What does the Bible say about Spiritual Warfare

What does the Bible say about Spiritual Warfare?

What the Bible says about Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare has often been a hot topic among Christians. And unfortunately, a very misunderstood one as well. Finis Dake deals with Spiritual Warfare and has an entire chapter devoted to it in his book Bible Truths Unmasked. Below is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of Bible Truths Unmasked, The Reality of Spiritual Warfare.

Satan the World Deceiver

The greatest and most important work of Satan is to counterfeit the doctrines and experiences of God as revealed in Scripture in order to deceive the saints. We are commanded to test every doctrine and supernatural experience to see if they are from God or from Satan (1 Cor. 2:12-16; Phil. 1:9-10; 1 Th. 5:21-22; 1 Jn. 4:1-6). Due to the diversity among the world’s religions, their doctrines and individual experiences among their adherents, it is obvious that they cannot all have godly origins. Therefore, we must judge between them by gaining a clear understanding of the clearly–written Word of God. The greatest danger for Christians is to unquestioningly accept everything in the realm of the supernatural as originating with God. Having consecrated themselves to yield to the Holy Spirit and to the leadings of God, believers often think that they cannot be deceived or led astray by evil spirits through counterfeit doctrines and readings. But the fact that a believer is a child of God does not stop the devil from trying, in every conceivable way, to imitate God. In fact, believers are precisely the ones on whom he concentrates his greatest efforts and against whom he wages war.

How to keep from being deceived

When someone is born again and becomes a spiritual person, that person enters into the realm of the supernatural and spiritual. He should begin his new life with a study of the Bible to see what it teaches and how he should walk and how to conduct spiritual warfare. If he neglects to be on guard and fails to be aggressive against satanic powers, he is liable to be defeated by them. There is nothing to be afraid of if one lives a conscientious Christian life by reading the Bible and praying daily and by living in the Spirit according to light received from God’s Word (Col. 2:6-8; Gal. 5:16-26; Rom. 8:1-13; 1 Jn. 1:7). One should get up every morning and pray and have faith in God’s help through the day. He should always meditate on the Scriptures and refuse to do anything that might be contrary to the known will of God as the Bible teaches and there will be no danger of being deceived.
We must learn not to believe anything concerning spiritual and eternal things unless it is explicitly stated in Scripture or is in harmony with them. It matters not if it comes from the best ministers in the land or from an angel from Heaven. It should be judged by what the Bible says before it is accepted as truth. We must learn to judge every impression, revelation, dream, vision or sermon. The possibility of deception should keep everyone on guard and open to testing everything by the Bible (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:15-17).

The Duty of Saints in Spiritual Warfare

(1) Beware of neglecting those things that will cause enlightenment in spiritual warfare (Ps. 1:2-4; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:15-17).
(2) Do not fall an easy prey to the criticism of others or to the pressing cares of life which will keep you occupied from taking time to wage war successfully (Lk. 21:34-36; Eph. 6:10-18).
(3) Do not forget that spiritual weapons alone will give you the victory over sin and Satan (2 Cor. 10:4-7; Eph. 6:10-18).
(4) Do not neglect prayer and reading the Bible (Eph. 6:18; 1 Tim. 4:12-16).
(5) Do not be discouraged when the conflict for the moment seems to be going against you (1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7; 1 Pet. 1:7; 4:12; Jas. 1:12).
(6) Be alert and resist Satan (Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9).
(7) Do not fail to use the authority of Christ through His precious blood, His name, and the Holy Spirit against evil powers (Acts 1:8; Jn. 14:12-15; Mk. 16:15-20).
(8) Do not fail to do the whole will of God intelligently as it becomes known. Walk in the light of the Word of God (1 Jn. 1:7).Bible Truths Unmasked.

An excerpt, Bible Truths Unmasked

The Nature of Faith

Bible Truths Unmasked by Finis Dake

The Nature of Faith

Paul, in Romans 4:17, teaches that true faith is an attribute of God, “who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” Faith is a union of assurance and conviction; the counting or reckoning a thing done as though it were already done. Faith does not have to see before it believes. It laughs at impossibilities and all circumstances that may be contrary to it and counts the thing done that it asks from God. Faith is not swayed to believe God only when things seem possible. It is not moved to waver or question in the least when things seem to go contrary to what has been asked. It doggedly plugs right along counting the impossible as possible; counting as done the things that are not seen; and counting the things that are not as though they were.

