Oct 162011
 

by Richard C. Church

Scripture Supplement

When sharing grace doctrine with professing Christians, there are several common objections that are often raised. This study will attempt to deal with some of those objections briefly and concisely with an emphasis on the scripture which supports the Pauline dispensational view.

This study will cover the following topics:

Dispensations
The Mystery
The Lord’s Prayer
The Ten Commandments
“You Teach People That It’s OK to Sin!”
Confession
Repentance
Water Baptism
One Gospel or Many Gospels?
The Trinity
Which Bible?
Forgiveness
Once Saved, Always Saved
Law vs. Grace
The Sabbath
“Cheap Grace” and “Easy Believism”
Tithing

Dispensations
The word dispensation is a translation of the Greek word oikonomia:

oikonomia: administration (of a household or estate); specifically a (religious) “economy”

A dispensation is a set of rules which God gives, or dispenses, to a specific group of people. In the Bible we see several dispensational changes, i.e. changes in the way God deals with man. While man has always been saved by grace through faith, God has had different requirements for the expression of that faith. For instance, Noah was required to express his faith by building the ark (Gen 6:8,13,14,22; Heb 11:7). The apostle James teaches that the nation of Israel was required to express their faith by the keeping of the Mosaic Law (Jam 2:10,14,17-26). In the same way that it would be incorrect to tell someone today that they must show their faith by building an ark, it is also incorrect to say that they must show their faith by works to be saved. These things do not pertain to the present dispensation.

Today, we live in the “dispensation of the grace of God” which was committed to the apostle Paul for us (1 Cor 9:17; Eph 3:2; Col 1:25). Since we live in the dispensation of grace, and it is Paul that tells us the instructions for the dispensation of grace, we identify the Pauline epistles as containing the doctrine for believers in this dispensation.

The Mystery
Nearly all of the objections to Pauline dispensationalism are the result of a failure to understand the mystery which was kept secret since the beginning of the world until it was revealed to and through the apostle Paul (Rom 16:25; 1 Cor 2:7,8; Eph 3:1-9; Col 1:25,26). Paul was given a different message than the prophets and the twelve apostles (Rom 16:25 cf Luke 1:68-71; Acts 3:19-21). In fact, the mystery which Christ taught to Paul from heaven is even different from what Christ preached during his earthly ministry (Rom 15:8,16).

The unique nature of this mystery can be verified by the fact that its unique content is not explained by any Biblical writer except Paul. The mystery includes:

The temporary setting aside of the nation of Israel. (Rom 11:25,26)

The pre-tribulational catching away of the church. (1 Cor 15:51-54; 1 Thes 4:13-18)

Gentile salvation apart from the nation of Israel. (Eph 2:11-19, 3:3-6; Col 1:26,27)

Believers as members of the body of Christ (Rom 12:4,5; 1 Cor 10:17, 12:12-27; Eph 1:22,23, 2:16, 3:6, 4:4,12-16, 5:30-33; Col 1:18, 2:19, 3:15)
Note: Notice the strong emphasis Paul places on this doctrine, yet no other Biblical writer even mentions the body of Christ as referring to believers. If theTwelve taught the same doctrine as Paul, why do they not mention this important truth?

Since Paul claims to be teaching truth that was exclusively revealed to him, and since Paul’s epistles contain important truths which are never mentioned by Peter, James, John, et al, we can only conclude that Paul taught a different message from the rest of the Biblical writers. And it is this message which is directly to us today in the dispensation of grace.

The Lord’s Prayer
Many believers today believe that it is good to recite the so-called “Lord’s Prayer.” This was a prayer taught by Christ to his disciples (Mat 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4).

First, the way this prayer is often recited is in direct opposition to Christ’s teachings on prayer. Many people repeat this prayer until it becomes nothing but a meaningless ritual. (Mat 6:5-7)

Also, since Christ’s earthly ministry was a ministry to the Jews (Mat 15:24; Rom 15:8), it is no surprise that this prayer is a thoroughly “Jewish” prayer.

