Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Christian Message: Cheap Grace is a Worthless Substitute for a Faith That Saves

The Christian Message: Cheap Grace is a Worthless Substitute for a Faith That Saves:


Cheap Grace is a Worthless Substitute for a Faith That Saves


The Scripture says:  "For by grace ye are saved
through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is
a gift of God; not of works; lest any man should
boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9
Definition of "Grace:" The Triune God's undeserved [unmerited] mercy and kindness, as in:John 3:16 ; Ephesians 2:1-9 ; Titus 2:11-14 ;Titus 3:5
________

The famous Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther, coined the phrase: “For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is life and salvation.” I’ve always understood this to mean that without the forgiveness of a sinner’s sins against God, the Ten Commandments and against one’s fellowman, there could be no genuine joy in this life, or even a heaven to come.

Since human beings are imperfect from birth until death and sinful to the core, there is no entrance for them into heaven’s hereafter. Why? Because God cannot and will not allow sinful souls to contaminate His holy heaven. Unless that contamination of sin is cleansed, no one can enjoy eternal pleasures forevermore.

The Triune God had created his creation perfect. But, as the divine revelation discloses [Genesis 3:1f] that human creation disobeyed God and has since been left with the devastating and eternal results of that disobedience to holy Almighty God. Since that time every human being born, carries with him the sin nature [Psalm 51:5] and that sin nature is past on to generation after generation. Romans 5:12

However, God in his love has provided a way to rescue the sinnerfrom the banishment of an eternal life in holy heaven and the punishing torments of an eternal death in hell. That most notable Bible verse proclaims in a nutshell both God’s love to sinners and His demonstrated eternal love to them, by God sacrificing Himself for His creation:

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him shall have eternal life." John 3:16

The world is full of the fanaticism of those who
 distrust the divine authorship of Holy Scripture.
Their rank unbelief in God and the Savior Christ
 influence them to distrust their Creator as Eve
did, when tempted with the devilish deception,
 "....yea hath God said....?" [Genesis 3:1f] Please
note this website's topical message on guidelines
on interpreting the Bible.
Now that’s just one verse [John 3:16] of the divine revelation. In order to understand the mind of God one must avail himself of all of Scripture;reading and understanding it in its context, comparing Scripture with Scripture.

The Bible consists of both Old and New Testaments. Its totality is God’s Word of both Law and Gospel (the “wide” sense). In its “narrow sense” we refer to God’s Word as “The Gospel.” ThatJohn 3:16 verse which I just mentioned, is Gospel – God’s Word in the “narrow sense.” But with the several verses following John 3:16, we are introduced to a combination statement of God’s good news (Gospel) with a pronouncement of God’s Law. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to read Scripture in the context of itself – to achieve the full intent and meaning of the divine revelation:

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." - KJV - John 3:17-21 – NKJV

The Triune God has paved the forgiveness and heavenly way (for Christ's sake) for sinful souls, by Christ's sacrifice for human sin. But, just because there is (for instance) the clear presence of a cookie jar; that, by no means portends the contents of that jar, to be cookies. 

God, through Christ accomplished his sin cleansing work; but sinful souls must apprehend that forgiveness of sins (for Christ's sake) in the person and work of Christ, by faith. That faith can only come by God's precious and eternal means - His divine written revelation. [Romans 1:16 ; Romans 10:17 ; 2 Timothy 3:14-17.Note also:

Article IV on "Justification" of the "Apology of the Augsburg Confession" states:

".....forgiveness of sins is the same as justification according to Psalm 32:1, 'Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.'  We obtain the forgiveness of sins only by faith in Christ, not through love, or because of love or works, though love does follow faith. Therefore we are justified by faith alone, justification being understood as making an unrighteous man righteous or effecting his regeneration......" - Tappert; CPH; 1989 - [AAC Article IV. Justification; 76-78]


German Christian Pastor, Detrich
Bonhoeffer, was executed by WWII
Hitler's military for opposing the
Nazi regime which perpetrated
 one of history's worst massacre
scourges and crimes against
 humanity. 
What is “Cheap Grace?”

