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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Support for Leaving the Worldwide Church of God

Today I hope to demonstrate that a lesson from the past can be a great support for the present. I would like to provide some support for those who are still in Armstrongism, but don't really know why anymore. It will be a round-about journey, so please bear with me on this.

I have been wondering what is an effective way to approach an Armstrongist with ideas that are outside of their usual circles. When I first started blogging, I wanted two things. The first was to share the joy I had in my heart after coming to grace in the New Covenant. The second was to highlight the judgment and condemnation that seemed to swirl all about in the writings and attitudes of Armstrongists. After a while, I learned a great deal more about how very misled we all were in the Worldwide Church of God by Herbert W Armstrong and his close associates. I can safely say that when I started I had no clue how deep that rabbit hole went. I personally refuse to investigate the more base accusations against HWA's person, I personally do not feel it is either necessary or dignified, but I'm certain the hole is deeper than I can tell. Over time, my posts have become more about details that show how far-off my understanding was, and less about that joy and support. I hope this post bridges the gap back to my primary goals.

I ask myself how I would possibly have been approached back when I was at the height of my time in the former association. I can tell you that should someone approach me with the shotgun method, and read me off just the highlights of the posts that are here on As Bereans Did, I would never ever have believed it and I would have gone straight away into fight or flight mode.

For me it had to be very slow and methodical. It took me no less than 6 years to come out of that group. Little by little, a crack here and a crack there, the dam began to burst. Most of the doctrinal studies I did, studies that opened my eyes, were things I had to accomplish on my own. I am unaware of very many similar studies on the Internet. Some of the things that helped me along the way were websites like Exit and Support Network and the Painful Truth, as well as several blogs like Life After WCG, Shadows of WCG, and Purple Hymnal's Weblog. I had friends who patiently helped me, and family that prayed for me with their church group regularly. I think in the end what broke the dam apart was a single question from an anonymous person on a chat group regarding if I could condemn someone for not keeping the Sabbath. I had to sincerely ask myself if I was qualified to condemn anyone at all. From then on all of the judgment and condemnation was plain as day, and my sins were red as scarlet. My whole standing with Christ was built upon how well I could say "Sure, I'm not perfect - but look at that guy!"

This all culminated at the same time that an Armstrongist minister, for whom I still have a great deal of respect, challenged us in a sermon that we had never actually invited God into our hearts. He challenged us to sincerely, with deep and heartfelt desire, consider actually asking God to reside in us. Since I was basically in a world of confusion over what I had been learning, I went ahead and did it. I prayed the prayer of faith. I had no idea it would lead to where I am today, but here I am and I wouldn't ever go back. The New Covenant is not just the better covenant, it is beyond superior. My heart was filled with ineffable joy. To this day I want to share that with everyone who is still shackled by their own hopeless inability to "qualify" for a legalistic system of fear and doubt, judgment and condemnation. I want us all to be free in Jesus Christ. So I continue to look into things and post them here, hoping that something or the other will aid in any way in leaving the old Worldwide Church of God.

Oddly enough, all of that intro is leading somewhere. I was reading a book. The book is "Creeds, Councils, and Christ" by Gerald Bray. The most incredible thing was said in this book, starting around page 68. I had never even approached the idea from this angle before in all of my days, nor had I heard it put forward quite like this. The thing I am referring to is how the early Christian church managed to convert Jews to Christianity.
I would like to take that idea and put it into terms a student of the various COGs can relate to.

Had you ever even asked yourself that question before? I hadn't. Yes, of course I have read a thousand times about Paul going to the synagogues on the Sabbath to preach, and Peter converting around three thousand Jews with a single sermon. But I am asking if you have ever wondered what they said that actually convinced a life-long Jew to give up nearly everything that made sense to them and convert to Christianity? Keep in mind, the people Peter preached to in Acts 2 had come to Jerusalem from all around the known world. There's a reason why "travel" is etymologically linked to "travail". Travel was hard in those days! These people were hard core! And the Holy Spirit, through Peter, managed to convert three thousand of them at the height of a holy day in Jerusalem!

But what does any of this talk about converting ancient Jews have to do with a modern Church of God member?

Armstrongism (and I mean no offense by using that term) posits that Jesus did very little, really. Their "gospel" in a nutshell is that Jesus would return - in 2,000 years!! In HWA's doctrine, New Covenant Christianity was virtually indistinguishable from Old Covenant Judaism. The Commandments are there, the Holy Days are there, tithes, meats, and all sorts of things are still there. The only major difference is that sacrifices and circumcision are no longer required. (I know! I know. I'm glossing over the fact that Armstrongism in reality only teaches around 0.2% of the law. I'm not interested in the dirty little details of all that right now.) The other half of that is a story woven to make modern Christianity and its Gospel appear to be a pagan heresy, begun in the late first century, and perpetuated down through the ages by the accursed Catholic Church. This, says HWA, is a false Christianity, while the true Christianity, which is virtually indistinguishable from modern Messianic Judaism, was not preached for 1,900 years.
The large point I'm trying to glean from this is - if Christianity and Judaism are so virtually indistinguishable, and the gospel was that Jesus would return in 2,000 years, then what in the Sam Hill would convince any Jew to convert?