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
The Jews were promised a kingdom on the earth. (Gen 17:5-8; Ex 19:5,6) This kingdom will come from heaven to the new earth after the millennial reign of Christ. (Rev 21:1,2) It was the coming of this kingdom that Jesus taught his disciples to pray for. In contrast, the body of Christ will spend eternity in the heavens (2 Cor 5:1;  Eph 1:3, 2:6;  Phil 3:20; Col 1:5;  1 Thes 4:17;  2 Tim 4:18)

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Under the Law dispensation, it was necessary to show your faith by your works (Mat 3:8; Jam 2:18). Thus the Jew was to pray to be forgiven in the same way that he forgave others. However, in the dispensation of grace, we have already been forgiven all trespasses (Col 2:13,14) through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Today, we are to forgive others in the same way that we have already been forgiven. (Eph 4:32)

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Once again we see that the kingdom is in view in this prayer. This kingdom which comes from heaven down to earth does not pertain to the member of the body of Christ, as we have seen above.

The Ten Commandments
Are we required to keep the Ten Commandments in the dispensation of grace? Many people think we are. However, most of these people cannot even recite all ten commandments. Furthermore, the ten commandments are only a small part of the whole Law, which consisted of over 600 points which regulated all areas of the human life, from what you could eat and wear to how you should conduct business.

The apostle Paul has much to say about the place of the Mosaic Law in the dispensation of grace. The purpose of the Law is to show us that we are guilty (Rom 3:19-20, 5:20, 7:5-11, Gal 3:10-12) The Law pertained to the nation of Israel (Rom 9:4). For the body of Christ, the Law has been done away with (Rom 6:14, 7:6, 8:3, 10:4; Gal 2:19-21, 3:13,24,25, 5:18; Eph 2:15; ) and salvation today comes by faith apart from the Law of Moses (Rom 3:20-28; Gal 2:16,21; Phil 3:9).

The only lawful use of the Law in the dispensation of grace is to show unbelievers that they are sinners in need of a Saviour. (1 Tim 1:8-11)

“You Teach People That It’s OK to Sin!”
This is a common statement that is brought against those who would teach the grace of God. Such comments show that many people simply do not understand the teaching of God’s grace. The apostle Paul was accused of this very thing and his words are perhaps the best defense that can be presented to such a charge.

Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

The grace of God does not teach us to sin. God’s grace teaches us that we are dead to sin that we might live to God.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Titus 2:12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Grace teaches us that there is nothing we can do, on our own, to please God. Even the good things that we do, if they are not of faith, are counted as uncleanness and sin. (Isa 64:6; Rom 14:23; Phil 3:9) It is only God living in us that produces good works in our lives (Gal 2:20).

Confession
Many people point to 1 John 1:9 to prove that it is necessary for the believer to confess their sins on a regular basis to receive forgiveness.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

It should be noted first of all that the book of 1 John is written to Jewish kingdom believers, not members of the body of Christ. Since the dispensation of the grace of God was committed to Paul, and not John, (1 Cor 9:17; Eph 3:2; Col 1:25) we must go to the Pauline epistles for our doctrine in this dispensation.

The apostle Paul teaches that believers are already forgiven of all of their trespasses (Col 2:13). We can thank God that it is not necessary for us to continually beg for what God has already given us.

Repentance
What place does repentance have in the dispensation of grace?

When telling people about salvation, many people will say that we must repent to be saved. By repent, they usually mean turn from your sins. However, this is not the Biblical meaning of the word repent. In the Old Testament, there are times when God repented (Gen 6:7, 1 Sam 15:11). We know that God is righteous and has no sin to turn from. So what is the correct meaning of repent?

The word translated repent, is the Greek word metanoeo, which means “to think differently afterwards, i.e. reconsider.” Therefore, when Bible says that it repented the Lord that he had made man (Gen 6:7) and that he had set up Saul as king of Israel (1 Sam 15:11), it means that God was reconsidering or changing his mind. (It is important to note that since God knows the end from the beginning (Isa 46:10), a change of mind for God is not quite like a change of mind for man, but the point is clear from the context.)

So when Peter told the men of Israel, in Acts 2:38, to “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins”, he was telling them to reconsider something. In the context of the passage, it is clear that Peter was telling them to reconsider who Jesus was, to accept him as the Messiah, and to rethink what they had done by killing him.

