The New Testament Believer's
Position In Christ
Rock of Offence Commentary
"THEREFORE IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: old things are passed away; BEHOLD ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The Scripture above provides insight into one of the most powerful truths in the Bible. Most of us read these words and think, "Yes, that's a great perspective about salvation". We tend to think that the phrase "in Christ" is only one viewpoint among many others--and that God is providing a variety of examples to help us better understand what His Son accomplished. However, when we carefully read the New Testament, a different story emerges. The believer's position "in Christ" is not just one perspective among many. IT IS OUR HEAVENLY FATHER'S ONLY PERSPECTIVE.
Jesus said that THE MAJOR OBJECTIVE OF THE CROSS IS TO JOIN HIMSELF, THE BELIEVER AND HIS FATHER AS ONE. Yet, most churches teach their members to view themselves separate from God. Isn’t that strange? We see this truth in the famous prayer of Christ to His Father shortly before His crucifixion:
"...I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, THAT THEY MAY BE ONE AS WE ARE. (John 17:9-11 -- Emphasis mine)
"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE, AS YOU, FATHER, ARE IN ME, AND I IN YOU; THAT THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE IN US, THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT YOU SENT ME. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, THAT THEY MAY BE ONE JUST AS WE ARE ONE: I IN THEM, AND YOU IN ME; THAT THEY MAY BE MADE PERFECT IN ONE, AND THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW THAT YOU HAVE SENT ME, AND HAVE LOVED THEM AS YOU HAVE LOVED ME." (John 17: 20-23 -- Emphasis Mine)
The prayer of Jesus Christ to His Father in John chapter 17 is a powerful revelation of the yet future salvation purchased at the cross. We should meditate on His words until we fully understand the revolutionary truths they contain. It gives us a rare preview of the powerful New Covenant salvation and the "new and living way" that started AFTER THE CROSS. Much of the traditional teaching and evangelism in the institutional church does not agree with Christ's words found in this prayer.
Most of us view salvation as a benefit made available to us when Christ died on the cross. This view is generally correct, but there's more to the story. God designed salvation to operate in a way that's different than we normally think. Spiritual truths and principles operate in a way that often run contrary to our natural human thinking. The Gospel and Christ's salvation was designed exclusively by God. It came from the mind of God, not from the mind of man. His thought processes are "Divine" in nature and does not conform to our religious way of thinking (Romans 11:33-35). That's why His ways are different than ours. That's why the Bible refers to Christ's New Covenant salvation as "a mystery". Saint Paul calls it "GOD'S HIDDEN WISDOM" (Read 1 Corinthians 2:7-8). The New Testament spiritual truth of "the believer's position in Christ" (also understood as the believer's "oneness with Christ" from His prayer in John chapter 17) is an example of the "different way" God thinks.
“FOR MY THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS, NOR ARE YOUR WAYS MY WAYS," SAYS THE LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, SO ARE MY WAYS HIGHER THAN YOUR WAYS, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9 -- Emphasis Mine)
"These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. BUT THE NATURAL MAN (OR NORMAL HUMAN INTELLECT) DOES NOT RECEIVE THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD, FOR THEY ARE FOOLISHNESS TO HIM, NOR CAN HE KNOW THEM, BECAUSE THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For 'who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:13-16 -- Emphasis Mine)
The spiritual benefits of Christ's New Covenant are
"imputed" to His Church apart from personal merit,
because God considers the believer "dead in Christ"
(Read Colossians 3:3). A dead person has no merit to
offer. This is a unique Divine mechanism that students
of the Bible call "imputation". It is where Christ's
pre-paid benefits and character attributes are
transferred to someone who is undeserving. More
information is available at this link:
Imputation: The New Covenant Way God Transfers
His Spiritual Benefits To The Church
The New Testament teaches that salvation belongs exclusively to the Lord (Revelation 7:10). Therefore, the only way to possess salvation AFTER THE CROSS is to be "in Christ" our Lord. There is no other way to be saved. If you aren’t “in Christ” (or "one with Christ" according to John chapter 17) you can’t have salvation. When we live in this New Covenant position, God considers us "dead", yet alive "in Christ". This allows us to automatically possess everything Christ has because we are "in Him". Romans 8:17 describes this position by calling us “joint-heirs” WITH CHRIST. From God's perspective, it's impossible to be "in Christ" AND FAIL TO BE EVERYTHING CHRIST IS. Jesus makes us everything we are -- AND THE NEW TESTAMENT REVEALS THAT ALL EARTH-DWELLING BELIEVERS ARE "THE BODY OF CHRIST" (1 Cor. 12:27, Col. 1:18 and Eph. 1:22-23). We freely possess eternal life because Christ, IN HIS POSITION AS LORD, exclusively owns eternal life and freely transfers (or imputes) it to us as the result of being "in Him". We are freely given the very righteousness of God because Christ is perfectly righteous and His righteousness is transfered (or imputed) to us as the result, once again, of being "in Him". We enjoy victory over death, because Christ was raised (with the believer being "in Him") from the grave. Concerning New Testament salvation, our trust in Christ's glorious life and substitutionary death, allows God to consider us (and our works and behavior) "dead", but also "alive in Christ". Dead people have nothing to contribute to Christ's salvation. It is all about Jesus and not about us.