Think about it. They already had a means of atonement for sins; they believe they still do to this day even without the sacrifices. They already had the law; in fact their law was far more complete than Herbert Armstrong's cherry-picked version of the law. They were God's only special people (no Gentiles need apply); their linneage from Abraham was their major source of pride (see MAT. 3:9). They had symbols and traditions that separated them from the Gentiles (ACT. 10: 28). They already had an understanding of a Messiah who would save them from the Romans and set up Israel as a mighty kingdom (ACT. 1: 6). They had a priesthood, a temple, lawyers, scribes, orders, traditions, communities.... they had it all!

I never before realized the "truth" I was expected to swallow was that any Jew in his right mind would 1) change his whole worldview, 2) accept the loss of all public and private standing, 3) worship Jesus as Messiah... all because Jesus got rid of circumcision and animal sacrifice, and promised to return in 2,000 years.
I absolutely refuse to believe that any person in control of their faculties would make such a ludicrous decision! But that is precisely what Herbert Armstrong's version of history claims regularly went on.
So what is the answer to this riddle? What convinced the Jews to convert?
The most reasonabe solution is that Herbert Armstrong had a grossly incorrect view of the Gospel, and with that false premise all we can hope to do is come to false and confusing conclusions.

Perhaps you are still a bit lost as to what I'm getting at? I'm still trying to build the case here, please bear with me. I am trying to show how the conversion of the Jews to Christianity bears a great deal of lessons for us regarding the relationship between Arstrongism and mainstream Christianity. Perhaps if we can see a bit more about this, we can break down the dam that stops people from stepping into the New Covenant in Christ.

We have to ask ourselves what was so attractive about Christianity that the Jews would not only choose of their own free will to do those three things I just listed, but in droves. I cannot accept that "I will return in 2,000 years" would be much of a motivator for them. The Apostles followed Jesus because they believed He was going to set up a Kingdom now! Had they learned it wouldn't come for another 2,000 years, I doubt any of them would be so very excited and call it "good news."
You could say "They didn't know it was going to be 2,000 years." But that still leaves the barest minimum to go on. Why change anything at all if the entire change was no more sacrifices and no more circumcision?

Why do I keep coming back to that phrase "return in 2,000 years" anyway? Because that is as succinct a way I know of to describe what HWA taught is "the Gospel". HWA said over and over and over, and his ministers to this day repeat, the Gospel is "the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God." This is what the "Good News" was, according to Armstrongism. He was the first in 1,900 years to preach it. And mainstream Christianity has it all wrong.

"This world's so-called Christianity has taken the name of Christ -- has proclaimed to the world that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ -- has preached the name of Christ with a Message about His Person -- but they have rejected His Gospel -- the Gospel God sent for all mankind by Him -- the Gospel He taught."
-Herbert Armstrong, "The Wonderful World Tomorrow - What Will It Be Like", 1979 edition.

To put it another way, according to HWA Jesus said, "I come to proclaim the Good News of what the you already know about, and had known for a long time, and you will be waiting several years more for. Oh, and I'm going to die for your sins, but never mind that."
The Jews didn't need Jesus to arrive and proclaim what each of them already accepted - that a Messiah would come and set up a kingdom. How can that be the Gospel? And to prove out his views, HWA went where? To the Old Testament!
HWA would tell us all about the Kingdom of God, and how lions would lie down with lambs, and how Israel would be restored. That may be good from a certain point of view, but it's not "news" by any means. HWA emphasized the portion that the Jews already full well knew, and de-emphasized the rest of the message. Why?

I maintain that the "gospel" HWA brought was a false gospel. (See the Categories page under the heading "What is the True Gospel" for more details.) It was a false gospel because it was only a partial, cherry-picked gospel, and because it de-emphasized the most important tenet of the Gospel: that Jesus was God and God died to truly atone for our sins. Here is exactly what Paul taught:

(I COR. 15: 1-4)  1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures ...

(II TIM. 2: 8) Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel

This is just a snapshot of the Gospel, but Paul emphasizes what HWA de-emphasized, and speaks nothing of what HWA said it was all about!

Now, what do you suppose caused the Jews to convert in droves? Was it because,
A) Jesus promised what they already had been promised [HWA's version of the "Gospel of the Coming Kingdom"],
or because,
B) Jesus was the Christ and the Son of God, and as God He could live a sinless life, die a perfect sacrifice, fulfill the law and the prophets, be resurrected to life before hundreds of witnesses, truly atone for all of our sins, healing the breach with God and granting an opportunity for eternal life, completing what we could never accomplish by our own effort, in a way all of the laws and traditions of the Old Covenant could never do [the traditional "Gospel of Jesus Christ"]?

I'm going for B), and by far!

The Jews were not even convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. In fact, because He didn't set up a Kingdom at that time, they were convinced He was not! Peter went fishing, remember. What might convince them? 
A promise to set up a Kingdom some other day [HWA's Gospel], 
or,
His success at rising from the grave and proving He is who He said He is and He did what He said He would do [Traditional Gospel]?

I'm going for the latter, and by far!

I tell you the truth, it's the same thing that caused Paul to say this:

(PHP. 3: 4-8) If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ

Would Paul have said that over animal sacrifice? Not a chance.

