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Jesus' View of God
* Faith & Works
* New Covenant
Pattern * Romans 14
Sin: noun, 1) violating God's law. 2) missing the mark. 3) hurting someone unnecessarily. 4) Screwing up one's relationship with God. I mean making a total screw-up of it. Not just a couple of peccadilloes, no! A whole-hog ruination.
The Battle Against Sin
I recently listened to a sermononline instructing us to War against Sin. Besides "fleeing sin" the main resources listed were: reading the scriptures, rebuking sinners and withdrawing (shunning) sinners. These are certainly not enough resources to conquer sin. The death of Christ was not mentioned, neither was the fact that God is our father. Something is wrong at the very core of the doctrine.
Three strikes and you're out!
I used to believe that if I sinned I had to be really sorry to ask God's forgiveness. If I committed the same sin again with 24 hours I had to be extremely sorry. If I committed the same sin the third time I might as well forget it. Why would God forgive me of the same sin three times in one day?
Peter asked Jesus how many times must he forgive his brother. Up to seven times in one day? Jesus replied 70 times seven, the implication being: that is how many times God forgives us each day. Jesus says we will not be forgiven if we do not forgive others. Jesus would not expect something of us that God is not willing to do Himself.
In one of the Church of Christ's favorite passages, Romans 6, the apostle Paul told the Romans they were baptized into Christ's death. Therefore they were not mastered by sin because they were "not under law, but under grace." (v. 14)
The Churches of Christ redefine this passage to mean: we are not under the Law of Moses, but we are under a new law which contains all of the rules about the work, worship and organization of the local church. This is the opposite of what Paul said. Paul said we are not under a law system of salvation, but under a grace system of salvation. A grace system of salvation is one in which one is saved by forgiveness, not by keeping a law or system of rules.
The hardcore Churches of Christ are totally convinced that they are saved because they keep a system of rules correctly. The apostle Paul was totally convinced that he was saved because he was forgiven of not having kept a system of laws correctly.
Paul stated that the power to conquer sin was in the forgiveness, not in a law.
The entire books of Romans and Hebrews
were written so that people would know they are completely and absolutely
forgiven, saved and going to heaven. The writers of the books of Romans
and Hebrews said forgiveness results in making us bold, courageous, and
strong enough to conquer the sins in our lives.
Faith and Works in the Book of James
Many in the Churches of Christ quote James 2:24 to prove that one is saved by faith and works. By works they mean following the blueprint of examples they have found in the book of Acts for the work, worship and organization of the local church, and the plan of salvation.
James did not speak to these issues at all. In fact James said the opposite.
James 2 has nothing to do with the work, worship and organization of the local church. In fact at the end of James 1 he says that
true religion and undefiled is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
He continues in chapter 2:
If we treat poor people as less than rich people we are saying that we
earn each other's love, and we are saying that we
so speak and so act as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (vv. 12, 13)
People who believe they are saved by forgiveness are merciful
to the poor. People who believe they are saved by their works are mean to
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
Something the Church of Christ NEVER does, and teaches against.
When people are trying to conquer addictions they need to know that they are completely forgiven. Almost all addicts of whatever sort (alcohol, drugs, sex, porn, food, TV, sports, video games, gambling) are convinced they are bad and cannot be forgiven on a continuous basis. Therefore Satan has all the power. All he has to do is get them to slip up once and they give up.
People who give up addictions have to know that all of their sins have been nailed to the cross: all their past sins, all their present sins, and all of their future sins--all nailed to the cross, already paid for. The victory has already been purchased and delivered.
wants us to be victorious. God has a plan that works. That plan starts
with complete and total forgiveness for all of our sins.
"For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace."
"Guilt was the only holy feeling."
Click here for some ideas on the faith Jesus had while he was on earth.
God wants us to be victorious.