Before His crucifixion, Jesus referred to this future position, as the believer's "oneness" with both Him and His Father (Read John 17:9-23 previously quoted). When people are joined in “oneness” THEY SHARE ALL THINGS IN COMMON. At the time Jesus made this statement, it was obvious that His disciples didn't understand the meaning of His words. It was a truth that was "way over their heads". Over 120 times, the apostle Paul used phrases like "In Christ", "with Christ" and "In Him" to describe this blessed "oneness" of Christ and the believer (the Church). Very few Christians understand this truth today. False religious teaching has cheated many out of this incredible benefit. IT IS A TOTALLY UNIQUE NEW COVENANT PROVISION THAT WAS NOT AVAILABLE UNDER THE OLD TESTAMENT RELIGIOUS SYSTEM OF THE LAW. These blessings only became available after Christ's crucifixion.
Important Note: The word “oneness” as used in this commentary
is not associated and should not be confused with
the error of “Oneness Pentecostalism”.
The Bible teaches that the Law carries authority only while we are alive. When we die, the Law (and the sin that draws its authority from the Law) no longer applies to us.
"Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another -- to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." (Romans 7:1-6)
"The sting of death is sin, AND THE STRENGTH OF SIN IS THE LAW. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:56-57)
Under the New Covenant, our Heavenly Father considers all believers to be "crucified WITH CHRIST" (Galatians 2:20). This is the way God views the believer during the present "age of Grace". When God looks at the believer, he doesn't see a sinful person -- He sees only the righteousness of Christ. The New Covenant teaches, "FOR YE ARE DEAD, and your life is hid WITH CHRIST IN GOD" (Colossians 3:3). When Jesus was hanging on the cross, God placed us (and all future generations of believers) "in Christ" and crucified us "with Him". When Jesus was judged on the cross, our sinful life (past, present AND FUTURE) was also judged AND PUNISHED, "IN HIM". When Christ died in this condition, we died WITH HIM. When that moment arrived, Jesus cried out in agony "It is finished!" Sin's power was forever broken. Sin could no longer be charged to our account BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN "LEGALLY EXECUTED" FOR OUR SIN AND ON THE OTHER SIDE OF DEATH AS FAR AS GOD IS CONCERNED. IT IS A VIOLATION OF GOD'S JUSTICE FOR ANYONE TO BE PUNISHED AGAIN FOR THE SAME CRIME. This is why our death in Christ FOREVER PUT AN END TO GOD'S CONDEMNATION OF THE BELIEVER CONCERNING THEIR SIN (Read Romans 8:1).
Justice was served by giving us the death sentence for our sins, which was carried out (by proxy) "through the crucifixion of Christ". JESUS TOOK OUR PLACE AND OUR PUNISHMENT, WHICH ALLOWED US TO GO FREE. Many Christians are taught to ignore this important truth. God, as "the righteous Judge of all the earth" will respect His Son's sacrifice that takes away our sins for all eternity. Any minister, evangelist, church or denomination that disagrees with this Divine decision and tries to put sin back on a believer's life is unknowingly in "contempt of God's court". The removal of our sins is not a benefit that ends, like many preachers suggest, until the next time we sin. God says THAT OUR SINS ARE GONE FOREVER and are no longer held against us. The following Scriptures will give us BOLDNESS AND CONFIDENCE THAT GOD WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND.
"For the wages of sin is death, but THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD." (Romans 6:23)
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
"FOR GOD'S GIFTS AND HIS CALL ARE IRREVOCABLE. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]" (Romans 11:29 Amplified Bible)
"Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES TO THEM, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, THAT WE MIGHT BECOME THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM." (2 Cor. 5:18-21)
It's important to know that God follows some important spiritual rules, whether we agree with them or not. First, the Bible tells us "the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29 Amplified Bible). The King James Version of the Bible uses the phrase "without repentance", which is the "old English" way of saying "irrevocable". This means that God doesn't take back the gifts and callings that He gives to us. Eternal life under the New Covenant is given as "the gift of God" (Rom. 6:23 & Eph. 2:8). Very few Christians and the churches they attend believe this "irrevocable" aspect of eternal life. Many religious people in the church secretly dislike the fact that God's Word clearly says that eternal life is "God's gift" to us. This Scripture is so clear that it's hard to refute. However, many work furiously to disprove or somehow discredit this blessing in order to validate a popular (and dominant) false theology. If you'll meditate on these four Scriptures, it will expose this false teaching, which the apostle Paul condemned using offensive and divisive words.
As a result of Christ's Divine act, God can now freely declare us "righteous" because Jesus Christ is righteous and we are "IN HIM" and "ONE WITH HIM". In other words, the righteousness we possess under the New Covenant does not come from our devoted works and religious performance. Dead people have no performance to offer. It is Christ's very own perfect righteousness that comes on us because of our position IN HIM. Since Jesus rose from the dead, He (along with all believers that are in Him) is alive from the dead, but our old self (Paul calls this person "the old man") REMAINS DEAD AND IN THE GRAVE. This is why the New Covenant assigns Christ's perfect righteousness TO ALL BELIEVERS as "a free gift", even though the Bible tells us that nobody can actually live in a way that satisfies God's standards for a perfectly righteous and sinless life here on earth. If we insist on obtaining Christ's perfect righteousness by our own efforts, then we must keep God's laws perfectly, all the time, with no mistakes, for our entire life. Commit one insignificant sin and you are disqualified with no place of repentance. Since you refuse to choose Christ's perfection -- you must be perfect instead. You will fail -- and God will not "give you a pass". Yet, for those who trust Christ, being "righteous" is their current standing before God as a New Covenant believer who is "in Christ", regardless of how deficient they are in good works.
Tragically, many professing Christians are taught by their church to reject this liberating New Covenant truth. These people believe, with all their heart, that they're the only "true Christians". One day, when they stand before Christ, many will be shocked to discover that they were wrong. Keep in mind that we're not talking about some "fringe" movement or group. A vast majority of the Christian Church are wrongly taught that their efforts to achieve a sinless life can satisfy God's perfect standard for righteousness IF THEY WORK HARD ENOUGH. This type of counterfeit faith will end in disaster for many.