So, what does Jewish conversion have to do with Armstrongism?
The Apostles, already having made the choice, approached their fellow Jews with what had convinced them... something far and away beyond what they already had. The book of Hebrews is mainly about how Jesus was far and away better than what the Jews had and His Covenant a better Covenant and His promises better promises. We sum this better way up in one word: "Gospel".
I feel the same approach is a fine approach towards Armstrongists seeking support for leaving the old Worldwide Church of God. Learn what the real Gospel is!


I was a second gen Armstrongist. When I came to understand grace after an entire life of legalism, immediately I knew the New Covenant was better beyond description. For the love of how much better the Gospel is than what I had previously believed, I started blogging. I simply had to share this with you, God's dearly loved and cherished children who are still in Armstrongism. That joy compels me to this day. The truth of the Gospel is something far and away beyond what HWA offered you. And if you won't take my word for it (and I'm not suggesting you do), or the testimony of the others here at ABD, or the witness of such a cloud of others who have left Armstrongism for grace, I believe the proof will be found in the Jews!

Armstrongists have been sold a faulty bill of goods; a partial gospel - a false gospel. This false gospel would never have convinced the Jews to come to Christ. Look where it leads!
How many Armstrongists are marching right back in the direction of legalism? With all the wrangling over laws, and days, and meats, and fibers in clothes, and calendars, and "one true church" and all that. They are vehemently against a great many things, but how many of them are for the Good News of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ? The Gospel brings us forwards, not backwards!
The Jewish converts began to leave those Old Covenant ways and move into the New Covenant. Sure, it was an imperfect process; we are imperfect beings in a process of justification. But our assured salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ. Isn't that great news to a weary soul?

(ROM. 16: 1-17) 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )
Acts 17:11
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Section II -- Advanced Christianity

Section II -- Advanced Christianity

Chapter 1. The Witness of the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit : A “Person”

Legalists deny the Trinity as a belief and doctrine, using the methods of deception in order to make their case. Their first claim is that the word, “trinity” is not found in the Bible. Does this claim truly prove anything? Invariably, these groups have unique doctrines using terminology that is not located in the Scriptures either, so it becomes a case of hypocrisy in this regard. For instance, the SDA has a doctrine called, “The Investigative Judgment”.

Regardless, it was a long time before I understood what the true nature of the “debate” was in relation to the Holy Spirit. We do see in Scripture that there is God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The debate boils down to whether the Holy Spirit constitutes being a “person” or merely the force / power of God.

To settle the issue, using the proper methods of scholarship, we would examine all related Scripture where the Holy Spirit is referenced, and see whether they support the Holy Spirit being a person or a force of God, or perhaps both or neither. Also, we examine the evidence to the contrary offered by those who do not believe the Trinity or nature of God as three “beings” yet one “God.”


Scriptural evidence

Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Ephesians 1:13 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,

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Can a power or force be grieved?

1 Thessalonians 4:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Matthew 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

Matthew 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

Mark 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

Mark 12:36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Mark 13:11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

Can a power or force speak?

Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

If the Holy Spirit is a only a power, then isn't this being redundant?

Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

Luke 1:67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,

Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

Luke 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

Can a force or power impart knowledge?

Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

Luke 3:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

Can a force or power have a bodily shape?

Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

Luke 12:10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

Luke 12:12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Can a force or power teach?

John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

John 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Here, the Holy Spirit is referred to in more anthropomorphic terminology.

John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

Acts 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 1:16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Acts 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Can one lie to a power or force?

Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

This is key; The Holy Ghost is a witness. In the O.C. Inanimate objects could be a “witness” to an agreement but not in the legal sense of being an eye-witness when it came to discerning the truth or falsehood of a claim or crime. Jesus' detractors accused Him of being His own witness, thereby concluding His witness was false. This was not how the law worked. If you were the sole witness, it did not follow that your witness was false; it merely lacked corroboration by another, and was not enough in and of itself to make a determination of guilt or innocence, or fact.

Acts 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

Acts 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Acts 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

Acts 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

Acts 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Acts 8:18-19 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was
given, he offered them money, ?Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

Acts 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 11:24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

Can a power or force speak?

Acts 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.

Acts 13:9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,

Acts 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

Acts 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

Hardly language one would use when speaking of a power or force.

Acts 16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

A command given by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Acts 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Acts 21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

Acts 28:25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,

Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the
Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Romans 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

2 Corinthians 6:6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

1 Thessalonians 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

1 Thessalonians 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

2 Timothy 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Hebrews 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

Hebrews 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,

Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

Hebrews 9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

Hebrews 10:15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,

1 Peter 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Jude 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

The evidence of Scripture supports the Holy Spirit being a person; having personage. The evidence to the contrary would be those passages of Scripture that appear to treat the Holy Spirit in terms of being a power, seeing as there is a reference to the Holy Spirit “falling” on people and being poured out on people, but these can be nothing more than literary devises.

We can also ask some “critical thinking” questions in relation to the Holy Spirit.

God (the Father) is omni-present. He exists outside of time and space, and in a sense, exists everywhere at all times:
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. – Psalms 139:7-10
God is omniscient. God can do anything. Why then do those who reject the concept of the trinity think God cannot exist in another “personage” whose purpose is to dwell with, and indeed in a believer?

