As a preacher of the New Covenant of God through Jesus; who guaranteed the New Covenant with His blood, there are certain questions that are asked of me each time that I preach. It would be well then to share some of these, and the answers to them, with you, our readers
“Well Pastor Allen, are you saying it’s OK to sin because we are now under grace?” “Pastor Allen, since we are no longer under a performance based relationship with God, can I just do whatever?” “Pastor Allen, are you saying that God will bless a sinner?” “My Pastor told me that God will not bless a mess, is he wrong?” “What about homosexuals, fornicators, adulterers and pornographers? Are you saying that they are under grace also?” “I have been taught that sin blocks blessings and that if you sin, God can not hear or answer your prayers, is this true?”
“If God created the Law and the 10 commandments, aren’t these His standards of performance? How can He then bless people who violate them?”
These are a few of the questions that I get on a regular basis. If you have read my teachings, you have probably asked the same. So, it is right that we should consider these foundational matters.
First, let us remember that God and His Word are the source of all answers and not Pastor Allen or any other teacher.
“But continue you in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned. And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus.”
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is, profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
We are going to focus in this teaching on the “instruction in righteousness” factor of the scriptures.
What is righteousness? How do we become righteous? The word righteous or righteousness, is translated from the Hebrew word: Tsedeq. Meaning that which is altogether just. And the Greek word, Dikaios: which is interpreted, in character or act, innocent. The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary Of The English Language, Encyclopedic Edition; defines righteousness as: “Conforming to or in conformity with the moral law.”
A reasonable interpretation of the word righteous, then is, “to be found innocent”. We continue:
“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness comes by the law (or a performance based relationship with God), Then Jesus is dead in vain (died for nothing”. (Galatians 2:21)
“But that no man is justified (made righteous/found not guilty) by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, the just shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11)
“For by grace ( God’s willingness ability and power, to do those things for us that we can not; or will not, do for ourselves.) you are saved through faith, and that (faith) is not of yourselves. It (faith) is the gift of God not of works. Lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8&9)
“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory , the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus.” (John 1:14,16&17)
“But without faith, it is impossible to please him; for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness; that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? No! But by the law of faith! Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:25-28)
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus; By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5: 1&2)
Clearly, the New Covenant that Jesus guaranteed with His Blood is that we have been found innocent, by grace through faith. And that we are now to live by grace through faith.
“But Pastor Allen, what about the ten commandments and the ordinances and Proverbs, Lamentations, Malachi and all of those rules?” All of the Old Testament: All of it, was fulfilled by Jesus. So that we can not have it both ways. We either live by grace through faith, or by the law. We gentiles are not now, and; have never been, under the ten commandments and it’s ordinances or any part of the Old Covenant, which was for the Jews. Yet we have been errantly taught that we have been and still are subject to these Hebrew laws, which in fact, Jesus fulfilled even for the Jews. Now, the truth is that even Jews by culture who accept the blood of Jesus are not under the law either.
We have been given the free will choice however to place ourselves through false beliefs under the law, or the Old Covenant, or Proverbs, Psalms etc which are not rules at all. Proverbs is a book of the collected teachings of Solomon based on his observances gained using the wisdom of the Holy Ghost that God gave him as a gift. It wasn’t even a rule book for Jews. Psalms is certainly not meant to be a rule book, for either the Jews to whom it was given or to us. Psalms is a song book. It is a collection of praises containing prophetic visions that the Holy Ghost gave to King David the Father of Solomon.
We have every right to reject the gospel of Jesus, or mix it with the Hebrew law. The consequences of trying to please God in any way by our actions however, are grave as specified by Paul in his letter to the church at Galatia.
“For as many as are of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in ALL things that are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith; but , the man that doeth them, (tries to please God by observing laws, rules, regulations and their ordinances) shall live in them. ( Shall be held responsible for keeping 100% of all of the commandments and there associated ordinances, as opposed to living by grace through faith). (Galatians 3:10)
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace”. (Galatians 5:4)
What about sin Pastor Allen? Are you saying that God will bless a sinner? I have always heard that, “God will not bless a mess”.