An overwhelming number of professing Christians make the same mistake that Israel made. The apostle Paul sounds a sober warning about attempting to obtain righteousness in the wrong way:
"Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, AND SEEKING TO ESTABLISH THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." (Romans 10:1-4)
What does the New Testament say about the correct right way to understand righteousness after the cross?
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned -- (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But THE FREE GIFT is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and THE GIFT BY THE GRACE of the one Man, Jesus Christ, ABOUNDED TO MANY. And THE GIFT is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but THE FREE GIFT which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, MUCH MORE THOSE WHO RECEIVE ABUNDANCE OF GRACE AND OF THE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so THROUGH ONE MAN'S (JESUS) RIGHTEOUS ACT THE FREE GIFT CAME TO ALL MEN, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, SO ALSO BY ONE MAN'S OBEDIENCE MANY WILL BE MADE RIGHTEOUS." (Romans 5:12-19)
Within seven verses God uses the words "free gift" or "gift" six times when referring to our righteousness. Do you think maybe He wants us to see an important truth?
"And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. FOR SIN SHALL NOT HAVE DOMINION OVER YOU, FOR YOU ARE NOT UNDER LAW BUT UNDER GRACE (OR GOD'S UNMERITED FAVOR)." (Romans 6:13-14)
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God IN HIM." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
The Few vs. The Many
Jesus taught a parable to His audience in Matthew 22:11-14 about a man at a King's wedding feast that wasn't wearing a wedding garment. He was bound hand and foot and thrown into outer darkness for his error. Concerning this incident, Jesus made the statement, "many are called, but few are chosen". Countless numbers of professing Christians are taught to believe that our Heavenly Father is directing this parable at the New Testament believer. Yet earlier in the same chapter, Jesus indicated that His comments were directed at an entirely different group of people (The Jewish people) who were "under the authority of Old Testament Law". In other words, there is a context in this story that must be observed, or we arrive at a wrong conclusion that will take us astray in our faith. In addition to this parable, there are two other Scriptures that are commonly quoted:
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
The key phrases to observe in these passages are "counted worthy", "few there be that find it" and "few are chosen". Most Christian’s think that God limits eternal life to only a few that can achieve an acceptable level of good works and religious performance that makes them worthy enough to be included in "the chosen few" or, to escape the coming tribulation that Jesus spoke about in Luke chapter 21. They use these Scriptures (and others) to support their beliefs. They never stop to think about the context of God’s Word and the contradiction in this popular belief. If eternal life is limited to a “chosen few” that attain to some benchmark of religious performance, which somehow makes them “worthy” -- then eternal life can never be called the “gift of God”. If eternal life is limited to a “chosen few” that attain to some benchmark of religious performance, which somehow makes them “worthy” -- then we can never be “saved by the unmerited Grace of Christ”. This “performance-based worthiness” that so many think is correct actually contradicts Christ’s New Covenant that began AFTER THE CROSS.
Ignoring the context of the Bible is now an almost universal problem in the Christian Church. Many fail to understand that when you remove a Scripture from the context where God placed it -- and reinsert it into a context of your own design -- what used to be God’s Word is now a false teaching that “appears” to be from the Bible. Under Old Testament religion, righteousness (or worthiness) is achieved by how well you keep God’s laws. Diligently keep the rules and you will be judged “worthy”. Fail to keep the rules and you will be considered “less worthy or even unworthy”. This kind of performance-based righteousness continued from the Old Testament, through the Gospels and into the book of Acts. The Gospel of Matthew probably has the highest concentration of "performance-based worthiness" and "self-earned righteousness", because it was primarily written to Jewish people living under the Law.
The cross of Christ "divides" between these two different religious systems. This is why the apostle Paul told his disciple Timothy that the Word of truth must be "rightly (or correctly) divided" if he was to teach it properly. However, most churches today mix it all together into one message or theology. By refusing to respect this division that exists in God's Word, horrible Scriptural misinterpretations occur that carry unintended eternal consequences. Jesus literally changed all the rules. He changed the way “worthiness” is acquired and made it freely available. He cleared the way so that MANY can now receive eternal life, rather than “the few” who were restricted to a performance-based righteousness and an "self-earned worthiness" under Old Testament religion. The first Adam, through disobedience, placed the entire human race under the condemnation and dominion of sin. Jesus (also called the last Adam by the New Covenant) restored what the first Adam lost. (read 1 Corinthians 15:45-49) This is why you must ask some important questions when reading the New Testament. Much of what Jesus taught before the cross was correctly aligned with Old Testament Law-- because, at the time, He hadn’t died to pay the price required to end the authority of the old system. What Jesus called His “New Covenant in blood” (Luke 22:20) couldn’t start until His blood was shed. Yet, everything changed following Christ’s crucifixion. A totally new system the book of Hebrews calls, “a new and living way”, began. (Hebrews 10:19-20) Professing Christians that fail to observe this important rule of context will always misinterpret the Scriptures -- AND MANY FALL INTO THIS CATEGORY. Preachers that ignore context will enthusiastically and unknowingly give false teachings, while believing with all their heart that they’re preaching the truth of God’s Word. This is a mainstream problem in the modern worldwide Christian Church.