To answer this question is to have the answer to why legalists reject the Holy Spirit as being a person. They reject the witness of the Holy Spirit and what the Holy Spirit represents in the life of a believer. By diminishing the Holy Spirit, the law is given the status as that which guides the believer, and not the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit to them is an ethereal power or force that is incapable of guiding or leading anyone. In essence, they bear false witness against the Holy Spirit, which, to a person in possession of the Holy Spirit, results in the unpardonable sin.

Jesus stated that the one “sin” that would never be forgiven was in relation to the Holy Spirit, and not against Him or even the Father. Therefore, in order to sin against the Holy Spirit, you have to be in possession of the Holy Spirit, yet those who reject the trinity do so thinking the Holy Spirit to be something less than God as a Person. This begs the logical question, would God give His Spirit to those who are in a condition of mind where they would so easily and quickly commit the unpardonable? No, therefore they are kept from understanding the gospel and this nature of God until such time God is assured the danger is passed for them to likely commit this great a transgression.

Look at the mentality behind those who insist the Holy Spirit is not a person. They see the Holy Spirit as being the force and power of God that is impersonal. The presence of the Holy Spirit in a person is perceived to be much less than what it truly is, and as such, an insufficient guide in the life of a believer, seeing as they believe they need the law as their only and true guide in their lives.

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )

Acts 17:11

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Friday, July 16, 2010

This Has All Happened Before

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." 
-George Santayana

I love this quote. I think it explains so very much of the problems we experience in our modern lives. Perhaps if every Armstrongist were not only allowed to learn the truth of the group's Millerite Adventist past, but perhaps required to learn the truth of the group's Adventist past, then perhaps some lights would go on.
This is precisely what the leadership cannot allow to happen.

Now, I am absolutely not advocating forcing people to do things against their will. I understand that, given the choice, a great deal of Armstrongists would opt not to investigate the history of Adventism, preferring to continue in the falsehood that the Worldwide Church of God is not descended from the Seventh-Day Adventist church. For years we were told that the Seventh-day Adventist church is not nor ever was God's church (which is code for "Worldwide is not descended from SDA.") - and that is how most would prefer to leave it. I also understand that, should any opt to investigate, a good number will vehemently deny any evidence they find. It is simply too much to accept that Herbert Armstrong is without a doubt a theological descendant of Ellen G. White. It challenges too much. And it's safer to just ignore it and make it go away.

Well, perhaps it's for the best anyway. One thing that George Santayana didn't mention is the danger of remembering the past. What danger? Why, unethically repeating history on purpose, of course, knowing that most people will be completely ignorant of what you're up to. There's a catch-22 buried in here. The willful ignorance of those who refuse to remember the past enables the unethical to break in and steal ideas from the past in order to exploit those who refuse to remember the past. It would be better if we all forget together than to have only the unethical learn from the past.

What am I on about? Perhaps I should get to the point.

I recall many stories about the plagiarism of Herbert W Armstrong. There is an entire website dedicated to investigating Herbert Armstrong's plagiarism of J. H. Allen's book "Judah's Sceptre and Joseph's Birthright". British Israelism is a backbone teaching of the old Worldwide Church of God. One couldn't possibly separate the two. Many of the old Worldwide Church of God doctrines were lifted from other sources. Exit and Support Network has several studies that show Herbert Armstrong plagiarized a great many things from other church groups and writers. For two examples, please read "Mystery of the Ages (A Critical Review)" and "Herbert W Armstrong's Religious Roots". But that's not all! The Servants News has an article about how Herbert Armstrong plagiarized the booklet "Has Time Been Lost" from the Church of God (Seventh Day). Whole articles and booklets were just "lifted" from their original authors and the average member of the church was absolutely none the wiser. 
No one knows just how many things were "borrowed" without credit to the original source. Some things were copied almost word for word, with only minor changes in phraseology or word order. Stories abound that Herbert Armstrong would type up a new publication while reading the works of some other church group. As the story goes, this is how HWA would get his "inspiration from God." I understand his preferred source of inspiration was the COG7's "Bible Advocate" magazine (for which he used to write during the late 1920's).

Oh, some people make it their goal to deny all of this. I am not just referring to how the official church leadership purposefully obfuscated, denied, and buried it all. What gets me are the people who still deny it all to this day. But what I believe cannot be honestly denied is that since so many Armstrongists actively refused to investigate the teachings of other groups, they wound up falling for the lie, duplicating doctrines of those groups (whom they regularly speak out against), and all without a clue in the world.
And that is why I believe some of us helped to bring this upon ourselves.

The well-established fact is that the church that Herbert Armstrong founded, the old Worldwide Church of God, was a descendant of Ellen G. White's Seventh-day Adventist group. Two years of study have helped me to understand the blatant similarities between Herbert Armstrong and Ellen G. White. Do you think Herbert Armstrong was the first in 1,900 years to "restore lost truth"? Or the first to say there is no hell? Or the first to claim to be God's only representative in the end-time? Or.... the first to plagiarize material from others?
Take a look at this fascinating study on EllenWhiteExposed.com titled "Ellen White's Plagiarism". It was really learning about Ellen White's plagiarism that inspired me to write this post. Can any of these Adventist groups claim that even a fraction of what they believe is original or unique?


If that's not enough for you, try reading the book "Churches That Abuse" by Ronald Enroth. You'll see more than what you bargained for, I'm sure.

