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Are you confused about what God requires?

Are you fearful you haven't been faithful enough? Haven't done enough?

If you are professing or "out" and living in fear, read on:


EPHESIANS 2:8,9 - "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

May 1999
A post to The List:

I've just felt prompted again to bring up the topic of GRACE.

A few years ago I learned that a worker was criticizing Salvation by Grace
[EPH 2:8,9] which basically states that we donít have to work to earn our
salvation, rather, our Salvation is a FREE GIFT from God.  To support his
criticism the worker said: "Iíve never heard of a job yet where you didnít
have to do a little work." 

Do YOU believe you are saved because of Godís Grace?  Do you believe
that your sin has been taken care of by Christís death on the Cross?  Do you
believe there is NOTHING you can do to save yourself?  Or, do you believe
that your salvation depends on your following a certain behavior, certain
rules, attending a certain church?

Grace is not an easy concept for the friends and workers in the "Truth."  

We often mention GRACE here on the List.  Most here likely understand 
it, accept it and value it immensely. But perhaps there are some on the List 
who really donít understand what Grace is all about.

Iíve recommended THE GRACE AWAKENING by Charles Swindoll to 
many exiting the "Truth."  In my humble opinion it is necessary reading for 
all of us who have been in the Way.    Please note that Charles Swindoll has 
likely never even heard of our fellowship "The Truth" or the Two-By-Twos
but he certainly has an understanding of what a doctrine without Godís 
Grace produces.

The following quotations can be found in Dr. Swindollís book.  I trust 
these quotations will give you an understanding of Godís Grace.  If you 
havenít already read THE GRACE AWAKENING I hope that you will."


by Charles Swindoll

There are killers on the loose today.  . . .A lot of them carry Bibles and
appear to be clean-living, nice-looking, law-abiding citizens. . . They kill
freedom, spontaneity, and creativity; they kill joy as well as productivity.
They kill with their words and their pens and their looks.  They kill with
their attitudes far more often than with their behavior. . . . Their intolerance 
is tolerated.  Their judgmental spirits remain unjudged.  Their bullying 
tactics continue unchecked.  And their narrow-mindedness is either 
explained away or quickly defended.  The bondage that results would
be criminal were it not so subtle and wrapped in such spiritual-sounding garb.

Millions are living their lives in shame, fear, and intimidation who should
be free, productive individuals.  The tragedy is they think it is the way
they should be.  They have never known the truth that could set them free.
Most donít know what they are missing.

That whole package, in a word, is *grace.*  Thatís what is being assaulted
so continually, so violently.

To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesnít deserve
it and can never earn it.  Receiving Godís acceptance by grace always stands
in sharp contrast to earning it on the basis of works. Every time the thought
of grace appears, there is the idea of its being undeserved.  In no way is
the recipient getting what he or she deserves.  Favor is being extended
simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver.

I vividly remember my last spanking. It was on my thirteenth birthday, as a
matter of fact.  Having just broken into the sophisticated ranks of  the
teen world I thought I was something on a stick.  My father wasnít nearly
as impressed as I was with my great importance and  new-found independence.  
I was lying on my bed.  He was outside the window on a muggy October 
afternoon in Houston, weeding the garden.  He said, "Charles, come out and 
help me weed the garden."  I said something like: "No . . . itís my birthday,
remember?"  My tone was sassy and my deliberate lack of respect was
eloquent.  I knew better than to disobey my dad; but, after all, I was the
ripe old age of thirteen.  He set a new 100-meter record that autumn
afternoon.  He was in the house and all over me like white on rice, spanking
me all the way out to the garden.  As I recall, I weeded until the moonlight
was shining on the pansies.

That same night he took me out to a surprise dinner. He gave me what I
deserved earlier.  Later he gave me what I did not deserve.  The birthday
dinner was grace. He condescended in favor upon this rebellious young man.
That evening I enjoyed what a proper theologian named Benjamin Warfield
called "free sovereign favor to the ill-deserving."  I enjoyed grace.

One more thing should be emphasized about grace:  It is absolutely and
totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back.  You couldnít even if
you tried.  Most of us have trouble with that thought, because we work for
everything we get.  As the old saying goes, "There ainít no free lunch."
But in this case, grace comes to us free and clear, no strings attached.  We
should not even try to repay it; to do so is insulting.

Imagine coming to a friendís house who has invited you over to enjoy a 
meal.  You finish the delicious meal and then listen to some fine music and 
visit for a while.  Finally, you stand up and get your coat as you prepare to
leave.  But before you leave you reach into your pocket and say, "Now, 
how much do I owe you?"  What an insult! You donít do that with someone 
who has graciously given you a meal.  Isnít it strange, though, how this 
world is running over with people who think thereís something they must 
do to pay God back?  Somehow they are hoping God will smile on them 
if they work real hard and earn His acceptance; but thatís an acceptance on 
the basis of works. Thatís not the way it is with grace.

And now that Christ has come and died and thereby satisfied the Fatherís
demands on sin, all we need to do is claim His grace by accepting the free
gift of eternal life.  Period.  He smiles on us because of His Sonís death
and resurrection.  Itís grace, my friend, amazing grace.  