I submit the following scriptures for your consideration:
“But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
How can we believe that God will not bless a sinner, when Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners? What degree of goodness were we required to reach before being allowed to accept the salvation and reconciliation that comes via the blood of Jesus?
“Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, (of God because of our sins) we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have 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 (before the law) even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adams transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come. But not as the offense, of one many be dead, much more the grace by one man, Jesus has abounded unto many.” (Romans 5:9-15)
From Adam to Moses men lived by the grace of God. Then came the Law and men were automatically condemned because it is impossible to keep the Law. Then Jesus came to do for us what is impossible for men; He fulfilled the law for the Jews who were under it, and drew the gentiles who had no relationship with God into right standing with God, by shedding His blood for them. And because we have been reconciled by the blood of Jesus, we now live in God’s grace.
It is, therefore apparent that God not only will bless sinners, but that He has. Read on:
“God hath (past tense) dealt to all men the measure of faith!” (Romans 12:3)
“God hath (past tense) blessed us in heavenly places with all spiritual blessings” (Ephesians 1:3)
“God hath (past tense) given us all things that pertain to life and Godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
“God hath (past tense) made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6)
“By the which we are (present tense) sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
“Who His own self bore (past tense) our sins in His body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes we are healed.” (1Peter2:24)
“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
God has already given us all things that pertain to life and Godliness. He gave us salvation. God has blessed us in heavenly places with all spiritual blessings. God has made us accepted in the beloved. God has made us joint heirs with Jesus.
“For you have not received again the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself cries out that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus.” (Romans 8:15-17)
“God who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:1)
Jesus has been appointed heir of all things and we have been made joint heirs with him. Which, by the way, is why it is impossible for the borders of our tents to be expanded. The infinite can not be made more infinite.
Clearly God has blessed sinners. Clearly God not only will, but has blessed a mess. And his gifts can not be taken back because:
“The gifts and callings of God are without repentance”. (Romans 11:29)
Hopefully, Jesus has convinced the reader by now that He has already given us all blessings and that He can not now take them back.
“But, Pastor Allen doesn’t sin block our blessings. Isn’t it true that God will not hear our prayers if we sin?” No it is not true. Sin does not block our blessings. It is impossible to block something that God has already done. Our prayers are always answered. Because, God can not alter that thing that came out of His mouth. God can not tell a lie. Read now the Words of Jesus who was God come to this earth in the flesh:
“Have faith in God, For verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed and be thous cast into the sea; and does not doubt in his heart but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he says.”
“Therefore, I say to you, What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them and you shall have them.” (Mark 11:22-24)
“So, Pastor Allen you are saying that there are no consequences of sin for those of us who have accepted the reconciling blood of Jesus and have chosen to believe Him?” No! I am not saying that. I am saying that God has already given us all things. I am saying that God always answers our prayers of faith in the affirmative, as long as they do not violate His Words. I am saying that God does not take back what He has given. And what I say does not matter. God said these things.
“Then how does sin affect us?” This is the essence of this teaching. Sin is a measurement of the degree of unbelief in our lives. Unbelief is the only unforgivable sin. Unbelief causes us to not receive what God has already given us. Unbelief keeps us from seeing the manifestation of the things for which we pray. Unbelief causes sin. Sin unleashes the evil one in our lives. The evil one steals what we have been given. The evil one generates unbelief.
When we sin, we create consequences in the natural world. If we commit murder, we will be punished by the state. If we commit murder the evil one has taken over our spirit and our minds. If we truly believe the Word of God there is never a reason to commit murder.
Remember the teaching of Jesus in Mark 11:22-24. Jesus clearly teaches that the requirement for receipt of blessings is, belief.
Here is an example of how this works: Paul teaches us in Romans 15:3 that; “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
This means that hope, joy and peace come from believing. If we believe the Word of God, we do not need to get our Joy and Peace from another source. As Paul has explained, if we believe the Gospel it is our source of happiness and contentment. If we believe Jesus our Joy is full and we do not need Alcohol, Drugs, Pornography, Football, Night Time Soap Operas, Reality Television, Dancing With The Stars, or other distractions to make us happy. This does not mean that an inordinate affection for watching television or sports or news or whatever condemns us. It means that the degree to which we understand and believe God is reflected in our dependence on these things to bring us joy.