“For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, MUCH MORE THOSE WHO RECEIVE ABUNDANCE OF GRACE AND OF THE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so THROUGH ONE MAN'S (JESUS) RIGHTEOUS ACT THE FREE GIFT CAME TO ALL MEN, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, SO ALSO BY ONE MAN'S OBEDIENCE MANY WILL BE MADE RIGHTEOUS." (Romans 5:17-19)
For more insight into this exciting
"new and living way of Christ",
here are two additional commentaries:
The Holy Spirit's Role In Salvation
After The Cross
The Spiritual Revolution of Christ
A Wrong View Of Sin
Most of the Christian Church deals with the human sin problem using Old Covenant (or Old Testament) principles. It is a direct result of wrongly merging (or mixing) the Old Covenant of Law and Christ's New Covenant of unmerited Grace into "one covenant and one message". Yet, this modified theology consists of two parts that contradict each other. It violates Saint Paul's warning in 2 Timothy 2:15 to "rightly (or correctly) divide God's Word". Instead of teaching that our sin is permanently dealt with by Christ's sacrifice, churches and preachers shift the sin burden back on the shoulders of the believer. The false theology behind this popular teaching is the subtle idea that Jesus Christ didn't provide a complete salvation and the believer has to finish the work in order to possess and keep eternal life. This is Old Covenant theology being used to pervert the Gospel of Christ. It's a doctrine that has dominated many sectors of the Christian church since the first century. Some preachers tell us that God is going to judge us because of our failures, lack of religious performance, worldliness, and our continual sin. They suggest that Christ's blood didn't finish the work (isn't sufficient) and that we need more purification. Under the New Covenant, Christ bore our total judgment Himself and eternally set us free. The freedom we enjoy through our position "in Christ" was not available under the Old Covenant. Once again, this false theology, which shifts our sin away from Christ and places it back on the believer, results from the failure to observe Scriptural context. The popular practice of ignoring the context of God's Word is what deceives a vast majority of the church. Both the Old and New Covenants are recorded in our Bible. Yet, only one is binding on the Church Age believer.
Two Misunderstood Aspects Of Sin
The Legal Aspect:
The most serious mistake the Christian believer makes is misapplying the two different ways God deals with sin under Christ’s New Covenant. Jesus Christ, acting as “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”, LEGALLY removes (or takes away) all eternal consequences of EVERY ONE OF OUR SINS (past, present and future) WITHOUT EXCEPTION. If The Lamb of God didn’t completely take away our sins, as Saint John said, then God lied about it. Christ’s sacrifice as “The Lamb of God” is so sufficient and so powerful that God declares us “freely justified”. That means He now treats all believers as if they had never sinned (pay special attention to the word “freely” -- Romans 3:24-26). This LEGALLY BINDING act by our Lord Jesus Christ provides all the purification from sin necessary to guarantee our eternal salvation from hell AND our place in the soon-to-occur rapture (or departure) of the Church. Again, it is important to expose a very popular lie that is taught in many churches today -- that the rapture is reserved only for those who attain to some “high level of faithfulness and Christian performance”. However, the rapture CAN NEVER BE A REWARD FOR CHRISTIAN SERVICE OR SINLESS LIVING. The rapture is THE COMPLETION of our blood bought salvation and falls under “eternal life, which is given as the gift of God” under the New Covenant (Romans 6:23 -- also read Mark 14:24, Matthew 26:28, Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 8:6 Hebrews 8:13, Hebrews 9:15, Hebrews 12:22-25, Hebrews 10:19-23). ETERNAL LIFE AND OUR PLACE IN THE RAPTURE (WHICH IS DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO ETERNAL LIFE) -- ARE TWO PARTS OF THE SAME SALVATION PACKAGE THAT JESUS CHRIST PAID FOR WITH HIS OWN BLOOD.
The Experiential/Personal Aspect:
As many are quick (and correct) to point out, it is improper for any believer to continue living in sin just because Jesus has taken it away. Not only is this practice a “bad advertisement” for the Gospel and Christ's Church, but it’s also harmful to the life of the believer and sends the wrong message to a watching unbelieving world. Jesus Christ has forever dealt with the eternal and legal consequences of our sin. Yet, it is our responsibility to practically “purify (or turn away)”from sin in our personal life. God cannot do this for us. HOWEVER, IT SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD THAT OUR HEAVENLY FATHER TREATS THESE TWO SPHERES OF SIN DIFFERENTLY. The “legal sphere of sin” that Christ’s sacrifice dealt with continues to remain in force REGARDLESS OF HOW SUCCESSFUL (OR UNSUCCESSFUL) WE ARE AT TURNING AWAY OR AVOIDING SIN IN OUR PERSONAL LIFE. Christ's sacrifice overrides our failures in this area because it is established on a "pre-paid” blood bought benefit (or gift). However, God does expect us to make the effort of practically “turning away from sin”. Each of us will have a different measure of success. Those that Saint Paul labeled as “carnal Christians”, unfortunately, have little success. Yet, carnal Christians possess the same “free justification” from sin as those who are more successful. This is why it is impossible for Christ to have what some preachers like to call a “dirty or sin-soiled” Church. The New Covenant declares that all of the members of Christ’s Church are “freely justified” by His blood (Romans 3:24-26) -- INCLUDING THOSE WITH LESS-THAN-PERFECT CONDUCT OR BEHAVIOR. This truth secretly angers many religious leaders and their followers who attempt to preach a false gospel message that holds a believer's salvation hostage until they meet a certain level of good behavior, faithfulness or religious performance.
