THE "GRACE" MYSTIQUE

THE GRACE MYSTIQUE

Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

At some point during the Church Era, perhaps during the Protestant Reformation, the conclusion was reached that Divine "grace" is a sovereign action of God in which human beings upon making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ become acceptable to God regardless of any change in their personality or behavior. Sometimes the concept of predestination and foreknowledge was added until salvation was understood to be a Divine intervention that set apart the individual as one whom God unilaterally has made a part of His Kingdom. When the person dies he or she is assured of eternal residence in Heaven.

This definition, which appears to be the foundation of modern Christian teaching, is almost totally incorrect. It is unscriptural and destructive. There is no growth in the image of Christ, in the Kingdom of God, when all we have is a sovereign grace that operates independently of our behavior, independently of the transformation of our personality, independently of the fruit of the Spirit.

THE "GRACE" MYSTIQUE

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, (Titus 2:11,12—NIV)

I have written much concerning the "grace" mystique (pronounced mis-TEEK). But it keeps appearing in many forms, provoking me to once again attempt to describe the enormous heresy that forms the foundation of Christian preaching and teaching.

At some point during the Church Era, perhaps during the Protestant Reformation, the conclusion was reached that Divine "grace" is a sovereign action of God in which human beings upon making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ become acceptable to God regardless of any change in their personality or behavior. Sometimes the concept of predestination and foreknowledge was added until salvation was understood to be a Divine intervention that set apart the individual as one whom God unilaterally has made a part of His Kingdom. When the person dies he or she is assured of eternal residence in Heaven.

This definition, which appears to be the foundation of modern Christian teaching, is almost totally incorrect. It is unscriptural and destructive. There is no growth in the image of Christ, in the Kingdom of God, when all we have is a sovereign grace that operates independently of our behavior, independently of the transformation of our personality, independently of the fruit of the Spirit.

The present-day Christian teaching of grace, of salvation by "faith" alone (it is not actually faith but mental assent to theology) is a destructive misunderstanding, and could have been invented by Satan himself.

As we think about the record of the Scriptures we can see the emphasis God has always placed (and always shall place) on righteousness, holiness, and obedience of personality and behavior. The stars of God that we have admired from our earliest knowledge of the Bible, such as Noah, Daniel, Abraham, and the Apostles of Jesus Christ, were righteous and holy men who were sternly obedient to God.

We would not pay attention to Paul’s writings, knowing they were not from God, if we knew Paul to be an adulterer, a liar, a murderer, a bitter gossiper and slanderer. We know within ourselves, from our conscience I guess, that God and His people are righteous and holy.

Would the Lord Jesus Christ be regarded as the Son of God if He were unrighteous and morally filthy? But we have been predestined to be in His image.

God has told us He requires that we practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with Himself.

Because the Law of Moses did not produce such behavior in multitudes of the Israelites, who forever were worshiping idols and trusting in the arm of flesh to save them, God gave a new covenant. The new covenant is the writing of the eternal law of God in the mind of the believer so he will comprehend the Person, will, and ways of God, and in his heart so he will love to serve God.

The New Testament is filled with exhortations to righteous, holy, obedient behavior.

The secular world understands that God is righteous. Worldly people will never believe the testimony of the Christians until they perform righteous works.

This has been true in the past. It is true in the present. The world will have nothing to do with the evangelist or pastor who is caught in immorality.

As for the future—we all hope to go to a new world where there is no sin of any kind whatever. We do not hope for a world of people who are being received of God on the basis of imputed righteousness, because in this case there would still be all the destructive social behaviors that are present today.

At some point in history, I do not know when, Christian theologians took a few verses from the writings of the Apostle Paul and constructed a grace that is purely the invention of the mind of man. This unscriptural grace departs completely from the past, present, and future realities. It departs completely from the Scriptures, Old Testament and New. It is so removed from the Bible and from the Kingdom of God as to be pure fantasy.

The new unscriptural grace has changed the new covenant into a salvation which is no salvation at all. Under the new, totally unscriptural grace, God has come to man and—if he will "accept Christ" (he does not even have to repent!)—declares him eternally free from condemnation regardless of any moral transformation.