What is HERESY?

Instead of striving for a manmade ticket to heaven based on high 
achievement and hard work (for which *we* get all the credit), I suggest
we openly declare our own spiritual bankruptcy and accept Godís free gift 
of grace. "Why?" you ask. "Why not emphasize how much I do for God 
instead of what He does for me?" Because that is heresy, plain and simple.  
How?  By exalting my own effort and striving for my own accomplishments, 
I insult His grace and steal the credit that belongs to Him alone.

Most people I know look forward to payday.  You do too, right?  For a 
week, or perhaps a two-week period, you give time and effort to your job.  
When payday arrives, you receive a hard-earned, well-deserved paycheck.  
I have never met anyone who bows and scrapes before his boss, saying,
"Thank you. Oh, thank you for this wonderful, undeserved gift.  How can 
I possibly thank you enough for my paycheck?"  If we did, he would
probably faint.  Certainly, he would think "What is wrong with this guy?"  
Why?  Because your paycheck is not a gift.  Youíve earned it.  You 
deserve it.  Cash it! Spend it! Save it! Invest it! Give it! After all, you had 
it coming.  In the work place, where wages are negotiated and agreed 
upon, there is no such thing as grace. We earn what we receive; we work
for it.  The wage "is not reckoned as a favor but as what is due."

But with God the economy is altogether different.  There is no wage
relationship with God.  Spiritually speaking, you and I havenít earned
anything but death.  Like it or not, we are absolutely bankrupt, without
eternal hope, without spiritual merit; we have nothing in ourselves that
gives us favor in the eyes of our holy and righteous heavenly Father.  So
thereís nothing we can earn that would cause Him to raise His eyebrows 
and say "Um, now maybe you deserve eternal life with Me."  No way. In
fact, the individual whose track record is morally pure has no better
chance at earning Godís favor than the individual who has made a wreck 
and waste of his life and is currently living in unrestrained disobedience.  
Everyone who hopes to be eternally justified must come to God the same
way: on the basis of grace; it is a gift. And that gift comes to us absolutely
free.  Any other view of salvation is heresy, plain and simple.

Letís imagine you have a six-year-old son whom you love dearly.  
Tragically, one day you discover that your son was horribly murdered.  
After a lengthy search the investigator of the crime finds the killer.   You 
have a choice. If you used every means in your power to kill the murderer 
for his crime, that would be VENGEANCE.  If, however, youíre content 
to sit back and let the legal authorities take over and execute on him what
is properóa fair trial, a plea of guilty, capital punishmentóthat is JUSTICE.  
But if you should plead for the pardon of the murderer, forgive him completely, 
invite him into your home and adopt him a your own son, that is GRACE.

Now do you see why grace is so hard to grasp and to accept?  Very few
people (if any) who are reading this page right now would happily and readily
do that. But God does it EVERY DAY. He takes the guilty, believing
sinner who says, "I am lost, unworthy, guilty as charged, and undeserving 
of forgiveness," and extends the gift of eternal life because Christís death
on the cross satisfied His demand against sin, namely death.  And God sees
the guilty sinner (who comes by faith alone) as righteous as His own Son. 
In fact, He even invites us to come home with Him as He adopts us into His
forever family.  Instead of treating us with vengeance or executing justice,
God extends grace.

Grace is Godís universal good news of salvation.  The tragedy is that some
continue to live lives in a deathlike bog because they have been so turned
off by a message that is full of restrictions, demands, negativism, and
legalism.  You may have been one of those held in bondage, victimized by 
a system that has stolen your joy and snuffed out your hope.  If so, I have
some wonderful news.  Youíve gotten very close to the border. Thereís a 
flag flying.  And on that flag is a cross.  And if you come into this camp of
grace beneath the cross, youíll never have to be in that awful bog again.
You will be free. . .free at last.

What is LEGALISM? - an attitude, a mentality based on pride.  It is an
obsessive conformity to an artificial stand for the purpose of exalting
oneself.  A legalist assumes the place of authority and pushes it to
unwarranted extremes. . .  legalism says, "I do this or  donít do that, and
therefore I am pleasing God." Or "If only I could do this or not do that, I
would be pleasing to God." Or perhaps, "These things that Iím doing or 
not doing are the things I perform to win Godís favor."  They arenít 
spelled out in Scripture, you understand.  Theyíve been passed down or 
they have been dictated to the legalist and have become an obsession to 
him or her.  Legalism is rigid, grim, exacting, and law-like in nature.  Pride,
which is at the heart of legalism, works in sync with other motivating 
factors.  Like guilt. And fear. And shame. It leads to an emphasis on what 
should NOT be, and what one should NOT do.  It flourishes in a drab context 
of negativism.

Legalists were twisting truth among the Galatian assembly.  They were
disturbing others and distorting the truth as they spread doctrinal heresy.
Their heretical message was that the Galatian Christians should let Moses
finish what Christ began.  In other words, salvation is not by faith alone .
. . it requires works.  Human achievement must accompany sincere faith
before you can be certain of your salvation.  We continue to hear that
"different gospel" to this day and IT IS A LIE.  A theology that rests its
salvation on one ounce of human performance is not good news, it is bad
information.  It is heresy.  It is antithetical to the true message that led
the spark to the Reformation: SOLA FIDEófaith alone.