Either by Providence or luck, I happened across this 5-part video series on YouTube entitled "Seventh-day Adventism - The Spirit Behind the Church". As I watched the spectacle unfold before me, it became surreal how this all ties together. There I was, watching the story of a woman who died a lifetime before I was born, and I was simply floored at the way I could take Ellen G White out, and insert just about any of the big-name leaders of the Armstrongist groups - Herbert Armstrong, Ron Weinland... just about any of them. It's all the same show again, and again, and agian. It was as if the doctrines that I once believed so dearly had become tangible, and I was able to take them apart and see how they worked. I had several, "Oh! So that's where that came from!" moments. The full timeline of Herbert Armstrong's doctrines were being gathered together in a matter of minutes... only the videos weren't about Herbert Armstrong. 
But yet, they were. 
They were because it's all the same thing, only the names have changed. I recalled the line from Peter Pan, borrowed from eastern philosophy, "All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again." Adventists have been pulling the same stunts now for over 170 years!

Here are links to the 5 parts of the video. Watch them, and you will see what I mean:


Perhaps this all fascinates me still because somewhere inside of me is an ember of the blissfully ignorant and unquestioning Armstrongist that I once was which hasn't quite burned out. That ember denies that these things are real. It hates the idea that my father was duped into a lie. It doesn't want to hear that Herbert Armstrong is just the next Ellen White. It doesn't want to accept that the Worldwide Church of God is just a spin-off of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Somewhere there's this last glowing spark, burning out, and it still doesn't want to learn from the past. It wants everything to be the way it was - comfortable and familiar.

Someone asked when will all of these things finally fade away. All I could think to say was, "When Armstrongism fades away, something new will pop up." 
And it already has in the form of all of these xCOG splinters, and those who have been infected along the way. For example, one Mr. Richard Rives. He is teaching the same old stuff. Singing the same old song. Herbert Armstrong with a southern drawl. Then there is Mr. Joe Kovacs. He has a book called "Shocked By the Bible" that supposedly gives you "the most astonishing facts you've never been told." That's funny; all of us here have been told them before. Pure, unadulterated, high-concentration, poly-unsaturated Adventism. A fine perpetuation of the cult mindset. Where can a body turn when the mind has been infected by these men? Only to a cult that perpetuates the distortions. It tears people away from tradition, friends, family, and congregation.. but it does not in the least turn a single soul to Jesus Christ. 
It has all happened before, and these fine gentlemen are among the next generation working to make it all happen again.


All of these people who don't want to learn from the past, perpetuate and repeat the same cycle over and over again. There will always be someone more than willing to exploit them, using the same old lies.
I can't allow that ember to have its way, or I feel I will have become part of the problem.
But that's precisely why I keep at this. I don't want to perpetuate the system. I have a deep desire to help those trapped in the system to break free, and step into the New Covenant in the faith and grace of Jesus Christ. I want to help remove the shackles of fear that bind fast. I want to help people leave the old Worldwide Church of God. I do what I do for the people who are there and just don't know why any longer.

I started by quoting George Santayana:
  "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
I would like to finish with a quote that is attributed to Edmund Burke:
  "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Oh precious children of God, you who are still in Armstrongism, do yourself a favor. Watch those videos. Ask the tough questions. Test those spirits. And may God bless you and keep you, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.


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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )
Acts 17:11
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chapter 7: Dead to Sin; Dead to the Law; Living under Grace

Chapter 7

Dead to Sin; Dead to the Law; Living under Grace.

Another area of common confusion is in regards to the relationship between God and the believer. What is the believer's “position” in relation to God? Also, what was the relationship between God and an Israelite who was under the old covenant?
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. – Galatians 4:1-7
Those redeemed are now sons, whereas the previous condition was that of a servant or slave. It is also a condition of being a child; immature in nature and under bondage to these “elements of the world.” A child's life consists of living by a set of rules given to them by the parents. “Don't touch that!” “Eat your carrots.” “Don't cross the street.” “Come inside before it gets dark.”
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21(Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. 1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. – Colossians 2:20-3:3
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. – John 8:34-36
It is Christ who makes us free from sin, and no longer the servant of sin. It is in this condition we “abide in the house for ever.”
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? – Romans 6:2
What does it mean to be dead to sin? Likewise:
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. – Romans 7:4
For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. – Galatians 2:19
Being dead to sin, and dead to that law, means that neither has any power over the person any longer. One is freed from the law, and freed from sin.
For he that is dead is freed from sin. – Romans 6:7
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 for when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:18-23
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:2
Sin all too often becomes a tool of control, wielded by ministers or a ministry for the sake of controlling their members. They are taught that, in order to avoid sin, they must abide by the instructions of their ministries, who define what sin is for them, and define for them how they are to live in order to avoid sin.

This should not be taken lightly. Historically, societies have been closely controlled, not only through civil governments, but by religious organizations also, often in conjunction with the civil authority. A person's very existence was controlled from birth to the grave, and any behavior, or even belief that strayed from the norm, could be, and often was, dealt with severely.

For the first time in history, people in the western civilizations have been freed from the “peer pressure” of their cultures. If a culture had embraced a false gospel and a false Christianity, and you were a part of that culture, you were forced to conform to that culture and belief system. Truly, the chances of you coming to an understanding of the truth of the gospel, and pure religion would have been remote. When and if a disagreement arose between groups of people in a particular culture, blood was likely to be spilled, and a prevailing belief was rarely based on the truth of Scripture, but rather by who controlled the greater power in that culture.