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. AND EVERYONE WHO HAS THIS HOPE IN HIM PURIFIES HIMSELF, just as He is pure." (1 John 3:1-3)
The testimony of our personal life sets us apart as being a “child of God” and reflects back on our Lord Jesus Christ. It is inconsistent for any of God’s Children to continue in the sin that Christ died to “take away” (Romans 6:1-4). Also, it is important to recognize that our efforts at “self-purification” from sin in our personal life WILL ALWAYS BE LIMITED AND IMPERFECT AND CAN NEVER ADD OR CONTRIBUTE ANY EXTRA RIGHTEOUSNESS TO THE PERFECT AND LEGAL ASPECT OF CHRIST’S SACRIFICE AS “THE LAMB OF GOD” FOR OUR SINS. (Romans 4:5-8, Romans 3:24-26, Titus 3:5-7)
Grievous Error That Denies Christ’s Redemption
Those that attack the New Covenant Grace of Christ and the sufficiency of His blood ILLEGALLY MERGE THE LEGAL AND THE EXPERIENTIAL ASPECTS TOGETHER IN THEIR REDEFINED GOSPEL MESSAGE. This common, yet perverted gospel, as Saint Paul calls it ( Read Galatians 1:6-9), subtly makes God’s free gift of eternal life dependent upon our efforts (or our works and religious performance) to purify or clean up our personal life from sin. UNDER THIS POPULAR THEOLOGY GOD'S FREE GIFT BECOMES NONSENSICAL. Peter refers to these teachings as “damnable heresies” (Read 2 Peter 2:1-2 ). These popular, yet toxic religious doctrines (or what we call "theology") is why many well-meaning evangelists and preachers wrongly teach that some “authentically saved Christians” will be left behind following the rapture to be purified by the trials of the Tribulation period. They claim that this abandonment occurs because believers failed to successfully “purify themselves” from sin. This is a demonic doctrine (Scripture calls it a “doctrine of demons”) that most Christians and their leaders fail to properly discern. It has a demonic source (comes from our enemy and not from God) because it’s a cloaked attack designed to neutralize and destroy the “free justification” (Romans 3:24-26) aspect of Christ’s blood, while appearing, on the surface, to be the true intentions of God. It is this illusion of being words spoken by God (by lifting Scripture from its context) that caused Peter to label these teachings as "damnable heresies that deny the Lord who bought (or redeemed) us".
We should not view this as some “fringe movement” in the Christian Church. It’s a mainstream effort that uses out-of-context Scripture to defend its beliefs. Many Christians are deceived by this theology, thinking they have the true teachings of Scripture. As we said before, this is the common practice of those who not only teach the popular “Galatian error” (Paul called it "a different gospel") form of theology, but it also includes those who teach various flavors of the end time “partial rapture” doctrine. It is frightening to see many popular denominations and movements embrace these works-based "conditional salvation" doctrines -- and teach them as truth for the Church. Both of these aberrant doctrines are closely related and lead many of God’s people astray in their faith.
Our New Covenant Position "In Christ" Exposes
The Error Of The "License To Sin" Argument
Like it or not, Christians are in an intense spiritual war. During times like this an enemy focuses on "high value targets". The truth concerning God's Grace under the New Covenant is at the top of the list. Whenever the subject of our freedom in Christ is discussed, there are always those that attempt to cast doubt by asking cleverly designed "loaded questions". The Pharisees took this same approach with Jesus when they tried to "ensnare Him with His own words" (Mark 12:13-17). Matthew 22:15 says, "Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk." This is one tactic that our opponents use in this war. In every situation, Jesus refused to play the game according to their rules. As any experienced politician knows, attempting to answer a "loaded question" is a bad decision in any debate. You almost always lose unless you can skillfully expose the deception within the question, while giving your answer. Christian leaders and theologians skilled in the art of persuasion know these tactics well. Those within the mainstream Christian Church attempt to discredit God's Grace by asking questions like: "So, you're saying that grace gives Christians a license to sin?" or "You believe someone can call themselves a Christian and continue to sin because of God's Grace?" These same questions can be asked in various "loaded" ways. Yet, the underlying goal of "ensnaring us with our own words" remains the same. These kinds of tactics angered the Lord Jesus Christ -- and it does the same thing today.
In order to properly answer these questions, we must expose the false premise (and the hidden mainstream religious agenda) on which it is based. As we previously stated, most Christians today are taught to look at sin from an Old Testament Mosaic Law perspective, simply because it is found within the pages of the Bible. Most of the worldwide Christian Church holds to this same view. However, since Christ's crucifixion, the New Covenant teaches that we're not living under the principles of Old Testament Law -- because the Law can only be applied while you live. AFTER THE CROSS -- God says that we're "crucified with Christ". The crucifixion of Christ in the New Testament (and the "New Covenant" that His blood initiated) changed all the previous rules about how God deals with our sin. We will always have people around that abuse benefits and privileges. Our news programs are filled with these things. It doesn't matter whether it's religion, social programs, taxes, laws or finances. One thing is sure: Some people believe that the rules apply to everyone, except them. Christianity is not exempt from this destructive human tendency.
Our main theme is, "Our liberty in Christ", which is secured by a correct understanding of "the truth of the Gospel". Yet, it is a fact that there are some believers in the Church that continue to live a sinful lifestyle and use the message of God's Grace to excuse their practices. I do not want to focus our attention on this group, since they exist in every area of human endeavor. Instead, I want to focus on a much more serious problem. I have discovered that true believers in Christ look for a way to stop sinning. Yet, the Bible tells us that we will never successfully reach this goal in this life. God will eventually deal severely with those who use His Grace as an excuse to sin. Our Heavenly Father knows how to discipline His children. Yet, He will never change the liberating truth of the New Covenant and its "free justification" to stop those who abuse the blessing.
