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Grace


To some Christians this is all there is – nothing else matters.

What is grace, favour, or undeserved kindness as some translations also say?
Rom 3:24, Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (KJV)
In verse twenty, Paul says this, "Wherefore by works of law no flesh shall be justified before him; for by law is knowledge of sin. " (Darby)

The above subject is severely misunderstood by a great many Christians.  This page shall try to divulge what grace means.

Two things will be established:
  • That only through grace do we gain eternal life, salvation in Christ.
  • That while grace is by faith, and thus unearned, indeed un-earnable because salvation is only available as a free gift –  damnation is quite the opposite.  It is both capable of being earned and of being gained through works of wickedness, of wilful sin.

Our compact or covenant with God

 
On the New Covenant – are all Christians in it? page, it is demonstrated that the Christian after his dedication, decision to serve God for all time and his promise to God to do so, ratifies this decision by entering a contract, a covenant, a compact with God by means of being baptized. 

The baptism that is for forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ's ransom enters this newly baptized person into the New Covenant.  Through faith in the blood of the covenant absolution* from sins are granted.  A righteous standing is attained by the Christian because of having been declared righteous by God.

*(a great number of complex side issues about individual judgment, payback for prior and present sins, the privilege of suffering for Christ, and not having filled up one's sufferings – are addressed elsewhere)

God's reproductive seed


Jeremiah and others tell us that this puts God's law into their hearts.  The apostle John teaches us the cause of this.  He explains that because the Christian now is filled with God's Holy Spirit and walking, worshiping, according to Holy Spirit – the Christian now has God's procreative power within him and can do nothing evil.
Jer 31:33, But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: (ASV)

 1 John 3:9, Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God. 10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (ASV)

Walking by spirit

A secret is divulged here.  The Christian who walks by spirit cannot sin wilfully any longer since he is filled with Holy Spirit, God's reproductive seed.  The children of God and of Satan are thus divided.  The children of Satan sin, and the children of God do not!  (Adamic daily minor mistakes, sins, are not included in this)

How is this accomplished?  Paul tells us:
1 Cor 9:27, But I buffet my body, and lead it captive, lest after having preached to others I should be myself rejected. (Darby)

Rom 8:4, in order that the righteous requirement of the law should be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to flesh but according to Spirit. (Darby)
From this, it is clear how things are done.  The Christian must walk according to spirit, not fleshly desires.  He must buffet himself so as to avoid sinning and live according to spirit in faith.  Through this, his life, his whole being, is sanctified. (Walking by spirit is another complex issue with much to discuss.  How does sanctification take place?  There are several ways in which this happens)

Being obedient to the commands

The Christian teachings are very clear.  Christians must obey the holy commandments and avoid sinning.
1 John 2:3, And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4He that says, I know him, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5but whoever keeps his word, in him verily the love of God is perfected. Hereby we know that we are in him. 6He that says he abides in him ought, even as *he* walked, himself also so to walk. (Darby)

Faith

What does this mean?  Isn't all of the above a paradoxal contradiction?

Not at all !  By giving the Israelites a perfect law covenant they couldn't obey  completely, God demonstrated to all, as Paul is used to explain, that no human may earn life through works of law.

Eternal life is a gift bestowed upon the Christian, no matter how many works he may accomplish.  It is grace ; it is undeserved kindness ; it is divine favour – love beyond imagination.

That does not mean that God is a God of evil, of chaos, of laissez-faire for all, sin as much as you like type of God.

God of Holiness

God is a God of order, of holiness, of faith.  Nothing unclean may approach him.  That is why we at the moment only can approach God through our mediator Christ Jesus. (Rom 3:24)

Why the law?  To tell those who need to be told how to walk? for the sinners sake.
1 Tim 1:8-10, But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men-stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (Darby)
Thus the Christian has in him, as all do, God's law of conscience.  When he becomes Christian, he realizes that he must remain holy as God is holy.  This implies obeying this conscience.  Of course, other Christian edicts must be obeyed too.
Eph 1:4,5, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: 5having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (ASV)
This requirement is absolute.  This obedience does not earn eternal life.  That is a gift, grace.  However, wilful disobedience does earn eternal damnation ; that is a certainty and a promise.  Obedience does prove our faith and commitment, and faith must be proved alive to save the believer.
James 2: (DRC)
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar ?
26 For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead.
As Hebrews 12:4-7 teaches, no Christian can fully avoid the minor daily sins.  For this divine discipline and vengeance on our notories deeds are meeted out.  For this reason, no Christian can by his own virtue and power earn salvation.  Eternal life is only granted through grace.
Heb 12:4-7, For you have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin: 5And you have forgotten the consolation, which speaketh to you, as unto children, saying: My son, neglect not the discipline of the Lord; neither be thou wearied whilst thou art rebuked by him. 6For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7Persevere under discipline. God dealeth with you as with his sons. (DRC)

Works of faith

This too has its own page:  Is Paul's message about faith or is it also about works?

Works of faith demonstrate to God that our faith is alive.  We cannot serve God without demonstrating to him that our faith is alive.

Putting it all together

What do we then understand? 

We understand
  • that we cannot earn our salvation.  Eternal life is a gift given by grace.
  • that we must remain holy as God is in acts, in thoughts.
  • that we must obey all the commandments given Christians
  • that our hearts contain our law of conscience that guides our path
  • that even if we have works of faith, that does not earn our salvation, but it does give God the proof he needs to see that we have faith so as to give us the gift of eternal life.
  • that damnation follows evil works and total lack of works of faith.
  • It is then obvious that eternal life is a gift by God, grace, through faith in the ransom of Jesus Christ. 
  • It is obvious that we can lose out on this gift of God if we do not stay holy and refrain from wilful sin.
  • It is obvious that grace does not mean chaos and disorder.
  • It is obvious that doing all things that are right and lawful is a must.
  • It is obvious that doing these things earn not eternal life ; rather, they prove our faith to God.
  • It is obvious that it is quite possible by wilful sin to become disapproved and lose out forever on the gift of eternal life.
  • It is obvious that grace does not mean lawlessness, but lawfulness in all holiness combined with undeserved kindness of God.
  • Eternal life is a gift of grace.
 
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