Is repentance necessary for salvation? Absolutely. (Rom 2:4; 2 Tim 2:25) Repentance is not a turning from your sins, which would be a work, but it is a reconsidering of your sinful state. You must change your mind about who you are (a sinner in need of a savior) and who Christ is (the one who died in your place, paying the penalty for your sins [1 Cor 15:1-4]). When you place your trust in Christ and his death at Calvary, the Bible teaches that you are saved. Not only are works not necessary for salvation,
attempting to work for salvation is expressly forbidden. (Rom 4:5, Titus 3:5)

Also, there is a repentance for the believer as well. There are times in every Christian’s life when we choose to live in the flesh. Rather than operating in the liberty that we have been given in Christ (Gal 5:1) and reckoning ourselves dead to sin (Rom 6:11), we choose to live sinfully. When we are in such a state, we are told to come to repentance (2 Cor 12:21). The Corinthians, for instance, after receiving Paul’s scathing letter castigating them for their carnality, (1 Cor 3:3,4) came to repentance, reconsidering their carnal state. (2 Cor 7:9,10)

Water Baptism
This is probably one of the most confusing and divisive issues in the professing church today. Some baptize babies, others only baptize adults. Some baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, while others baptize in the name of Jesus Christ. Some sprinkle, some dunk, some pour. It would seem like God would have given us some clear instruction for the practice of baptism in the dispensation of grace that would dismiss all the confusion.

Thankfully, He has!

First, we must understand that there is only one baptism for the body of Christ (Eph 4:4-6). But what is the nature of this one baptism? The word baptize literally means “to immerse.” But when we read about baptism in the Bible, it is important to realize what the person being baptized is being baptize into. For instance John the Baptist talked about baptism with water, but also with the Holy Spirit and fire (Mat 3:11). So what kind of baptism is Paul referring to?

Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

In this passage, Paul talks about a baptism, or immersion, into Christ and into his death. It is important to note that water is not mentioned anywhere in the passage. It can be said that this is a dry baptism. We can deduce from this passage that this baptism occurs at the time of salvation, since it is the baptism into death which assures the resurrection from the dead.

1 Cor 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Here we have a baptism which is performed by the Holy Spirit in which the believer is immersed, not into water, but into the one body of Christ. Once again, this baptism occurs at salvation since that is when the believer becomes a member of that body. Since there is only one baptism in this dispensation, this is the same baptism that we looked at previously in Romans 6.

Gal 3:27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Once again, Paul teaches that the one baptism for today is a baptism into Christ, not a baptism into water.

Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Like Romans 6, Paul here shows that our baptism is not a baptism into mere water, but is an immersion and an identification with Christ himself. It is an identification with his death, but also an identification with his resurrecton. No mere water ceremony could achieve this.

Some will say, “But Paul baptized with water!” This is quite correct. In his early ministry at Corinth, for instance, Paul baptized a few believers. But notice Paul’s comments concerning these water baptisms.

1 Cor 1:14I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
1 Cor
1:15Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
1 Cor 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
1 Cor 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

Paul did baptize in his early ministry, but as he received more of the revelation and a clearer understanding of the mystery, he soon abandoned the practice as being superfluous in light of the one baptism that we receive at salvation.

One Gospel or Many Gospels?
Since we have seen that Paul preached a message that had never been revealed, that had been kept secret from all men since the world began, does it necessarily follow that Paul had a different gospel? Let us see what Paul has to say concerning this issue.

Gal 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

In this verse, Paul clearly states that one gospel was committed to him, the gospel of the uncircumcision (or the Gentiles), and another gospel was committed to Peter, the gospel of the circumcision (or the Jews).

Some claim that this verse is talking about a singular gospel, but different audiences, or in other words, that Peter took the gospel to the circumcision, and Paul to the uncircumcision. The problem with this view is that both Peter and Paul went to both Jews and Gentiles. So it is contradictory to say that Paul was committed the audience of the uncircumcision, or Peter the audience of the circumcision.

Another question we must ask is, “Was the gospel that Paul taught a part of the mystery?” Since Peter claimed to preach the same thing as the prophets (Acts 2:16, 3:18,21,24), and Paul claimed to preach a mystery which was not revealed to the prophets (Eph 3:3-5), if the scriptures teach that the gospel is a part of that mystery, then it would be necessary to conclude that Paul’s gospel was a new gospel.

Eph 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

This verse refers to the “mystery of the gospel.” When Paul uses the word “mystery” he is referring to that new revelation he received which was kept secret from the beginning of the world until it was revealed to him. So we see that the gospel is, indeed, identified as a part of the mystery.