With the advent of printing came the ability for more people to read the Scriptures, with the resultant differences of interpretations. Differing groups sprung up, all wanting the ability to believe what they wanted without being persecuted by other groups, hence the migration of various religious groups to the Americas, where they set up their own cultures and promptly persecuted any and all within their environs who did not agree with their brand of Christianity.

Fortunately, in time, religious freedoms prevailed in the states and the Federal Constitution of the United States, where one was now free to worship God according to the dictates of one's conscience, as well as the freedom to not worship God according to that same freedom. A person no longer had to conform to the religious “norm” that rarely matched up with Scripture.

If those who desire power and control over others cannot achieve it through one venue, they will seek it in another. Religion is a very powerful venue; a cage people can be put in that has no bars other than the person's own fears and phobias. Jesus declared that the truth sets men free. Conversely, lies, deceptions, and false religions enslave.

Do you wish to be free? If so, then you must be ready to question everything and everyone. Nothing is above examination, and no one is above scrutiny. If a man tells you that to question him is to question God, then run and don't walk away from such a man. No man and no ministry is to come between the individual and Christ. Christ is the vine, and the believer is a branch connected directly to the vine, and not connected via some other man or church.

Jesus stated that you would know true believers based on whether they had love for one another, and by extension, love for all others. Jesus did not say you would know true believers based on their beliefs and doctrines. True doctrines, by the way, do not violate love and faith.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. – Romans 6:3-12
The old you died. The new you is a new creation. You are now a son (or daughter) of God whereas before you were a son or daughter of Adam with the inherent nature of Adam; a sinful nature.

Those who would resurrect you back to sin want power and control over you. Those who want to resurrect you back to the law also want to control you. They make a good argument that Christians are not free to sin, and even Paul makes such a declaration, but what kind of sin? Well, what did we just read above? That it is about sins related to lust; about sating carnal desires. Sabbatarians make the accusation that the carnal mind hates the sabbath, yet you can't make the case that one lusts in relation to the sabbath any more than they would circumcision.

The ultimate goal of dragging you back to sin and rules of conduct is to bring you under a false gospel, and the resultant bondage. Those who seek power and control over others cannot stand the thought of anyone being free of their control, which is what the true gospel accomplishes. You therefore must be ready to walk away from those who seek control over you, despite all the subtle and deceitful methods they may employ to have you accept them as an authority figure over you. It may even require some to abandon family.
And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, 30But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. – Mark 10:29-30
Ministers of Christ are servants, and not masters. If they can dictate to you, and demand of you compliance of things, especially your support of them, then there is something fundamentally wrong. If they can adversely affect your life, there is something dreadfully wrong. If they generate fear in people should they go against what they teach and demand, it is time to seek the nearest exit.

A Christian is not under the law. A Christian is under grace. A legalist will insist that, because we are under grace, we should be keeping that law; that grace is not a license to sin. Part of the problem is in the legalist's interpretation of sin being so much more than following the lusts of the flesh. Conversely, the legalist's interpretation is sin falls short of covering everything found in that same law they espouse as defining sin.

In order to cover the aspect of grace, I will incorporate the methodology of truth in this example.

First, we gather together the examples of Scripture that deals with the type of grace being examined, for the English word “grace” can mean a couple different, although related things. We are looking for examples of grace as the Christian condition in relation to God, where grace is unmerited favor and acceptance. In this context, we need to remember that a Christian's life is hid in Christ; that the Christian takes on Christ's righteousness, and not one's own righteousness. (Colossians 3:3; Matthew 6:33; Philippians 3:9)

John 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

[ If grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, then grace and truth did not come by Moses or the law]

Acts 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

Acts 14:3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

Acts 14:26And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.

Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Acts 15:40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

[ The gospel is about grace]

Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Romans 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

Romans 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Romans 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Romans 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

[For sin to have dominion, one must be under the law]

Romans 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Romans 15:15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,

1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

1 Corinthians 10:30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

2 Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

2 Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;

2 Corinthians 8:6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.

2 Corinthians 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

2 Corinthians 8:19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

2 Corinthians 9:14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

[Another gospel removes you from grace?]

Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,

Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

[Grace is related to righteousness and Christ's sacrifice]

Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

[Scripture shows we cannot be justified by the law, therefore is this a case of trying to be justified by the law? How do we define justified / justification? ]

Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

[Our acceptance is related to God's grace ]

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Ephesians 3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

Ephesians 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Philippians 1:7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.

Colossians 1:6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

2 Thessalonians 1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

[Grace is associated with faith and love]

2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

[Could this be those who reject the new covenant that was instituted by the spilled blood of Christ; rejecting God's grace for another, earlier covenant?]

Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

1 Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

1 Peter 5:12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

In those Scriptures where grace is the topic of discussion, we need to examine the context so as to avoid treating the text eisegetically.

