Category Archives: Eternal Security

God is a universalist!

God is a Universalist!

universalistWhat is God’s will regarding salvation? Is it to predestine and save only the elect and damn the rest: as the calvinist doctrine of double-predestination teaches?

This flies in the face of some crystal clear scriptures as to God’s will on the matter. I believe, that if you asked God about his plans he wouldn’t sound much like a Calvinist or Arminian! No, he would probably sound a bit like one of those heretical universalists!

In fact, I would be bold to say that what the early church Father Augustine brought in the church, from his greek platonic philosophical roots, was actually gnostic heresy and the basis on which the Roman Catholic Church and much of protestant theology (especially hyper-calvinism) has been founded.

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Therefore, the above scripture clearly teaches that God is a Universalist: in the sense that he wants all men saved! That’s his fool-proof plan! Even the fool ( the atheist who says there is no God) is not immune to God’s desire!

God’s will is…

Consequently, God desires two specific things:

Firstly, that ALL of us are saved from the best to the worst sinner. He doesn’t want anyone to perish.

Secondly, that we ALL repent. In fact, he commands repentance. In other words, he commands you to change your stinking thinking; your paradigm – the strongholds in your mind; your false belief system or maybe even your treasured theology!

Acts 17:30 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:”

Therefore, it is quite clear what God wants. Who is going to resist his will? Are you stronger than God! Additionally, If God commands repentance then surely he wouldn’t ask us to do something we cannot do?

By the way, notice it doesn’t say ‘times of sinfulness’ but ‘times of ignorance.’ In simple language, God is saying: “You’ve been ignoring the reality guys. Wake up and believe the truth.”

Why does God delay?

1 Corinthians 13 and 2 Peter 3:9 tell us, that love (God), is long suffering or patient. That’s the reason why God doesn’t just wipe us off the face of the planet: HIS LOVE.  He wishes to save everyone!

So, don’t come up with statements like God is love but love is not God. Love is from God. You can spot it a mile off!

1 John 4:7 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

His patient love is a bit like the pilot of an airliner refusing to take off on the runway until every last passenger is on board. The gates of the heavenly Jerusalem never shut! Rev 21:25.

Another clear verse that is forthright as to God’s will on the matter of salvation is:

1 Timothy 2:4 “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

So, are we saying along with the Arminians (who at least agree with the goal)  that God wants all men to be saved – that in fact he can’t manage it? In other words, his hands are tied by our free-will so he can’t really be blamed that 98% of the population end up damned frying in their own juices for eternity!

It doesn’t seem very godlike of God to fail so spectacularly! I just don’t believe it!

Or maybe, its really our fault because we just haven’t evangelised and preached enough. That’s probably why Arminians are strongly motivated to preach – God bless them!

Already done!

My firm hope is that God indeed does achieve his stated goal. I’m convinced that God can do it!

In fact, I believe he’s ALREADY DONE it. It was finished by Jesus on the cross.

1 Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

Did you have a choice to be in Adam? No, of course not. How many people on this planet are in Adam. Everyone! What is the result: death. Likewise, through the cross everyone is included in Christ. What is the result: life. There are now no outsiders; we are all insiders!

Is everyone experiencing this miraculous transformation? No, of course not because faith is how we experience and enjoy it. My part, as an ambassador of this Gospel, is to communicate this message of reconciliation. You are in Christ!

Romans 5:18 “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”

Look at the next verse:

Romans 5:19 “For as by one man’s disobedience MANY (a large number/ all of us) were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall MANY (a large number/ all of us?) be made righteous.”

Again, like 1 Corinthians 15:22 we have two contrasting sentences. Adam sinned. The result  = all of us made sinners. Jesus obeys. The result = all of us made righteous?

Do you see it? How did we become sinners? Was it through our own disobedience? No. It was through the disobedience of Adam!

Likewise, how did we become righteous? Was it through our faithful obedience? No, it was through the obedience of Jesus! 

To finish

To finish, here is a prophetic promise of God’s ultimate victory:

Psalm 22:7 “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.”