It is for this reason that Paul refers to “his gospel” in such exclusive terms. For instance, he calls the gospel of grace “my gospel” (Rom 2:16, 16:25; 2 Tim 2:8), “the gospel which I preached” (1 Cor 15:1; Gal 2:2), “our gospel” (2 Cor 4:3; 1 Thes 1:5; 2 Thes 2:14), the gospel “which we have preached” (Gal 1:8), and “the gospel which was preached of me” (Gal 1:11). Paul refers to his early ministry as “the beginning of the gospel.”
(Phil 4:15) He says the gospel was committed to his trust. (1 Cor 9:17; 1 Tim 1:11). Furthermore, we are instructed to follow Paul as a pattern in the dispensation of grace. (1 Cor 4:16; 1 Cor 11:1; Phil 3:17; 1 Tim 1:16).

All of these things lead us to conclude that the gospel which Paul preached, the gospel of the grace of God, is a separate gospel from that preached by Peter and the Twelve, namely, the gospel of the circumcision, or the gospel of the kingdom.

The Trinity
It seems that there are more and more people today who question the very nature of God. They deny that Jesus was, in fact, God, despite the fact that the Scriptures so clearly teach this truth. This issue is often clouded by words of man’s wisdom and philosophy, but we will focus on what the Bible clearly states.

1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Perhaps no verse of scripture so clearly states the tripartite nature of the Godhead. The words “these three are one” present an incontrovertible proof that the Godhead consists of a trinity, three inseperable parts of a single divine Person.

Unfortunately, the scholars of the day have convinced most Christians that this verse does not even belong in the Bible. Check your Bible. Does 1 John 5:7 look something like the above? Or has this verse been mutilated in your Bible and is it presented as a short phrase which does not fit the context or grammar of the passage? The scholars justify this deletion by appealing to manuscript evidence. They say that the second part of the verse does not appear in any Greek manuscripts. This claim, however,
is simply not true.

While this topic is too lengthy to cover here, please take the time to weigh the evidence for yourself. For a list of the manuscript evidence supporting the inclusion of this verse in the Bible, click here.

It seems this is not the only verse supporting the trinity which has come under attack. John 1:1 clearly shows that Jesus Christ was God. Yet the so-called scholars say that it really only means that he was “a god”. The “scholars” seem to ignore the fact that there is only one true God.

Some other verses which prove the reality of a triune Godhead:

Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Mat 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

John 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?

John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

John 8:59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Which Bible?
Going through the topics above, one can easily see that there is much confusion in the professing church today. This confusion can be attributed, at least in part, to the lack of understanding among Christians about which Bible they should use. With literally hundreds of translations to choose from, doing the necessary research to discover the best translation can be a laborous task. Some even suggest that you should have several translations to compare so that,
for any given verse, you can choose the translation which seems right to you.

Many say that there are no major differences between the translations. However, this is completely false. For instance, look up the following verses: Mark 16:9-20; Luke 9:56; John 7:53-8:11; Acts 8:37, 15:34, 24:7, 28:29; Rom 16:24; 1 John 5:7.

Does your Bible have a note explaining that these verses don’t really belong in the Bible? Or worse yet, are they left out altogether?

Here is another quick test. If I were to talk about the faith of Christ, it would be evident to the reader that I was talking about Christ’s faith. However, if I were to mention faith in Christ, you would understand that I was not talking about Christ’s faith, but someone else’s faith in Him. Many of the modern Bible versions substitute the words “faith in Christ” when the text is actually talking about the “faith of Christ.” One can see immediately that this could have
some far-reaching ramifications. For an example of these substitutions, look up the following verses in one of the many modern Bible translations: Gal 2:16, 20; Phil 3:9. You will see that the modern versions replace Christ’s faith with man’s faith, a grave error.

If your Bible has passed the above tests, then you are most likely holding an Authorized King James Bible. The reason we can state with confidence that the KJV is the word of God is not due to the scholasticism and education of the translators. In fact, the Bible version debate is not a debate over translation. The reason modern Bible versions read differently from the KJV is that they are translations of a different text.

Modern versions, for the most part, are based on an eclectic Greek text. This means that scholars take bits and pieces from different texts, deciding which readings they think were “probably” in the original. They then piece together a Greek text of the New Testament.

