This is an important article I wrote in response to something a Pastor, a beloved brother in Christ, is teaching. Please help me spread the truth about the gospel message. Thank you.
Hello brother, I realize you are a busy man diligently laboring for the kingdom of God and I sincerely appreciate the work you are doing to get people to reason logically. I hope you would also take a little time to hear my scriptural reasoning here regarding the assertions you have made on your blog concerning salvation.
” … any salvation from God (whether it be the deliverance of the nation of Israel, or of the sinner through the gospel) doesn’t come by anything we have done.”
“Salvation is by grace and grace alone, through faith alone, without works.”
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
“Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given WHICH COULD HAVE GIVEN LIFE, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall NO FLESH be justified in His sight:
for by the law is THE KNOW LEDGE of sin.”
While it is true that there is no law we could keep that could give us life once we lost it (“not of yourselves”), God still requires our obedience to His covenant law in order for us to receive His free gift of salvation which is impossible for us to earn. It took the sinless life of Jesus Christ to be our substitute to pay our death penalty debt we could never pay.
You yourself believe we must do something to receive God’s free gift of salvation because you listed a heavenly sanctuary law that governs the New Covenant, the heavenly sanctuary and therefore salvation. You listed “the law of faith”.
“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by THE LAW OF FAITH. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
This may sound like double speak but it’s not. We can’t receive salvation by just keeping a law without believing in God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Think about it. If that were the case, people could earn their own salvation, but that’s impossible because it takes Jesus’ blood to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We can’t produce that, we can’t earn it and we can’t buy it. We inherit eternal life, but God established conditions for us to be able to receive His free gift. It’s still a free gift because we can’t buy it and there’s no way we can earn it.
Part of the terms and conditions which God created that governs His Everlasting Covenant/everlasting gospel (in Christ’s blood) is that we must believe God exists, we must believe that Jesus Christ is His sinless Son who was “offered for our offenses and raised again for our justification”, we must acknowledge our sin through confession to our one mediator Jesus Christ and we must repent of our sins. We must do these things. These are sanctuary laws. We can’t receive forgiveness or the Holy Spirit without doing them.
It was simple enough that the thief on the cross was able to meet these requirements and did so. He acknowledged God by calling Jesus Lord, he confessed and repented of his sins in order to receive salvation.
These are the performances of works because we have to cooperate with the Spirit of God to do all these things, but He will not and cannot do it all for us and that’s what your argument claims. God has given us free choice and given us our part to perform and to keep, but the works themselves alone do not ensure our salvation. God doesn’t owe us anything no matter what we do, It is only by the mercy and grace of God the Father and the blood of Jesus Christ that we are forgiven and receive salvation; it’s freely given to us by His promises of His covenant. God isn’t obligated to forgive and save us just because we may do the works of keeping His covenant. He promises us He will. As covenant keeping children we are only performing what He has required by His terms and conditions. That’s us doing something in order to receive His free gift.
If we take your argument that it is by grace and grace alone without us doing anything at all; that in fact would mean not believing God, not having faith in the Father’s power and mercy, not having faith in the blood of Jesus, not believing Jesus is the sinless Son of God, not confessing our sins and not repenting of our sins. (All these are choices and actions we do in our mind then in our bodies.) This would then mean that every one would be saved unconditionally whether or not they believed in God. I know you don’t believe that but that is what your argument is stating, whether you realize it or not, brother.
I know you believe we must do these things to inherit salvation. These are choices and actions we must make, we are doing something. This doesn’t mean we are declaring that salvation is of ourselves and we are self sufficient apart from the Father and the Son. We are invited to come into covenant with them, we are not forced to and they don’t believe for us. They have given us free will, given us a choice and given us the power to do it- but they don’t do it all for us. If we don’t keep these terms and conditions by doing something then we don’t have forgiveness and we don’t have salvation. God calls that rebellion, the refusal to do what He told us to do.
No flesh (no person – Old Testament or New Testament) has ever been forgiven and justified by the works of any law because it’s an impossibility. That means Cain and Abel too and even Abraham- just like the apostle Paul tells us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They were saved by faith too because that’s the only way to be saved, yet God required them to obey His laws contained in His covenant.
God warned Cain if he didn’t do or perform what He commanded in His covenant that he would be rejected, his offering would be rejected and he wouldn’t be accepted, forgiven or justified until he chose to perform and keep the requirements of His conditional covenant of salvation. God’s covenant is conditional but it’s still not of ourselves because it’s of God and He established it and provides the free offering.
