Grace, Forgiveness and The Blood.

Why are we always taught to continually ask for forgiveness?

If we have been forgiven once for all as Hebrews says, why ask for something we already have?

The writer of the book of Hebrews says this is like treating the blood of Christ like the blood of ‘bulls and goats.’

The Jews had to sacrifice bulls and goats for their sin over and over again.

Moses had to splash the blood all over the temple, the altar and all the people!

He took the blood of calves and sprinkled the scroll and all the people…in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.

– Hebrews 9:19-21

Can you imagine? It must have been a bloody day.

But all this was pointing to Christ.

As Hebrews 9:22 says:

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Every year the Hebrews had to make a new sacrifice to be forgiven. But those animal sacrifices couldn’t take away sin, the writer of Hebrews tells us. They were only a ‘reminder’ of sin.

But those sacrifices are an annual reminder for sin. Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.

– Hebrews 10:3

It is impossible for the blood of animals to take away sin.

It was all pointing to Christ who took away our sin once for all.

We don’t have to sacrifice animals anymore because Jesus was the last, once for all sacrifice.

Through His sacrifice we have forgiveness of sins.

He will never sacrifice Himself again.

As God says in Isaiah:

From that cup, the globlet of my fury, you will never drink again.

– Isaiah 51:22

Christ’s one sacrifice was enough for all sin, for all people, for all time.

So, when we turn to God and beg for forgiveness in a way we’re behaving like the Jews of the O.T who needed to be forgiven again and again.

But we don’t need to be forgiven again and again.

Because we have been forgiven once for all.

As Hebrews says:

For Christ did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise he would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But, now, at the end of the ages, Christ has appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

– Hebrews 9:24-26

So, let’s stop asking for forgiveness. We have forgiveness already.

If we do it’s like saying Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough.

But it was enough!

It was once for all.

But what happens when we sin? I hear you cry. Surely we should ask God for forgiveness?!

What does John say in his first letter?

If we sin we have an advocate who goes to the Father for us – Jesus Christ – the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sin, and not only our sin, but for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:1

Who goes to the Father?

Do we go?

No! Jesus goes to the Father for us and we are in Him – approved by God in Christ.

Amen!

ps. want to know how free you are? Listen to my recording of Romans 6 on soundcloud!

What Benefit Did You Reap?

Jesus painting close up

What I hear a lot of is this:

Jesus did his part but now we must do ours.

I used to believe this.

I used to believe this – in the way that many Christians believe it today.

But what we’re actually saying is this:

Jesus’ crucifixion wasn’t good enough to cleanse us from our sin.

The blood of Jesus wasn’t powerful enough to destroy sin.

Jesus did not die to sin “once for all”, as Hebrews tells us.

It wasn’t ‘finished’ as Jesus shouted, pouring out His blood, from the cross.

No.

Jesus did his part but now we must do ours.

Brilliant English theologian John Stott says this:

We resent the fact that we have no part to play in our own salvation, so we stumble at the stumbling block of the cross.

– The Cross of Christ.

You see, either Christ ‘did away’ with sin on the cross or He didn’t.

But He did.

Christ appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

– Hebrews 9.26

Paul tells us how.

He made Him who had no sin to be sin for us.

But this is a little confusing.

What does it mean exactly?

I like this translation:

GOD’S WORD.
God had Christ, who was sinless, take our sin.

However we phrase it, when Christ died, our sin died with Him.

All of our sin – past present and future.

This is great news!

This is the gospel!

On the cross, our sin died with Him.

But Paul goes further:

Anyone who was baptized into Christ was crucified with Christ. We were therefore buried with Him, through baptism, into death…

and

If we were united with Him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.

If we are not yet a believer, we are still living with ‘sin.’

And, as Paul says:

The wages of sin is death.

But – and this is the good news – if we are in Christ we died with Him.

Crucified on the cross.

But, Paul says:

If we died with Him we believe that we will also live with Him.