The description, “Cheap Grace” has often been attributed to the controversial, Christian, pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German born WWII casualty. He is best known for his book, " The Cost of Discipleship" (1937) and his resistance to Nazi Germany. Hence, he was executed by Hitler shortly before the war ended.

I suppose that Bonhoeffer’s phrase “Cheap grace” could be summed up by something that he said when describing Christian discipleship. He stated [paraphrase]: “He who believes, obeys; and he who obeys, believes.” In Bonhoeffer’s view, a Christian couldn't be a genuine Christian by [only] intellectually subscribing to the teachings of Christianity as found in the divine revelation of Scripture. One had to evidence such belief and subscription.

Modern Christianity is rife with a “subscription” which confuses Christ's all encompassing sacrifice for sin with blanket absolution which is (then) capriciously translated into universal forgiveness and justification for all, thus eliminating the Holy Spirit’s work and activity of creating individual personal faith in the individual (soul), which [faith] then justifies. ["Justifies" - God's forgiveness] Remember what was said previous – the Martin Luther description of “salvation?” - “Where there is forgiveness of sins there is life and salvation.”

Those who confuse the grace of God upon the sinner and God theHoly Spirit’s activity of bringing the sinner to saving faith, would, and do eliminate the Holy Spirit, personal faith and belief. They, instead trumpet salvation (the saving of the individual’s soul from sin and eternal damnation) solely to the act of Christ dying on the Cross for human sin. Sometimes they will mention "faith in Christ," but, more or less, as a type of vestigial [after thought] appendage.

Here, [following] is how one Christian put it:

"That is what the UOJ [universal objective justification] preacher is saying. However, the Law condemns and says you are guilty and deserve to die as penalty for your sins. The Gospel says Jesus paid for your sins, The Law demands death, the Gospel says yes, death has been paid for. This is totally different from the UOJ Gospel, for them the Gospel skips the payment aspect and jumps over to forgiveness, skipping past what actually the Law demands - payment. In short, for them the Gospel is - God has already forgiven you.

The Universalists confuse what Christ did on the
Cross with what God the Holy Spirit does within

the sinful heart of the unbelieving soul. After
all, the Scripture does say of those who have
become Christian believers: "For you are all the
sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus."
[Galatians 3:26]  Universalists' false teaching
diminishes and / or ignores the all important 

"aspect" [quality] of "faith" and its initiating and
sustaining "agent," - God, the Holy Spirit.
It is not Jesus died for you, rather it is God has already forgiven you. So in UOJ,[universal objective justification] faith is not trust but mere assent to historical fact which they alleged to have already occurred, the blanket forgiveness of all sins without regard to faith. It is then the faith of the devil.

Just like Calvinism, they collapse the atonement for sins and justification or forgiveness of sins as one single event."

Answering the same person on his website, "LPC" also states:

"It is Jesus who says only those who believe will be saved, hence forgiven. In your case even those who do not believe are already forgiven and thus saved since faith had nothing to do with it (so you think),......Your mistake is that though Christ merited righteousness for all men, you think thereby, that automatically implies that this righteousness has already been transferred to all men without regard to faith......" - 
LPC - "Extra Nos" - "It's Outside Us" - extranos.blogspot.com/2012/06/

In short, cheap grace is a cheap (worthless) substitute for a faith that saves. Cheap grace is often proclaimed in Christian churches. It is a worthless substitute for the sinner’s responsibility to believe Christ and to live out that God-given Holy Spirit generated faith. I will give you an example, as I have the privilege as an emeritus Christian pastor to sit and listen in the church pew.

I quote from an online comment I registered on the “Extra Nos” website and also the "Ichabodthegloryhasdeparted" websites.[This emeritus pastor's recent experience listening to a Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod pastor's sermon]:

Quoted posted online comment of mine "Extra Nos"  with the one typo word, "preserving," rather than the correct word of "persevering" - 5th last line of the quote :

I think that I heard an interesting twist of UOJ (universal objective justification) in church on Holy Trinity Sunday. The pastor was preaching from Romans 8:14-17 and doing a wonderful job directing his sermon to the parochial school, high school and other graduates.

