Posts Tagged ‘works’

Are works a part of our salvation? Let’s talk about Ephesians 2:8-9

Misunderstanding grace as it relates to salvation has compromised the theology of millions.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

YOGA-000000029False-grace adherents, Universalists and the millions who subscribe to the doctrine of eternal security (once saved, always saved) arrive at their related positions via a theological journey that takes them all right through Ephesians 2:8-9.

They have been so inoculated by this belief system that anybody who suggests that faith is not enough, or that works play a part in salvation, must be following another Jesus and subscribing to another gospel.

Antinomianism is often the result for those who reject works in relationship to salvation. Antinomianism states that God forgives sins fully, and sinning has no disadvantage. Additionally, obedience has no impact. If it did, it would taint what Jesus did at Calvary.

Wikipedia:

Antinomianism in Christianity is the belief that under the gospel dispensation of grace, moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation.

Regarding Antinomianism, Steve Hill wrote:

Purveyors of this poisonous teaching fail to realize that Jesus calls us beyond the requirements of the law in His teaching, stating, for example, that adultery refers to adultery of the heart and not just the physical act (Matt. 5:27-28).

This, folks, is an eternally destructive theology.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? James 2:14 (ESV)

The question is answered several verses later:

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. James 2:24 (ESV)

In order for that verse to register rightly, we’ll have to talk about the difference between our own works and works that are graced and mandated by God. There is much more to the salvation equation than simply exhibiting faith.

The idea that all we have to do is believe in faith to gain salvation leads many to believe that all is well after we profess that faith. We are forever secure no matter how we live.

The manifestation of that belief is destructive in many ways, on many levels. Just yesterday someone quite adamantly told me that Hitler most definitely could have been saved. They also said that Hillary Clinton’s recent comments about possibly entering the ministry and preaching as a United Methodist should be celebrated. Since she believed on Christ long ago, she should be affirmed in her pursuit, no matter what abominable fruit she may produce.

Where did the basis of the argument come from? A misunderstanding of salvation, of faith and of works of righteousness. Many professing Christians simply are not saved. Some were at one point and their unrighteous decisions cost them their relationship with Christ.

WHAT KIND OF WORKS ARE NECESSARY?

A lot of people get tripped up when considering works as a part of our salvation process. Many have flashbacks to Catholic penance, where repetitively reciting the rosary is the prescribed answer to their sin. This, friend, is not the type of works that we should be endeavoring to accomplish. In no way should we attempt to trade work for an eternal paycheck.

Let’s look at a passage of Scripture:

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 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, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7 (ESV)

This is a solid, clear truth. Our own righteousness is a non-player. Works that come from our own righteousness are fruitless. Jesus alone could atone for our sins and make it possible for us to be in relationship with God. Jesus alone could make a way for us to spend eternity with him. So, on the front end, we don’t have anything of worth to offer.

as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; Romans 3:10 (ESV)

You are indeed angry, for we have sinned– In these ways we continue; And we need to be saved. But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; Isaiah 64:5-6 (NKJV)

Understand, our own attempts to atone for our own filthiness is futile. It’s laughable. We deserve Hell and we are absolutely helpless outside of Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.

But, works of another type absolutely do play a role in our salvation. Obedience and a right response to be holy is critical. If we don’t play our part, our salvation was either never secure, or it can be surrendered.

Above, in Titus chapter three, it was made clear that our righteousness and our works were powerless in regard to salvation. However, the message continues:

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. Titus 3:8 (NKJV)

True faith must manifest works that are not empowered by our own ability, but rather graced by God himself.

Let’s look at Ephesians 2:8-9 a little more closely:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

For by grace you have been saved…

Another way to say it would be, “God, through divine favor and influence, has empowered you to be made whole.”

Since it’s impossible for us, in our humanness, to work the miracle of salvation, to bridge that uncrossable chasm, no matter how hard we work at it, God granted the power necessary.

…through faith…

You could reword this by saying, “by being convicted and convinced of truth, and becoming reliant upon Christ…”

Faith is a loaded word. We know that even demons believe. They are convinced that Jesus is Lord, but their reaction is very different. If simple belief was all that was necessary for salvation, we’d be living in our heavenly mansions next door to demons of every stench. Of course, that will not happen, so just what defines faith? Our response. Our obedience. Our works. I don’t believe works that are empowered by God’s grace are simply an “expected outcome” for one who comes to Jesus. (Have you ever met someone who “got saved” and still struggles with obedience?) I believe they are an integral, strategic part of the salvation process. God’s grace and our response are both key.

And, yes, I’ll agree to a point that you are probably thinking about right now. Consecration takes time. However, I believe a repeated failure at consecration can threaten our justification. We can’t take God’s calls to obedience and works lightly. Faith is not enough.

And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…

God initiated the relationship. He did what we could not do. Our wretchedness wouldn’t keep him away and our righteousness wouldn’t draw him near. God recognized that we all had hit rock bottom as we realized we had no power whatsoever to save ourselves. His love required that he simply rescue us by offering a relationship with him, and we didn’t have to pay for it, work for it or convince him we were worthy. We could never be.

Our humility is required as we allow God to move in and take over. Outside of Christ there is no grace to live in obedience so the only option was for God’s gift to be given.

…not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

God knew any hope of relationship with him would be compromised if we ever thought we could find salvation through our own effort. Our pride would take over and we’d boast about our remarkable abilities to find eternal life outside of God.

Here’s how this works: We can’t say, “Thanks God, but no thanks. I really don’t want to subscribe to your methods, protocols or mandates. I want to do this on my own terms, so I’m going to give one million dollars to charity. I’ll also do good, be good and think good thoughts. I’ll pay my own way. See you in Heaven some day (but don’t bother me too much. I’ll be busy doing my own thing there too.)”

We need God. Period. So, we are graced when we truly believe to be in relationship with Jesus AND adopt his way of life. We cannot simply have faith and then live according to our own plans. Works are not simply an evidence of faith, they are a key part of the salvation process. What trips people up so often is a misunderstanding of our own works versus works that are graced by God to fulfill. When God gives us power to respond, we must respond.

In order for this article to be written, I need the free power that the laptop receives by being plugged into the outlet in the coffee shop. I couldn’t type this out without the gift of electricity. Because of that grace, I can now get to work. God will anoint me, inspire me, grace me and empower me to write, but he won’t write it for me.

OUR WORKS ARE FRUITLESS BUT WORKS EMPOWERED BY GOD’S GRACE ARE MANDATED

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

Immediately after our human works were deemed to have no value in regard to our salvation, the very next verse highlights a primary purpose of our salvation—good works that we must walk in! Again, works are not an automatic result of salvation, nor are they disconnected from salvation. Works are mandated and God gives us the grace to those who are saved to fulfill them.

God absolutely will grace us to obey, but we must be the ones to respond. If we live a life of disobedience to God, a life devoid of works, the salvation that we freely received via faith will quickly be surrendered.

We have been given a gift that’s much greater than spending eternity in Heaven (and not in Hell). God’s grace enables us to work miracles! We can be full of supernatural joy and life every day! The works we now can do could never be done in the old covenant. Jesus made it possible to work wonders!

Yes, I believe calls to obedience and work that are fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit do impact our salvation, but they also launch us into a phenomenal, remarkable, other worldly life!

We absolutely can live free from sin! If we do sin (not when), we have access to Jesus and the same grace that we discovered when we initially gave our lives to him.

Let’s be sober regarding the issue of grace, faith and works but also exuberant! Jesus has made it possible to live the most amazing life—now, and forever with him in eternity!

Video: Do Christians sin every day? Are works necessary for salvation? Watch…

Watch the video: Is obedience necessary for salvation? Do Christians sin every day? If faith alone enough to be saved? Can we lose our salvation?

Watch as I discuss possibly the most important theological topic of our generation—obedience, sin, works, faith and how they relate to salvation.

I reference two articles that will give you loads of scriptural support for the positions I take in the video:

You will want to check them out as you watch.

It’s shocking to me how sharply resistant Christians can be when the doctrine of salvation is discussed. Many have been lulled into a state of false-comfort through incredibly dangerous and fast spreading theologies—and anything that would threaten their confidence is reacted to fiercely. A pastor once told me that the most violent reaction from Christians against him comes when he deals with false-grace.

Titus 2:11-15 (ESV) 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, 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. 15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

imageMy life message is to awaken the comfortable, sleeping church and declare the true, empowering grace of God.

It’s not a message that I chose. In the natural that would be insanity as my fervent attention to it has brought trouble and grief not only to me but to my family. We’ve lost friends and awakened enemies we didn’t know we had.

