The Daily Word of Righteousness

The Perversion of Grace, #3

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Corinthians 5:17)

God placed man in the midst of Paradise on the earth. It is God's intention to redeem fallen man, to restore man, now transformed through Christ, to Paradise on the earth.

Man has invented a plan whereby he receives Christ, has his sins forgiven, and then goes to Paradise in the spirit realm. The motive behind the invention is to be able to avoid the painful transition from the bondages of lust and self-will to actual righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. By inventing a gospel of forgiveness that brings us to Heaven we have managed to avoid a radical change in our personality—a radical change that is necessary if we are to be able to hold Paradise once we gain it.

Most of the Apostle Paul's writings have to do with actual righteousness, while a lesser part of his writings explain imputed (ascribed) righteousness. But we have seized on ascribed righteousness and have made it the only righteousness of the Christian redemption. It is our fleshly desires and love of self that prevent us from perceiving the stress of the Apostle on godly behavior.

Neither the Book of Acts nor the Epistles emphasizes ascribed righteousness, except when Paul is reasoning with the Jews. The exhortations directed toward the Gentiles concern godly living. Paul declared in several instances that the believer who continues in the lusts of the flesh will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [immorality], Idolatry, sorcery, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

The grace of God in Christ takes the place of the Law of Moses and its statutes. The grace of God does not, however, take the place of godly behavior, the kind of behavior that always has been and always will be required of God's creatures. There never can be an alternative to the eternal moral law of God, of which the Law of Moses is an abridged, covenantal form.

God is holy, and man, who is made in the image of God, must be holy.

It always is a sin to commit adultery. It always is a sin to worship gods other than the Lord. The grace of God in Christ does not do away with the moral law. Rather, the grace of God in Christ establishes, upholds, the moral law (Romans 3:31).

The grace of God does not uphold the aspects peculiar to the covenant of the Law of Moses, such as circumcision or refraining from work on the seventh day of the week, except in their fuller, eternal expression. Rather, the grace of God greatly increases and establishes for eternity the moral law, the holiness and righteousness of God, of which the Mosaic ordinances were a limited expression.

Satan and man's self-love have perverted the truth announced by Paul. The perversion of the concept of Divine grace into an escape to Heaven on the basis of a statement of belief in certain facts of theology, is no small misunderstanding of theology. It has destroyed the purpose of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

To be continued.