– Romans 6.8

and

If the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal body through His Spirit who lives in you.

– Romans 8.11

It is only in Christ that we can rise from the dead.

We will rise as He is risen.

This is the good news!

It is nothing to do with if we mess up, make mistakes, or ‘sin’.

And –

Where sin abounds, grace super abounds!

– Romans 5:20

Super-abounding grace!

We are free!

“But that means we are free to sin!” I hear someone say.

I answer with Paul’s words:

What benefit did you reap from those things you are now ashamed of?

– Romans 6:21

Really, what benefit did you reap in the past from your wrong doing, from your selfish, destructive behavior, from your mistreatment of yourself and others, and from your unwise choices?

I know what benefit I reaped: shame and soul-destroying guilt.

Sin has terrible, life damaging consequences.

And…

The wages of sin is death.

But…

The law of the Spirit of Life has set us free from the law of sin and death.

– Romans 8.2

We have been set free from sin and death.

In Christ we have life!

Eternal life!

In Christ we have everything to live for!

This is the gospel.

The true gospel.

The amazing gospel!

Amen!

Steve Edwards

Awake oh sleeper…grace abounds!

I feel sorry for Dr. Michael Brown of Charisma Magazine. In fact, I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t grasp the glorious truth of God’s amazing ‘grace’ that is sweeping the world. This is grace as it is supposed to be. Not grace-mixed-with-law, not luke-warm grace, but hyper-grace or super-abounding grace.

I feel sorry for Dr. Michael Brown because on the amazon blurb to sell his book Hyper Grace: Exposing the Dangers of The Modern Grace Message, he says this:

At a time when the church needs an urgent wake-up call and a fresh encounter with Jesus, the hyper-grace message is lulling many to sleep. 

OK, Dr. Brown, let’s break this down.

First, you say the church needs a wake-up call and a fresh encounter with Jesus.

Yes!

This is exactly what God’s new ‘modern grace’ message is doing. When God revealed this message to me via Joseph Prince’s ministry it was like discovering a whole new Jesus. Jesus says:

Behold, I make everything new!

– Revelation 21:5

The modern grace message is the wake-up call.

It is the fresh revelation of Jesus.

It’s like Dr. Brown is a Jew waiting for The Messiah, but when The Messiah stands in front of Him his mind is blinded and he can’t see who He truly is.

He came to those who were His own, but His own did not recognize Him.

– John 1:11

Paul talks about this:

Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the gospel of Christ.

– 2 Cor 4:4

Of course I’m not saying Dr. Brown doesn’t believe in Jesus. It’s clear he does. However he doesn’t believe in the gospel the modern grace preachers are preaching – which we believe is the true gospel of the glory of Christ. But he doesn’t believe in God’s super-abounding grace. He does not believe that Christ’s work was finished. That Christ’s blood cleanses us from all sin.

This grace message is the glorious gospel of Christ. Not just that Christ died for us and gave us a place in Heaven, but that we can never, ever be punished for our sin, ever again. To only believe Jesus saved us from our sin pre-conversion, is to only believe half of the gospel, and that is no gospel at all. The fact is, Jesus saved us from all our sin, past, present and future, once for all, forever.

What Dr. Brown believes is a mixed grace gospel – grace mixed with law – exactly what Paul warns the church against:

You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace!

– Galatians 5:4

Paul is clear that the righteousness he received is not from obeying the law, but through faith in Christ. We cannot achieve righteousness ourselves. Or holiness. It is all a gift. It was all achieved for us, on our behalf, by Jesus Christ.

John goes further still. ‘Those who are born of God,’ he says in his first letter, ‘cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.’ (1 John 3:9). And ‘It is impossible for those who are born of God to continue to sin’ (5:18).

Strong word, impossible. How is it impossible? We know we mess up every day. It’s impossible because we are covered in Christ’s blood. Just as it were impossible to save your firstborn from the Angel of Death unless you had the blood of the lamb on your doorpost, so it is impossible for us to sin if we are covered in the blood of Christ – the Lamb of God.