A more horrid travesty of the Bible could not be imagined. Here are God’s worthies, such as Abraham and Daniel, being introduced to "saved Gentiles" who know nothing of the fiery God of Israel. They are worldly. They are bound with innumerable lusts and passions of flesh and soul. They have no intention of obeying God unless they think they can get something they want out of God.

Such people are not found in the Bible except as objects of Divine judgment.

Today there is little moral strength in the Christian churches. While there is an abundance of ministries and gifts that are operating, the Person, will, and ways of Almighty God cannot be seen in these lovers of themselves.

This is not all. Unlike the suffering saints of history, the spiritual infants are just about to be carried up to Heaven so they will not have to bear witness of the Lord when Antichrist appears. Rather they will be relaxing in their mansion, walking on the streets of gold, totally destroying Paradise by their self-centered, pleasure-loving behavior.

This is the Christian Church as defined by current teaching.

Our nation, the United States of America, is about to be visited by Divine judgment. The reason is, the Christian churches, because of the unscriptural teaching of grace, have not borne a witness strong enough to influence our government. The politicians respond to questionable polls, which in turn are influenced by the immorality and covetousness of the populace. This lack of integrity can be traced to the lack of character in the churches that have been destroyed by the Christian "grace" mystique.

What are we to do? We are to read again the New Testament, noticing that it does not support a grace that does not produce moral transformation.

The Law was given by Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. This scriptural statement reveals that the grace and truth that came through Jesus Christ take the place of the Law of Moses, not the place of righteous behavior. We have made grace an alternative to righteous behavior. Think of it! Divine grace, the intention of which is to produce righteous behavior, has become an alternative to righteous behavior. Can you think of anything more horrid than this?—more destructive of God’s intention?

We notice in the Book of Acts that whenever the forgiveness of sins was preached, repentance also was preached. Repentance is not merely sorrow, it is a change of behavior.

Today we are preaching forgiveness apart from thorough repentance. This change is deadly as to the impression it leaves concerning the nature of the Christian salvation.

The first recipients of the Gospel were Jews. They knew God demands righteousness. They understood that God had forgiven their sins through Jesus Christ but He expected that they would turn away from their sins and practice righteousness.

In fact, the members of the first church, who were all Jews, were keeping the Law of Moses. Paul wrote much in Romans and Galatians concerning the problem of attempting to mix the Law of Moses with the grace of Jesus Christ. Paul showed us that the new covenant is a better covenant and that the first covenant no longer is needed. God wants us to look up from the Law and place our faith in Christ in order to obtain God’s righteousness.

But we have made a terrible error. We Gentiles, not understanding that Paul was reasoning with Jews concerning the Law of Moses, think Paul meant we should cease behaving uprightly and just believe in Jesus. This error completely wipes out what God is seeking to accomplish.

We still have Christian ministers crying "faith alone," meaning whether we take up our cross and follow Jesus or continue to live according to the lusts of our flesh, we will go to Heaven if we believe in Jesus. Do they maintain that the Book of James is the Word of God? Did James say "faith without works is dead? Are they trying to be saved by a dead faith?

But back to the thought of repentance being preached in the Book of Acts.

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38—NIV)

Repent, then, and turn to God, so your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, (Acts 3:19—NIV)

First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. (Acts 26:20—NIV)

The idea that we can just "believe" without turning away from wickedness is unscriptural. As in the passage above, we have to prove our repentance by our deeds. We have to do works that show our genuine desire to please God.

Such preaching is largely absent today. The "grace" mystique is so deeply entrenched in Christian thinking that, unless the Holy Spirit does a sovereign work, it will be years before a dent is made in this error.

The "grace" mystique underlies most of our preaching! Apart from it the notion of the "pre-tribulation rapture" would fall apart, because the "rapture" error is based on the idea that the carnal church members of today are ready to be caught up to Heaven and stand in the Presence of God apart from moral transformation. (What a disaster that would be for God, for the saints in Heaven, and for the spiritual infants who suddenly appeared in Paradise!)

Today there are outstanding revivals (if this is what they are—I am not totally convinced because of some of the weird things that have taken place) that are stressing repentance. This is a scriptural emphasis, and hopefully there are numerous believers who have turned away from their alcohol and drugs, their marital infidelity, their gossip and slander, their unforgiveness, their witchcraft, their lying, their pornography, their profanity. Such repentance is an integral part of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But when they return to their home churches they will be taught they are saved by "grace," meaning they are forgiven continually even though they are living in the lusts of the flesh. Thus the good work that was done in the revival center is undone in a short time and the believers are back into their marital infidelity and pornography.