What Faith Is Not

Faith is not feeling that prayer is answered. The average person who seeks to exercise faith depends upon what he can see, hear or feel. Testimonies concerning faith are usually expressed in connection with feelings and emotions, or the various senses. “Sense faith” is based upon physical evidence or upon the emotions and feelings of the soul. All who take this road as the basis of faith will sooner or later be deceived. Faith should be based upon the Word of God regardless of any sense–knowledge, or feeling–evidences. People are constantly looking to feelings as to whether prayer has been heard or not. If they happen to feel good, or if something happens that encourages them, they think that it is easy to believe, but if reverses come and feelings take wings, these same people are plunged into the depths of despair. They are quick to accuse God of being unfaithful and untrue to His Word. If they do not go this far, they are quick to imagine that it was not God’s will to grant the answer. They become satisfied to live without those thing that God has plainly promised.Bible Truths Unmasked.

An excerpt, Bible Truths Unmasked

The Definition of the word “Grace”

God's Plan For Man

The Definition of the word Grace

The primary meaning of “grace” in connection with God is free, eternal, and unmerited love and favour of God toward free moral agents who are the product of His own creation, whether human or spirit-beings, and who are capable of God–consciousness and moral responsibility. Grace is the spring, source, and the very fountain-head of all the manifold benefits and blessings of God to all of His creation (Jn. 1:14-17; 3:16; Rom. 3:24; 5:17-21; 11:5-6; 2 Cor. 9:8; Eph. 1:6-7; 2:5-8; Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5).
The Greek word charis is found 156 times in the New Testament and is translated “grace” 130 times; “favor” six times; “thank” and “thankworthy” twelve times; “pleasure” two times; and “acceptable,” “benefits,” “gift,” “gracious,” “joy,” and “liberality” each one time. It is not found in Matthew or Mark. It is found in Luke eight times; in John four times; in Acts sixteen times; in the Pauline Epistles 110 times; in James, l and 2 Peter, 1, 2, 3 John, and Jude sixteen times; and in Revelation two times—once at the beginning and once at the end.
Grace is also used to mean the favor and friendship of man with man (Gen. 32:5; 33:8-15; 34:11; 39:4; 47:25, 29; Ruth 2:10; Esther 2:17).
Grace cannot be limited in usage to God’s dealings with men in the New Testament or with men only in any one period. Was not God just as gracious and loving to angels and all spirit-beings and to men in the Old Testament times as He is to men in the New Testament times? He could not be otherwise to any of His creations at any time except when they were in rebellion and sin. The very creation and continued existence of such beings is an act of grace. In fact, grace covers even the brute creation and abundantly provides for all living creatures those things which sustain life. Grace is merited no more by the brutes than by free moral agents. It is free for all, and all creatures partake of it in some form whether they realize it or not.

An excerpt from God’s Plan for Man.