Despite the fact that the majority of Greek texts agree in the vast majority of instances, most scholars place undue emphasis on two early texts, the Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus. While these texts are indeed older than the traditional texts, this is due to the fact that they are of such poor quality that they were never widely used. They contain numerous errors (words deleted, repeated lines, lines crossed out, etc.) In fact, the Sinaiticus was actually rescued from a waste paper basket! When your modern
Bible version refers to “the earliest and best manuscripts”, it is these corrupt texts to which they refer.

While the scholars continue to maintain that there are no major differences between the various Bible versions, it can easily be shown that these corrupt Bibles leave out whole passages and verses, not to mention the individual phrases and words that have been left out and changed. How many deletions from the word of God are you willing to accept?

Forgiveness
How do we get forgiveness in the dispensation of grace? Is it by daily confession?

First we will look at the basis of forgiveness. The Lord our God is a just God. He does not arbitrarily overlook sin. Rom 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death.” Sin has a penalty that must be paid in one way or another. So, how can God be just and yet give us forgiveness of sins, seeing that we are filthy sinners (Rom 3:10; Rom 3:23)?

The answer is that God provided his own payment for our sins so that we would not have to pay for them ourselves. Nothing could satisfy God’s justice but the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was God in the flesh. Christ took our sin upon him (2 Cor 5:21) and died for us (Rom 5:8; 1 Cor 15:3; Gal 1:4). By providing salvation for us in this manner, God provides salvation as a free gift (Eph 2;8,9) without violating his just nature (Rom 3:21-26). So the basis for forgiveness of sin is the blood of Christ
(Eph 1:7; Col 1:14).

Seeing that Christ’s blood is the basis for our forgiveness, and Christ died for all sin, for all men (1 Tim 2:6), for all time, when someone trusts the gospel, they receive forgiveness for ALL of their sins: past, present, and future! Furthermore, we are instructed to forgive others in the same manner that we have been forgiven (Eph 4:32).

Once Saved, Always Saved
Is it possible to lose your salvation? This is a very important question that we must consider carefully. If it is possible to lose salvation, it is of tantamount importance that we understand just what we must do to stay saved. If it is not possible to lose it, it is our duty to point this out to those who say it is.

First we must understand the basis of our salvation. Is salvation based on what we do?

Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

These scriptures, and countless others, make it clear that salvation is not based on what we do for God. In fact, it is just the opposite. Our salvation is based on what God did for us (Rom 5:8; 1 Cor 15:3,4; 2 Cor 5:21).

Since we can’t do anything to be saved, how can we be expected to do anything to stay saved? The scriptures teach that we are secure in Christ and that nothing, not even our own unbelief, can separate us from the love of God once we have trusted in Christ’s sacrifice for our sin. (Rom 8:33-39; Phil 1:6; 2 Tim 2:11-13)

The argument that we must work to stay saved often stems from an unclear understanding of all we have been given in Christ.

We are members of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27; Eph 1:22,23, 5:30)
Does Christ cut off parts of his body?

We are sealed with the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13,14, 4:30)
Is anyone strong enough to break God’s seal?

We are a purchased posession (1 Cor 6:20, 7:23; Eph 1:14)
Does God throw away that which he purchased with his own blood?

We are adopted sons of the Father (Rom 8:15-23; Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5)
Does God disown his sons?

It can be easily seen that salvation cannot be lost since, from beginning to end, it is dependent on the work of Christ, not the works of men. Our works can’t get us saved, and our works can’t keep us saved.

But don’t scriptures such as Heb 6:4-6, 10:26,27 and 2 Pet 2:20-22 teach that salvation can be lost if we don’t continue in good works? Yes, they do! However, these scriptures are not written to the body of Christ in the dispensation of the grace of God. They are written to believers under the Jewish dispensation (See Dispensations, Mystery)

Law vs. Grace
Many religions claim to teach God’s grace, yet they teach that God’s grace is obtained by good works. This is a mixing of law and grace which is expressly forbidden by the Scriptures. Before we can understand the relationship that God’s grace has to the Law, we must understand the nature of the Law.

Obviously, keeping the Law involves doing works (Rom 2:13; Gal 3:12; James 2:26). Keeping the Law requires perfect obedience of the entire Law (Deu 27:26; James 2:10). The Law did not consist only of the Ten Commandments, but of more than 600 points governing every area of life, even regulating what one could wear and eat. Only a brief study of the all-encompassing scope of the Law easily shows that noone could ever keep the whole Law (Rom 3:10,19,20,23; Gal 2:16, 3:11; John 1:8,10).