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Previous related post:

Love never fails (Part 1)

Gods brilliant plan (Part 2)

How big are God’s plans? (Part 3)

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Why don’t we talk about hell? (Part 1)

hellHell is not a subject many christians talk about allot and to be frank, I can understand why – it’s not nice! However, I believe that an incorrect  theology on this subject, actually inhibits the preaching of the Gospel of Grace.

Why? Because on the one hand we are preaching the love, grace and mercy of God towards sinners and then saying that for a life of finite sin, sinners are going to burn and be tormented in Hell infinitely? Is God some kind of sadist?

Eternal torment?

Think about it, do we honestly believe that men and women (possibly those we know, love or work with) are going to suffer torment for ever and ever? Does that seem fair or just by any standard let alone God’s?

I mean, even in the UK, the worst sentence anyone can get for a crime is life imprisonment. However, the courts wouldn’t send someone to prison for a thousand years for a speeding offence, that’s a disproportionate punishment – and obviously unjust!

Abraham in Genesis 18:25, said of God when interceding for the wicked city of Sodom and Gomorrah: “shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”

Incidentally, Jude refers to this judgement and punishment as suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Obviously the fire isn’t burning today! No, eternal in this context describes the permanence of the punishment – it’s irreversible.

Jude 1:7 “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”

A finite sin = infinite punishment?

Therefore, it must follow surely that if God is just (and He is) then the punishment should fit the crime. Therefore, if the sentence is infinite then how can that be proportional to a finite offence? For what reasons do sinners need to burn in hell forever? Maybe we can countenance a divine punishment of eternal torture for the likes of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin – especially if we had family murdered in the holocaust – but what about those who were murdered by the nazi’s in the holocaust, many of them not believers? Will they burn in Hell for eternity – maybe with less severity –  but none the less endlessly just like Hitler?

Even though these victims are sinners like the rest of us  (and deserving of punishment because we all have sinned) are they really deserving of endless punishment in Hell – haven’t they suffered enough? Excuse the terrible pun, but wouldn’t their final state be like going from the frying pan into the fire!

Is God angry forever?

Surely, if the sinner is going to be punished justly (and they are) then to do so forever would mean that God is angry forever also?

Micah 7:18 “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

Is universalism the answer?

Now I am not a universalist, I do not believe that the Bible teaches that everyone is going to be saved eventually, (I’m not going to discuss the reasons here). I do wonder though, whether the grounds of universalism are built on this sense of injustice engendered by revivalist preachers preaching hellfire and brimstone and the eternal punishment of the sinner.

Take the infamous sermon: “sinners in the hands of an angry God” by Jonathon Edwards – part of which is reproduced below:

He said: “The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrows made ready…[by] an angry God…It is nothing but His mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction! The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you and is dreadfully provoked: His wrath towards you burns like fire; He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire…

“You are ten thousand times more abominable in His eyes than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended Him…and yet it is nothing but His hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment…

“O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of God…You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder.”

Is God really like this? Is He really a kind of Judge Dredd figure that hates the sin and the sinner dangling them like spiders over the flames of Hell? Is this how we are supposed to preach? I know it’s very dramatic and I’m sure everyone in the congregation was scared witless – I certainly would be! However, were the listeners only becoming christians converts out of shear absolute terror of the terrible consequences?

The coming wrath

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t warn people of God’s coming wrath against sin and judgment to come because that is real and terrible. In fact, God has appointed a day when he will judge the world and the judge will be Jesus Christ not Judge Dredd.

Hebrews 10:31 “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Acts 17:31 “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

Eternal destruction

Make no mistake , God is going to angry with those who reject his grace revealed through the Gospel. They will suffer punishment for their sins but they will not be tormented forever in Hell they will suffer eternal destruction:

2 Thessalonians 1:8  “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”

What is eternal destruction? Obviously eternal doesn’t mean that they will continue to be destroyed over an over again endlessly. No, it simply  means that the destruction is final, absolute and permanent forever. No second chance.

The Second Death

This final punishment is described by John in Revelation 20, as the dead small and great stand before the Great White Throne and those not in the book of life are cast in the Lake of Fire -called the second death.

