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(SAVED BY GRACE] SCRIPTURE - 1Pe 4:17-18                                               NOVEMBER, 1998

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

SUBJECT - SINNER, SAVED BY GRACE

Ever since I can remember, I have heard people that are Christians, saying that they are sinners, saved by grace. And, there was always something about that phrase, that didn't sit right with me. Sure, it sounds biblical, and it sounds like they are being humble, and not wanting to make it appear that they are any better than anyone else, but, what it sounds like, and what it implies, are completely at odds with scripture.

First, let's look at the first word in the subject, 'sinner.' What is a sinner???

By definition, a sinner, is one that practices sin. They are in league, if you will, with their father, the devil. They have his nature and traits. They are enemies of God. That is a sinner.

Next, we see the word, 'saved.'

Saved, as used in the bible, when referring to the spiritual condition of a person, means that this person has been rescued from the control of the devil, has had their sin nature changed, and are now children of God, with His nature in them. Their sins have been washed away, and they will not end up in hell.

Now, let's look at the last two words, By grace.'

This means, that their being saved, was not because they did anything to merit it. How could they??? They were God's enemies. But, 'grace', being God's unmerited favor, made the way for us to be saved. And that grace, is only applied, when we, by faith, receive it. Look at these scriptures (Eph 2:8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Eph 2:9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. No one can earn it. It is a gift.

Now, remember the definition of 'saved'?? And remember the definition of 'sinner'??? If you will notice, the two are total opposites of each other. One is light, and the other is darkness. One is good, and the other is bad. One is of God, and the other is of the devil.

Now, my point is this. With this being the case, how in the world can a person, be a sinner, and saved at the same time?? It, my friends, is impossible. Listen to what Jesus said, through John, (1Jo 1:5) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. Now remember, I said that sinner is darkness. John says, that there is NO DARKNESS IN HIM, talking about God. And, since Jesus is God, and anyone that is saved, is in Jesus, and He in them, how can anyone be in darkness, and in Him at the same time??? It can't be done. As I mentioned earlier, it sounds good, but it is not biblical.

The literal meaning of that phrase, is saying, 'I am still a sinner (practicing sin), but God has saved me anyway. I can commit sin and not have to repent, and still go to Heaven.' Now, that may not be what they mean, but that is what they are saying.

Look at the subject scriptures. They are saying that when the time comes, Judgment is going to begin in the Church. That's right. In the Church. All the hypocrisy, deceitfulness, lying, and sinful things that God hates, are going to be exposed, and punished, first. You see, a lot of people, believe that they can sin, and get away with it. What I mean by that, is they sin, and don't repent. Some people say, everybody sins, everyday. Oh Yeah?? Well, maybe you need to read about a man named Job. Listen to what God had to say about him. (Job 1:8, 2:3) And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? This is God, bragging about Job. Notice the word perfect. If God said he was perfect, then that means there was no fault with him. Job did not sin everyday. And guess what??? Job, unlike the Christians today, did this, and he didn't have the Holy Ghost. People use that excuse, to cover up their unwillingness to give up certain things that are sin. And God, will visit their sin, upon their heads.

Notice the second verse in the subject. It says the righteous will scarcely be saved. Now hold it right there. What is that word, righteous??? It means, to be without fault (sin) before God. You can't be a sinner and righteous at the same time.

So, where do people get these ideas from?? From people, usually preachers that don't know what they are saying, or don't explain what they may be trying to say.

The bible says (Ro 3:23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Ro 5:12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Now notice the term, 'have sinned'. That is talking about something in the past. It does not say, 'all do sin.' If it said that, then maybe I could half way accept what they are saying. But, it doesn't. The next thing the bible says, which are probably the most misunderstood verses, that lend credibility to this phrase are, (1Jo 1:8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1Jo 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1Jo 1:10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

To look at these verses, one, if wrongly dividing the word of truth, would say, 'See there. It says we all commit sin. If we say we don't, then we make Him a liar.' But, that is not what they are saying. What they are saying is, If we say that we have nothing in our possession that is of a sinful nature, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. We do possess something, that no matter how much you repent and how holy you get, you still possess it. What is it??? It is your body. Your flesh. That is the only part of you that salvation doesn't clean up. Verse 8, is talking about your flesh. That is why we are told to walk after the Spirit, and we won't fulfill the lusts of the flesh. That is why Paul said 'I beat my body daily to keep it under subjection.'