Here’s an email from our great friend Julia Palermo:

Hi John! I wanted to let you know that the Lord has really put you, Detroit Revival Church and the city of Detroit on my heart the past few weeks. I’ve been following your posts and just carrying you all in my heart. I feel like you are very much in need of extra prayer coverage as you are stepping out very boldly in some areas of proclamation of the truth. Just wanted you to know that I am going to be praying for you and for the church. Would love to talk some time and hear what the Lord is doing. Though I think this bold stand may cost you in some sense, I truly feel that for the remnant who receives these messages and signs up to pursue Him in holiness, He is going to come with His fire and His presence. I believe you are going to experience some times of such a weight of his holiness and nearness in the room that people will only be able to weep on the floor and won’t move for hours. You have not seen before what He is about to do in you and in the church. Be encouraged! He is with you! Julia

Thankfully, it’s a message that has resulted in continual messages from people sharing how their life has been powerfully impacted by it.

Shortly after hearing a teaching that (God forgives all sin, past, present and future) I was ignorantly relieved of the struggles I was having with particular sins and then went soo far away from truth, deep into more self justified sin, self deception, coldness, distance from God, family, etc. …. Now I’ve been hearing teaching from John Burton and others against sin and this false doctrine (false-grace teaching) and now for the first time since I became a Christian almost 10 years ago, I have been free from the power of habitual sin and no longer live a life of torment … All Glory to GOD!!! God needs more TRUTH Ministers.~Nick

It’s a message that, by design, urgently and aggressively provokes those who are personally comfortable yet eternally vulnerable.

The Salvation Equation: False-Grace | Hyper-Grace | Distorted-Grace | “Many in the church will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.”

My life message: The Terror of Hell | “Many in the church will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.”

imageFirst: I'd encourage you read the most popular article I've ever written, Five Marks of the False-Grace Message HERE. It's a much shorter teaching that is perfect for relaying to those struggling with this dangerous doctrine. (It will open in a new window/tab)


 

Some may wonder why I am so passionate about this issue of grace, and why I continue to sound the same alarm again and again.

It’s simple—this is my life message. Silence on this issue will result in tragedy beyond comprehension.

My burning passion is to see the church shaken out of slumber into a deep, intimate encounter with Jesus. Out of complacency and any false assurance of salvation and into zealous devotion to follow our all consuming leader. This is all about eternity.

It’s shocking to me how sharply resistant Christians can be when the doctrine of salvation is discussed. Many have been lulled into a state of false-comfort through incredibly dangerous and fast spreading theologies—and anything that would threaten their confidence is reacted to fiercely. A pastor once told me that the most violent reaction from Christians against him comes when he deals with false-grace.

Titus 2:11-15 (ESV) 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, 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. 15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

My life message is to awaken the comfortable, sleeping church and declare the true, empowering grace of God.

It’s not a message that I chose. In the natural that would be insanity as my fervent attention to it has brought trouble and grief not only to me but to my family. We’ve lost friends and awakened enemies we didn’t know we had.

Here’s an email from our great friend Julia Palermo:

Hi John! I wanted to let you know that the Lord has really put you, Detroit Revival Church and the city of Detroit on my heart the past few weeks. I've been following your posts and just carrying you all in my heart. I feel like you are very much in need of extra prayer coverage as you are stepping out very boldly in some areas of proclamation of the truth. Just wanted you to know that I am going to be praying for you and for the church. Would love to talk some time and hear what the Lord is doing. Though I think this bold stand may cost you in some sense, I truly feel that for the remnant who receives these messages and signs up to pursue Him in holiness, He is going to come with His fire and His presence. I believe you are going to experience some times of such a weight of his holiness and nearness in the room that people will only be able to weep on the floor and won't move for hours. You have not seen before what He is about to do in you and in the church. Be encouraged! He is with you! Julia

Thankfully, it’s a message that has resulted in continual messages from people sharing how their life has been powerfully impacted by it.

Shortly after hearing a teaching that (God forgives all sin, past, present and future) I was ignorantly relieved of the struggles I was having with particular sins and then went soo far away from truth, deep into more self justified sin, self deception, coldness, distance from God, family, etc. …. Now I've been hearing teaching from John Burton and others against sin and this false doctrine (false-grace teaching) and now for the first time since I became a Christian almost 10 years ago, I have been free from the power of habitual sin and no longer live a life of torment … All Glory to GOD!!! God needs more TRUTH Ministers.~Nick

It’s a message that, by design, urgently and aggressively provokes those who are personally comfortable yet eternally vulnerable.

The Terror of Hell

It’s a message that was hand delivered to me, by God, over 20 years ago, in a dream where I was dragged toward Hell by a demon that strangely had full authority to do so. In a split second, in my night time encounter, I went from beautiful comfort and complete confidence in my position in Christ to maddening terror as I was slowly, methodically dragged toward Hell. The confusion that gripped me was met by the truth that I was indeed going to spend the rest of eternity—multiplied trillions of years consisting of innumerable hours that feel like decades—being tormented in Hell.

I thought, “It’s impossible! I can’t be going to Hell!”

After all, I’m a Christian!

After I came out of this deeply disturbing experience, God spoke clearly to me: John, in your dream you represented the many in the church who will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.

I knew my life assignment was now to humbly yet boldly—and expediently—warn everybody I can. According to Mike Bickle, his opinion is that the number one most dangerous threat today is the distorted grace message… Even a greater threat than abortion. Greater than 54 million murdered babies! Why is it a greater threat? Because as sickening and horrifying as abortion is, there are 54 million babies in Heaven today. False grace results in millions of casual Christians ending up in Hell.

Christians in Hell?

I have to be perfectly clear at this point:

Yes, it is my conviction that many in the church, many in even the most fiery, vibrant and alive churches in the world, are convinced they are saved while living in an unsaved state. False theologies have been so widely embraced that the thought of them being false seem absolutely ridiculous.

Additionally, I am quite comfortable with differing Christian streams emphasizing different biblical principles, and even disagreeing over them—if they don’t threaten eternity. We can disagree over tongues, prophecy, gifts, the timing of the rapture and a myriad of other doctrines—but, the issue of false-grace is different. Eternity is at stake, and many worshiping, bible reading, tithing professing Christians have been deceived and Hell is being made ready for them.

I will share a lot of scripture in this lengthy article to support my position.

You can watch a video where I deal in detail with the false-grace teaching:

How do works fit into the salvation equation?

Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

False-grace teachers are vigilant in their attempts to invalidate any measure of works for the Christian—at least as they relate to salvation. In fact, the logical end to the false-grace theology is actually universalism. We do nothing, God did everything, everybody is saved.

Of course, it would be said that we have to believe to be saved. Well, first, that is a work. It takes participation on our behalf. Second, even the demons believe. Even the Rich Young Ruler believed. He was rejected because he was unwilling to do his part. The true motive of his heart was revealed, yet in today’s churches it would be offensive to turn such a man away at an altar call! The common reaction is to give someone assurance of their salvation, all while they may not actually be saved at all. That is a serious indictment on the church to say the least! How many people are going to Hell because a pastor told them they are eternally secure if they simply repeat a prayer after them? I believe the sinner’s prayer may actually be sending more people to Hell than to Heaven!

Leonard Ravenhill states that he doubts that 5% of professing American Christians are actually saved!

The above scripture in Ephesians 2 is actually quite easy to understand. It’s NOT saying that we don’t have to participate in the salvation process. The truth is that we have to be radically involved. The salvation equation includes us!

What the passage is saying is that we cannot bypass Jesus. We can’t give a million dollars to a charity and volunteer at Habitat for Humanity every weekend in order to work our way into Heaven. We can’t decide that the call to serve Jesus is not appealing to us, so we opt instead for option two or three. We can’t create our own salvation plan and then boast about our own abilities. There is only one way, and Jesus is it. And, obedience is very much a part of the equation.

James 1:21-22 (ESV) 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

  • Works minus Jesus equals no salvation.
  • Jesus minus works equals false salvation.
  • Jesus plus works equals evidence of true salvation.

The cross of Christ doesn't eliminate our responsibility, it redefines our responsibility. He did what only he could do and we must do what he will not do.

When he said, “It is finished,” he meant it. His job is done—and ours begins. He emphasized this again in Acts 1. The disciples wanted Jesus to do more work (establish his Kingdom), but Jesus made it clear that his job was indeed complete. However, he let them know that their work was just beginning. They must walk in obedience to Jesus.

Hebrews 5:9 (ESV) 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him…

We can have ‘intimacy’ with Jesus without works, and death is the result. We can also have works without intimacy and the result is also death.

Being intimate with Jesus doesn’t not automatically mean we’ll do good works, and doing good works doesn’t automatically mean we’ll be close to God. Attention must be given to both endeavors. In Matthew being known by God intimately AND doing God’s will are required. We can’t call him Lord without doing his will, and we can’t do works without also knowing him:

Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV) 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

This is a quote from the most popular article I’ve ever written, Five Marks of the False Grace Message (www.johnburton.net/grace-message):

It’s striking to me how often I hear that a focus on holiness and obedience equates to legalism. How far from orthodox Christianity has the church fallen?

