I clearly remember when a youngster brought us the understanding of grace some 5 years ago, and oh man! I accused him of having a demon; and felt such fear and terror that I would be responsible for causing people to go out and sin their butts off, (myself included)! Lucky for me I have a husband who already had enough discernment to realize that something about the way our relationship with God was going was in some way hindered by what we were hearing in a normal church setting; and Jesus totally used him to calm my nerves and together we searched these things out in the bible.
Verses like God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not counting men’s sins against them…For He made Him who knew no sin to BE sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God, (II Cor. 5:19,21), came alive to me and made me feel like I had been born again all over! The fact that there really is no condemnation for those who are in Christ became my reality, and the grace and love I experienced was amazing. I was so excited to discover that my Father was not ready to cast me out of the kingdom every time I blew it was very liberating; and of course I was eager to share it with those brothers and sisters who claimed the name of Christ! I truly understood the love of God was what I had been searching for my whole life the day I got saved; yet this was the icing on my spiritual cake I so desperately needed as well. To understand that it was His grace all along that was changing me from the inside out, and teaching me to deny ungodliness rather than my feeble attempts to be a good little christian fell by the wayside; and He filled me with that hope I had read about so many times, but never could quite get a hold of.
The sad part about this wonderful experience is that those who do proclaim the name of Christ are still stuck in that place I was in the beginning. Being responsible for people’s sin is a huge part of modern day theological teaching, which I completely understand it, as I was there. That is how I came to the conclusion that many people are afraid of teaching grace as it shared in the bible by brother Paul, yet grace and truth came through Jesus Christ! But what does that mean? Wouldn’t Paul, having been taught the gospel by Christ Himself out in the desert be able to say with confidence that His grace truly is enough? It’s funny how some people I have tried to speak to about it have come at me with the same statement that was made to brother Paul in Romans 6: Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Fully understanding grace can be scary at first, however, it can also freeing! Some folks may take advantage of it for a time and some may not! I personally found out the hard way, that when Paul said where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more, it was true! I would never encourage anyone to do that; however, whatever it takes to discover this amazing grace, so be it. It is important for me to clarify that when I am speaking of sin, I am not necessarily just referring to behavior, but at the same time my behavior was not consistent with my faith, and anything that is not of faith is sin. Our full discovery of grace brought a lot of heartache with it as far as unity with the brethren goes, and I have discovered that many a saint has suffered the same result. Not making excuses, but this is some of the reason I pushed grace to it’s limits; only to find out it really doesn’t have any! My husband and I are willing to talk it through with you if you need us! Prayerfully the brothers and sisters can pull together and help each other through what can be a long and painful process of having to unlearn all the bogus teaching they have endured for so long!
The Jews were given and interesting statement in the book of Hebrews that many have used and misinterpreted to scare the heck out of the saints; but once you really understand grace and what the sin is the writer was referring to, you will be able to see that there is nothing to fear in grace, but you can insult it. Even then, there is no condemnation if you are in Christ; hopefully just relief that you now understand what is being taught.
This scripture actually addresses the law the Jews had, and urging them to let it and the sacrifices go because the true object of faith had come. And since they were a special people to our Father that had many years of history with Him, they would be used to His straight forward approach with them through the writer of this epistle.
Let’s take a look at this very popular scripture and hopefully get some peace out of it together:
Hebrews 10:26-29: For if we sin willfully after we have received THE KNOWLEDGE OF TRUTH, there no longer remains a SACRIFICE FOR SINS, but a CERTAIN FEARFUL EXPECTATION of judgement, and a fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who rejected MOSES’ LAW dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. OF HOW MUCH WORSE PUNISHMENT, DO YOU SUPPOSE, WILL HE BE THOUGHT WORTHY WHO HAS TRAMPLED THE SON OF GOD UNDERFOOT, COUNTED THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT BY WHICH HE WAS SANCTIFIED A COMMON THING, AND INSULTED THE SPIRIT OF GRACE?
Now reading this scripture at face value, and some having a subconscious motive to keeping people in line, they can appear to be very scary. This is some of the reason that I strongly urge the saints to read the whole book in it’s entirety, always keeping in mind who the writer is talking to. Putting into perspective the sin he is discussing has nothing to do with smoking cigarettes, committing adultery, lying, etc. I mean looking at the verse, it should be obvious that it has to do with being made aware of the knowledge of truth, and rejecting it. How can you know if you are sinning willfully then? Because you have a fearful view of your Father. It does take honesty to admit this and to face up to it. The last thing our Father wants is for us to stay in a perpetual state of fear. There is no love in that! In fact 1 John tells us there is no fear in love, and those who do fear have not been perfected in love. Oops I am getting sidetracked, so let me get back to the verse. The writer is strongly encouraging the Jews to let go of that worthless law and sacrifices that could never take away sin, and enter into the New Covenant that Jesus brought in through HIS blood. Just as a person speaks differently to there children or other family members because of the familiarity they have, so the writer speaks to his brethren in such a manner. I don’t mean to be repetitive, however, I find it beneficial to try and pull folks into the reality of this book, that real people were reading when it came to them; so please forgive me if I tend to repeat myself.
Now what is my point in sharing this story you may be asking? My point is this: Just as the gospel was messed up way back in Martin Luther’s day, and heck, even some 50 years after the death of Christ, the gospel needs a redressing once again. It is time for pastors and teachers to go back into the main message of the bible and find out what it was really saying to those who were addressed in it. Jesus Himself gave us a hint when He was speaking to the guys on the road to Emmaus:
“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in ALL the scriptures things concerning Himself.
So there is no need to be afraid of grace. Since I have come to a fuller understanding of it by studying the scripture and trying to out sin it, it has brought me to a place of rest that is also mentioned in the book of Hebrews! Grace AND truth came through Jesus Christ, and if we want to be afraid of something, which I pray we don’t, let us be afraid of counting the precious blood of Christ a common thing with our sacrificial confessing and law keeping, rather than resting in the finished work of Christ, and letting His grace teach us to be an extension of Him living through us. Otherwise, we are just walking by the flesh and not the spirit! Hmmmmm! That is a good topic for next time!
Just to be clear, do I think behavior matters? Of course I do! But no manner of fear tactics, nor threats with loss of salvation or hell have caused me to be a different person! It has been nothing but the love and grace of a Father who adores me, and teaches me from the inside out that exacts change in my life and thoughts. Renewing my mind through love, patience, kindness and all those things written about Him in I Cor. 13 is what brings about the fruit of His spirit IN me and through me; not my little train that could attitude!
Grace and peace to you precious ones. You are dearly loved by a Father who really will never leave you nor forsake you no matter what! He gave us new life to be lived, not feared! Walk in that!