If we really believe that God has already given us all things, there is no need to rob a liquor store. If we really believe that Jesus loves us and that He has already given us all things, there is no need to stab others in the back to get what we want. Stabbing others in the back is a reflection of unbelief.
If we really believe that we are the apple of God’s eye and joint heirs with Jesus, there is no need to operate in a competitive or jealous spirit. Operating in a spirit of competition or judging and condemning others is a reflection of unbelief.
If joy and peace come from believing the Word of God, we have no need to commit adultery. Because, our joy comes from God and not another persons spouse. Committing adultery is a reflection of unbelief.
If you look at it through God’s eyes, you see that the thing that stops us from receiving and walking in His promises, answered prayers and joy; is unbelief. Belief is a choice that we make to believe beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus’ Words are true and that He guaranteed them with His blood. The more we believe the more we receive. The more we doubt the more we do without. Professor Skidmore’ explanation of the Gospel, number 1, is advanced again.
Sin and Grace do exist together. We sin everyday. Sin does not nullify the Grace of God. Nothing can do that. Sin is unbelief and unbelief causes us not to operate in Faith.
Faith is a three component substance: 1. Now, (this present moment) 2. Hope (joyful expectation) and 3. of the unseen (the things that God and Jesus have promised that we can not see). To live by faith is to live in this present moment, with joyful expectation, of the things that are unseen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Here is another explanation from Paul regarding this subject: In context, Paul is writing about the fact that it is not unlawful for Christians to eat any kind of food. Which is just one thing that Paul is teaching is not a sin because we are under grace.
“And he that doubts is damned if he eat, because he eats not in faith; for whatever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 15:23)
Here are some important reasons why we should not sin. Jesus had His back ripped off with a whip with shards of rocks at the end of each strand, He suffered death gladly for us, despising the shame. Every sin is another mark on His back.
We are known as the witnesses and children of Jesus. We do not want people to think poorly of Jesus as if He would approve of us doing wrong. Why would we give someone who loved us enough to die for us a black eye?
How can we claim to love Jesus who gave us everything at the cost of His life and the worst pain any human has ever suffered, and then do things that embarrass and shame Him?
Jesus wants people to see us as a reflection of His love, and be attracted to Him, by our goodness.
Sin is caused by unbelief and it is a reflection of our obedience to what either the evil one, or our flesh is directing us to do. When we sin it is because we are being led of our flesh or of the evil one. It is impossible for those who are of the flesh to please Him. When we sow to the flesh we reap corruption. That means that we accelerate our own demise and that we dwell in things that have no eternal nature. When we do good we sow to the Spirit and we dwell in the things that are eternal.
God’ ways are not our ways. Our ways are not His ways. God through the priceless blood of His dear Son, has put us under the ultimate honor system. Here is just one directive from Paul of how a person who lives under grace, should operate:
“Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” (Romans 6:14&15)
Paul goes on to teach in the 6th chapter of Romans that the one to whom we yield ourselves servants to obey, his servants we are. Whether the evil one or Jesus. When we allow the deception of satan to lead us into sin, we obey him and he becomes our master and leads us down the path of destruction. This is especially true of Christians. Many Christians are living tormented and shortened lives because they refuse to believe Jesus for anything other than salvation. Many Christians also are living in sin on this earth and are missing the assignments and blessings that God is trying to lead them into, because they are listening to another voice.
The essence of this teaching is that we should guard our selves against sin all the more, because we have been given the gift of grace through the Love of God. Remembering that He first loved us.
“For the love of Jesus constrained (kept us forcefully from sinning) us; because we thus judge, that if one (Jesus) died for all then were all dead: And He died for all that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again”.
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yes, though we have known Jesus after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him (our flesh man) no more. Therefore if any man be in Jesus, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
We are new creatures made clean by the blood of Jesus. We should therefore not live like we did before we were saved.
We are saved by grace and now we live in the state of grace through faith. We are constrained not to sin by the love that we have for the one who loved us first and gave His life for us.