Revelation 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

This Lake of Fire therefore is not eternal torment – it is terminal and final. That is why it is called the SECOND DEATH. It’s the end. This is capital punishment.

Jesus warned us of this complete destruction in Matthew 10:28:

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Gehenna)”

To the believer however, God has promised immortality and eternal life rather than death.

2 Timothy 1:10 “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”

The believer has a wonderful hope as we will take part in the glorious first resurrection:

1 Corinthians 15:52 I”n a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

This is not the promise for the sinner – they will never enjoy immortality.

The Gospel

In the mean time though, we live in a day of grace where God is not judging or punishing men and women. As D.L Moody found out, God hates the sin but He loves the sinner. Therefore, I am a christian not because I’m afraid of the consequences of hellfire but because I’ve met a God of love and kindness in Jesus Christ who forgave all my sins.

That means, that Gospel message is  the Good News that He loves us so much He sent His son so that by simply believing we would be saved from destruction and live for ever!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, (be destroyed) but have everlasting life (live forever).

In the next two articles: “Why don’t we talk about death” and “Why don’t we talk about judgement” , I’m going to be looking more closely the scriptures and further explain what happens after death.

Part 2: A hellish confusion

Further reading:

Paul Ellis on hell

Excellent resource

Lecture on hell – Edward Fudge (Video)

Rethinking evangelism – Edward Fudge (Video)

Rethinking hell – Edward Fudge (Video)

Download my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory
Christ the End of Law KIndle Amazon

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Losing your salvation (an awful thought)

lost and foundThe thought of losing your salvation is an awful and scary thought – and I believe a doctrine of demons designed in hell to rob believers of the joy of their salvation. This is what the scriptures say:

Hebrews 7:25 “Hence, He is able to save forever (completely or permanently) those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them”

Who initiated your new birth?

You became a child of God through new birth. That was a miracle not initiated by you just as in the natural. You didn’t choose God; he chose you! You didn’t find God; He found you. You didn’t deserve God’s mercy and grace; even the faith you have He gave you as a gift and that faith is simply the ability to believe and receive unseen spiritual things.

Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

How and why did that miracle happen? If it did, all you know is that it did! You don’t know how it happened. Your repentance didn’t make you a suitable candidate of grace as some preach. No your sinner-ship, your godlessness made you the object of God’s abundant grace and mercy. While you were a sinner and an enemy christ died.

How can you be separated from God’s love?

How then can you be separated from that love? One minute his child, his beloved son and the next minute back on your way to hell? If God hates divorce, the scriptures say so, then why do you a think a covenant keeping God is going to renounce those he bought with his own blood?

I mean, do we really think that God, who is apparently powerful enough to save rebellious and wicked sinners such as you or I, but yet not strong enough to keep us saved after we are transformed into sons and saints?

God finishes what he starts

Are we not confident that God keeps his word and has the ability to finish what he started?

Philipians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

No, He is never going to leave you or forsake you. Even if you deny him he is not going to deny you. Nothing can separate you from the love of God. When God makes a promise he keeps it. That is why the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.

Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”

The fact is, God didn’t put your own salvation into your hands. You may have signed the legal paperwork but the fulfilment of the contract is all His responsibility not yours. To put it plainly, you are not your own saviour – Jesus is and I believe he’s lost none of his sheep yet! In other words getting to heaven does not depend on your endurance, your faith, holiness, amount of confession, repentance or any other criteria other than faith – it depends on Jesus and his endurance!

What God starts he finishes. His glory is at stake; the angels are watching!

Salvation is not like your car keys!

It follows therefore, that if God didn’t put the inheritance of your salvation in your hands in the first place, how can you somehow lose it? Salvation is not like your car keys, it can’t be misplaced or lost that easily!

1 Peter 1:4 “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you”

Finally, often the charge is made that this doctrine of grace makes for lazy believers? In fact, I don’t believe it does. Indeed, I am convinced that a thorough grasp of God’s grace and eternal security frees believers from an evil works minded mentality and enables them to enter God’s rest: actually trusting completely God’s ability to save rather than relying on their own strength and endurance.

