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When Does a Christian Need to Fear? When God Commands It!

Until I learned what the Bible teaches that grace accomplishes in the life of a Christian, I was under the impression that grace meant that as "as long as I believe that Jesus Christ is my savior, I am forgiven no matter how I live." I did not begin my walk as a Christian with this anti-Christ idea and I definitely did not learn of it by reading the scriptures. I obtained this broad way mentality by observing the lives of professed Christians around me and listening to weekly sermons that promoted the security-in-sin false gospel.

I wrongly believed that God was bound to keep me grafted into the tree (Jesus Christ) no matter how I lived as long as I named the name of Christ and truly believed he forgave me for my sins whether I continued in them or not.

I felt sorry for the unbelievers who did not stop to "trust in Christ" before they proceeded to continue living for themselves with the exception of taking two hours off for Sunday morning and evening church services. Those poor unbelievers! I wished they knew they needed to "call upon the name of the Lord to be saved" and then they would be safe to continue their current lifestyles--with some Christian modifications of course. I wished they knew that believing in Jesus would erase all their future sins before they even committed them. They would feel so much better knowing that heaven was a guarantee and holiness is an option in the here-and-now.

That is what being saved by grace means, does it not? Of course Christians should not want to continue to sin and they should obey God in gratitude for their salvation. But what about those who still walk after their own lusts? I was under the impression that those who continue in willful sin will lose rewards but remain saved because they, at one point in time, called upon the Lord Jesus Christ to save them. In the past I believed, and millions currently believe, that to be a Christian is to be delivered from the penalty of sin-óbut not necessarily from the power and the pleasure of sin.

You probably think, "That is pathetic that you believed that!" I didn't believe it in those exact terms but actions bring forth a person's true beliefs and I do know that I did not "behold both the goodness and severity of God." Rather, I beheld mainly his goodness. Once-saved-always-saved teaching pushed me into this mindset. For example (this was in the 80's), if I was tempted to view a television program that contained ungodly elements, I would yield to it even while feeling guilty for doing so because of my future-sins-are-already-forgiven programming. I would eye a tabloid in the grocery line and buy it, knowing that God would not want me to read such lying gossip. Yielding to these and other temptations trained me to quench the Holy Spirit, which is the fruit of the unconditional eternal security teaching. Multitudes have been subverted by this false doctrine into losing the proper fear of God.

I reasoned that as a Christian under grace I was largely free to determine how I wanted to live and how I wanted to serve God. As long as I did not do anything blatantly sinful, I had the "liberty in Christ" to determine my own course. My idea of "liberty in Christ" included the misguided notion that I had the freedom to choose the manner in which I served God rather than offer myself unreservedly to him as his servant. This reasoning is from the devil and leads believers who are subverted by it to the place that was created for the devil and his angels: Hell.

Yes, God's people are under grace, but this grace is the Bible's definition of grace, not the modern falling away Antinomian-influenced thought with its satanic, license-to-sin counterfeit of the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace. This new way to be saved by grace is characterized by willful or rationalized sin and compromise in the life of the Christian. This "salvation by grace" is really the "broad way that leadeth to destruction!

Christians are commanded to behold both the goodness and severity of God

The Apostle Paul explained that those who belong to Jesus Christ must behold both the goodness AND the severity of God:

"Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them that fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness:  otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." Romans 11:22 

Paul preached that believers under grace are to fear God:

"be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee."

Christians under grace must continue in God's goodness or we will be cut off from the tree (Jesus Christ). What does continuing in his goodness mean? Verse 16 reveals that goodness is holiness. We are to be holy in our walk like Jesus Christ:

 "If the root be holy, so are the branches."

Verse 17 is the key to understanding what this salvation by grace means experientially to the Christian:

"And if some of the branches be broken off [some of the Jews did not believe and were broken off], and thou, being a wild olive tree,[Gentile] wert grafted in among them [saved Gentiles are grafted into the same Tree with saved Jews], and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree." Romans 11:17

Believing Gentiles are grafted in among the believing Jews. Did the Jews who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ (and were persecuted as a result) say to themselves,

"What a relief! I'm not under the Mosaic law any longer so I don't have to obey God. I can do what I want as a believer because I have liberty in Christ! I'm so glad I don't have to be concerned about sinning against God any longer. Christ paid my sin debt so sin is of no consequence to me anymore."

This would be ludicrous and very wrong wouldn't it?

Christians are being strongly conditioned via sermons, books, internet message boards, etc. to think in exactly this manner. That explains why they quench the Holy Spirit when God uses a sermon to shine his light upon their pet sins, or when they read something on the internet that pricks their conscience, or when the Holy Ghost even uses this article to try to reach them before it is too late. They become experts at rationalizing sin:

"I am under grace, not the law, so God does not require me to forsake sin, and certainly not the sins of the heart that nobody but God can see. To believe that I must stop living for myself and begin to serve God with a single eye is the same thing as working for my salvation. I am in Christ and therefore I am at liberty to serve my flesh some, and serve God some, as I see fit."

Those who rationalize sin are on their way to having their "conscience seared with a hot iron." (See 1 Timothy 4:2)

God inspired the Apostle Paul to warn believers to "Be not highminded but fear."

Question: Why should Christians refrain from highmindedness [pride] and fear God?

Answer: If God's people, who are saved by his grace do not continue in his goodness (this goodness is a holy faith which expresses itself through obedience), we, like the unbelieving Jews, shall also be cut off. But doesn't grace remove the need to be holy in word, thought and deed? No, that is a modern, satanically-inspired false teaching.

God not only commands his New Covenant people to be holy, he gives them the ability and the desire to do so. In the life of a yielded child of God, grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (See Romans 5:21) Another way that grace enables us to continue in his goodness is because the grace that brings salvation teaches God's people to deny ungodliness and to live righteously in this present world:

 "...that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world."-Titus 2:12

Those who are saved by grace through faith become God's workmanship that is created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (See Eph. 2:8-10) Becoming God's workmanship is just as much a gift from God as salvation and in fact, is an integral part of what it means to be saved. "Continuing in his goodness" is what we were created in Christ Jesus to do, and we have the grace to do it by faith. Only those who are wrongly taught and therefore deficient in faith (faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God), will not "continue in his goodness" and have a proper, biblical, holy fear of being cut off from Jesus Christ. Why won't these continue in his goodness? Because they don't have the faith to continue...they only have faith for the kind of "salvation" THEY think they need rather than the faith God's word says they must have... the salvation the Lord Jesus Christ paid for with his own blood.

God's Word provides everything we need to know so that we can understand what being saved by his marvelous grace really means.

True Gospel Vs False Gospel Articles

rewritten May 2006

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Liberty To The Captives Established in June 2001