- Published: 14 April 2011
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A believer wrote:
Christ did not die so that our sins are automatically washed away,but so that they can be washed away for not only the jews but the gentiles. During the law only the jews sins can be forgiven. Now us gentiles have a choice as well. When Jesus died it did not mean that we can sin all we want. He died so that we can choose ourselves if we want our sins forgiven. that is why baptism only in his name(jesus) and not His titles (father,son,holy ghost) according to Acts 2:38 and Matt.28:19.
God Bless your beautiful heart and thank you for writing. We respect your position as one who has considered the matter with careful attention to the Scripture and agree with you that salvation is NOT a license to sin but the liberty to choose to live unto Christ. Christ did die for the sin of the world and at the moment He said "It is finished" the sin wall was demolished and all who will may come.
We believe salvation is a free gift, that God made sure through His Grace and kindness to us through Jesus Christ. That this free gift cannot be lost, forsaken, of forfeited in any way because it is Gods gift and is age abiding. Why we believe this is:
The word translated "freely" in the New Testament is dorean and like dorea, dorema and doron is derived from didomi, "to give". I cannot stress too strongly the blessed fact that justification is an act of grace, is a gift undeserved and unmerited. The word "freely" occurs in the Gospels, the Epistles and the Revelation:
"Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8).
"They hated Me without a cause" (John 15:25).
"I have preached to you the gospel of God freely" (2 Corinthians 11:7).
"If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Galatians 2:21).
"Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought" (2 Thessalonians 3:8).
"The water of life freely" (Revelation 21:6, 22:17).
The English language will not allow John 15:25 to be translated, "They hated Me freely", but we can say: "They hated Me gratuitously". So in Galatians 2:21, "Christ died in vain" (or gratuitously). Romans chapter five places great emphasis on this gratuitous act of God:
"But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification". (Romans 5:15,16).
Here God uses not only dorea in verse fifteen, and dorema in verse sixteen, but also charisma, a gift in grace (or gracious gift), translated in both verses "free gift". I doubt whether any definition of grace is complete that does not include this element of a gift, a gift that is the antithesis of "wages" (Romans 6:23), a gift that is without repentance on the part of God (Romans 11:29). The "grace-by-faith-salvation" of Ephesians (2:8) is not of works, but is the gift of God.
It is the very essence of love to give. Even sinful men and women manifest their mutual love by the exchange of gifts. Children, parents and friends seize upon birthdays, weddings and almost any festive seasons as opportunities of manifesting their love by gifts. The love of God has been shown for all time in The Gift of His Son (John 3:16), and it is a repeated characteristic of the love of Christ that it gives, and gives all, even to life itself (Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:2 and 25) to a wretched souls.
We have been "justified freely", gratuitously, without a cause, "by His grace". Here we need to pause again that we may receive the double emphasis upon the "grace" element of the gift. Grace is of such a nature that it is, entirely made imperfect by the intrusion of "works" or "wages".
"And if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Romans 11:6).
"Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:4,5).
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal (aionion) life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).
"For by grace are ye saved . . . it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).
Let not our own crude sense of right and wrong rob us of the "freeness" of this gift of grace. Romans 3:24 does say we are, "being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." What it does not say is that this freely given justification is through the fact that the Lord Jesus earned a legal righteousness for us by His obedience to the law of Moses. Such an idea robs the grace gift of its glory, and brings God down to the level of a bargainer with His Son, whereas it is God Himself Who loved the world, God Who sent His Son, God Who justifies us freely, God Who provided the ransom which is payment in full for all sin, past, present and future.
JUSTIFICATION THROUGH REDEMPTION
Where some schools of theology teach justification through the "imputed obedience", under law, of the Lord Jesus, Romans 3:24 declared that it is through the "redemption" that is in Christ Jesus. The same truth appears in Romans 5:8,9 where we read: "Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood", and again in Romans 4:25: "Who was delivered up because of our offences, and raised again because of our justification." Christ's death dealt with our sin. His blood at once redeems, atones and makes us near. Redemption sets us free, and long before the administration of grace dawned, David realized that God would reckon righteousness where He forgave sin.
"Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Rom. 4:6-8).
It was necessary that sin should be righteously dealt with, and that has been done, but it is the glory of the gospel that the same love that prompted our redemption and our deliverance can provide gratuitously, freely, and without cause (except in the great love of God Himself) "a righteousness of God apart from law".
Shall we reject this loving gift because, WE do not see just how God could give it to us freely and without some external moving cause? We undervalue far too much the initial movement of God in our salvation. Who constrained God in the first place to provide a ransom? What works of righteousness were accomplished, and by whom, before He would send His gift of love down to die? And all that to a world that rejected Him and were dead in trespasses and sin.
If we take God at His Word and to not add to it or remove it from its context do we not see that in a sense more full than the understanding of men, we may take the words of Romans 8:32: "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Here is God's own argument. The "free gift" of righteousness to the believer in the Lord Jesus is freely covered and provided for in the one great gift of all, His own Son. Let none think that his righteousness is not resting upon a firm enough foundation-it is! It rests upon the uninfluenced grace of God. Its bedrock is the love of God that changes not, and the fact of the gift of Christ itself is sufficient pledge that, having given Him, God will freely give, not grudgingly give, or have to be persuaded to give, but freely and without a cause, give all things else that are necessary to life and glory. This does not refer only to the act of justification, but covers all our needs, and our eternal blessedness.
"Justification has altogether a legal signification, and has respect, not to what the man is in actual character, but to what the man is held to be in juridical estimation. It is not that change in himself, by which he is made a just person; but it is that change in his relation to the law and the Lawgiver, by which he is reckoned and treated as a just person. It describes not the man's moral rightness, but his legal right: and however inseparably the two may be conjoined in fact, they ought not on that account to be confounded in idea" (Chalmers).
It has been said that the doctrine of justification by faith is held by both Protestant and Roman schools of thought, everything depending, of course, upon exactly what is meant by "faith". It is good, therefore, to be able to express what we mean concerning the freeness of this gift, and the fact that faith has no merit in it, by quoting, insistently, the language of Titus 3:7: "Being justified by His grace". Justification by grace is what we believe and what we intend when using the more common expression "justification by faith" "it is the gift of God".
"Now if you doubt that I am Christ's
If one suspicion lurks
I'll show by deeds that I am His
I'm justified by works.
"I praise the Lord 'tis all of Him
The grace (Romans 3:24), the faith (Romans 5:1), the blood (Romans 5:9).
The resurrection power (Romans 4:25), the works (James 2:18-24),
I'm justified by God".
(With acknowledgments to the unknown author).
We hope this helps to dispel any mis-understanding on where we stand as to justification.
Most Christians today are unaware of the dividing line God placed between the Epistles written by Paul the Apostle before and after Acts 28:28. There was a major change in how God is dealing with His beloved ones at that point in time around AD 65. Once this huge change is understood hundreds of verses in the Bible become crystal clear where before there was only confusion and apparent contradiction. We offer the following teachings to help clarify the matter:
The Acts 28 Crisis
An Apostle Twice
Be On Guard!
Among the words written near the time of the beginning of Christianity the new Hebrew believers were exhorted "to leave" not "lay again", laws and ordinances including "the doctrine of baptisms" Heb. 6:2, these being among the elements that were to be left behind as the believer pressed on unto perfection
The N.T. teaching concerning baptism is distributed thus:
1. John the Baptist. This baptism falls under two headings:
(a) It was a baptism unto repentance, in view of the near approach of the kingdom of heaven
(b) It was the work of John as the forerunner prophesied of by Isaiah in the fortieth chapter of his prophecy.