Jesus promises He has released us from the prison of sin. (Luke 4:18).

Now, if Christ has released us, can we lock ourselves up again? If so, then Jesus’ blood was weak and we are all damned, for all of us fail to live up to God’s moral standards every day. But Christ’s blood was powerful enough to cleanse us from all of our sin, once for all.

This is what the writer of Hebrews is getting at when he says:

Now, at the end of the ages, Christ has appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

– Hebrews 9:26

And Paul:

He cannot die again. Death no longer has power over Him. The death He died he died to sin once for all.

– Romans 6:9

Once for all.

Now, it was either once for all or it wasn’t once for all. And I believe it was once for all.

So, what is the difference between the old grace message as traditionally taught by the church, and the all-new, all-singing, all-dancing, modern grace message? Well, the old grace message says that Christ, through the Holy Spirit, has given us the power to live holy and righteous lives, whereas the modern grace message says Jesus did it all. That ‘We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10) and that our righteousness is a free gift (Romans 5:17).

Essentially, the old grace message says Jesus did his part, now we must do ours. Hyper-grace says Jesus did it all. There is nothing left for us to do, except ‘believe in the One He has sent.’ The old message is the law, it is up to us to overcome, up to us to obey the commandments, up to us not to sin. The new message says it was all up to Jesus and he fulfilled the law for us. The old message says we must do it. The new message says Jesus did it. Past tense. Finished action. It is finished!

And ‘lulling many to sleep,’ Dr Brown? LOL. The opposite! It is waking us up from our sleep and revealing a whole new Jesus to us, full of grace and truth! Ask anyone who has had a new, modern revelation of grace. It is spirit-filled, filling us with a new love for God and a Holy Spirit empowered dynamism the Western church hasn’t seen since Lakeland or Toronto. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you can see!

This is a revival which God is orchestrating. He has had enough of the grace-mixed-with-law message, keeping His people bound in chains of sin which can never be broken. God wants everyone to know that He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to take our sin from us, crucifying it in Himself on The Cross. To say less than this happened is to take the victory away from Jesus. He cleansed us from our sin once for all. He has made us righteous. He has made us holy. Him Him Him.

As Joseph Prince says, in Heaven it will be ‘Worthy is the Lamb,’ not ‘Worthy is The Lamb and me!’

I pray, LORD, that Dr. Brown asks in prayer for a fresh revelation of grace, that he can receive the revelation and awakening he desires for the church, so he can begin to preach to his wide audience the wonder of this new revelation of God’s amazing grace. The true gospel.

If you’re wondering what this modern grace message is all about, read Paul Ellis’s article How Well Did I understand Grace Before I understood Grace?

Also, listen to Joseph Prince’s podcasts on itunes.

Check out Creflo Dollar’s article  and see my blog roll for other brilliant, charismatic modern grace teachers, including Chris Kratzer, Bas Rijksen, Simon Yap and Phil Drysdale.

For old school ‘modern grace’ preachers, see Martin Luther, D.L Moody, Spurgeon, and St. Paul !

Grace be with you!

Steve Edwards

 

Have you had a GRACE revelation?

Have you had a GRACE revelation?

But what is a GRACE revelation, I hear you ask.

A GRACE revelation is, as you would expect, a revelation of GRACE!

Some of you may be reading this, thinking, but I already know what grace is. I don’t need a revelation.

I know, and I understand, that Christ died for my sin so that I would be forgiven.

I know that when I sin I can come to Jesus and ask for forgiveness and He forgives me every time.

I know that God’s grace means that His blood will always cleanse me if I repent.

I know that grace means that, by the power of the Holy Spirit I can conquer the sin in my life.

I can overcome.

I can have the victory!

I, I, I !

This answer reminds me of this verse attributed to the prideful Satan.