There will be no lasting revival in America or anywhere else until the false doctrine of the "state of grace," the dispensation of grace, has been perceived for the monstrous lie it is and the new covenant is understood to be a continuing moral transformation conducted by the Spirit of God.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3:18—NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (II Corinthians 5:17—NIV)

If the new covenant does not make a new moral character it is less profitable than the old, because the old covenant at least required righteous conduct. In spite of the claims to the contrary of modern Christian teaching, there were numerous righteous people under the old covenant, according to many verses in the Book of Psalms.

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalms 1:1,2—NIV)

To say there have been no righteous people in time past reflects an ignorance of the Bible. Noah was spared because God judged him to be righteous. Daniel was blessed because of his righteousness. Abraham became the father of all who believe because of his stern obedience to God.

Of course there is no human righteousness that is equal to that of Jesus Christ. Compared with Christ we all are sinners. But to say that it is useless to attempt to be righteous, or that the Holy Spirit cannot guide us in the ways of genuine righteousness, is to contradict the Scriptures and to follow the vain Christian traditions.

I think God has permitted the overemphasis on imputed righteousness to continue because He was not ready to visit His churches to the extent He is today. We know from Matthew that there will come a time when all that offends God is removed from His Kingdom. I believe the time is now.

The Holy Spirit is approaching us and pointing out to us our sins. When we become aware of a sin in our life we are to confess it as sin, not as merely a psychological problem. The Bible is about sin and righteousness, not psychological problems and emotional health, as valuable as psychological assistance can be at times.

When a sin comes to our attention, whether it is in the realm of the love of the world, or the lust and passions of our flesh, or our self-will and stubbornness, we are to confess the attitude and behavior as sin. We are to confess it plainly, denounce it, renounce it, and pray until we can turn away from it. When we do this God is faithful and righteous to forgive our sin and then, either immediately or over a period of time, cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We need to think of grace as the power of God in motion. Grace in its ultimate sense is the Presence of God in Jesus Christ that has come to mankind in order to forgive our sins and then break the bondage of our sins.

First we are forgiven. Then comes the issue of the Kingdom of God. There is no sin in the Kingdom of God. We enter the Kingdom of God as Satan is driven from us.

But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you. (Luke 11:20—NIV)

God forgives us. Then the Holy Spirit sets about to bring us into God’s Kingdom, into the realm where God’s will is done in the earth as it is in Heaven. The churches are filled with every conceivable work of the flesh. But there are no works of the flesh in the Kingdom of God. This fact reveals clearly that there is a critical difference between being in a Christian church and being in the Kingdom of God.

Because of the excesses of Christian theology we sometimes say that once we are saved we never can be lost. We mean by this that once we make a correct profession concerning Jesus Christ we will go to Heaven when we die no matter how we live in the meantime.

But the Apostle Paul never held out residence in Heaven as the goal of salvation. Paul always pointed toward the Kingdom of God. And Paul told us in his epistles that if we live in the passions of the sinful nature we will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Did you ever hear this preached straight and true, just as Paul wrote it? Probably not. That ought to tell you that our Christian preaching is biased in favor of the "grace" mystique.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; Idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21—NIV)

Our faulty doctrine of salvation is based in part on our misunderstanding of Paul’s teaching of grace, in part on our adoption of residence in Heaven, rather than a transformed life, as being the goal of redemption.

But let us think for a moment about what salvation is.

Salvation is our change from the image and ways of Satan to the image and ways of God. Satan is the sponsor of the present world spirit. God through Christ removes the love for the world spirit from us, if we ask Him to. Then we absolutely must cooperate with the Holy Spirit when the process of deliverance from the world is taking place in our life. We have to obey the Lord!

God through Christ is ready to give us victory over the lusts and passions of our flesh and spirit. The immorality and covetousness that drive us are the image and way of Satan. They have no place in the Kingdom of God. Salvation removes these chains from us.

