.

Luci