I will ascend above the clouds of heaven,
I will make my throne above the stars of God,
I will make myself like the most high!
(Isaiah 14:13)

If you think you understand grace, and believe grace is God giving you the power to overcome sin in your life, then the truth is you may be too proud to believe that there is absolutely NO WAY you can overcome sin.

There is also NO WAY therefore that you will ever have a revelation of GRACE as Paul and Luther did, as Spurgeon and Joseph Prince and many other modern day preachers did, because you think you are in control, you are in the driving seat with the Holy Spirit as the engine empowering you to live a holy and righteous life.

If you believe this, your heart is probably too hard, you are too ‘long in the tooth’ with your degrees in theology and PHD’s in Pauline Epistolary. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

But no ‘mature’ Christian wants to think of themselves as having a ‘hard heart.’ No ‘mature’ Christian wants to think of themselves as not being open, as being too proud to receive new revelation. And the tragic truth is, if you are not open to new revelation, your faith is no longer in the God who writes His law on our hearts, but is rather in your degrees, your PHD’s and your theses.

And as long as Christians are teaching the false doctrine that ‘Jesus did his bit, now we must do ours’ then the church is sick: sick in its obsession with sin, and sick in its obsession with its self.

It is sin focused and not righteousness focused. It is self-centred and not Christ-centered.

This is what GRACE is:

GRACE is the fact that God knew that we could never, ever overcome sin so He became sin for us, crucifying it on the cross.

As the writer of Hebrews says:

Christ appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

(Hebrews 9:26)

He did away with it. It is dealt with. Sin exists no longer in those who put their faith in Christ.

As Joseph prince says, it is as though we are stones in a waterfall, constantly, perpetually washed clean.

Spurgeon described it as if we are bathing in Christ’s blood.

Now this is something to celebrate! This is why Isaiah was ‘overwhelmed with joy’ !

This is why Paul opened and closed all of his letters with ‘Grace and Peace.’

Christ has absolutely, completely set us free from sin, forever!

Nothing we do can change that.

If we are in Christ, we are free.

And if The Son sets you free, you are free indeed!

Now that is what I call ‘good news’.

Are you open to a revelation of GRACE ?

If you are, read Paul Eliis’s great article:

How well did I understand grace before I understood grace?

Have a great Sunday!

Revival – The Grace Revolution!

This week a church elder said to me:

“Even if 1 John 1:9 wasn’t there, it simply expresses what is said in a variety of other ways throughout the Old and New Testaments.”

Firstly, the Old Testament is exactly what is says on the tin – old  – and, as the writer of Hebrews says, obsolete. It is valid no more. The Old Testament was all about sacrificing animals for atonement of sin. But Christ was the last sacrifice. He died for all sin – of all mankind, forever. Secondly, where in all of Paul’s letters does he ever mention confessing to be restored to God’s presence? He doesn’t. Not once. What does he say about sin? He says:

“We died with Christ, and everyone who has died has been freed from sin.”

(Romans 6:7)

and

“If I sin, it is no longer I who do it, but sin living in me that does it.”

(Romans 7:7)

Paul completely disassociates himself from sin.

“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

(Galatians 2:20)

We too have been crucified with Christ. We too no longer live and Christ lives in us. Is there sin in Christ? No way. He crucified sin once for all on the cross.

“Christ appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

(Hebrews 9:26)

Christ did away with sin on the cross. John also agrees, later in his letters, where he says:

‘Those who are born of God do not continue to sin. They are not able to sin because they have been born of God.’

(1 John 3:9)

An entire church doctrine has been built on 1 John 1:9, keeping Christians in out in out of the presence of God for centuries. Someone has described it as a ‘Christian bar of soap.’ But Christ is our soap. He is our washpot. Not Moab. He has washed us once for all. He has made us perfect (Hebrews 10:14), righteous (Romans 5:17) and holy (Hebrews 10:10).