(c) It was concerned only with Israel or with those who joined themselves to Israel, as the words "Comfort ye" of Isaiah 40 were concerned.
(d) It was a baptism in water, that spoke of a future baptism with Holy Ghost and with fire.
(e) It was specifically designed to make manifest to Israel the One Who was sent to be their Messiah John 1:30-34
2. The baptism with the Holy Ghost promised by John was fulfilled at Pentecost Acts 1:5.
3. During the Acts, water baptism and the baptism of the Spirit went together Acts 2:38, 10:47
4. During the first ministry of the Apostle Paul, baptism by water was practised I Cor. 1:16, but baptism never held the place in Paul's commission I Cor. 1:17 that it did in that of Peter (Acts 2:38). Peter could never have said: "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel" as Paul did.
Baptism during the early ministry of Paul:
(a) united the believer by burial with the death of Christ Rom. 7 6-4
(b) united Jew and Gentile making them "all one in Christ and Abraham's seed" But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.');" Gal. 4 27-29 .
(c) baptizing these believers into one body, with particular reference to the exercise of spiritual gifts 1 Cor. 12:13
5. After Acts 28, and the revelation of the Mystery we enter into a calling where shadows give place to the reality of the fulness of Christ Col. 2:17.
Baptism in the epistles of the Mystery is either that which unites the believer with the death and Resurrection of Christ Col. 2:12 or by which the believer becomes a member of the Church which is His body Eph. 4:5.
Owing to the failure on the part of expositors and teachers to discern the change of dispensation consequent upon the setting aside of Israel at Acts 28, there has been a failure to discern the extreme difference that exists between baptism as taught in the earliest part of the N.T. or even in the earlier epistles of Paul and as it is taught in the epistles of the Mystery.
Galatians 3:19 asks a question: "Wherefore then serveth the law?" and the answer is: "It was superadded" (prostithemi). The Galatians were turning back to the weak and beggarly elements of the ceremonial law. "Now this law was not promulgated in the first instance to the Jewish people, but was a superaddition to the antecedent moral law is a matter of universal notoriety. It is well-known (says Whitby) that all these ancient fathers were of the opinion, that God gave the Jews only the Decalogue, till they made the golden calf, and afterwards He laid the yoke of ceremonies upon them." "The law was superadded in behalf of transgressions being ordained in the hand of a mediator".
The Christian Church has fixed its attention so much upon these superadded carnal ordinances and have modelled their doctrine of baptism so much upon these things which were imposed until the time of reformation that they have given little or no place to the one great baptism, which was not added because of transgressions but was an integral part of the Redemption of the nation, namely the baptism of the whole nation unto Moses at the Red Sea. That is the type that remains for us today, all others are carnal ordinances that have no place in the present economy of pure grace.
The baptism of Colossians two is not likened to anything that was introduced into the Aaronic priesthood or tabernacle service, it is likened to the initiatory rite of circumcision. Now in Colossians two this circumcision is the spiritual equivalent of that practised by the Jew, it is explicitly said to be "the circumcision made without hands", and repudiates "the body of the flesh" (sin is not in question, the revised text omits the words "of the sins"), and this is accomplished "by the circumcision of Christ". Now until it can be proved that the circumcision here emphasized is the literal carnal ordinance, the consequential burial by baptism will have to be understood of the spiritual equivalent too, and finds its type, not in the many baptisms of the ceremonial law, but in the one baptism of the whole nation at the crossing of the Red Sea. This "one baptism" forms an integral part of the Unity of the Spirit, which those who are blessed under the terms of the Mystery are enjoined to keep. The seven parts of this unity are so disposed, as to throw into correspondence the One Baptism in the One Spirit, thus:
One Hope One Faith
One Spirit One Baptism
One Body One God and Father
While much more could be said, we are necessarily limited, but we believe every essential feature has been considered so that you can pursue the matter in detail with every hope of attaining unto fuller light.
All God's Blessings,