Verse 9 says, If we confess our sins, we will be cleansed from all unrighteousness. So, tell me. If you have all your unrighteousness removed, what are you left with??? The answer is righteousness. You have become without sin or fault before God. But, you still have this old sinful flesh. God, is looking at your heart, not your flesh.

Verse 10, basically says what I already covered about the past. So you see the mess the church is in, because of playing fast and loose with words???
        
To give you a clearer picture, I would like to use this example, of myself. Now, to understand what I am about to say, realize this. The bible says that the Church, is the bride of Christ. So, therefore, there are certain things that brides do, that are done likewise in the Church. Whether you are male of female, you are going to be married to Christ. Now, before I got saved, I was an all out sinner. That was my nature, through and through. You could say, using the terms of a marital situation, I was married to sin. My name was George Sinner. However, the time came when I divorced myself from sin, and married in to the family of God. With that marriage, I, like women do when they get married, changed my last name, and took the name of my new family, righteous. So now, I am no longer George Sinner, I am George Righteous. When a woman signs her name, she usually signs with her husband's last name. Her former, or maiden name, is no longer used. Therefore, the term sinner, saved by grace, corrupts the message that the gospel brings. The gospel says that we can be free from sin, as far as the way God sees us.

The work that Jesus accomplished by His death, burial and resurrection, has made the way for all of us to walk through this life, perfect, in the eyes of God. And that is more important than being perfect in the eyes of man. With man, no one is perfect.

Since God, is Holy, Righteous, Merciful, and Loving, as well as Just, then He should know what it takes for us to be acceptable in His sight.

As I mentioned earlier, we have a hard time relating to accepting our true condition before God, in this area. That is why, we, in a lot of instances, can't bring ourselves to think that we are not still sinners, and that the only thing that makes a difference in our lives, is that we are under God's grace.

It is very seldom that I agree with the world's view on things like this, but what they say about, 'you are, what you think you are' is true. It has biblical roots. (Pr 23:7)For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he, .... If you believe that you are still going to sin, because you are still a sinner, and you have to sin, then my friend, that is just what you are going to do. Even though you know you shouldn't do something, you will do it, because you feel that everyone has to sin. Some times, we even pray and ask God to forgive us of sins, 'we may have committed.' This means, that we still have this guilt of, 'even though I haven't done anything wrong today, as far as I can tell, there may have been something that I did, that is wrong, and I need to repent of it.'

Believe me my friends. That usually is a guilt trip from the devil. You may call it being humble, or being careful, but remember, if you have done something wrong, God will let you know. Since we have to operate by faith, look at this, (Ro 14:23)nd he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoevAer is not of faith is sin. Everything we do, should be with the full assurance of the Word of God. The word 'if', means that we are not sure, and therefore, is not of faith. Satan, was always tempting Jesus with a phrase beginning with 'If.' Jesus always responded with, 'it is.' There was no doubt there. You can't repent for something, that you are not sure of. That is like repenting for something, you didn't do. Sure there are things that we do, that are not pleasing to God. However, God will only hold us accountable for what we know is wrong. Remember, He is looking at the heart. Therefore, in our walk with Him, we may stumble, but He will forgive us, when we repent.

The bible says, Jas 4:17Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. What that means is, if you and I did the exact same thing, that was wrong in God's eyes, and I knew it was wrong, and you didn't, then I have sinned, and need to repent. As for you, you don't have to. He is not holding it against you. However, once you have been told that something is wrong, and it is from the word of God (the bible), then you have the responsibility of following through with your actions. God is not going to hold you responsible for something that you didn't know.

In one way, if you have been reading these tracts over the years, you now have no excuse for not knowing certain things are wrong. That is because God has put me, and other ministers out here, to make sure you know the truth. If we didn't do that, then we, knowing that we are told to do this, would be sinning.

So, God, has given us a safety valve, by which, we can live a perfect and upright life before Him. It all comes in knowing who you are in Christ. Striving to be pleasing to Him, should be your primary goal. Do this, and you will be alright. Remember, (2Co 5:21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

NEXT MONTH'S MESSAGE - COMMON GROUND
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