1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Further reading:

Work out your own salvation (prophecy)

2 Corinthians 7:1 (Holiness)

Eternal salvation

Sinning wilfully

Dangers of the holiness movement 

Download my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory
Christ the End of Law KIndle Amazon

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Can you miss the grace of God?

archerIs it possible to miss the grace of God? Sadly, I believe you can. Certainly there was one man in the Bible who did: Esau the brother of Jacob – he missed the grace of God by a mile and the bitter conflict between the descendants of Jacob (Israel) and the descendants of Esau (the Arab nations), is a consequence of that failure that lasts even today.

Hebrews 12:15 “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it (the blessing) carefully with tears.”

Of course, we all come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), but we don’t all have to come short of the grace of God because grace and truth has come to everyone on the planet through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)

Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men”

In fact, the good news or Gospel is, that where sin abounds grace even more abounds  (Romans 5:20) –  so it’s not sin that’s going to cause you to miss the grace of God. It doesn’t matter therefore whether you are the worst or best of sinners –  there is plenty of grace available for you at all times.

The obvious question though is: so how is it possible to come short of the grace of God?

 Neglect, undervaluing, drifting away

The writer to the Hebrews says this: 3:1 “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”

Esau neglected his birthright, he treated it with contempt and didn’t value the blessing. His tears were not a change of heart and mind ( true repentance).  No, they were crocodile tears, tears of regret. It wasn’t repentance he sought but the blessing he had forfeited through his stupidity.

Likewise, if we ignore the Gospel and put off making a decision, saying to ourselves: “I’ll think about it tomorrow”, tomorrow could be too late!

Hebrews 2:1 “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it”  

If we deliberately ignore or reject the truth, then there is only fearful expectation of judgement because there is only one way to heaven and one saviour: Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10:26 “For if we go on sinning willfully  after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins”  … “How much more severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified and has insulted the Spirit of Grace.”

So, is this verse saying that if you commit a sin on purpose after being saved that there is no more forgiveness?  Is it one strike and you are out? No, that would mean there is only enough grace for one sin only, which contradicts Romans 5:20!  In addition, sin by its very nature is an act of the will – if you don’t believe me watch a toddler!

No, when read in context of the authors argument, he is talking about the “sin of wilfulness”, the sin against the Holy Spirit: a wilful resistance against the overture of grace by the Holy Spirit. In other words,  knowing the truth but choosing not to believe (unbelief)!

Therefore, if you purposefully reject the only way of salvation through the Gospel, then there is no sacrifice or repentance left – you are without hope. You have hardened your heart and refused the only possible way of salvation,  burning your bridges and spitting in God’s face!

 You must come to God by faith alone

How do we receive this grace then? We receive it by faith or by simply believing.

Ephesians 2:8 “ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:it is the gift of God”

All we have to do is understand and respond by faith. For example, if I receive a million pounds through the post but never bank that cheque, I fell short of becoming a millionaire.

Hebrews 4:1 “Therefore let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering his rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have good news preached to us, just as they also, but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard” For we have believed enter that rest.”

Therefore, you may hear the Gospel, recite the creeds, get baptised or even attend church but if you never respond to the Gospel by faith, you are not born again. You are not saved. Of course there is nothing wrong with good deeds and church going but that will not earn you favour with God. To enter God’s rest you have to stop working and simply receive by faith.

Hebrews 4:10 “For the one who has entered his rest has himself also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Religion therefore, will always get you to work harder and harder to earn salvation. God though, says stop working and rest in the finished work of Jesus at the cross.

Religious effort and performance

Hebrews calls this works approach or mentality to salvation EVIL. Yes evil!

Hebrews 3:12 “Take care brethren, lest there should be in any one of you and evil (gr works filled) unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God”   .

Therefore, as soon as you introduce your our own self-efforts, law-keeping or self-righteousness to earn salvation, you have fallen away from the living God. In fact, God calls your self-righteousness filthy menstrual rags! You are making the grace of God of no-effect in your life.

“I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through law, then Christ died needlessly”.

The self-righteous man sees no need to repent or change his mind because after all he is right! In fact, he doesn’t really need God at all. God might as well be dead!