Let’s look a bit more closely at 1 John 1:9. To begin with, the word ‘confess’ in Greek doesn’t even have any meaning of asking for forgiveness attached to it. It simply means ‘say the same’ or ‘agree’. So, if we agree with God about our sin he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin. Furthermore, the word ‘repent’ merely means ‘to change your mind’ or ‘change your devotion from yourself to God.’ In other words, stop thinking about yourself and your own ability to be obedient, but think about Christ and His obedience. Paul instructs us to do exactly this:

“…bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

(2 COR 10:5) King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)

People ask me, but Steve, if you believe all of your sins have been forgiven past present and future, do you repent? Do you confess? Yes I do, but not in the way the Anglican church would have me confess. Woe is me, I’m not worthy to eat the crumbs from under your table, blah blah blah… I’m worthy because Christ died for me. I’m worthy of the shed blood of the precious Christ. If Christ thinks I am worth dying for, I am worthy. In my own eyes I am not worthy, but in God’s eyes I am. The key is, renewing our minds and seeing ourselves as God sees us, holy, righteous and perfect.

“By one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who have been made holy.”

(Hebrews 10:14)

If God says He has forgiven us once for all by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, isn’t it an insult to God and Christ’s precious shed blood if we keep returning and asking for forgiveness over and over again? Isn’t this treating Christ’s blood like old testament bulls and goats that had to be sacrificed over and over again for every new sin. We’re not under the old testament law any more. There is no sacrifice for sin left.

“For then,” the Hebrews writer says “Christ would have had to be crucified many times since the creation of the world. But now at the end of the ages, Christ has appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

Simon Yap says this:

“When you think that God’s forgiveness is given to you again and again every time you confess you are treating the blood of Jesus as blood of bulls and goats.”

– His Grace is Enough

So, as far as 1 John 1:9 goes, who was John writing to? He was writing to address people in the church who thought they were saved but who denied having sinned. They were not actually saved. This is what John was saying to them. If you agree with God that you have sinned the blood of Jesus will cleanse you. But if you deny having sinned, you make God out to be a liar. John wasn’t talking to Christians. He was talking to people who thought they were saved, but they weren’t.

But John says ‘we’ I hear you say. ‘He’s talking about himself.’ Really? Does John also believe he has no sin? Does John make God out to be a liar? A technique of any good teacher, John is putting himself in the same arena as the sinners. He is not elevating himself above them. He is humbling himself, so as not to alienate them. He is being polite for the gospel’s sake. John already agrees with God that he has sinned, but he still uses ‘we’. John is being inclusive.

The way 1 John 1:9 has been used, and is being used, as a Christian ‘bar of soap’ to suggest when we sin we come out of fellowship until we ‘confess’ our sin again is a lie from the accuser. Our sin does not separate us from God because Christ’s blood covers us. Our fellowship is never broken with God. We are being continually cleansed in a perpetual fountain of Christ’s blood and forgiveness. Joseph Prince describes it as being like a stone in a waterfall. We are always clean. The moment we sin or make ourselves dirty, His blood washes us and we are clean again. Spurgeon described being saved as ‘bathing in Christ’s blood.’  Christ’s blood is like acid. The moment we sin the acid dissolves it and it disappears.

We can not sin as Christians. If you don’t believe me check out 1 John 3:9 + 5:18. I’ve written an article on it here. This is the wonder, the majesty, the magnitude of God’s grace. This is why grace is amazing. Christians who have been saved for many years are coming out of the woodwork with tears of joy and saying they never really understood grace before, but now they do, and the freedom they feel is, as Isaiah says, overwhelming.

“I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God, for He has draped me in a robe of His righteousness.”

(61:10)

People are realizing they don’t have to do anything to contribute to their righteousness, their holiness, or their sanctification. Christ did it all.

“We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all.”

(Hebrews 10:10).

Revival is happening in the Body of Christ. There is a grace revolution.  God will never, ever, ever count our sin against us, ever again.

“Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

(Romans 4:8)

Hallelujah!

Thank you Jesus!

You rock!