God through Christ has the power to burn our self-will out of us. He does this by permitting Satan to confine us in various kinds of prisons. We are compelled to go for years in situations that do not please us. Our most fervent desires are denied us. We have to die to our self-will and self-seeking. Satan’s original sin was to promote himself apart from the blessing of God. We must be saved from self-will and self-seeking.

Since the above is true, how then can we claim we are saved even though we still are disobeying God? This is to say we have been delivered even though we still are bound. What do we mean by saying we are "saved" when we still are knowingly practicing sin? Saved from what?

We ought to say we are carrying our cross behind Jesus and He is giving us victory each day over the sins that trouble us. It is perfectly scriptural to say we have been saved but we have not been made perfect as yet. But to say we are saved for eternity even though we are not gaining the victory over sin is not scriptural. It is a terrible delusion. The rewards go to the victorious saints, not to the losers.

The salvation that is from God through Jesus Christ contains all the wisdom and power necessary to deliver us totally from worldliness, lust, and self-will. Our part is to confess our sins to God and to obey the Holy Spirit as He conforms us to the moral image of Jesus Christ.

This is what salvation is. It has little to do with going to Heaven. We are changed so we can live with God as His children. There can be no Heaven, no Paradise in our future, as long as we ourselves are unchanged.

How long will it be before the Christian churches change from pointing toward Heaven as the goal of redemption, which is not scriptural, to emphasizing change into the image of Christ as the goal of redemption, which is entirely scriptural?

But why are we changed into the image of Christ? So we can go to Heaven? Of course not. Sin began in Heaven around the Throne of God and then passed down into Paradise on the earth. So the problem is sin, not location.

Why are we changed into the image of Christ? So we can be pleasing to God.

But aren’t we pleasing to God when we are righteous by imputation? Yes, and no. When we first receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior we are declared righteous by imputation. But this is not the desired state. The Kingdom of God is not in imputed righteousness but in actual righteousness of personality and behavior. The Apostle Paul made this clear in his writings.

The idea is that we can approach God through imputed righteousness so we can embark on the program of transformation. When we do not follow the Holy Spirit in the program of moral transformation, we have made the initial imputation of no effect. It has been aborted.

Do we honestly believe God has turned away from requiring that we practice righteousness, mercy, and humility, and accepts us now because we believe in Jesus Christ? The demons believe Christ is the Holy One of God but it does not profit them. The spirit of python knew well that Paul was preaching the way of salvation, but its knowledge did not profit this spirit of divination.

Belief in Jesus Christ is absolutely useless, and perhaps worse than useless, if we attempt to use such belief as a substitute for a transformed life.

Recently we learned that the Serbian Orthodox prelates are blessing the murderers and rapists who are terrorizing the people of Kosovo. Now you tell me, what does this say about the benefit of belonging to such a church?

A Christian having a cross pinned to his jacket was working to relieve the suffering of the refugees from Kosovo. One of the refugees, a Muslim, pointed to the cross and said: "You are the people who are murdering us."

The actions of the Orthodox prelates are the testimony given by Christian people who are not morally transformed. It would be better if they were not a part of the Christian religion because they portray the person of Satan rather than the Person of Jesus Christ. It would be well if the Irish Protestants and Catholics distanced themselves from Jesus Christ until they quit murdering each other.

How long will it be before we define salvation as moral transformation rather than a movement from earth to Heaven? How long will our Christianity be a dead religion rather than a moment by moment interaction with the living Christ?

The "grace" mystique. Grace is presented as bubble in which the believer lives. God cannot see him except through the blood of Christ. There is no scriptural basis for the teaching that God sees us through the blood of Christ.

We are "saved" by a sovereign intervention of God unrelated to our behavior. We live in this bubble. We die in this bubble. We pass into the spirit realm in this bubble. God does not see us. He receives us by "grace," meaning He has forgiven us everything we have done, are doing, and yet will do. We are as Alice in Wonderland; as Dorothy in Oz.

There is no new creation. There is no transformation. There is no image of Christ. Everything is by imputation. There is no actual righteous kingdom, only a vision in God’s mind.

What madness and folly this is! Yet it has such a grip on Christian thinking that it may never be removed.

The truth is, the kingdom of Satan is a real kingdom consisting of real people who reveal in themselves the works of Satan.

Are we going to combat the kingdom of Satan with a fantasy kingdom consisting of a vision in God’s mind, a kingdom in which the people show in themselves the works of Satan? This is the Kingdom of God?