Evangelism Don’ts – Christian Worker’s Handbook

Evangelism Don’ts – Christian Worker’s Handbook

The following “don’ts” from the Christian Worker’s Handbook are not hard-and-fast rules, never to be broken, but in general it is safe to observe them:
1. Don’t wait for impressions. Be “instant in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2).
2. Don’t argue. If one is not in earnest, give him the word he needs and go to another (Mt. 7:6).
3. Don’t always attempt to prove spiritual things. The burden of proof rests upon the unbeliever. Simply declare truth and leave results with God (Isa. 55:10-11).
4. Don’t always try to explain spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). If one insists on this, ask him to explain electricity, radio waves and other material things he believes in.
5. Don’t give your own experience. Seekers might want a similar experience as evidence of salvation instead of looking to Jesus by faith. Use the Word to answer all problems (2 Tim. 2:15; 4:2).
6. Don’t exalt yourself (or act as though you were an angel and the seeker a lowly sinner). Become all things to all men to win them (1 Cor. 9:19-23).
7. Don’t overwork the personal pronoun “I.” John wrote his whole gospel without using it once. Exalt Christ (Jn. 16:13-16).
8. Don’t give Scriptures secondhand. Have a Bible ready. If the seeker disputes it, show him he makes God a liar (Rom. 3:4).
9. Don’t hurry over any Scripture. One or two is all that is necessary to prove a point (2 Cor. 13:1). Emphasize the part the seeker needs until he clearly understands.
10. Don’t raise unnecessary objections. Inquirers will bring up plenty for one to answer wisely and scripturally (2 Tim. 2:15).
11. Don’t condemn. Sinners are already condemned (Jn. 3:16-21).
12. Don’t refer to the sins and habits of a seeker. Get him saved and these things will take care of themselves (2 Cor. 5:17).
13. Don’t insist on going to an altar. Endeavor to get men saved where they are, or offer to go with them anywhere to pray. Insist on immediate surrender (2 Cor. 6:2).
14. Don’t give too many points. Find a verse that covers the excuse and stick with it. Going from verse to verse leads to other objections (Mt. 10:16).
15. Don’t permit a sinner to lead you from subject to subject. This shows a lack of conviction and reveals that his purpose is merely to argue (2 Tim. 2:25).
16. Don’t state your idea or belief. Others have these too, so explain what the Word says, and trust the Holy Spirit to convince of sin (Jn. 16:7-11).
17. Don’t act victorious or smart when you score a point. Give God the credit for helping you (Phil. 2:13).
18. Don’t be led to side issues. The sinner needs the new birth first (Jn. 3:3-5). He can learn about “Cain’s wife,” “Hell” and other doctrines later (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 2:16).
19. Don’t practice telling sad stories. These things may cause tears, but not because of sin. Point the sinner to Christ (Jn. 3:16).
20. Don’t talk all the time. Let the inquirer do the talking after the conversation is started, then answer him wisely with the Word (1 Pet. 3:15).
21. Don’t cross a seeker. Agree with him when possible or say nothing (Pr. 11:30).
22. Don’t leave one case for another. This is the way to land fish. Land him and then catch another (Mk. 1:16-20).
23. Don’t talk too loudly or get excited. Be calm and prayerful in winning souls (Jn. 3).
24. Don’t be overzealous. Sometimes a worker who is overzealous and inexperienced will seek to force a sinner to get saved. This sometimes drives sinners away (Mt. 10:16).
25. Don’t be indifferent to those seeking God. This is no time to stand and talk and visit. If you are not working yourself, do not hinder others (1 Tim. 3:15).
26. Don’t be an intruder. Two workers talking to a soul at the same time often give opposite instructions. The seeker becomes confused (1 Cor. 14:33).
27. Don’t interrupt a worker dealing with a soul. Your conversation can wait. This might give the sinner a chance to change his mind and put off salvation (Rom. 13:10).
28. Don’t crowd around seekers. This may embarrass the seeker and confuse the worker (1 Cor. 14:40).