Romans chapter 4
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: 20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. – Romans 4:1-25
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
What is Paul saying here? That if Abraham's justification (being upright before God) were based on his own efforts, he would have something to glory in, but even so, God would be unimpressed? Is Paul stating that what God wants isn't someone who is perfect when it comes to following orders? Is there something else that God is interested in?
3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Why was Abraham's righteousness before God a result of Abraham's belief / faith? Why did Abraham believe God? What was Abraham's motivation?
4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
What is this reward? In this context, it is about salvation. If salvation were achievable through “work” then grace would have nothing to do with it. One would receive salvation as payment for the work done according to the terms of the agreement. What agreement? Keeping the commandments perfectly, and this idea has its evidence in what is written in Matthew chapter 19 in regards to the wealthy young man who asked Jesus what he, personally, could do in order to have eternal life. What was established there was the fact that neither this man, or any man, will ever be so justified. It is impossible for a man, given the nature he is born with, to fulfill the requirements of that law that reflects the perfection found in, and required of, God.
When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. – Matthew 19:25-26
In this context then, grace is related to justification, not through work or the efforts of the individual, but through faith/belief in God who, as a result of faith, justifies even the “ungodly.” A righteousness is imputed to the believer, which elsewhere is shown to be Christ's righteousness imputed to the believer, whose life becomes hid in Christ.
6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
This then is the condition of one under grace; a condition where God imputes righteousness to us, and forgives our iniquities; covers our sins. There is one more aspect here that we tend to overlook: God will not impute sin to us. How often do you hear preachers/ministers make that declaration? If our lives are hidden in Christ, then wouldn't God have to impute sin to Christ in order to impute sin to us?
31Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. – Jeremiah 31:31-34
9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
These promises that were given to Abraham are not exclusive to those of the circumcision who later received the law. These promises, and righteousness through faith, predate that law. That law had nothing to do with righteousness through faith and these promises of inheritance. Indeed, if we attempt to claim those who are “of the law” are the sole heirs, faith is voided; vacated, and the promise becomes nothing, seeing as it can no longer be related to a promise. Why? Because the law produces wrath, and not righteousness. If the law were relevant, then these things; the promises; the righteousness by faith, cease to exist, having been supplanted by law where one has to keep the law perfectly in order to attain or acquire righteousness and salvation. Even Christ's sacrifice becomes an empty event. But if there is no law, there can be no sin. If there is no sin, there is no condemnation. If there is no condemnation. . .
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Victory over what? Death, sin, and the law.
16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Note how Paul switches between those of the circumcision and those of the law, showing that he is talking about the same people in this context. In contrast to these are those who are not of the circumcision, and also not of the law. Both categories have Abraham as their father in regards to faith and grace. The promise initially given to Abraham, is secure in this context outside the legalities of the law.
18Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: 20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. – Romans 4:1-25
Our faith and belief, results in our righteousness and justification – thereby coming under grace, is in regards to Jesus' sacrifice and His resurrection.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. – Romans 5:12-13
If there was sin in the world prior to that law (“the” law), and sin is not imputed without law, then there was another law extant from creation that Adam and Eve violated. We can identify the law of faith, seeing as Adam and Eve's sin was about faithlessness, and we also see a “law” of conscience, as brought out by Paul:
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. – Romans 2:14-16
14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. -- Romans 5:14

This is a time span where the law, given through Moses, did not exist. Yet sin was extant, and death reigned. Sin was not a case of everyone eating of that forbidden fruit. All sin eventually comes back to faithlessness and unbelief. Something happened to the human psyche upon their sin, and it became a part of the human condition. We are the offspring of Adam and Eve with this Adamic nature.
15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Paul contrasts Adam and Christ as being opposites in relation to humanity. Adam began the pattern whereby all came under condemnation. Jesus set the pattern for humanity to come under the gift of grace, resulting in justification. Each one's actions led to a totally opposite result.
20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 5:12-21
All the law did was cause the offenses to abound; to be greater in degree and severity. The law made sin “utterly sinful.” The law did not produce anything other than offenses. The law did not, and could not, produce righteousness. The law is on the opposite side of the justification/offense equation.

Romans 6:1-23
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Here and elsewhere, Paul addresses the claim made by his adversaries that he was espousing an antinomian position; a claim that Christians would sin with abandonment. It is a case of claiming the only thing preventing Christians from wholesale sin is a written code! What then of the Holy Spirit a Christian possesses? Is the Holy Spirit seen by those who claim Paul was antinomian as being of no effect?
5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Our “old man” is crucified with Christ. The Adamic nature is dead and buried; that nature that was subject to sin and law. The believer now lives a new life in Christ. The believer exists in a new state of being; a son of God whose life is tied to Christ's. In regards then to sin and Paul's observation, is sin seen as being a case of breaking a law that was added later, whose purpose was to make offenses abound? No, for there were requirements in that law that had nothing to do with lusts of one's mortal body. The Gentiles did not, through conscience, relate to things like the sabbath.

Also, the believer, having been rendered dead to sin and the law, is not left in some ethereal limbo state. The believer is in a state of grace. As a result of being in this state of grace, sin no longer has dominion. Grace has dominion. Death no longer has dominion; Grace has dominion. The law no longer has dominion; Grace has dominion.
15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
The rationalization a legalist resorts to is that, in order to not sin, one must keep the law. Never mind the believer is no longer under sin or the law. But the believer here obeys from the heart. If however one insists on keeping the law in order to not sin, there are two things that negate that thinking: 1. If you are obeying the law, then you become the servant of the law. You are no longer the servant of Christ. 2. You cannot obey the law anyway, perfectly, as required. Being the servant of righteousness is about living by faith, and not law.
19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:1-23
Legalists attempt to marry grace and law. We have examined all the relevant Scriptures and find no support for that concept. What we have found is the exact opposite. One is either under law, or under grace. One is either under the consequences of a failure to keep law, which is in sin, or one is under grace. One is either under a death penalty as a result of sin, as defined by law, or one is under grace.