As is his mode, he initially launches his sermon with an illustration and carries that illustration theme to the bitter end. This time he launched his sermon with a Shakespearean portion - Romeo's soliloquy about how a name does not define a person. Then spoke how it actually does. He then continued by saying that as a Christian, God's Name is stamped upon a person beginning with Christian Baptism. Hence, what God did and does, indeed defines us. [You get the picture]

Pic of St. Paul iminent execution. He did not believe
or preach "cheap grace." He was not a Universalist who
fomented the false doctrine of "universal objective
justification." For St. Paul, living the Christian life, was a
life of living that God-gifted faith. He expressed that living
and active faith shortly before he died, when he penned the
the [Holy spirit authored] words of Scripture: "I have fought
 a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the
faith......" - 2 Timothy 4:7
This particular Sunday I was listening with rapt attention because for the first time (that I can remember) unless I've been otherwise dozing, [and, I think not] he spoke at some concerted length about the Holy Spirit and His work in the individual. I was very pleased as he seemed to be headed in the right doctrinal direction. But, then, (sadly) to my disappointment, he ended his sermon by encouraging the graduates to remember who they are.

Now, that would have been okay to say, but not to immediately stop at that point. I don't remember the Scripture saying:

"....be thou in remembrance of who you are, unto death and I will give you a crown of life."

No, - not at all. The Scripture does (though) read: "......be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." - Revelation 2:10b

Also, I don't recall Scripture's words penned (under inspiration) by the Apostle Paul, saying:

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have remembered who I am."

No, - instead the Scripture reads:

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith......" - 2 Timothy 4:7

The pastor [he is young and about 10 years out of the seminary] got all the way to the end of his sermon and stopped short. He blew it! He didn't go "full circle!" He left the graduates, essentially with cheap grace. No mention of the necessity of them preserving in the faith until the end. No mention of personal belief and faith. No mention of justification by faith alone. [Romans 5:2 - AAC; Article IV. Justification; 81]

Needless to say, I was highly disappointed. And, this is (just) one church and one pastor. Lord only knows how many more, Sunday after Sunday! Martin Luther's body must have no rest, constantly turning over in his grave.........


Scores of "Christian" church bodies have
succumbed to the false teaching and preaching
of "cheap grace universalism." Even church bodies
which once taught "grace through faith," and
Luther's re-discovered Scriptural teaching of
"justification by faith alone," have fallen for the
damning cheap grace, universalistic error. These
mainline "Christian" denominations include, but
are not limited to, the ELCA, LCMS, WELS, ELS
Lutheran church bodies. 
Friend, do you not see and recognize the false teaching of cheap grace at the Biblical expense of a genuine faith which makes one right with God?

The continued teaching and preaching of cheap grace in “Christian” churches, Sunday after Sunday and year after year, dulls the spiritual senses of the hearers.Essentially, this false teaching (often called UOJ – universal objective justification) says that God’s forgiveness was all poured out some 2,000 years ago when Christ was crucified for human sin. This cheap grace false and destructive teaching, further says, because of Christ's all encompassing sacrifice, that all humanity was absolved by Almighty holy God who sent His Son for such this purpose. Cheap grace advocate enthusiasts go on to assert that this blanket absolution is a blanket forgiveness for all! But, such is not what the Scriptures tell us!

Here, [following] is what the divine Scripture revelation tells us. Note that I quote from the KJV translation,- although the highlighted Scripture itself at the end of the verse is the NKJV version:

"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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:8;9;10

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." - Hebrews 11:6

"For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." - Hebrews 4:2

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;...." - Hebrews 12:2

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;).... - Hebrews 10:23

"Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." - Hebrews 10:38

"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." - Heb 3:12

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) ...." - Hebrews 10:23

Please also reference for further understanding:
The Filth of Cheap Grace
Pic of an interesting book cover.
It's author (as the book's title
implies) did not believe that
Christian churches were the
guarantee of life eternal. In fact
Montgomery was passed up by
the Universalist LCMS and ELS
Lutheran church bodies in 
favor of a former Lutheran who
no longer suscribed to "grace
through faith" [Ephesians 2:8-9]
and also Scripture's teaching of
 "justification by faith alone."