The only point at which it’s legalism is if we were to reject the cross and resurrection of Christ by attempting to work our way into Heaven. But, if we agree that Jesus is the only one who could have paid for our sins yet we also refuse to work, our salvation is a myth.

Legalism is our attempt to get to Heaven by bypassing the cross of Jesus. Holiness and works are our response to the cross of Jesus.

    • Luke 6:46 (ESV) 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?
    • Luke 8:21 (ESV) 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
    • Luke 11:28 (ESV) 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
    • John 8:51 (ESV) 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
    • John 14:15 (ESV) 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
    • John 15:10 (ESV) 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
    • John 15:14 (ESV) 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
    • Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV) 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Additionally, we see God dealing with the churches in the book of Revelation. Repeatedly he said, “I know your works.” And, their position in Christ absolutely did hinge on what they did or did not do.

Interestingly, when I talk about biblical works, the most common response goes something like this, “John, we don’t have to perform for God to love us.” Hmmm, why is the issue of God’s love introduced into a discussion about an entirely different topic? I didn’t mention God’s love. I didn’t say that we had to do stuff to convince God to love us, but that is the most immediate reaction I receive. Is it possible that we are living in a “me centered” generation where personal satisfaction and experience are the goal? The issue isn’t God’s love of us, it’s our love of God.

We see this play out all throughout the church. Prayer meetings, conferences and other events are full when the focus is on personal blessing, encounter, healing, prosperity and other bonuses. But, when the call is to die, to intercede for the nations, to carry our cross, to do the work of fervent prayer, to lay down our lives to impact the world, the crowds disperse.

Revelation 3:1-2 (ESV) 1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

Revelation 3:5-6 (ESV) 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Incomplete works can result in names being blotted out of the book of life.

The ESV Study Bible gives clarity to what is being said in Revelation 3:5-6:

Hope for revival is in the fact that a few names—alert and unstained disciples—can still be found in this church. Their unsoiled garments symbolize consistent obedience and courageous faith. Christ promises them the conqueror’s reward: communion with himself (walk with me) and the white raiment of victory.Their name is secure in his book of life, and he will confess their name before the Father, since they have confessed Jesus in hostile circumstances (Matt. 10:32).

Both obedience and faith make up the salvation equation.

From the AMG Bible Commentary on the same verses:

Believers must wake up, change their ways, and determine to follow the teaching of the gospel they first believed. If not, swift judgment will fall upon them.

From Dake:

Here Christ promises not to blot the name out of the book of life of any man who will obey the commands of Rev. 3:2-3. If some refused to obey these commands, would their names not be blotted out? If we say such is impossible we accuse God of using vain threats on His people. He definitely promised Moses, “Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of my book” (Ex. 32:32-33).

Again, we see obedience, works, directly involved in the salvation equation.

The call to wake up and strengthen is a call to works! If that work is not done, that person will in fact one day be cast into Hell.

James 2:14 (ESV) 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

Life Application Commentary on James 2:14:

Faith not accompanied by deeds has no saving value.

Dake:

Christianity demands of its followers good works to all men (Mt. 5:16; 16:27; Eph. 2:10; 1Tim. 6:18; 2Tim. 3:17; Tit. 1:16; 2:7,14; 3:8). One is not justified by works (Rom. 3:25-31; 4:1-6; 9:11; 11:6; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5), but justified ones must do them to prove their Christian consecration (vv. 14-18,20-26).

Faith without works is dead; works without faith is dead (vv. 17,20,26). Neither is complete in itself.

False-Grace is closely related to the false teaching of Antinomianism.

Wikipedia:

Antinomianism in Christianity is the belief that under the gospel dispensation of grace, moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation.

Regarding Antinomianism, Steve Hill wrote:

Purveyors of this poisonous teaching fail to realize that Jesus calls us beyond the requirements of the law in His teaching, stating, for example, that adultery refers to adultery of the heart and not just the physical act (Matt. 5:27-28).

Are our sins forgiven past, present and future?

Steve Hill: Hyper-grace teachers ignore mountains of other scriptural truths and draw wrong theological conclusions. For example, they rightly teach that Jesus died for all our sins— past, present and future—but wrongly conclude that as believers we no longer have to deal with sin (meaning we never have to confess sin or repent of sin, and the Holy Spirit no longer convicts us of sin).

Again, Jesus told us that his job is finished. He died and rose and that was sufficient to cover every sin, past, present and future.

However, that does not mean our future sin is automatically resolved. We have a part to play.

I posted this to Facebook (www.facebook.com/johburton.net) yesterday:

Are our sins forgiven past, present and future? PAST: Yes. PRESENT: Why are you sinning right now? FUTURE: No.

No? Jesus did his part, but we must do ours. We can absolutely lose our salvation due to a decision to sin.

Hebrews 10:26-27 (ESV) 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

The sacrifice that was fully sufficient for the Believer at the time of his conversion to Christ can be invalidated based on our behavior.

Additionally, this scripture clearly reveals that Jesus paid the price for our past sins:

Romans 3:23-25 (ESV) 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 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. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

Leonard Ravenhill said:

“I've heard people say “Jesus died for you sins past, present and future.” Imagine a judge tell a thief “you are forgiven of all the purses you stole in the past, the ones you stole today, and the all of the ones you'll …steal in the future.” If that's insane in real life is just as insane in so called doctrine.”

The historic church has always taught that Christ died potentially for all sins , in other words provision has been made for all sins. But that provision has to be applied.

In my message Five Marks of the False Grace Message, I deal with a theology of exemption. The presumption is that Christians are exempt from, and can ignore, certain biblical standards and warnings. For example, the following verse would be ignored:

Matthew 6:15 (ESV) 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

If we believe in a theology of exemption, we’ll rewrite this verse to say, “If we don’t forgive others, we are still forgiven.”

Dan Corner:

Jesus taught openly that sin can drag any person guilty of lust to hell:

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (Mat 5:28,29)

The Lord also stated the stipulation for a Christian to get his sins forgiven, that is, he must forgive others who sin against him. Such a teaching would be impossible if his future sins were all automatically forgiven even before they were committed. If that was true then there would be no conditions to get forgiven, unlike what Jesus stated:

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Mat 6:14,15)

Then the master called the servant in. “You wicked servant,” he said, “I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart. (Mat 18:32-35)

From Five Marks of the False Grace Message:

A theology of exemption states that since we are saved, we are exempt from the penalties of sin. That there are parts of the Bible that no longer apply to us. Yes, it’s a heresy.

The number of people who subconsciously or unwittingly embrace a theology of exemption is far greater than those who explicitly pronounce their agreement with this doctrine.

Many have been lulled into a false sense of security while actually existing in an unsaved state. They are confident they’d enter Heaven if they died, yet the reality is that they would not. They have come to believe they are exempt from certain parts of the Word of God that requires response.

1 Peter 1:15-17 (ESV) 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,

Be holy. God judges according to one’s deeds. Those who hold to a theology of exemption don’t believe they are subject to what this verse is communicating. The command to be holy is to them a great goal, but not a mandate. A principle not a command.

Our name can actually be removed from the book of life—and that is determined by our obedience, our holiness. Sin can still separate a follower of Christ from him. The Rich Young Ruler saw that this was the case. He wanted to follow Jesus, but could not. He was not exempt from judgment even though he wanted to follow Jesus.

From Hall Worthington:

To believe you are saved, while still immersed in sin is to ignore, disregard, and treat with indifference the Bible's many stated exclusions, requirements, and qualifying conditions of salvation plus the commands of Jesus, while relying on a select four verses out of thousands to support an imaginary salvation; never bothering to question how those four verses must be interpreted in conjunction with Jesus' wonderful commands and the rest of the Bible.

Jesus said: Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Mat 5:20

Jesus told five out of seven churches of believers in Revelation that they were lost, on the way to destruction. The Smyrna believers were about to enter tribulation, whom he encouraged. Notice again! Jesus said that five out seven Christian churches of believers were on their way to Hell. Only the church of Philadelphia was doing well because they had kept [obeyed] his word with patient endurance.

Hall also says:

Christendom's false apostles started teaching the lie of instant grace, excusing all past, present, and future sin by grace 2000 years ago, and the itching ears of the world embraced the lie with heaps of teachers and preachers, just like Paul predicted. By grace through faith in what we hear from within our heart, we are delivered from all sin, which is salvation; but only after we have listened to and obeyed the Lord over time. There is no one-time, instant, receipt of salvation by grace; we must grow in grace and hope until we see the end of Grace, Jesus bringing our salvation:

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Pet 3:18
Therefore be resolute of mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of (you seeing) Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13.

Grace teaches us what to deny. Grace (Jesus) leads us to repentance. With our obedience to His leading and commands, grace then removes the sin, (even the desire to sin), from our hearts — thus to redeem us from all sin and purify us; deliverance from all sin is the true definition of salvation.