Most every cult you could name is a cult of salvation by works.  It 
appeals to the flesh.  It tells you, if you will stand so long on a street 
corner, if you will distribute so much literature, if you will sacrifice so 
much of life, if you will be baptized, if you will contribute your money, if 
you will pray or attend numerous meetings, then your good works and 
hard effort will cause God to smile on you.  Ultimately, when the good is
weighted against the bad on the Day of Judgment, you will finally earn
His favor.  The result in that, I say again, is manís glory, because  you 
added to your salvation.

Grace says you have nothing to give, nothing to earn, nothing to pay. 
You couldnít if you tired!  . . .Salvation is a free gift.  You simply lay 
hold of what Christ has provided. Period.  And yet the heretical doctrine
of works goes on all around the world and always will.  It is effective 
because the pride of men and women is so strong.  We simply *have to do* 
something in order to feel right about it.  It just doesnít make good 
humanistic sense to get something valuable for nothing.

Please allow me to be absolutely straight with you:  Stop tolerating the
heretical gospel of works! It is legalism.  Wake up to the fact that it will
put you into a bondage syndrome that wonít end.  The true gospel of 
grace, however, well set you free.  Free forever. 

Eternal life is a gift from God.  You can do nothing to earn it.  Jesus
Christ gave His life for you, and by dying purchased a place for you in
heaven.  You receive the gift of eternal life by faith.  No church or
fellowship of people will get you into heaven.  The Way is Jesus Christ, not
a group of people trying hard.                   ~~~~

I have seen some genuine legalism in my day. It's a kind of ecclesiastical
brutality which forces everybody to live by a certain code. Those who don't
demonstrate their salvation by obeying the entire Mosaic law, plus a few
others, are considered "worldly," and therefore hell-bound. Legalism holds 
God's grace hostage to the law. It dangles people over the pit of hell even 
as they desperately try to earn God's favor through right behavior. It's awful. 
And it's heretical.                                      ~~~~

Legalism is a religious system that teaches that a person can do something 
to earn or merit salvation or blessing from God.  While it is not legalism
to have high standards, it is legalism to try to impose those standards
on others as a system of spirituality.         ~~~~

The word "grace" is used in the Bible to refer to all that God is free to do
for mankind because of the Work that has already been performed for us by
the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. Grace means that man has received from
God that which he has not earned or deserved. Nothing that we are, and
nothing that we can do, is enough to qualify us for anything that the Lord
has to give us. In fact, our works cause us to be arrogant in the presence
of God, something He will not tolerate.   ~~~~

A mature Christian who has been in a legalistic religion can spot legalism a 
mile off.                                       ~~~~

Legalism is one of the greatest robbers of Christian benefits; it robs people
of their understanding of the Word of God and all of the benefits of the 
Grace life.                                   ~~~~

But Christ took the curse of the law upon Himself when He hung on the 
cross.  He did this so we wouldn't have to bear our own punishment.  The 
only condition is that we accept Christ's death on our behalf as the means to be
saved.                                                      ~~~~

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not
entangled again with the yoke of bondage."   Gal 5:1

In sharp contrast to the above, here is what was spoken by a worker from the platform at convention:

Convention, JUNE 1999:

When Jesus was falsely accused, He said nothing. THIS IS GRACE.

When we see an error in our brother, and we pray for him and keep
silent, THIS IS GRACE.

When we are misunderstood, and we do not seek to justify ourselves or
try to explain, THIS IS GRACE.

If we suffer quietly with Jesus, we will reign with Him. THIS IS GRACE.

When criticized for being too righteous by someone whose spirit is
sour, and we remain silent, THIS IS GRACE.

When David was accused, he meditated on God's work. THIS IS GRACE.

When weary of bearing burdens, and we do not murmur or complain, THIS

When we pardon without bitterness, often for something we did not do,

When misunderstood, GRACE keeps us from fainting. 

When God helps us to forget without harboring malice, THIS IS GRACE.

GRACE is tied to Mercy; a savor of Endurance, Patience, Faith.

When as a result of God's favor upon us, we can face the difficult,
bear the cross, take injustices quietly, THIS IS GRACE.

When we feel coldness from our brothers, yet we remain warm to them
with God's love, THIS IS GRACE.

GRACE is one of the greatest marks of Jesus, and one of the hardest to
acquire. It is so contrary to human nature.

MORE THAN ANYTHING THIS WEB SITE IS HERE TO HELP SHARE THE MESSAGE OF GOD'S WONDERFUL GRACE ! We can not earn it, we can only accept it. We can never be 'good enough' to win God's favor or earn our place in heaven.

To read more about God's Grace click here ...****
Read what Anna had to say once she understood God's Grace. Click here ....****
Read why Legalism is the opposite of Grace. Click here ...****
And what about HYPOCRISY? ....Click here****
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