29. Don’t tell seekers to think it over. Bring them to a decision at once if possible. They may never get this close to surrender again (Mt. 13:19).
30. Don’t have bad breath or a noticeable body order. Keep yourself and your clothing clean (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
31. Don’t be a hypocrite. We have too many of them already. Get saved first before you save others (Rom. 2:21-24).
32. Don’t hurry the seeker. Let him pray as long as he desires and then help in whatever way you can (Lk. 13:1-5; 18:13-14).
33. Don’t tell persons they are saved. Let the Spirit reveal this to them. If they are doubtful give them Scripture that assures them of salvation and then let them believe and be satisfied (Rom. 8:16; 1 Jn. 1:9).
34. Don’t insist on keeping sinners on their knees. Some knees are more tender than the heart. Men can be saved in any position (Lk. 18:9-14).
35. Don’t let a sinner go away unsatisfied. If he has prayed and he still is doubtful because he does not feel anything, show him that his faith must rest upon the Word of God, not on feelings and experiences of others (Eph. 2:8-9).
36. Don’t insist that a sinner get saved like you did. Circumstances and dispositions may be different in his case (Jn. 3:16).
37. Don’t emphasize emotions. Remind a seeker that facts come first; feelings and emotions last (Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Jn. 1:9).
38. Don’t lean on sinners. Their sins are heavy enough to bear without having to bear your weight. Let him think of his sins and not you (Jn. 16:8).
39. Don’t pray long or loud prayers. Pray right to the point and along the line you have been directing him. Confess sins and pray with him as if you were also a sinner (Dan. 9:20).
40. Don’t be discouraged. Your business is to witness and leave results with God. Jesus or none of His apostles won everyone they talked with. Faithfulness, not success is required. Never give up a case. Stick to it as long as Satan does (1 Pet. 5:8-9).
41. Don’t look upon any case as being hard. Remember Paul, the chief of sinners got saved (1 Tim. 1:15).
42. Don’t discuss church conditions or Christian failures with sinners. They know too much about these things already. Get them to see Jesus as the example (1 Pet. 2:21).
43. Don’t act too familiar with the opposite sex. In general, men should work with men and women with women. Avoid all appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22).
44. Don’t act indifferent to any human need. Sinners are quick to discern any lack of interest or earnestness in workers (Rom. 12:11).
45. Don’t be discourteous. Some workers talk to sinners as though they were the untouchables. Really love and care for the lowest of sinners. This will be like Jesus (Mt. 11:19).
46. Don’t try to force anyone to accept truth or read the Bible. If he does not want truth let him alone (Mt. 7:6).
47. Don’t lose patience. Sinners will be quick to detect any anger or impatience and you will lose your chance to win them. Keep self-control and consider lost souls first, not your feelings (Gal. 5:22-23).
48. Don’t be careless or half-hearted in dealing with a soul. Realize that an eternal soul is at stake and this maybe his last chance to escape hell. Be thorough and in dead earnest to rescue every man for whom Christ died (Lk. 19:10).
49. Don’t lose sight of the value of a soul. Jesus died that each man should be saved. Each soul is worth more than the whole world and the greatest price that Heaven could afford was paid for everyone (Mk. 8:32; 1 Cor. 6:20; Jn. 3:16).
50. Don’t fail to instruct new converts on how to live a Christian life.

Christian Worker’s Handbook.

The Christian Worker’s Handbook is only available in the Dake Reference Library Software.

The Basis for Christian Work

The Basis for Christian Work

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mk. 16:15-20).

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Mt. 28:19-20).

“And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.

And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Lk. 24:46-53).

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

“Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Pet. 3:15).

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness” (Rom. 12:1-8).

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:1-13).

“Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2).

“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa. 55:10-11).

“When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Mt. 13:19-23).

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise” (Pr. 11:30).

“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Dan. 12:3).

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Ps. 126:5-6).

Christian Worker’s Handbook.

The Christian Worker’s Handbook is only available in the Dake Reference Library Software.

False Theories About Grace

God's Plan For Man

We have a school of interpreters who magnify the grace of God above everything else in the program of God. They ignore God’s justice, laws, and all conditions governing the attitude and grace of God in the lives of men. They make null and void literally thousands of Scriptures revealing and regulating God’s dealings with free moral agents. They state some good things about grace, but they go to the utter extreme in trying to make grace the sum total of all there is about God and His plan.

It is true that from God’s standpoint grace cannot be withheld from man because of demerit, it cannot be lessened by demerit, and it cannot be mixed with the law of works, but this does not do away with the fact that there are conditions to meet on the part of man if he wants certain benefits of grace. Not one statement in the whole Bible says that there is an unconditional grace of God to men, or that there is a grace from God which men can get if they live as they please in disregard of the laws and justice of God. When we say that grace is not withheld because of demerit we simply mean that God’s grace will cause Him to forgive all sin when certain conditions are met. When we say that grace is not lessened by demerit we simply mean that sin does not do away with or decrease the grace of God toward a sinner when he meets certain conditions according to the Word of God. When we say it cannot be mixed with the law of works we simply mean that no work of man can merit God’s blessings that come only by faith through grace and by meeting the plain conditions laid down for a sinner to meet in order to get these blessings.