Check out this lengthy but wildly troubling story of an encounter by John Mulinde, a leader with a world ministry on every continent except Antartica. God told him, “If I had come today to take My Bride, you wouldn’t be part of that. I wouldn’t take you.” :

Then suddenly a bright light hit my eyes. My eyes were closed. I was on my knees with my head on the ground, but a bright light hit me. I lifted up my eyes and said, “What is this?” I opened my eyes and I couldn’t look in the light. Even when I closed them, it pierced into my eyes. I bowed my head again, and I was trembling and thinking, “What on earth is going on?” Then I heard a voice, deep and calm. He called my name three times. I couldn’t answer. There was no strength in me to answer, but inwardly I was saying, “I’m here.” He called me—“John”—three times. Then He said to me, “I knew you before the creation of the world, and I chose you and set you apart to serve Me as a witness in these last days. I want to say to you, if I had come today to take My Bride, you wouldn’t be part of that. I wouldn’t take you.” I can’t describe the shock that came upon me. I think I was in shock. I didn’t even respond. It hit me. He repeated it. He said, “I wouldn’t take you. For it is written, ‘He will appear to those who wait upon Him’ (Isa. 49:23, paraphrased). You’re not living your life as a person waiting upon Me. You’re allowing all kinds of filth to come into your life. You’re living like one who cares not.” As I said, I couldn’t speak with my lips. At that moment I was thinking, “This can’t be happening to me. I gave up my job to serve the Lord; I gave up my house that my father had given me because I wanted to go to the mission field. I gave up this, I gave up that; this can’t be God saying to me that He wouldn’t take me.” None of my theology and teachings could accept that. He spoke to me these words written in the book of 1 Corinthians 6. He quoted them; I found them later. I couldn’t even remember that they were in the Scriptures, but later on I found them in the Scriptures. It says: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:10). “THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS, AND DESPERATELY WICKED” He went on to say to me, “Your life is so full of filth. You walk with an outward appearance, and you cover many things in your heart. You forget that I am the Lord who examines the heart. You are not ready to meet Me.” He began to say to me, “If your life is full of this and this and this and this, then are you ready for My appearance?” As He measured the various things, I could say, “OK, Lord, have mercy.” But then He mentioned one thing that my heart rejected. In my own understanding, I had never turned into that. He said, “If your life is full of fornication . . . ” And everything in me said, “Oh, no. That cannot be.” I said it in my heart, and the voice stopped. For a moment there was silence. Then He said to me, “There is no crooked word that comes out of My mouth. Do you call Me a liar? But because you don’t even know your own heart, I will show it to you. Remember this day when you were in this place at this hour?” Brothers and sisters, I didn’t even remember. I practically saw myself back in that very moment—not as a memory, but as a reality. I was back in that moment. I saw myself sitting in the taxi waiting for the taxi car to be filled. Then I was looking out at some lady with all kinds of filthy imaginations. The moment it came back, I thought, “Oh, God, I have sinned against You.” He said, “No, you haven’t sinned. You live in sin. You live in that. You live from morning to evening in such imaginations. Even in your bed at night you indulge in the same. I know every moment of your private life. I know your thoughts. You don’t even fear, even sitting in church. Someone steps up on the platform to serve Me and you strip them naked in your imagination. You imagine all kinds of things. I am the Lord who examines the heart. Have you not read that he who even looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her (Mt. 5:28)?” Pictures began to pass before me of how my imagination works. This isn’t something of which I could say, “Lord, I fell in sin. Lord, I was weak.” It was my way of life. It was my constant way of life. I was comfortable in it. I was comfortable that no one else could see it, but God was saying, “I see it. I am the Lord who examines the heart.” I was so ashamed, but then He said, “That’s not the worst of all. You still live in this.” He began to mention things that appear humanly small: the envy, the manipulation and undercutting of one another so that you remain appearing the best, so that you appear to do the best, to preach the best, to work more miracles, to be more anointed; all the manipulation and self-promotions, all the grudges we hold in our hearts when we see someone else being promoted or recognized before us. The way the Lord brought it up, it was so filthy. I cried and cried, and at some point I was so intent on my grief. Then He raised His voice and said, “Keep quiet and listen.” “I NEVER KNEW YOU; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS!” I kept quiet, and He went on and on and on, unveiling more and more things. Even the things which appear so small, at that moment appeared so rotten. I felt like I was standing before the judgment seat with everything being thrown out. I wanted to say, “Stop, stop, I accept it all,” but He wasn’t stopping. At some point I was just saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” He said, “Keep quiet.” I wasn’t speaking loudly; I was speaking in my heart. He said, “Keep quiet and listen.” As He continued I thought, “I must have been deceived. All along I thought I was serving God and yet I’m so filthy inside. I must have been deceived. The Devil must have taken my life captive a long time ago.” At that moment I thought of the miracles we were witnessing. I thought of the healings. I thought of all those wonderful things, and suddenly my heart sunk. I thought, “The Devil has so deceived me that he could even use me to produce counterfeit miracles; to produce things I thought God was working—and yet it was the Devil all along . . . ” The voice kept quiet for a moment, and then He said to me, “Why are you imagining such thoughts? I don’t do miracles because you’re worthy. I do miracles because I love My people before whom you stand to preach. Have you never read of how they will come to Me on that day and say, ‘Lord, Lord, in Your name we worked miracles, cast out demons, and prophesied’? Then I will say to them, ‘Get out of My sight, you workers of iniquity. I never knew you’” (Mt. 7:21–23, paraphrased). He said, “Don’t depend on the miracles to assess your worthiness. Your worthiness isn’t in the signs and wonders you witness in ministry. I do miracles because I love the people, and My name shall never be left without witness on earth.” He said, “Have you not ever read that without holiness, no one will see God (Heb. 12:14)? It’s not the miracles; it’s the holiness that comes from God.” He spoke to me the scripture in the book of Hebrews.

Do we need to confess our sins as Believers? Should we be sin conscious?

Yes and yes.

False-grace teachers would say that it’s not necessary to confess sins because there is no sin in us. God’s grace has eradicated it.

Folks, let me be very, very clear: that is a heretical teaching that absolutely puts people at risk of Hell.

1 John 1:8-9 (ESV) 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Life Application Bible notes:

Being God’s people does not mean denying sin (1:8), but confessing it. Because all people are sinners, Jesus had to die. Because sin is not completely eradicated from the lives of those who believe in Jesus, God graciously gave his followers provision for the problem of sin.

It’s not only critical, but it’s wonderful to live in a state of continual repentance! God’s love for us is so amazing, that running away from sin and to him is awe inspiring!

As we daily allow God to search our hearts and reveal issues that are barriers to his love fully impacting us, the freedom and resulting life is amazing!

I often hear people say that Christians shouldn’t be sin conscious. Not only is that not biblical, it does us a disservice. Ignoring sin doesn’t disarm it, it empowers it! Allow God to reveal the darkness and set us free!

2 Corinthians 7:1 (ESV) 1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

We must remain diligent regarding sin. As we grow in grace and knowledge we will have the strength to remain stable.

2 Peter 3:14 (ESV) 14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

2 Peter 3:17-18 (ESV) 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Don Corner:

Being found spotless, blameless and at peace with God is not automatic. Christians under grace are to put forth every effort to remain in this condition:

Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. (Luke 13:24)

The idea that we don’t have to confess sins because we will never again have to deal with the penalties of sin, is so unbiblical that even the most remedial student would pick up on the heresy.

2 John 1:8-9 (ESV) 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

2 Peter 2:20-21 (ESV) 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

If we don’t live in a state of glorious repentance, the sins can overcome us, and the result would be worse than if we had never been saved! Many have had revelations of Hell where they see special attention given to those who walked in the truth and then fell away. This is special attention that nobody would ever want. Additionally, pastors and leaders who don’t reveal this truth are in danger as well!

Baptized by Blazing Fire by Pastor Yong-Doo Kim: Even later that night, as I continued to pray in tongues, I was taken down to hell. I was in a place where there was some devil jabbing a long, sharp spear into rectangular shaped boxes. With foul language, it shouted, “You think you are a pastor? What kind of life did you live? I am ecstatic that you are here with me.” The evil spirit continued to jab the boxes as it cursed. Loud, painful screams came from the boxes, as blood flowed out. I noticed the tops of the boxes were covered with canvass, with a large cross portrayed on it. The boxes were lined up in an orderly fashion, and they stretched endlessly. I could not see where they ended. I realized that they were coffins. Evil spirits were jabbing their long, sharp spears into the holes unmercifully. I asked the Lord, “Jesus, why are the caskets of former pastors here?” Jesus replied, “These pastors did not preach My gospel. They preached another gospel, and those who followed became depraved. This is their end result, a place in hell.” Jesus said, “Depraved pastors will be judged greater.” (Read more here.)