In Luke 18:11 Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. The Pharisee prays to himself listing all the tithing and fasting he’s doing – as if God should be impressed! The Publican on the other hand doesn’t even raise his eyes to heaven but says: “God be merciful to me a sinner”. He goes back home forgiven and justified.

 No fruit – Hebrews 6:4

Indeed even today,  there are many sincere and religious people in churches who are not born again and produce no fruit to God. They hear bible preaching every week, maybe even receive prayer and healing but still they are not saved because they are relying on their own self-righteousness.

Likewise, the writer to Hebrews is addressing religious people not pagans. These are those who have attended synagogue, know the scriptures, maybe even seen the miracles of Jesus and Paul in action and yet won’t embrace the Gospel, holding on to their traditions, the law of Moses and temple worship.

Hebrews 6:4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the son of God and put him to open shame.

Therefore, this verse is not talking about believers losing their salvation forever because of sin in their lives. No, it’s speaking about those who have heard the message of grace and even experienced its benefits but have hardened their heart to make a deliberate choice not believe! Therefore, its impossible to renovate them to a change of mind because they have already made up their minds!

Hebrews 6:6 “For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.”

In other words, these persons have heard, understood and even maybe experienced the truth Gospel but there is no fruit unto salvation because they have rejected the Gospel.

Hebrews 6:9 “But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you and things that accompany salvation” .

In conclusion therefore, let us not be like Esau who missed the grace of God but let us take to heart the seriousness of the message of grace and respond by faith.

Hebrews 12:25 “See to it that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away ( retreat) from him who warns from heaven”

Repentance – its not what you think

Can a believer lose their salvation?

Sinning wilfully

Escape to Reality on Hebrews 10:26

 

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Can a believer lose their salvation?

can a believer lose their salvationA few Pentecostal teachers today, such as Dr Michael Brown, are attacking so called ‘hyper-grace teaching’, by writing articles in Charisma magazine claiming that those who believe that future sins are forgiven are introducing heresy into the Body of Christ.

Consequently therefore, those who believe that only past sins have been forgiven, believe that you need to ask and receive forgiveness for every sin that you commit from the point of salvation. In extreme cases, some believe that if you die without confessing your latest sin, you may go to hell!

So, can a believer lose their salvation? Did God really design salvation to be that uncertain and precarious? If what Dr Michael Brown is saying is correct, then none of us can sleep safe at night, as at any moment we may be in danger of being plunged into hell for a brief lapse of faith or oversight in confession. I mean, what are the chances of anybody getting saved? This is a doctrine of life-time insecurity! Its hardly peace with God!

Of course, it gets even more complicated when you get down to the detail of individual sins we might commit, because there are not only sins of commission but there are sins of omission. In addition, there also sins we are not even conscious of at all!

James 4:12 “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin.”

To cap it all, Paul declares in Romans 14:23 :  “what is not of faith is sin”. This makes it virtually impossible to ever list, confess and repent of  all your sins! Maybe then, it would  be better to confess all known sin and then commit suicide quick so you go straight to heaven – unfortunately suicide is a sin so, that won’t work either!

Fortunately, this idea, that a believer can lose their salvation through unconfessed sin, is not true. If it were true, then the work of the cross is not sufficient to save the believer completely but is only completed by the endurance of the saint.

It means also,  that unconfessed sin can cause the believer to become unrighteous, unjustified, unborn again, unredeemed or even lose eternal life – which doesn’t make sense if its eternal!

What preachers such as Dr Michael Brown are afraid of I believe, is that if future sins are forgiven, then there is no motivation for holiness and the believer will simply abuse grace. In other words grace is a license to sin! I wonder though,  how much of this angst  comes from a genuine concern for their congregations or rather,  that if God’s grace is this good,  then they no longer have a big stick to scare their sheep into behavioural change!

In fact, if there is no possibility of abusing grace, then what is being preached is not grace at all!  If real grace is being preached, then this question should always come up, as it did in Paul’s exposition of the Gospel when he wrote Romans 6:1:

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?”

If therefore a believer can be lost because of un-confessed sin, then tell me: how he can continue in sin so that grace might abound? How is losing salvation God abounding in grace towards the sinner?