This is why God’s grace is required. Grace is the exact opposite of Law. Since Law involves works, grace involves the absence of works (Rom 3:19-26, 4:4,5; Gal 3:10-14; Phil 3:9; Tit 3:5) While the Law required action, grace is given as a free gift which cannot be earned (Rom 5:13-17, 6:23; 2 Cor 9:14,15; Eph 2:8,9, 3:7, 4:7)

Perhaps no passage makes this distinction between Law and grace as clear as Rom 11:6.

Rom 11:6 And if by grace, then is it 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.

The Sabbath
There seems to be a growing number of people who believe that the Sabbath should still be observed in the dispensation of grace. The argument, as I have seen it posed, is that when the apostle Paul speaks of believers being freed from the Law, he is referring to the ceremonial law alone, not the moral law which, it is said, is found in the Ten Commandments. While the Ten Commandments are dealt with in more detail above (see Ten Commandments), it is necessary to deal with this specific argument concerning the keeping of the Sabbath.

First, Paul makes it clear that sabbaths and feast days do not pertain to the body of Christ in the dispensation of grace (Col 2:16,17). Notice that, in the context of the passage, Paul says that these things do not pertain to us because they were taken out of the way and nailed to the cross of Christ (Col 2:14). Paul clearly includes the keeping of sabbaths as a part of those ordinances that were taken out of the way. Sabbatarians will play semantic word games to twist this passage, but the clear reading
of the text cannot be denied.

Second, there is no evidence that there is a distinction between the Ten Commandments and the Law. When Paul says that we are dead to the Law, he is not referring to all of the law except the Ten Commandments. In fact, the Scriptures consistently show that the Ten Commandments are a part of the Law. For instance, in James 2:10,11, James includes adultery and murder, two of the Ten Commandments, as a part of the whole Law.

In Roman 7:6 Paul says that we are delivered from the Law. Does this Law include the Ten Commandments and the keeping of the Sabbath? Absolutely! For in the very next verse (Rom 7:7), Paul refers to the commandment, “Thou shalt not covet”, as an example of that Law from which we have been delivered. When you trust in the shed blood of Christ as sufficient payment for all of your sin, you become “free from the law” (Rom 8:2), including the keeping of the Sabbath.

“Cheap Grace” and “Easy Believism”
Often, when someone cannot answer the scriptural basis of a teaching they disagree with, they devise a label for that teaching with the intent of casting derision upon it. Two such terms which have been applied to those who preach the gospel of the grace of God are “Cheap Grace” and “Easy Believism.”

As a point of correction, we teach that God’s grace is free, not cheap. This is because God offers grace as a free gift (Eph 2:8,9). As an example, a Christian brother recently gave me several shares of stock as a gift. I did not pay him anything for this gift, so for me it was free. However, it was not free for him. The amount which he paid for the stock was much more than what I could afford to pay. But he gave it to me as a free gift.

In the same way, God’s grace is not cheap. In fact, it is very expensive. So expensive that, if we had to pay for it ourselves, none of us would ever receive it (Rom 3:10,23). But Christ paid for that grace with his life (1 Cor 15:1-4; 2 Cor 5:21), so that he could give it to us as a free gift (Rom 4:4,5). Never call something cheap which cost the life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Concerning the term “Easy Believism”, it is definitely true that belief is easy. In fact, for many people it is too easy! Because of our pride, we want to believe that our status with God is based on what we can do (Rom 10:3). However, it is not until we count all our merits as dung (Phil 3:8,9) and place our trust in what Christ did that we are justified (i.e. declared righteous) by God (Rom 3:21-26). Belief is easy, it’s letting go of our pride that is hard.

Tithing
Many churches today continue to teach that believers must give 10% of their income to the church. However, the apostle Paul, our apostle in the dispensation of grace, never once mentions tithing as the prescribed means for giving. On the contrary, Paul says that we should give as we purpose in our hearts, and not of necessity (2 Cor 9:7). Paul makes it clear that giving in the dispensation of grace is based on a willing mind (2 Cor 8:12), not a fixed percentage of your income.

While it is true that giving is of the highest importance for the support of the ministry, this giving is the result of a grateful heart, not a legal regulation. In fact, the Bible teaches that we are no longer under the law (Rom 6:14; Gal 3:23-25, 5:18). Grace frees us to give from a willing heart, not for the sake of necessity.

Scripture Supplement

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