A common characteristic of the many forms of "false theology" found in the Christian Church is that of "people control". Some Bible scholars refer to this as "authoritarianism". It is currently running rampant throughout the Christian Church. Twisting and misapplying the Holy Scriptures in order to control your audience through fear and guilt is an incredibly destructive spiritual practice. Jesus warned that His leaders are to use spiritual authority to serve -- not to dominate the lives of His children (Read Mark 10:42-45 and 1 Peter 5:2-4). Yet, over and over we see God's cardinal rule that governs authority in the Church violated. Many ministries and movements misapply and reinterpret the Scriptures in an attempt to manipulate (through the fear of losing salvation) the people who abuse God's Grace. In other words, they redefine the gospel in a way that disqualifies those who use Grace as an excuse to sin from obtaining eternal life. This "modified gospel" is then preached as the authentic Gospel. They use the abuse problem to hide their real agenda, which is to change (or redefine) the New Covenant gospel message. Don't misunderstand; I agree that all believers should make a sincere effort to avoid sin. The apostle Paul said, "are we to sin that grace may abound? God forbid"(Rom. 6:1-2). But, redefining the gospel, regardless of your reasons, is a serious sin that carries severe eternal consequences.
Exposing The Popular Anti-Grace
Agenda Within The Church
The argument against the abuse of Grace is valid and appeals to many of us that seek spiritual truth. We desire to see practices and lifestyles that dishonor the Gospel come to an end. Yet, the Bible also tells us that achieving a perfectly sinless life isn't possible (Romans 3:23). No matter how hard we try, or how well intentioned -- we can never become perfectly sinless by our own self-discipline and determination. Some sin ALWAYS remains, regardless of our efforts to live sinlessly. However, there is a popular theology that insists that salvation only comes after we successfully turn away and "purify ourselves" FROM ALL SIN. The Bible warns that this good-looking religious practice always ends in failure. But, millions of Christians continue to live under the futile and exhausting requirements of what we call, "treadmill religion". This is just another name for what Saint Paul called "a different gospel". It's futile because the Bible warns that the requirements can never be satisfied -- so, out of fear of losing salvation, they keep running in the treadmill.
This false theology also appears in another form. Many practice evangelism (we call it "witnessing for Christ) by telling people that they have to "clean up their life" before they can obtain salvation. The phrase, "cleaning up your life" is another way of saying "you must repent (and turn away) from all sin in your life". They believe that a person can't be saved, while being "a sinner". According to their theology, they must cease being a sinner by "cleaning up their life", first. Their intentions are noble, yet misguided -- and here's why. It's impossible to remember every sin you've committed. What if you miss one or two? Also, how can you have any assurance that you are truly saved if you can't know that you previously repented (or rid yourself) of every sin? Millions of Christians quietly struggle with having assurance of salvation because of these misguided beliefs. The goal of those who oppose God's Grace is to place us under this kind of spiritual torment and bondage that they sincerely believe is "Biblical Christian living". The church is filled with these kinds of teachings, which cause us to go astray in our faith.
God gives us the correct answer to these things. "But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8). This means that once we learn about Christ's salvation, we accept His gift of eternal life immediately -- while we are "sinners". We make this decision with the willingness to turn away from sin as the Holy Spirit later reveals them to us. We can only be successful at "cleaning up our life" when we have the Holy Spirit's help -- not before. Remember that the Holy Spirit comes to live in us AFTER WE RECEIVE SALVATION. This Divine act is referred to as "sealing".
"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were SEALED with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." (Ephesians 1:13-14)
This incredible blessing occurs immediately AFTER we hear the Gospel and are saved. It means the salvation that Christ provides can only be applied "while we are still sinners". If we can clean ourselves up from sin", then we have no need of His salvation. Jesus said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (Mark 2:17) The apostle Paul said something very similar; "....Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." (1 Timothy 1:15)
Performing An Uncomfortable
Is it true that sin cancels or invalidates God's gift of eternal life, like so many churches teach? If sin truly has this power, then what the Bible calls "God's gift of eternal life" can't really be defined as a gift. The fact that humans continue to sin, both before and after they are saved is the reason Jesus went to the cross. Sin is similar to a disease that can only be eliminated by the sacrifice of Christ. He paid the price (became the remedy) for all human sin....past, present and future. When John said (concerning Jesus), "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" he meant exactly what he said. This does not mean (as many preachers claim) that Jesus took our sin away only until the next time we sin. Again, millions of professing Christians all over the world live under the torment of this false way of believing. As a professing Christian, if you believe that Christ's sacrifice, as the "Lamb of God" didn't permanently take away all your sin (past, present and future) -- THEN WHAT YOU PERCEIVE AS YOUR "FAITH IN CHRIST" MAY BE THE POPULAR COUNTERFEIT FAITH, according to the teachings of the New Testament and Christ's New Covenant. A sober self-evaluation concerning your foundational beliefs is certainly required. The apostle Paul commanded all believers to continually take this test. THIS IS NOT ABOUT "A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION" AS SOME CHURCH LEADERS CLAIM.
Why does the apostle Paul ask believers to perform a self-evaluation? (2 Cor. 13:5) The crucifixion of Christ started a "New Covenant". This covenant treats sin in a totally different way than the previous Old Covenant religious system of the Law. Yet, both of these covenant programs are recorded in the Bible -- and most Christians are wrongly taught by their church, to live under the old system. This is why the self-examination is necessary. As we previously stated, under the New Covenant, God reckons the believer to be "in Christ". The previous Old Covenant (recorded in the Old Testament) HAD NO SUCH PROVISION. When Christ died on the cross, we (as believers) also died because God now reckons us to be "in Him" (or "In Christ"). God treats our death "in Christ" as if we were the ones who died (or the ones executed as punishment for our sins). Christ's New Covenant says, "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. 3:3) The power of the Law, which gives sin its authority over us, is only valid while we are alive -- IT TERMINATES UPON OUR DEATH IN CHRIST. This is the core principle behind the New Covenant. It is rarely taught correctly in a church service. God will never ignore or change His mind concerning this legal act that His righteous and innocent Son performed on our behalf. It stands in God's heavenly court FOREVER. He considers the horrible death that Jesus suffered at the crucifixion as an overwhelmingly sufficient payment for all our sin. The fact that Christ paid the price for us does not minimize, in any way, the power of God's judicial decision. That's why our Heavenly Father can now give the benefits to us freely as "a prepaid gift" (Romans 6:23). Most theologians, denominations and churches work to undermine this New Covenant truth by replacing it with a religious counterfeit THAT GOD DOES NOT HONOR. The purpose of the self-examination is to discover the counterfeit before it can destroy our life.
"Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES TO THEM, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, THAT WE MIGHT BECOME THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM." (2 Cor. 5:18-21)
What does this tell us? It suggests that Christians can and do sin in various different ways. Some sins are minor and some are major. A believer can even get ensnared in willful and habitual sin. The apostle Paul called these believers "carnal Christians", but never taught that their "carnality" had the power to cancel God's gift of eternal life. Paul did command them to stop being carnal because it disrespects Christ our Lord and causes the truth to be evil spoken of. If you need more proof, read the story of the young man who had habitual sexual relations with his mother in 1 Corinthians 5:1-6. This was a gross and horrible sin in those days -- and remains so today. Paul condemned the whole sinful practice and rebuked the Church for not dealing with it. It was one of the most extreme examples of overt sin and church discipline in the New Testament. Despite all of this, Paul said that this man's spirit "would be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus". Yet, when you read the account, Paul never indicated anywhere that the young man repented. Endless debates will continue over what really happened.
The New Covenant:
Our Liberty In Christ
The Bible clearly tells us that under the New Covenant, God "does not impute sin to us" (Romans 4:4-8 and 2 Corinthians 5:17-19). Why? Jesus as "The Lamb of God" paid the price to permanently end the Old Testament program where sin is charged (or imputed) to our account. That's what John meant when he said that "Jesus is the Lamb of God that "takes away the sin of the world". If He truly "takes sin away" then it can never be charged to us again, EVEN IF WE FOOLISHLY ABUSE THE BLESSING. If sin can be put back on us -- God lied about taking it away -- and the sacrifice of the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world becomes nothing but nonsense. Today, many preachers and churches are unknowingly calling God a liar, while claiming to preach God's Word. This act sows confusion and unbelief throughout the Church. Some know what they're doing, and do it anyway. This is why both Paul and Peter assigned the disastrous practice of redefining the New Covenant gospel to our enemy, Satan. The devil is the one standing in the shadows and empowering this religious agenda from behind the scenes. Jesus established a New Covenant based on His blood that does not impute (charge) our sin and trespasses to us. This is the very foundation of the freedom we now enjoy in Christ. It's the same freedom that false religious leaders and their followers tirelessly try to discredit (Galatians 2:4-5). God wanted the threat of the eternal consequences of sin removed so that we could be free and unhindered to serve Him and to bear fruit (Rom. 7:4-6). This is the New Covenant truth that many preachers ignorantly attempt to discredit by labeling it a "license to sin". It is not some kind of fringe or minority agenda. IT IS A MAINSTREAM EFFORT OPERATING INSIDE THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
There is one reason New Covenant Grace is so viciously attacked. Jesus took away the sin (and the punishment that goes with it) that many preachers use to manipulate and control their congregations. That's why they redefine the gospel in a way that places the sin that Christ took away -- back on the shoulders of the Christian. Our sin and the punishment that goes with it, gives them a very powerful "fear manipulation tool" that they can't afford to lose. Catholics, Protestants, Pentecostals, Charismatics, Independents and even Messianic Judaism are all guilty of this practice. It's been around for hundreds, even thousands of years. Can some Christians live in a way that abuses God's Grace? Yes they can....but God will only let this behavior continue for a short time. God never gave His Grace to us as a way to justify and willfully continue in a sinful lifestyle (Rom. 6:1-4). At some point our Heavenly Father will bring His discipline to bear -- and it won't be pleasant. God will do it His way and not our way. One thing is sure: He will never change the principles that guarantee our freedom in Christ because some Christians abuse His blessing of Grace (unmerited favor). Every New Covenant Christian can take comfort in this fact. God never gives a gift, and then changes His mind.
"FOR GOD'S GIFTS AND HIS CALL ARE IRREVOCABLE. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His Grace or to whom He sends His call.]" (Romans 11:29 Amplified Bible)
Countless good sounding reasons exist to justify the act of redefining the New Covenant gospel. Using the justification of confronting Christians who wrongly use God's Grace to excuse sin is the most popular. This approach is popular because it works well against those who reverence the Bible; yet do not understand the rules of context found within its pages. When you go fishing, bait is used on a hook to catch a fish. False theology always uses some "truth" as bait. Yet, most people can't see the hidden "hook". In the case of "the truth of the gospel", the end never justifies the means. The practice of modifying (redefining) Christ's Gospel creates something Saint Paul called "a different gospel". Paul warned that anyone who taught a "different gospel" was accursed (read Gal. 1:6-9). By using the word "accursed", Paul is directly connecting these ministers, who preach this "different gospel", to Satan -- our enemy. Think about that. Paul's words were not necessarily restricted to the popular cults that occasionally show up at our front door. He was warning about an influence that comes from "trusted sources" inside the Christian Church.