Salvation therefore, is not some kind of probation: in other words you get a free ticket to heaven but make one false move and your out the door without a parachute!  Neither, are you paying for passage on this salvation voyage by working for God as one of the ship’s crew. No, he has paid for everything up front and there is nothing to pay back ever. Your in a first class!

This then, is the ‘to good to be true news’ of the Gospel. Can a believer abuse this grace? Yes, but would a genuine believer want to? So, I believe the answer to the question: “Can a believer lose their salvation?” ,  is a resounding NO!

Further Reading:

Is it possible to preach to much grace?
Eternal Salvation
The dangers of the holiness movement

 

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Are future sins forgiven?

Sign postRecently, a certain Dr Michael Brown has written a couple of articles in Charisma magazine attacking so called ‘hyper-grace teachers’ and claiming that they are bringing a dangerous heresy into the body of Christ because they preach that all sins, including those in the future that a believer may commit, are already forgiven.

Where is this reaction coming from? Firstly, it is coming from the age-old heresy that a believer can lose their salvation because of un-confessed sin. In other words, the work of the cross is not sufficient to save completely but is only completed by the endurance of the saint.

Well if this is true and un-confessed sin can cause us to become un-righteous, un-justified, un-born gain, un-redeemed and un- baptized in the holy spirit or even lose eternal life (which doesn’t make any sense if its eternal), then really there isn’t much risk of anybody getting saved and making it into heaven really. I mean, even a lack of faith is defined as sin in Romans 14:23 – so what chance have we got!

Did God really design salvation to be that uncertain and precarious? If what Dr Michael Brown is saying is correct, then none of us can sleep safe at night, as at any moment we may be in danger of being plunged into hell for a brief lapse of faith!

Secondly, these anti-grace preachers believe that if its true that future sins are forgiven, then there is no motivation for holiness and the believer will simply abuse grace – it’s a license to sin!

In fact, if there is not the possibility of abusing grace, then what is being preached is not grace at all! If grace is being preached, then this question should always come up, as it did in Paul’s exposition of the Gospel of grace when he wrote Romans 6:1:

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?”

If therefore a believer can be lost because of un-confessed sin, then tell me: how he can continue in sin so that grace might abound? How is losing salvation abounding in grace!

But enough of that, what do the scriptures say? (Romans 4:3!)

Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

So are future sins forgiven? This verse is pretty unambiguous – happy is the man the Lord will never (double negative in the original) impute (reckon, account) sin.

Therefore, the believer is accounted righteous (justified) because he believes not because he works (performs) or even confesses his sins!

Let me repeat that. Blessed is the man the Lord will never impute sin!

Col 2:13 He made you alive together with him having forgiven us all our transgressions. Having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us which was hostile to us; and he has taken it away having nailed it to the cross.

ALL our sins HAVE been forgiven. Every fault, every accusation HAS been nailed to the cross. Our certificate of debt HAS been cancelled! That is why Jesus could cry out on the cross, “It is finished!” Think about it, when Jesus paid for our sins, all our sins were in the future. Before we were even born, Jesus laid down his life and atoned for all our sins. Hallelujah!

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

We HAVE been redeemed (bought back) with the price of his blood. We now belong to Jesus; we’re his possession. Do you think he is going to lose us or let us go?

In fact, this forgiveness is so complete, that God remembers our sins no more. There is no record anywhere of your sins in heaven or earth, like data on a disk they are completely erased never to be retrieved.

Hebrews 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

That is why, for the believer there is NO JUDGEMENT for sin, now or ever! God is not judging you or taking account of your sin today, tomorrow or at some point in the future. Why? Because you are in Christ.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.

So, because you are in Christ, not only has your sinful behaviour been judged at the cross but your sinful nature or old man. God does not repair or renovate the old man, he kills him off.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Therefore, when Jesus was crucified we were crucified. When Jesus died we died. When he was buried we were buried. That is what we are celebrating in the funeral service we call baptism.

The wisdom of the cross, is that nothing we can do, can undo what has been achieved. You are freed from sin. You are dead to the law.