One last issue to address: Legalists redefine what it means to be “under the law” in an attempt to claim Christians should be keeping the law. I would remind the reader that redefining words and terms is common method employed in deceptions.

This redefinition of what it means to be under the law is to claim it is in relation to the condemnation that normally results from the law. It is a claim we can and should keep the law, but that we do not, as a result of transgressing that law, come under the condemnation of that law. This is like saying if you are in an automobile wreck, you will walk away from it unscathed.

Do we have any Scriptural support of this claim? No. Is there any evidence to the contrary? Yes:
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. – Galatians 4:4-5
Jesus was made (born) of a woman, and made (born) under the law. If we define “under the law” to mean under the condemnation of the law, then we have a case of Jesus being born condemned from birth. Sounds more like a doctrine of demons.

When we apply critical thinking to this definition that we are not under the law's condemnation, but still obligated to keep that law, what happens then, according to those proponents of this concept, should be abandon law keeping? What happens to the one who quits keeping the sabbath, for example?

What is their answer? They revert back to the claim that to sin “willfully” is to commit the unpardonable and forfeit salvation. So there is condemnation with breaking that law after all. It is but another example of the double-speak; the cognitive dissonance inherent in false belief systems. What is of importance to us is the effect on our being under grace.
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. – Galatians 5:2-4
Circumcision brought one under the law and obligated to live by that law. It was a “covenant” law, therefore every requirement of that law had to be complied with and met. Failure to keep one point resulted in the entirety being violated. Even James attests to this:
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. – James 2:10
Being under the law means exactly what it says; being under, and therefore subject to that law.

I would attempt to impress on the legalist that the true “test” of your Christian character comes when you are confronted with a situation not covered in your never ending lists of “do this” and “don't do that” structured life. Awhile back it was popular for people to wear an arm bracelet with the initials, “WWJD” which stood for “What would Jesus do?” It was a way of trying to get people to think along the lines of the Spirit of faith and love. The legalist should wear a bracelet that says (WDTLS) instead as their guiding principle: “What does the law say?” Jesus worked on sabbaths, contrary to the letter of the law. You, the legalist, are in denial in this regard. You have been taught, and believed, that Jesus could not possibly have broken that law, for to do so is to sin, and He could not be the Savior of mankind as a result. It has been instilled into you as one of those immovable and immutable beliefs that blinds you to the reality of the True Christ and living by faith, under grace, apart from that law.

Jesus came as the Son of God and He lived a sinless life. How? By keeping that law? No. He lived a sinless life because He is God. It is His Nature to be righteous. It is our nature to be sinful.

I have an interesting analogy in this regard. When I was at Ambassador as a freshman, one of the many rules we had was that the male students were not permitted in the women's dorms without proper supervision. Yet I had a job on campus that required me to go into the women's dorms on a fairly regular basis and work unsupervised. When I mentioned this to my supervisor, he informed me, “we are not worried about you being in a women's dorm. We are concerned about these church kids going into the women's dorms.” After a bit more discussion over the matter, I understood the reasoning behind the rule and why I was “exempt” from it. They considered the church kids to be carnally minded when they show up as freshmen. I however did not come from a church family; I came from the outside and had a different perspective to begin with that was serious in nature. My motivation to be there was to learn what I believed to be God's way of life. These church kids were not necessarily there as a result of such a motivation. They knew from past experience who they could trust and not trust, and the average freshman coming from a church family was seen to have a more “carnal” nature. What is unfortunate in this regard is that they could not take this concept and apply it to their understanding of the law.

Who do you have to tell not to commit murder? Someone whose nature it is to hate another to the point they would murder. Who do you have to tell not to commit adultery? Someone who has a carnal nature that is prone to do so. Who do you have to tell not to worship idols and false gods? Someone who is likely to do so.

Works of the Law

There are those whose religion is all based on show. Jesus addressed this in regards to some Jews who would put on quite a show of their “devotion” through their actions.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. 5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. – Matthew 6:2-6
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. – Matthew 23:3-10
The sabbath is a point of bragging. It is an attempt to look righteous on the outside by observing the day. To sabbatarians, it is the true Christian distinctive. To them, those who do not keep the sabbath are the deceived and are false Christians (a negative judgment). Some of them go so far as to claim that if a “Christian” observes Sundays as a day of worship, they are worshiping the beast, and receive the mark of the beast as a result.

They point out with self-righteous indignation the practice of some churches that to call their religious leaders “father” violates the command of Christ, yet they too have “masters” over them in their churches who tell them what to do, and how to do it, while exempting themselves from even the sabbath commandment. Their members are put under the burden of tithing, contrary to the same law they claim cannot be altered even down to the strokes of the letters of the law. Such is the power of a deceptive system.


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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )

Acts 17:11

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