“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? IF THOU DOEST WELL, shalt thou not BE ACCEPTED? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”
We have to do something, if we don’t we will be rejected and not receive our inheritance of salvation that is received by promise of a conditional covenant. The Holy Spirit is given by the promise of God’s covenant to Abraham and his children (us).
“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
“And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, AND HEIRS ACCORDING TO the promise.”
The spiritual nation of Israel has always been bound by the terms of God’s conditional covenant. Under both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The Everlasting covenant existed under both administrations and it contains blessings and curses which are still in effect today and haven’t been removed yet.
That means that If the spiritual nation of Israel sinned, in order for God to forgive them and deliver them, they had to return through confession and repentance and performance of the requirements of the everlasting covenant under both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
ISRAEL HAD TO DO SOMETHING
They had to keep God’s covenant laws
In order to be delivered according to the promise of that same covenant.
“IF THEY SHALL CONFESS their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against Me, and that also they have walked contrary unto Me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; IF THEN their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: THEN will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised My judgments, and because their soul abhorred My statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.”
Just like this popular verse:
“IF MY PEOPLE, which are called by My name, SHALL HUMBLE THEMSELVES, and PRAY, and SEEK MY FACE, and TURN from their wicked ways; THEN will I hear from heaven, AND WILL FORGIVE their sin, and will heal their land.”
So it’s written in God’s own law that this is the way it’s done, it’s done according to His covenant law, under the blessings or the penalty of that law (blessings and curses).
Leviticus 18 is another proof that we still believe God and we are still bound by those applicable laws that were not nailed to the cross (like the earthly sanctuary laws were).
Isaiah chapter 24 also proves we are still under God’s laws and under the penalties of breaking those laws.
This will happen under the New Testament time period and applies to that time period:
“The earth also is DEFILED under the inhabitants thereof;
BECAUSE they have transgressed the laws,
changed the ordinance,
broken the everlasting covenant.
THEREFORE hath the curse
devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate:
THEREFORE the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.”
Today the Christian believer is grafted into spiritual Israel and are the spiritually adopted children of Abraham according to God. That’s how God intended to and does perform His promise to Abraham today of being the father of many nations and in him all the nations were to be blessed. The blessings of that covenant are being fulfilled under the New Covenant. Those promises to Abraham were that we would receive Jesus Christ as our sacrifice, and then receive the promised Holy Spirit. As Abraham’s children, we inherit the blessings of that covenant being bound by the terms of the Everlasting Covenant under the administration of “the new and living way” of the New Covenant in Christ’s blood, not the blood of animals under the administration of the Old Covenant.
As long as we are walking after the Spirit and abiding in Christ through righteousness by faith, we remain sealed by the Holy Spirit which is only given to those believers who obey Him. They don’t deceive themselves by just hearing Him, they keep His covenant commandments and obey Him and by doing so will have the right to eat of the tree of life.
“Blessed are they that do His commandments, THAT THEY MAY HAVE RIGHT to the tree of life, AND MAY enter in through the gates into the city.”
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE”
“And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath GIVEN TO THEM THAT OBEY HIM.”
“And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation UNTO ALL THEM THAT OBEY HIM”
“For as the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without works is dead also.”
People think righteousness by faith is only believing without doing and obeying God, but even Abraham had to obey in order to be able to receive what God had promised him by covenant.
“Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
For I know him,
that he will command his children
and his household after him,
and they shall keep the way of the LORD,
to do justice and judgment;
THAT THE LORD MAY BRING UPON Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.”
“And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; BECAUSE THAT ABRAHAM OBEYED MY VOICE, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
Grace and mercy existed under the Old Covenant too or else no one could have been saved. Since Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world the Old Testament believers were also saved by the blood of Jesus and were also saved by faith like Hebrews chapter 11 tells us. No flesh has ever been saved by the works of the law.
“Behold, his soul which is lifted up
is not upright in him:
but THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY HIS FAITH.”
Paul referring to this OT scripture in Romans:
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith:
AS IT IS WRITTEN,
The just shall live by faith.”
Brother, God still requires the same thing from us today, only under the administration of the New Covenant. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you will prayerfully consider what I’ve shared with you. May God bless you.