There is no such thing as a "state of grace." It is not scriptural.

The Kingdom of God does not regard the liar as a new creation by imputation. The Kingdom of God changes the liar into a truth teller.

The Kingdom of God does not regard the gossiper as a new creation by imputation. The Kingdom of God changes the gossiper into someone who intercedes for the saints.

The Kingdom of God changes us. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

The Kingdom of God is not imputed righteousness, it is actual righteousness of personality and behavior.

The Kingdom of God is not imputed peace, it is actual peace in difficult circumstances.

The Kingdom of God is not imputed joy, it is actual joy in the human personality. Let us drive the sword of the Word of God into this abstract grace, this destroyer of the Kingdom of God. Let us reveal it for what it is—a fantasy that has been arrived at as scholars have taken a few verses out of context and then used them as axioms from which the deadly doctrine of the "state of grace," the unscriptural "dispensation of grace," has been deduced.

The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world that you and I might be delivered from Satan. We learn from the Spirit of grace to behave righteously, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. When we sin we are to confess our sin to God. God then forgives our sin and by one means or another drives the compulsion from us, giving us the upper hand over it.

Let us be real people in a real world practicing real righteousness. Away with this definition of grace as an unconditional amnesty. Sometimes "grace" is employed in the New Testament to mean forgiveness, but often it is used to refer to the Presence of God that enables us to minister or do whatever else God desires we do.

Paul was given a dispensation of grace whereby he was able to minister. Paul did not preach a dispensation of grace. Rather Paul was given Divine grace by means of which he was able to proclaim the blood atonement and the triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

It is time now for the Lord to come to us and enter our personality. He is the Lord of Hosts, ready to declare war on the worldliness, lust, and self-will resident in us. It is the grace of God that declares war on sin and conquers sin.

We are to press forward in Him. The goal is a Church without blemish of any kind. This shall be accomplished in the days to come, in the midst of the age of moral horrors that is at hand.

Our enemies shall abound. The Lord shall set a table before us in the very presence of our enemies if we will lay down our life in His Name and permit Him to sit on the throne of our personality. This table is the true grace of God.

What marvelous things lie before us! Israel stands at the Jordan, so to speak, ready to cross over into the land of promise, the rest of God. Our inheritance is God Himself, and then the saved nations of the earth.

Let us pray to God that this monumental error of Christian teaching will be removed from our minds and hearts so we will be aware of the consequences of our behavior, coming to realize that by the choices we are making today we are affecting the state in which we shall be raised from the dead.

We are going to reap what we are sowing. If we follow the Spirit of God, living in the Spirit, we shall reap eternal life when the Lord comes. But if we choose instead to live in the lusts and passions of our flesh and spirit, we shall reap corruption in the day of resurrection. There will be no glorious new body for us if we have not first been transformed morally.

This is what Paul taught by the Spirit of God. This is the true Kingdom of God and eternal life. This is the true grace of God.

The impotent, unscriptural delusion of the "state of grace" must be driven from our thinking. The real Lord Jesus must come and help us so the graveclothes of sin are removed from us by the power of the Spirit and we are released into the kind of person God wants us to be and we want to be.

"Grace" is God in Christ forgiving man and enabling him to be transformed in personality until he meets God’s standard concerning the personality and behavior of man.

The Apostle Paul taught grace as the Divine alternative to the Law of Moses, not as the Divine alternative to moral transformation, to the new creation of righteous behavior..

Divine grace, as it currently is perceived, eases or removes God’s requirement that man be made in God’s image in spirit, soul, and body.

Divine grace, as it currently is perceived, is a substitute for moral growth

Divine grace, as it currently is perceived, permits Christians to continue in sin without serious consequences.

Divine grace, as it currently is perceived, removes the fervency required for the life of victorious living in Christ. It fosters the life of defeated living.

Divine grace, as it currently is perceived, prevents a balanced interpretation of the New Testament, and removes the proper role of the Old Testament as a forerunner of the New.

Divine grace, as it currently is perceived, provides a basis for the current errors, such as the "pre-tribulation rapture" of the believers in Christ, and the prosperity deception.

Divine grace, as it currently is perceived, is the supreme delusion.