Don Corner says it well:

It takes a present tense saving faith, which submits to and follows Jesus in obedience to remain righteous after getting born again. Moreover, true saving faith can cease to exist and become destroyed (Luke 8:13; 2 Tim. 2:18; 1 Tim. 1:19; Rom. 11:19-23). After salvation, sin can nullify a Christian's righteous and holy standing before God and make him unholy, impure, unrighteous and spiritually dead!

But, isn’t it true that God can’t see the sin of a Christian since he’s washed in the blood of Jesus? No, it isn’t true.

Read through the New Testament. Check out the warnings to the seven churches. God saw their sins. Sins that are not repented of are not covered by the blood of Jesus. Willful sinning results in us being removed from right standing in God.

Hebrews 3:12-13 (ESV) 12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Again, if our future sins are forgiven, and there’s no need to repent or confess, why does this verse in Hebrews, written to Believers (brothers), reveal that sin can cause them to fall away from God?

False-Grace teachers will say that the Holy Spirit doesn’t convict Christians of sin. Whoa. This is an extremely dangerous and UNWANTED concept! We want conviction! We are actively involved in the salvation process. Salvation is NOT a one time occurrence, but it’s a life-long life-changing process. We need conviction. We need God to search our hearts!

Additionally, we have a lot to do to ensure we remain saved!

2 Peter 1:3-11 (ESV) 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We must know our heart! Let God search it out!

Jeremiah 17:9-10 (ESV) 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10 “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

If you don’t believe this is true, spend hours in prayer and ask God to reveal every thought, every motive, every sin, every issue in your heart—and he will do it! In love! What’s our reaction? Life! Rejoicing! Repentance! Confession! An encounter in the love and forgiveness of Jesus! There is nothing like it!

But, if we do not repent, what God finds in our hearts will be used against us! This is serious!

So many in the false-grace movement say that God is always in a good mood. This is ridiculous. In fact, it would make God quite deranged if this were true! What would you think of a God who was happy and laughing and in a good mood when he cast people he loves into Hell? No, though judgment will certainly come from God, his love precludes him from being happy about the devastation that it will bring.

Revelation 2:19-23 (ESV) 19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.

Being a willing participant as God searches our hearts is a very good idea! Repenting is critical! Confession is mandatory! To teach a gospel that relieves people of the need to repent and confess can lead them right into fearful judgment at the hands of God!

We even see the results of a non-repentant Christian in the passage about holy communion:

1 Corinthians 11:27-32 (ESV) 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

What about the law?

I’ve often heard Christians say that the OT does not apply to us anymore. That to call Christian to obedience is to put them into bondage under the law. What? It’s an evidence of biblical ignorance.

Some Christians mistakenly think we no longer have to obey any of the basic laws and commandments set out by God the Father in the Old Testament since we are now operating under a new covenant with Jesus. But this view is wrong. Jesus Himself says that He did not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it.

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18)

“Therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:1-2, KJV)

Romans 7:7 (ESV) 7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

There are three kinds of laws in the OT:

Ceremonial laws

These are related to the priesthood, sacrifices, the temple, and cleanness. These are now fulfilled in Jesus (for example, nearly the entire book of Hebrews addresses this issue for Jews who struggled with the Old Testament laws once they were saved). These laws are no longer binding on us because Jesus is our Priest, Sacrifice, Temple, and Cleanser.

Civil laws

These refer to the governing of Israel as a nation ruled by God. Since we are no longer a theocracy, these laws, while insightful, are not directly binding on us. As Romans 13 says, we must now obey our pagan government because God will work through it, too.

Moral laws

Moral laws prohibit such things as stealing, murdering, and lying. These laws are still binding on us even though Jesus fulfilled their requirements through His sinless life. Jesus Himself repeats and reinforces the Ten Commandments.

First we need to understand that the law and works are not the same thing! We are still called to good works… while the law refers to a specific set of commands found in the OT.

Adherence to the law is not a part of salvation. Works, however, is. Faith alone can’t save us.

James 2:14 (ESV) 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

Check this out… there is a certain type of works that does no good:

Romans 3:28 (ESV) 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

…of the law. In the OT it was the Mosaic law that was their only hope. In the NT, faith in Jesus that’s evidenced through New Covenant obedience and works is what saves us.

Joseph Tkach: The New Testament does give us rules and behavioral expectations, but these should be seen as the result of a faith relationship, not as the basis for it.

Romans 3:29-30 (ESV) 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

We don’t have to be circumcised, but we do still have to obey, to respond to God’s NT commands.

Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV) 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

The power of that scripture is that God’s attributes are affirmed. Loving God and others covers a lot of ground!

In the OT obedience was required and in the NT obedience is required. The difference? Jesus often told people to obey God, but Moses is not the standard by which obedience is now measured.

Jesus told his disciples to preach the gospel throughout the world. This gospel focuses on the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ.

We don’t take the cross lightly, but we realize how profoundly it obligates us to obey the One who gave himself for us.

Matthew 28:20 tells us that Christians should be taught to obey their Lord and Savior in addition to believing in him.

Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV) 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Wake up church!

The ‘happy Christianity’ movement that is experience-focused and self-serving is not scriptural! When we become Christians we sign up to die, we embrace martyrdom! It’s not all about experiencing happiness and blessing!

Of course, there is significant blessing, joy and life in Jesus, but the focus is not on feeling good about life, it’s about taking up our cross and following Jesus in fear and trembling!

Taking up our cross doesn’t mean to wear it around our necks! It’s the same thing as saying today, “put your head on the guillotine,” or “sit in the electric chair.”

Following Jesus isn’t easy. It’s not about our happiness. It’s about him! It’s falling in love with the lover of our souls and responding to his leadership!

I’d strongly recommend reading my book The Terror of Hell. In it I discuss the connection between intimacy with Jesus and salvation. We want to be known by God in a place of deep intimate encounter and full devotion. We want to avoid God ever saying, “Depart from me I never knew you.”

What is and is not legalism? New audio teaching on the OT and the NT…

The law and works are not the same thing. Discover what is and what is not legalism in this new audio teaching!

imageFIRST: Have you registered for THE WONDERS CONFERENCE with Matt Sorger? It’s FREE but REQUIRED! Go to www.detroitrevivalchurch.com and register today!

SECOND: REVIVAL FIRES, A monthly regional revival event, takes place THIS FRIDAY at 7:30pm. www.atthecrossing.com


TENETS: LISTEN HERE http://media.johnburton.net/2573801

We have a radical misunderstanding of what legalism is in the church, and it’s resulting in a compromised, tainted bride of Christ.

Listen to the message from this past Sunday where I clearly share on the call to work and produce as a member of the Kingdom.

Can faith save us apart from works? No. Shocking? It shouldn’t be. It’s in the Word: James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

Here’s my personal notes so you can follow along:

a. Divisions of scripture

i. Here is a very good reason to be a teacher of truth!

1. Malachi 2:1-9 (ESV) 1 “And now, O priests, this command is for you. 2 If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. 3 Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it. 4 So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the LORD of hosts. 5 My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. 8 But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts, 9 and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.”

2. We see the importance of scripture in the NT as well:

3. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV) 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

ii. OT

1. The word ‘testament' comes from the Greek word diatheke and can also be translated as a contract (as in a will) or a covenant.

a. The OT (39 books) deals with the line of people who would bring forth the Messiah, who was descended from Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Boaz, David, and Solomon (Mat 1:1, Luke 3:23).

2. The Hebrew Old Testament was commonly divided into three sections:

a. The Law (Torah), five books:

i. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

ii. The Pentateuch, the first five books of OT, were written by Moses (circa 1500 BC).

b. The Prophets (Nebhiim), eight books:

i. Former Prophets—Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings

ii. Latter Prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Twelve

c. The Writings (Kethubim), eleven books:

i. Poetical Books—Psalms, Proverbs, Job

ii. Five Rolls (Megillot)—Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Esther, Ecclesiastes

iii. Historical Books—Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah (in the Hebrew canon, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were combined), Chronicles

iii. NT

1. The NT contains 27 different books and was written between about 50-95 AD.

2. The NT (27 books) was commonly divided into four sections:

a. Biographical (four books): Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

b. Historical (1 book): Acts

c. Pedagogical (twenty-one books): Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude

d. Prophetic (one book): Revelation.

iv. Verses

1. The first Bible to be published entirely divided into verse was the Geneva Bible of 1560.

v. Writers

1. The Bible is one Book, but it is also many books written by at least forty different authors, over a period of not less than fifteen hundred years, many of whom never saw each other.