The apostle Peter used strong and insulting words to warn believers about what he called "damnable heresies". Very few Christians can detect these practices that could be occurring in their own "Bible believing" fellowship under the banner of "preaching the whole Word of God". It is a blatant and direct attack on "the truth of the Gospel" by subtly changing its underlying principles by distorting the Bible's context. Yet, the modern Christian Church commonly accommodates these beliefs as just a "different interpretation of Scripture" or a need to "walk in love" or to be "seeker sensitive" to avoid offending anyone. If Paul and Peter were in charge of the Church today, I have no doubt that they would shut down many church organizations that claim to operate in the name of Christ. The guiding principle behind their decision would be this: PEACE WHEN POSSIBLE, TRUTH AT ANY COST. Yet, the modern Church operates by the principle, "Truth, when it doesn't impact our numbers, peace at any cost.
Peter obviously doesn't agree with our modern methods of compromise to avoid offending people. He warned:
"But there were false prophets also among the people, EVEN AS THERE SHALL BE FALSE TEACHERS AMONG YOU, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, EVEN DENYING THE LORD THAT BOUGHT THEM, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." (2 Peter 2:1-2)
Along these same lines, the Apostle Paul also warned....
Important Note: The phrase "denying the Lord that bought them", which Peter uses in this scripture, is also understood as "a denial (or rejection) of Christ's New Covenant principles of redemption", which involves our "free justification and the unmerited gift of eternal life. Peter is warning that rejecting or attempting to redefine the New Covenant is "a damnable heresy". If readers want to know why we are so adamant about this often ignored problem, Peter's words should answer the question.
"Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. FOR THOSE WHO ARE SUCH DO NOT SERVE OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple." (Romans 16:17-18)
I find Peter's words to be very informative. He warned about "THE FALSE TEACHERS AMONG YOU" that teach "damnable heresies". Our series of teachings on Contending For The Faith is designed to provide more information about this growing problem within the Christian Church. By stealth, persuasive arguments are used from our own Bible against us. Peter said that these "damnable heresies" would cause "the way of truth to be evil spoken of". Today it's popular to attack and discredit those that correctly preach the freedom found in Christ's New Covenant and the believer's position "in Christ". Strangely, many professing Christians actively oppose this liberating message. Those that use the "license to sin" argument tend to also use phrases such as "the grace cult", "easy believism" and "greasy grace" to attack those that preach this message. Peter's warning goes to the very heart of the problem. It's another way of saying that a counterfeit gospel (or what he calls "damnable heresies") can easily replace the real Gospel of Christ in a way that few church members can discern. It's "damnable" because these "counterfeit gospels" use Scripture from the Bible out of context, yet insist that their teaching is God's Word or "fundamental" Christian doctrine. They can easily deceive inexperienced Christians -- or Christians who are taught wrong doctrine by their church. The next time you hear anyone use the term "license to sin" to argue against Christ's Grace Gospel, know that their concern about the issue of abusing God's Grace is valid -- BUT, any attempt to redefine or cast doubt on the Gospel of Christ as a way to deal with this problem is not only strongly condemned by our Heavenly Father, but also carries serious eternal consequences.
A Warning From Church History
Some people tell us that we should concentrate more on the positive aspects of the Bible, rather than the negative. I agree that sometimes we are overwhelmed with concern and get too "heavy" in our comments and need some balance. Yet, when I read how Jesus conducted His earthly ministry, I've noticed something that few practice today. The preaching of the Gospel has two important responsibilities. First, we tell others about the great salvation Jesus provided for us on the cross. Second, we expose the spiritual counterfeits so that new believers can avoid the enemy's cleverly designed traps. We're very good with the first responsibility; yet totally ignore the second one because it causes anger and division. Jesus and the early apostles understood and practiced both, regardless of the consequences.
I've noticed that some popular preachers from Church history took this same approach. We occasionally quote Martin Luther, a former Catholic priest and German evangelist from the 1500's. The reader should not interpret our use of his comments as agreement with everything he taught. Yet, Luther did possess a clear understanding of the believer's position "in Christ", which was rare among preachers in his generation. Luther had a gift for condensing complex problems into simple quotes and comments. Here's one such quotation that adds some clarity to this whole discussion.
"Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, and you will be saved. Now choose what you want."
Some Christians wonder what Paul was talking about when he used the phrases "another Jesus" and a "different gospel" in his epistles. Most churches teach that he was only talking about the various religious cults that exist. Yet, upon closer examination, we learn that Paul was actually warning about a popular stealth influence that operates WITHIN the main stream Christian Church that leads believers astray in their faith. Many Churches preach "another Jesus" and a "different gospel" that places sin back on the believer's life, after Jesus died to permanently take it away. On the other side, there are a few churches that preach the true Jesus and His New Covenant Gospel that permanently removes our sin and places it entirely on Christ. As a result we are set free. There is a serious warning in Luther's words for those who teach that God continues to assign sin to the believer. This popular theology subtly denies Christ and everything He died to accomplish. LUTHER SUGGESTED THAT THEIR SALVATION IS AT RISK. Why? Because their contrary theology or system of faith IS SOMETHING THAT GOD DOES NOT HONOR. If this is true, it’s a frightening thought because many professing Christians today embrace this belief.
Does Your Jesus Pass The Test?
I frequently see Christian bumper stickers while driving. A popular one is, "I Have Decided To Follow Jesus". That's a great message to put on your car. However, in this current crisis for truth in the Church, I find myself asking some important questions. Is the Jesus you're following the right one? How do you know? Are you sure?
Here's the problem: If you're someone who claims to be a Christian and believes that God continues to charge sin to your life, or to the lives of other believers -- you have unknowingly put your faith in another Jesus and a different gospel. It's true regardless of your good intentions or the good intentions of your pastor or church fellowship. However, if you believe that God charges all your sin (past, present and future) to Christ -- you are free from condemnation and are trusting in the true Jesus of the New Covenant -- ALL YOUR SINS ARE GONE.
I have decided to allow all my sin to rest on Christ. We encourage everyone to make the same decision.