When a person realizes that he is a sinner; that God’s grace is greater than his sins; that he has no merits of his own to earn favor with God; and that if he comes to God meeting the requirements of reconciliation he becomes immediately a recipient of God’s grace. If God withheld His grace from a penitent sinner because he was a sinner, then no person could be saved. If sin lessened the grace of God to a penitent sinner then no person could be blessed, for sin would be greater than grace, and sin would not permit grace to be manifest. If blessings were earned by works, then they would not come by grace.

It is also true that God is not under obligation to save sinners because of some human merit, but it is true that God of His own accord and because of grace obligated Himself to pay the debt of sin for man. Since God has accepted of His own free choice the undertaking of paying man’s debt, He is now under obligation to man to give each one the same freedom of choice in accepting the cancellation of the debt. God is under obligation now to save all those that do accept the work of Christ for them. God cannot in any one case refuse to manifest His grace to any sinner that accepts the work of Christ for him. God is not under obligation to bless any one sinner that refuses and rejects the offer of God and the work of Christ on the cross. The choice is now left up to each sinner and not to the further choice of God. God’s choice has already been made, and His work in the paying of man’s debt is finished, and He is obligated to give to all who accept the full benefits for which Christ died.

Naturally, men are saved by grace, but not without the free and voluntary choice of acceptance of the work of Christ and proper confession of sins to God and faith in the blood of Christ. All the grace of God in existence could not save one soul if that soul refused the merits of that grace. Thus, in the final analysis, man governs his personal salvation by his power of free choice. Salvation is naturally the work of God for man, but God cannot save man without his free consent and co-operation with God from the new birth to the grave. So the idea that man’s salvation depends only on the grace of God and on grace alone, and that it is the work of God only and the work of God alone, is false.

If all depended soley upon God to save all sinners, and they had no part in the process of salvation, then all would be saved alike by God, for the salvation of all men is His desire (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9). If it were left up to God alone, then He would be under moral obligation to save all regardless of their consent or He would be a respecter of persons and a breaker of His own law (Jas. 2:1, 9).
It is true that grace is pure kindness and unmerited favor from God, but since God voluntarily chose to pay man’s debt and save him from Hell on the grounds that man should accept this work for him, God is now fulfilling an obligation to man, which is an obligation of His own free choice, not one that man has merited. In other words, man’s works or human merits did not earn for him the obligation on the part of God to save him. This obligation is a voluntary one on the part of God for helpless man. This is why God’s grace is real, unmerited favor and love toward man.

It is this human element in the working of grace that the above-mentioned school fails to recognize. This school magnifies grace as the only thing that is capable of saving man and contends that man can do nothing to get the benefits of grace. It ignores man’s free moral agency, man’s responsibility in his own damnation should he be lost; and it ignores repentance, confession of sins, prayer, the giving up of sin on the part of man, or anything that God has required of man to be saved. It ignores the human element after one is saved and brushes aside all the conditions of continued salvation plainly laid down in Scripture that man must meet in order to be saved in the end. It lays all blame and responsibility upon God should man fail to do what God requires of him to be eternally saved. It makes God personally accountable for the loss of every soul should anyone be finally lost after he has believed. This school holds to some of the most foolish and unscriptural theories about God, grace, and salvation of any that claims any degree of faith in the Gospel of Christ.

When this school of thought argues that grace is pure kindness, not the fulfilling of an obligation; that it is God’s kindness to sinners whether they sin less or more; that it is wholly unrelated to human merit; that it is not the treating of a person as he deserves, nor treating him better than he deserves; that it is treating a person graciously without the slightest reference to what he actually deserves; that it is never decreased or increased from the standpoint of God; and that it offers a standardized, unvarying blessing to all alike; its arguments are partly true, but this one thing has been overlooked by this school, and that is that the manifestation of the grace from God is governed by man’s free moral agency on the part of each individual. That is, God is limited to what He can and will do for any individual by grace by the will, faith, and obedience of each prospective recipient of grace.