2. Backgrounds of the writers

a. Two of the writers were kings—David and Solomon.

b. Two were priests—Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

c. Luke was a physician.

d. Two were fishermen—Peter and John.

e. Two were shepherds—Moses and Amos.

f. Paul was a Pharisee and a theologian.

g. Daniel was a statesman.

h. Matthew was a tax collector.

i. Joshua was a soldier.

j. Ezra was a scribe.

k. Nehemiah was a butler.

b. Fulfillment

i. “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant …” (Jeremiah 31:31a)

ii. Jesus said, “… all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24:44b)

c. Similarities between OT and NT

i. The theme of both Books is redemption, and in both Books redemption occurs through faith.

ii. The Redeemer is the same in the Old Testament and the New – though it was not as clear in the Old.

iii. The OT starts with the Tree of Life and the NT ends with the Tree of Life.

1. Revelation 22:1-2 (ESV) 1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

iv. God always had the plan of sending His Son to become the Redeemer by dying for the human race (see Isaiah 53, and Psalm 22).

v. It is frequently thought that the OT depicts a God of anger and judgment, while the NT depicts a God of love, however a careful reading will probably show a similar balance between love and judgment in both testaments. If you read the book fairly, you’ll find that the God of the OT is very clearly the God of the NT as well.

1. OT: 551 God’s love/mercy occurrences; 308 God’s hate/wrath occurrences

2. NT: 291 God’s love/mercy occurrences; 71 God’s hate/wrath occurrences

vi. The OT reveals the beginning of the world and the NT reveals the end of the world.

vii. In the OT we see the destruction of the Earth by water, in the NT we will see the destruction of the Earth by fire.

viii. In the OT there were 12 tribes, in the NT 12 apostles.

ix. The OT was written over a long time (1500-400 BC). The NT was written in a short time (40-95 AD).

x. In the OT salvation came to the Jews, in the NT salvation came to the world.

xi. In the OT Jews were circumcised, in the NT Christians are baptized.

xii. Also, in both the Old Testaments and the New, the blood of sacrifice is necessary for redemption.

1. A blemish free lamb had to be killed and sacrificed to atone or give the Jewish people a temporary covering for their sins.

2. Hebrews 9:22 (ESV) 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

3. No animals will ever need to be sacrificed again to get forgiveness from God.

4. This is why Jesus is called the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He is an extension of the lambs used by His Father in the Old Testament to give God’s chosen people a temporary covering for their sins.

d. The law

1. I’ve often heard Christians say that the OT does not apply to us anymore. What? It’s an evidence of biblical ignorance.

2. Some Christians mistakenly think we no longer have to obey any of the basic laws and commandments set out by God the Father in the Old Testament since we are now operating under a new covenant with Jesus. But this view is wrong. Jesus Himself says that He did not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it.

3. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18)

4. “Therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:1-2, KJV)

5. There are three kinds of laws in the OT:

a. Ceremonial laws

i. These are related to the priesthood, sacrifices, the temple, and cleanness. These are now fulfilled in Jesus (for example, nearly the entire book of Hebrews addresses this issue for Jews who struggled with the Old Testament laws once they were saved). These laws are no longer binding on us because Jesus is our Priest, Sacrifice, Temple, and Cleanser.

b. Civil laws

i. These refer to the governing of Israel as a nation ruled by God. Since we are no longer a theocracy, these laws, while insightful, are not directly binding on us. As Romans 13 says, we must now obey our pagan government because God will work through it, too.

c. Moral laws

i. Moral laws prohibit such things as stealing, murdering, and lying. These laws are still binding on us even though Jesus fulfilled their requirements through His sinless life. Jesus Himself repeats and reinforces nine of the Ten Commandments. The only exception is the Sabbath, because that is part of the ceremonial law. Now our rest is in the finished work of Jesus, not just a day.

6. First we need to understand that the law and works are not the same thing!

a. We are still called to good works… while the law refers to a specific set of commands found in the OT.

b. Adherence to the law is not a part of salvation. Works, however, is. Faith alone can’t save us.

i. James 2:14 (ESV) 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

ii. Check this out… there is a certain type of works that does no good:

iii. Romans 3:28 (ESV) 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

iv. …of the law. In the OT it was the Mosaic law that was their only hope. In the NT, faith in Jesus that’s evidenced through New Covenant obedience and works is what saves us.

v. Joseph Tkach: The New Testament does give us rules and behavioral expectations, but these should be seen as the result of a faith relationship, not as the basis for it.

vi. Romans 3:29-30 (ESV) 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

vii. We don’t have to be circumcised, but we do still have to obey, to respond to God’s NT commands.

c. The New Testament contains hundreds of commands. Although some of Paul's comments about the law seem negative, Paul himself gave us hundreds of commands.

i. How does Paul unite the concepts of liberty and obligation?

ii. Galatians 5:13 (ESV) 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

iii. Galatians 5:16-21 (ESV) 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

d. Look at Matt 22:

e. Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV) 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

f. The power of that scripture is that God’s attributes are affirmed. Loving God and others covers a lot of ground!

g. In the OT obedience was required and in the NT obedience is required.

i. The difference? Jesus often told people to obey God, but Moses is not the standard by which obedience is now measured.

h. Jesus told his disciples to preach the gospel throughout the world. This gospel focuses on the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ.

i. We don’t take the cross lightly, but we realize how profoundly it obligates us to obey the One who gave himself for us.

j. Matthew 28:20 tells us that Christians should be taught to obey their Lord and Savior in addition to believing in him.

k. Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV) 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

l. They had to obey then, and we have to obey now. Why?

7. God has never changed and never will!

a. Matthew 5:17-20 (ESV) 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

b. Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV) 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

8. The call is actually greater in the NT than in the OT! Only by grace can we fulfill this mandate.

a. Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV) 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

b. Matthew 5:27-28 (ESV) 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

i. Some Christians commit adultery multiple times every day! In the OT you could get away with this… but not in the NT!

c. Matthew 5:31-32 (ESV) 31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

d. Matthew 5:38-39 (ESV) 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

e. Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV) 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

9. So, in the OT, you commit adultery and the law requires you be put to death. In the NT, you simply lust and you are guilty, but you aren’t put to death…there’s the window of grace in the mix that Jesus provided!

a. But, if we die in our unrepentant sin, the result is still eternal death.

10. When considering what was fulfilled and is no longer applicable, ask whether it’s part of the Mosaic ceremonial law or not. There are moral laws in the OT that absolutely do still apply.

a. This is critical!

i. The call to morality doesn’t cease in the NT—it increases!

b. The Mosaic law came 430 years after the Abrahamic covenant. This is the law that was fulfilled.

11. Some people try to interpret biblical laws with this rule: “Old Testament ceremonial laws are valid unless the New Testament specifically says they are not.” But this rule is not true. It is proven false by Hebrews 8:13.

a. Hebrews 8:13 (ESV) 13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

b. “If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Gal. 2:21)

12. Michael Morrison The laws we keep today may be in the old covenant, but if so, we keep them not because they are in the old covenant, but because they are also in the new.

13. Michael Morrison The old covenant is obsolete. This does not mean the covenant is mostly valid, except for those laws specifically rescinded. No, it means the covenant itself is obsolete. It is like a law code that the government has declared invalid. It is not a valid source for rules about Christian behavior. Of course, some individual laws, such as the prohibition of adultery, are valid, but their validity is based on something more permanent than the old covenant — the more basic law that existed before the old covenant was given and still exists after the old covenant became obsolete.

14. In fact, in the NT we see that all scripture… which includes fulfilled laws… is profitable for instruction in righteousness:

a. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

15. The law of Moses included laws of ritual purification, prophecies about the Messiah, rules about treating livestock, and civil laws about penalties for religious crimes.

16. The Abrahamic covenant was characterized by God’s promise while the Mosaic was characterized by God’s law.

a. The law was temporarily necessary to deal with sin… it revealed how common sin is…

b. Romans 7:7 (ESV) 7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

c. …the promise was not annulled… it was made available. The law of Moses, with its worship rituals, civil laws and other customs, was temporary. In the NT, the ceremonial law was dealt with by Jesus.

d. The clearest way to understand what still applies is by studying to see what is re-emphasized in the NT. What OT law was reaffirmed in the NT?

e. Example: Tithing was both pre-law and affirmed in the NT:

i. Matthew 23:23 (NIV) 23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

f. Nine of the Ten Commandments were reaffirmed in the NT (all except to keep the Sabbath).

i. For example, in the OT, stoning was the penalty for those caught in adultery (based on the Mosaic covenant)…

1. Leviticus 20:10 (ESV) 10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

ii. …but in the NT Jesus affirmed that the sin of adultery was not acceptable, but he would be the one to take their punishment… if they repented.

iii. In the OT, wrath of God was on that person. In the NT, Jesus took the wrath on himself… UNLESS the individual is unrepentant!