“Romans 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

Romans 6:11 “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

You are now dead to sin and alive to God. This means that God is no longer relating to you on the basis of your old man – only the resurrected born again spirit man! Therefore, if you sin, it is no longer you that is sinning it is your sinful flesh (soul and body). Your nature (spirit) has been changed or born again and CANNOT sin:

1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Sin is no longer your identity:

Romans 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

This is wonderful, because it means that a relationship with God can never be broken. A believer can always come to God because God is not focused, obsessed or even interested in your sinful flesh, like many sin focused believers are. As far as God is concerned, the whole issue has been dealt with thoroughly and completely in the cross of Jesus Christ for ever!

Today, you can have complete peace with God because perfect love casts out all fear – including the fear of losing your salvation!

So, I hear you say, does continuing to sin matter? Yes it does. For a start, if you continue to live in sin you’ll probably get to heaven faster than you anticipated. Secondly, sin will affect your ability to experience everything the Father has for you and will still give you plenty of negative experiences. You won’t inherit the kingdom.

Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

God wants you to renew your mind and live righteous because that is who you are now. Your identity is Christ.

Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Further Reading

Andrew Wommack on Romans 4:8
Billy Graham on forgiveness
Total forgiveness
Grace a license to sin
Sinning wilfully
Eternal Salvation
Is it possible to preach to much grace?
The dangers of the holiness movement – Dr Ironside

 

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Is it possible to preach too much grace?

Grace worksI don’t know about you, but I get fed up of the warnings from certain expert preachers and magazines about the so-called hyper-grace message (apparently) sweeping the body of Christ.

I presume though, they mean preachers like Andrew Womack and Joseph Prince who probably fit their definition, but who knows, because conveniently, they never say as such. One magazine article claimed that believing in the forgiveness of sins past, present and future, is the heresy of hyper-grace – a truth Billy Graham preached!

The thing is, is it actually possible to preach too much grace? Well evidently some people think so, as I found out to my personal cost when I was unfairly removed as an elder/pastor recently for apparently doing just that!

What these anti-hyper-grace teachers are afraid of I think, is that believers will abuse God’s grace – in other words people won’t change their behavior or want to change after believing the Gospel. In fact, that’s a complete misunderstanding of how the Gospel works: its only as you receive God’s grace (his ability and kindness) that you have any power at all to change. In fact, without God’s grace you don’t even have any desire for holiness because it’s the goodness of God that leads us to repentance – not the holiness or law of God.

The ‘God’s-pill’ or (Gospel) is the medicine of God’s pure undiluted kindness and it’s the only way that the disease of sin in the flesh can be tackled! Trying to tackle sin with rules and the law is like pouring water on a chip pan fire!

Let’s think about it, saying you can preach too much grace is like saying, you mustn’t preach too much love or kindness! If grace has limits, if it has a cap to its extravagance, then its not really God‘s grace at all but a cheap imitation.

Can a sinner out-sin God’s grace? No, there is always hope because Gods’ love is bigger than our mess otherwise God would not be God. God was not somehow caught out by sin, he never scratched his head in amazement saying: “I never expected them to turn out this bad”. No, the grace of God is big enough and powerful enough for the salvation of every human being on the planet.

The will of God is that he desires that not one person should perish but that all repent. The only way anyone ends up in hell is not their sins but their unbelief and refusal of Salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Interestingly in the original language of the New Testament, grace is referred to as being hyper: Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound (pleonazo). But where sin abounded (pleonazo), grace did much more abound (hyper perisseuo)

This verse tell us, that the Law was introduced so that sin would (pleonaza ) increase or super-abound. But where sin super-abounded, grace did much more abound (hyper-abound).

Quite frankly I think that’s amazing. Sin cannot win in our lives because even when it’s super-abundant, God’s grace is hyper-abundant!

This is why I preach grace.  Only the receiving of God’s grace into our lives can produce holiness. Religion, rules, law and pentecostal holiness teaching has not one ounce of power to do that, only the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

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Further Reading:

Extreme Grace a license to sin? – Phil Drysdale
In Christ
Sinning Wilfully
Eternal Salvation
Grace a license to sin?

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