Cheap grace will discard the supreme importance of God-given and sustained faith. Cheap grace will diminish the act of believing in the individual sinner. Cheap grace will (in effect) ignore and “kick to the curb,” God, the Holy Spirit who makes it all possible for the individual to possess saving faith, belief and putting his personal trust in Christ, for the forgiveness of all of his sins!

Christian Friend and Fellow Sinner

If you find yourself in “Christian” circles in which cheap grace is preached and taught, I cannot recommend for you an easy solution. [I, myself, find myself in this situation] I don’t know your individual situation and circumstance. You might belong to such a church congregation which have your grandchildren enrolled in its Christian school. And, so, you are reluctant to leave for their sake, since the school seems to be a (comparatively) better choice than the godless public school industry [system]. But, I do know that if you remain silent and not hold forth with the truth of God’s written divine revelation as found in the Scriptures, you may very well, eventually be seduced to succumb to this destructive damning doctrine of [Universalism] cheap grace!

This preaching and teaching of false grace is essentially a form of “antinomianism,” which is a denial of God’s Law – a great portion of the whole of Scripture, - the Gospel in the "wide" sense as previously explained. It is no small wonder why there are so many “Christians” in Christian churches who possess no passionate luster and conviction of discipleship belief! It is no small wonder that these same professing Christians will allow themselves to be pressured and pushed into the culture’s mold and fall to the secular humanist sword of political correctness. [Romans 12:1-2] It is no small wonder that these same hapless souls will goose step to their union boss dictates and vote at the public ballot box for those politicians who [they think] will only benefit their filthy pocketbooks. The Gospel in its wide sense {Gospel and Law} becomes impervious and inconsequential to them. They thus ignore the curbs and guidelines of that greater Gospel. 

This message has been one of my longest. And, I still feel that I am cutting it short. But, condensing such an important subject does injustice to its vast importance; and, to those whom the Holy Spirit may lead to read and hear it.

May you sinner friend and Christian alike, be only motivated bythe divine revelation! May you continually expose yourself to it and to teachers and preachers who faithfully proclaim it. That divine revelation from the Holy Scriptures is the Word of God, which God the Holy Spirit utilizes to create and sustain saving faith. That same Word of Godis contained in Christian Baptism and Christ’s Communion of bread, wine, body and blood. God be gracious to you that you come in faith to partake of His [only] best! May you expose yourself to the divine revelation which is the Lord's principle meansto create in you the faith to believe!  - Romans 10:17 ; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 ; Acts 2:38 ; Acts 8:26-39 ; James 1:181 Peter 1:232 Thessalonians 2:14

Finally - and, for those of you whose sins haunt you and you don’t have a “spiritual clue,” you need to repent of your sins, believe and be baptized. [Mark 16:16 ; Luke 19:1-10 ; Acts 2:38Acts 8:26-39] May God the Holy Spirit move you to do so!

Amen.


Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:
Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:
The Order of Morning Service 
The Order of Matins 


Related Scriptures to the Above Message

Matthew 7:13-21

Luke 15 Cannot be a Favorite Chapter for the Cheap Grace (AKA, "Universal Objective Justification") Crowd:


The artist's excellent pic of Christ's Parable of "The Lost Son and the Loving
Father." [Luke 15:11-32] The Bible relates that the prodigal son repented of
his sin. He "came to himself," acknowledging his sin. He then acted upon
that resolve, confessing:  "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy
sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son." [KJV] Please note this
website's topical message:  "God is not your heavenly father unless you are

one of his children." 

This Gospel of Luke 15:1fis a testament to the error of cheap grace (which I believe) includes the whole "universal objective justification" teaching. The lost (prodigal) son was not forgiven (justified) until he became repentant. His act of coming to his [spiritual] senses was a gracious act of God.