1. John 3:36 (ESV) 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

2. Living without Christ in the NT is very similar to living pre-Christ in the OT.

g. The OT is an excellent resource to learn how God feels about certain activities, sins, behaviors.

i. God never changes. He still hates sin. He hates murder. He hates adultery. He hates sexual sin.

ii. However, his wrath was placed on Jesus instead of us, which should compel us to make Jesus our Lord and Master with expedience!

h. In Acts 15 Peter addresses the laws that concern diet and circumcision… but moral laws remain.

i. In the OT if you see regulations and ordinances that are a part of the law, you can be sure they no longer apply—unless they are either reaffirmed in the NT or are covered by the Great Commandment—to love God and others.

j. Some examples of obsolete laws:

i. Animal sacrifice (Go PETA!)

1. Hebrews 10:4 (ESV) 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

ii. Food and drink offerings and ceremonial washings

1. Hebrews 9:6-10 (ESV) 6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.

iii. Wearing distinctive clothing

1. Numbers 15:37-38 (ESV) 37 The LORD said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner.

2. Numbers 15:39 (ESV) 39 And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes…

3. The principle is upheld in the NT, but not the requirement. We are still to obey, but we don’t dress with tassels to remind us to.

iv. Annual festivals (Feast of Tabernacles, Yom Kippur, Passover, etc.)

1. The old covenant required annual worship festivals. It specified the date and the place, the manner and the people to whom the commands applied. God did not command gentiles to keep this festival. It was one of the ordinances that separated Jews from gentiles, and the early church did not require gentile believers to travel to Jerusalem, to make offerings, to gather palm branches or to live in booths. Those things were part of the old covenant, which God made with ancient Israel. They are not part of the new covenant.

v. Dietary laws and uncleanness

1. You became unclean for a variety of things including touching a corpse, lepers, etc.

2. Numbers 19:11-13 (ESV) 11 “Whoever touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean seven days. 12 He shall cleanse himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so be clean. But if he does not cleanse himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not become clean. 13 Whoever touches a dead person, the body of anyone who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not thrown on him, he shall be unclean. His uncleanness is still on him.

3. Matthew 8:2-3 (ESV) 2 And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 3 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

4. Bill Johnson: In the OT if a leper touches you, you become unclean. In the NT if you touch a leper he becomes clean.

vi. Some types of foods were unclean

1. Romans 14:20 (ESV) 20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.

2. The Great Commandment is at work here.

Grace vs. False-Grace: Have you fallen for the false-grace message? Five marks of the false-grace doctrine…

Grace vs. False Grace: The church has fallen hard for a teaching that puts lives at eternal risk. Here are five marks of the false-grace doctrine.

image

For an extremely comprehensive study on the topic of false-grace, I'd encourage you to read my article, The Salvation Equation HERE. (It will open in a new tab/window.)


First of all, I stayed up late last night reading an amazing and important novel by John Bevere titled Rescued. It will shake you and your theology as he dramatically depicts eternity unfolding for pastors and pillars of the church. Riveting. False-grace is dealt with in sober fashion.

You can find it on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Rescued-A-Novel-John-Bevere/dp/0764202006 


*WATCH THE VIDEO on this topic on our XPmedia channel HERE.

I want to make my point very clear right up front. The reason I feel it’s mandatory for us to start focusing on the issue of false-grace is because of the eternal implications. My angle is not mostly Earthly focused, how our lives are impacted in the here and now, though our short experience on Earth will certainly be impacted as we react rightly to this message (…on Earth as it is in Heaven.)

My angle is this: A false-grace doctrine is a drug—a poisonous sleeping pill that feels freeing, relaxing and euphoric. Yet the false-grace overdose that’s occurring in churches all over the world is resulting in people’s careless, self-focused slumber that they will, one day, fail to awaken from.

Many in the false-grace movement have already been shocked on the day of their death to find themselves escorted not into the presence of God by glorious angels, but rather by the most horrifying of demonic creatures into their new, eternal residence in Hell. It happens every day. I’m grieved and broken.

The Apostle Paul accurately predicted, “The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to MYTHS” (2 Tim. 4:3,4).

The GOOD NEWS is that God loves us. Period. It’s settled. We don’t have to feel it. We don’t have to experience it. He loves us. No amount of work or activity will cause him to love us more. The question isn’t his love of us, it’s our love of him. He already responded to our condition—by his true grace. Now, we have to respond to his condition. He is a holy and fearful God.

I’ll make it very clear: We are righteous because of Jesus, not our works. Our works is an evidence of his righteousness applied in our lives. Our repentance comes when there is a collision between the reality of our righteousness in Christ and our choice to sin. The two can’t mix. If we do repent, righteousness remains. If we don’t repent, it does not. It’s as simple (though not always easy) as living a life that’s alive to Christ and quick to repent as his wonderful Holy Spirit convicts us. It’s when we presume sin and holiness can coexist that eternity is provoked. There is a true-grace message that is more powerful, freeing and desirable than anything the false-grace message promises.

Galatians 5:2-6 (ESV) 2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

Our works APART from the cross are meaningless. Filthy rags. Even deadly. But in response to the cross of Christ, our obedience is beautiful indeed! If we believe, we will respond to his instructions out of the fear and love of the Lord. Yet, if we are not truly in Christ, we do have reason for concern.

John 3:15-17 (KJV) 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

With such a permanent and terrifying potential before us, eternity, we must analyze our own theologies. How can we know we have been influenced by this heretical teaching of false-grace? It’s not hard.


John Burton : Five Marks of the False Grace MovementFIVE MARKS OF THE FALSE-GRACE DOCTRINE

ONE. We believe in a theology of exemption.

A theology of exemption states that since we are saved, we are exempt from the penalties of sin. That there are parts of the Bible that no longer apply to us. Yes, it’s a heresy. False-grace removes bible-based responsibilities to respond to God in holiness.

The number of people who subconsciously or unwittingly embrace a theology of exemption is far greater than those who explicitly pronounce their agreement with this doctrine. Many subscribe to false-grace doctrines without realizing their deception.

Many have been lulled into a false sense of security while actually existing in an unsaved state. They are confident they’d enter Heaven if they died, yet the reality is that they would not. They have come to believe they are exempt from certain parts of the Word of God that requires response.

1 Peter 1:15-17 (ESV) 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,

Be holy. God judges according to one’s deeds. Those who hold to a theology of exemption don’t believe they are subject to what this verse is communicating. The command to be holy is to them a great goal, but not a mandate. A principle not a command.

Our name can actually be removed from the book of life—and that is determined by our obedience, our holiness. Sin can still separate a follower of Christ from him. The Rich Young Ruler saw that this was the case. He wanted to follow Jesus, but could not. He was not exempt from judgment even though he wanted to follow Jesus.

The argument of grace is actually quite revealing. People in the false-grace movement would say, “It’s not possible to be holy, or to avoid sin, so thank God for his grace that covers those sins. In fact we are automatically holy… innocent by association!”

Grace isn’t meant to cover up sin, grace is power! Those who walk in true grace would never say that we, as Christians, are predisposed to sin! True grace enables us to do the impossible! False-grace confesses that we cannot. Because of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus, we now have something they didn’t have in the Old Covenant—we have the power to obey! We can do this!

In fact, not only aren’t we exempt from obedience in the New Covenant, the call to obedience is even more humanly impossible than in the Old!

Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV) 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

We as Christians are not exempt from judgment or from the repercussions of sin. If we are in Christ, there is no condemnation, but if we are deceived by false theology into thinking we are in Christ, while actually living in disobedience, we are in trouble. We are not in Christ and there is condemnation. No salvation. The wrath of God remains on us. False-grace doctrine is eternally deadly. There are many people following Jesus today in an unsaved condition.

John 3:35-36 (ESV) 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 3:18-19 (KJV) 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Deeds. Fruit. Works. They are evidences of our position in Christ.

Yes, it’s hard to get saved, hard to stay saved, but if we walk in humility and grace and in the Spirit, eternity with Jesus is our inheritance!

TWO. Sin is treated as temporally troubling but eternally benign.

Hebrews 10:26-27 (ESV) 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

That verse stands on its own. The false-grace teachers emphasize that our sin may cause problems in the here and now, but there is no risk of Hell. This has to be one of the most troubling positions those in the false-grace movement take.

Universalism is creeping into the church very subtly. False grace teaches that Hell is not a concern for Christians and Christian Universalism teaches that there is no Hell. Different twists on the same false doctrine.

Yes, sin does result in trauma here on the Earth. But, it doesn’t end there. If we embrace a lifestyle of sin, we are not saved. We won’t go to Heaven. The day of judgment will be a day of horror.

The false-grace/semi-universalist position is one that would adhere to “once saved always saved.” My belief is actually quite the opposite—once saved rarely saved. The road is not wide. It’s narrow and it’s rare to find people on it… and people who decide to stay on it.

Revelation 3:5-6 (ESV) 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

If we don’t conquer, don’t work out our salvation with fear and trembling, our name is blotted out of the book of life.