In the Parable of the Lost Coin, [Luke 15:8-10] the coin did not find itself. Neither did the prodigal son, "find himself." UOJ (universal objective justification) teachers and preachers gloss over the Biblical teaching of repentance on the sinner's part [Luke 15:7] and most often slight and / or ignore the Holy Spirit who works His saving process from start to finish in the individual, so that that person can exercise saving faith. - John 3:1-21 ; Titus 3:5 ; Ephesians 2:8-10 ; John 1:12;13 ; 1 Corinthians 2:12 ; 1 Corinthians 6:11 ; 1 John 5:1

See also:


_____________________


Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen --Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel
http://www.thechristianmessage.org/

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3

1 -- What is meant by “Believing” and / or, being, “Saved?” 


10 comments:

  1. Those who confuse the grace of God upon the sinner and God the Holy Spirit’s activity of bringing the sinner to saving faith, would, and do eliminate the Holy Spirit, personal faith and belief.

    Pr. Nathan,

    This quote is so true. UOJ trumpets sola gratia but in the process they junk sola fide. They also mangle Eph 2:8-9. For them, man is saved by grace period. Is this what that verse say? No, it says 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast

    You will not find it hard to find UOJ teachers maligning faith, they seem to hate the mention of it.

    LPC
    Reply
  2. LPC -

    Thank you for visiting "The Christian Message." Yes, I agree with you. And, I had another reminder of what you reference, as this past Sunday I sat listening to another sermon with this "universal objective justification" bent.

    The Lutheran pastor's sermon was based upon the Gospel of Mark 4:28-34. His emphasis was on the power of the seed [of the Gospel] itself. Although he credited God, through the means of grace (Gospel, baptism and Lord's Supper) for that growth I cannot recall [and I was paying attention] that he ever ascribed to God the Holy Spirit, the creation and sustanance of that faith. It's as if he would have to be dragged kicking and screaming to give the 3rd person of the Trinity His rightful due. He just can't seem to connect the dots of Holy Spirit faith and personal belief, in his sermon messages.

    To be fair to the pastor (as he is only about 10 years out of seminary), he mentioned how God uses His means of grace to bring a soul into His family and in these means He creates faith (producing) it. And, there is always room for growth.

    However, be that as it may, this young pastor didn't connect the dots. His application was not excercising and persevering with that God-given faith. With this preacher, he doesn't emphasize personal faith, belief and responsibility. Rather, to be grateful that you are in God's family. Generally speaking, this pastor only mentions the first "use of God's Law" - that being, that God's Word (the Scriptures) show us our sins. But, there is no genuine (connecting) emphasis on the "second and third uses" of God's Word, Law - namely, that God's Word teaches the sinner and saint / sinner how to "curb" his behavior in the sinful culture; also, that God's Word Law is a road map type "rule," to live in the sinful culture.

    Personally, I think that much of his difficulty "connecting the dots" could be cleared up if this pastor would go back to some of the "basics," - namely, that the the Gospel needs to be preached in the "wide sense" - Law and Gospel. It's "good news" for the sinner to know God's Law and the full (circle) damning implications of that Law. That, the Holy Spirit utilizes to draw the sinner to respond to the sweet ("narrow sense") Gospel that Christ died for his sins.

    Finally, what really [to me] revealed where this pastor was coming from, the young preacher more or less ended his message with an exhortation to the congregation to disseminate the message of forgiveness to those who need to know that a Savior has forgiven them. I sat there, quietly (as if, shaking my head), saying to myself: "What ever happened to the discipleship thrust and mandate for Christians to live and preach with their tongue and lives that all people need to repent and believe this Gospel?"

    LPC - Basically, I concluded again, that is young pastor is passing on, what he (erroneously) learned in seminary that God has absolved the whole world and forgiven all sinners [regardless of faith] as a result of Christ's all encompassing sacrifice for sin, upon the Cross. That particular targetted emphasis is simply not so, as you elaborated upon the Ephesians 2:8-10 Scripture. Again, I shake my head in disappointment, as this preacher apparently cannot connect the dots, in his sermon messages. To him correctly relating the Scripture truths about the "forgiveness of sins; life and salvation" with the Holy Spirit's action of faith and personal belief, is about as scarce as hen's teeth.


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