Galatians 5:16-21 (ESV) 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

If we walk in the Spirit, our flesh is subdued. However, if we aren’t walking in the Spirit, we are under the law because Christ’s sacrifice has been made of no effect. Therefore, even though we may have said the sinner’s prayer, paid tithes and lived a good life, that salvation is nullified for us. The above scripture reveals what clear evidence to look for when analyzing our position in Christ.

I’ve heard of pastors who boast that they no longer preach on the cross, sin or Hell because we are in the age of grace. My God! The cross must be central to our churches!

There can be pastors who preach powerfully, pray in tongues and lead large, growing churches who won’t inherit the kingdom of God. If they are driven by jealousy of other pastors or embrace division, the Bible is clear. If they don’t repent, Hell is in their future. Do you have any idea how much of the fear of the Lord is on this pastor? I tremble continually. False-grace provides temporal security in exchange for eternal torment. The enemy is more than happy to make this exchange.

THREE. Repentance and confession of sin is not necessary after we have been saved.

False-grace teachers proclaim that our sins are forgiven past, present and future. This is simply not true. If we repent, we are forgiven. If we retain our sins they are retained. The provision for forgiveness has been made, and the true grace has been given to us to respond.

The Lord’s Prayer itself makes it clear that we must both ask for forgiveness and forgive!

Matthew 6:12 (ESV) 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

1 John 1:9 (ESV) 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:6 (ESV) 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

The false-grace theology commonly teaches that we, as humans in a fallen world, are expected to sin and that it’s the focus on sin, not sin itself, that puts us into bondage. The reality is that people are becoming affirmed in a sinful state with no fear of the Lord or fear of damnation to be found. Of course, false-grace teachers don’t encourage a lifestyle of sin, but they also don’t sound the alarm communicating any sort of eternal threat. To them, there is no eternal risk whatsoever.

A friend of mine shared this:

Amy Smith: Misrepresented grace has caused us to respond to the command to be holy with an elbow bump and a wink, wink. “Ok God, we know what you mean. You're not really asking us to be holy, you're just telling us to make sure we're under your grace. We know that You're overlooking those little sins we're not dealing with. In fact, your grace allows us to also overlook some things, such as all the scripture verses that call for standards that are higher than we can achieve.”

Another friend shared this:

Ed Hull: When we die, it will not be what we believed about our identity in Christ that will save us. It will be whether the concept of our identity produced good fruit, the fruit of righteousness.

Simply put, repentance and confession is absolutely critical to our position in Christ after salvation. Most are unclear on their identity… they presume themselves to be ‘in Christ’ though they very well may not. If we are ‘in Christ’, there is no condemnation, but if we analyze our position wrongly, presuming to be ‘in Christ’ when in fact we are not, we are still condemned.

Repentance is actually a very wonderful, joyful, fulfilling lifestyle!

The closer I get to God, the deeper into my heart I allow him to peer, the more wonderful repentance comes flowing out. I love to repent! Even if it’s grieving, my heart comes alive as I realign with the Lover of my soul! The more I turn, the deeper into God I go! Ignoring sin, unbelief and other barriers to intimacy just can’t be our strategy! Presuming they aren’t there when they are just doesn’t work. Repent continually and enjoy an indescribably journey into intimacy with Jesus!

FOUR. A biblical works message is renounced as legalism.

It’s striking to me how often I hear that a focus on holiness and obedience equates to legalism. How far from orthodox Christianity has the church fallen?

The only point at which it’s legalism is if we were to reject the cross and resurrection of Christ by attempting to work our way into Heaven. But, if we agree that Jesus is the only one who could have paid for our sins yet we also refuse to work, our salvation is a myth.

Legalism is our attempt to get to Heaven by bypassing the cross of Jesus. Holiness and works are our response to the cross of Jesus.

Luke 6:46 (ESV) 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

Luke 8:21 (ESV) 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

Luke 11:28 (ESV) 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

John 8:51 (ESV) 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”

John 14:15 (ESV) 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 15:10 (ESV) 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

John 15:14 (ESV) 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.

Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV) 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Matthew 25:23-30 (ESV) 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Throughout the New Testament it’s proven over and over again that obedience, works and production (fruit) is mandatory if we are to be—and stay—saved.

FIVE. Salvation is depicted as easy and/or permanent. 
Jesus didn’t die on the cross to make it easy for us to get saved. He died so it would be possible for us to get saved.

There is a temptation to withdraw from the pressures of persecution, the call to holiness, surrender and the cross, and a false-grace message is the perfect solution to that problem. It offers an escape from an urgent and fervent focus on obedience by dis-joining it from our position in Christ. The false-grace doctrine teaches that our eternity and our relationship with Jesus is already settled and we can simply relax and enjoy God. Our obedience is in no way joined to our relationship with Jesus our our eternal destiny.

Additionally, there is a misunderstanding of the process of salvation. Those impacted by the false-grace movement tend to believe that they play no part in salvation other than believing that Jesus was the Son of God. Anything other than that would scream of works and false-grace teaching has convinced them to have an averse reaction to anything that feels like human effort.

The scripture that most often comes to mind is Ephesians 2:8-9:

Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

First, this scripture is quite often misunderstood. It is NOT saying that works don’t play a part in salvation. It IS saying that works ALONE can’t save us. Basically, we can’t say, “Thanks Jesus for dying on the cross for me, and rising from the dead. Great job! But, you know, I’m not really interested in your version of salvation. So, I reject the cross and the resurrection… it’s just too narrow for me. Instead, I will give $1 million to a local church and will buy my way into Heaven. I’ll pay the price myself.”

We can’t pay the price. We can’t substitute Jesus’ payment for our own.

But, that doesn’t mean we don’t work in RESPONSE to and in ACCORDANCE with the price that only Jesus could pay. We love Ephesians 2:8-9, but usually leave off verse 10:

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We were created for good works. Paul reveals that we receive the Spirit via hearing by faith and not of works, yet that does not communicate to us that works are not to be expected. First faith, then works and not the other way around.

James 2:14 (ESV) 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

It’s a rhetorical question. The answer, of course, is no. Faith without works cannot save us. This means, if we have faith in Jesus, worship him, pray to him, honor him… but don’t obey, we cannot presume to be saved. False-grace theology would not agree with this.

James 2:18-20 (ESV) 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?

The false-grace movement is shouting, “Show me your faith apart from works!” The question must be, “Are we like demons who have faith (believe) or do we also work in response to the mandates of God?”

It’s easy and common to be falsely saved, but to truly be saved requires an extreme price—both on the part of Jesus and on our part. We can’t do his part and he can’t do ours—and this does have eternal implications. The false-grace message that minimizes obedience and works absolutely does result in people being cast into eternal fire.

 

Brand new XPmedia video: Ambition, production and works in the church

capture-00000515There’s a false grace message that’s lulling people to sleep and renouncing the call to extreme Kingdom production.

Check out the brand new XPmedia.com video Ambition, Production and Works in the Church. Here’s the link: http://www.xpmedia.com/IQTFz2STVhCt

I’ll include my notes below (granted, they are quite simple).

I’d love to hear some feedback!

Email me at john@johnburton.net.

If you’d like me to teach on this or other messages in your church, head on over to www.johnburton.net/booking!

REVIVAL CHURCH CHRISTMAS PARTY TOMORROW!

Thursday at 6pm the festivities begin!

Bring your family and friends for a night of food, gifts and fellowship!

Revival-Church-Christmas-Dinner-2012

CHRISTMAS MORNING SERVICE

Revival-Church-Christmas-Service-2012

Ambition, Production and Works in the Church

I. Casual approach

a. We often see in the streams that I am most familiar with a tendency to take a casual approach, to take a wait and see approach.

i. Detroit—wait and see

ii. Some people pray for more than they are willing to work for.

1. We need an aggressive, pioneering, entrepreneur spirit in the church.

2. Wake up in the night burning, wake up on the morning producing!

3. I am looking for leaders who are self-starters, who are conquering the cares of life, who are building, developing, committed, on time, in position, producing! What is your goal, what are you doing?

4. Catherine Mullins—on the front row, alert, intent, engaged.

a. Titus 3:14 (ESV) 14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

iii. We must discover the biblical message of works again! We must produce! Fruit comes through work!

b. Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

i. A misunderstood verse

ii. We were saved not by works, but for works! We work!

iii. This has eternal implications!

1. James 2:14 (ESV) 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

2. Wow! Can faith save? Not if it’s dead faith.

3. James 2:17 (ESV) 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

iv. Matthew 25:29-30 (ESV) 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

c. Mom telling me to send out resumes

i. It takes just as much energy to wish as it does to plan.

ii. Dreaming has its values, but never should it become a substitute for work that needs to be done.

1. I’m a dreamer!

2. But without action I’ll be nothing more than a dreamer.

iii. Good intentions die unless they are executed.

iv. Our nation became big by starting things.

d. Steve Gray—always do two things at once… be productive.

i. We must live our lives producing, working!

ii. The cares of life must be annihilated!

X