To teach that God does not forgive a sinner because He is big-hearted enough to remit the penalty, or that God does not have mercy on a sinner, but that He saves solely because of grace, is to demonstrate ignorance of the Gospel and of what grace is. The fact that God has already “taken away” the sin of the world on the cross and that Christ is our substitute and has already borne the righteous judgments of God against sin does not prove that God is unmerciful, or that he is not big-hearted or that grace is something separate and apart from the redemptive work of Christ and God. The truth is that God manifests grace to men who do not merit it and cannot merit it. It is also true that God is love. He is big-hearted. He is merciful and He is kind and compassionate to those who have gone astray from His family.

When men become so technical as to separate grace from the mercy, love, and kindness of God to men, they demonstrate the worst kind of ignorance of truth. Such high-sounding phrases concerning grace that they use to magnify it as separate and distinct from all redemptive processes may sound wonderful to many people who revel in trying to find hidden mysteries in the Word of God, but to simple believers of Scripture such is foolish. Such teachers may get inflation of their spirits beyond measure and feel that they are wonderful in manufacturing technicalities and in trying to magnify grace, but in the light of plain, simple Scriptures and common sense, such theories are foolish and false. Let us take up a brief study of the words “grace,” “kindness,” “love,” and other terms as they are used of God, man, and redemption, and see if such fallacies can be found to be scriptural.

A study of these words proves that “grace” is not used in either Testament as something separate and apart from the big-heartedness, love, compassion, and kindness of one individual to another, whether it be man to man or God to man. It is used repeatedly of the manifestation of the favor of one person to another, and this favor is governed by the disposition, life, service, faith, acquaintance, relationship, and attitude of the recipient of the favor.

Noah found grace in the sight of God because he was righteous, and God favored him because of this (Gen. 6:8; 7:1). God had mercy on him and his family. If Noah had not been righteous God would not have had mercy on him. He would have destroyed him and his house with the rest of the ungodly. This cannot be disputed if we believe the record. When Lot found “grace” or “favor” in the sight of God it was because of God’s mercy and because of Abraham, the friend of God (Gen. 19:19, 29). When Moses and Israel found grace in the sight of God it was because of God’s mercy and choice (Exod. 33:12-17; 34:9). They were His chosen people because of Abraham, who God saw would obey Him and command his children to serve the Lord (Gen. 18:17-19; 22:12). Those same people whom God had chosen and who found grace in God’s sight were destroyed because of sin, for grace does not tolerate sin in those who were one time blessed with grace (Exod. 32:30-35; Num. 14:22-35; Jude 5). When men in the early Church found grace from God it was because they humbled themselves and accepted of their own choice the salvation of God. When they failed God they were cursed, as were the Israelites and men and angels of past ages (Acts 1:25; 5:1-10; Rom. 11; 1 Tim. 1:19-20; 5:11-15; Heb. 6:4-9; 10:26-29; 2 Pet. 2:20-22; Rev. 2:5).

It is folly to talk about being forgiven of sin or being saved without this salvation being an act of grace and mercy. Everything that God does for one is an act of grace and mercy. The fact that God has already paid the debt for man does not mean that actual forgiveness of sins today is not an immediate act of His grace. No sinner is saved personally until he accepts the work of Christ, and since sinners have to do this in their own lives today, then the grace of God manifests itself today only when one accepts Christ as a personal Saviour. This does not mean that God becomes good enough to excuse sins apart from the work of Christ. It is that God becomes personally gracious to each sinner the moment he accepts the work of Christ for him. The work of Christ was done centuries ago, but it does not benefit the individual until he chooses to accept it. God blesses by His grace the sinner when he surrenders, and this cannot be done in one life until the sinner turns to God and permits the grace of God to be manifest to him. No sinner will ever receive the grace of God until he personally humbles himself and calls upon God for mercy. God is free to forgive at the moment one confesses because Christ has already paid the debt for him. It is only when man knows the truth and accepts it that he is set free (Job 33:23-24; Jn. 8:31-32).

The Gospel of redemption is called “the word of his grace” (Acts 14:3; 20:24, 32). Men are justified by grace (Rom. 3:24; Titus 3:7). All blessings come by grace (Jn. 1:16; Eph. 1:7; 2:7). It brings salvation (Titus 2:11-13). It is the source of answered prayer (Heb. 4:16). It can transform our lives (1 Cor. 15:10). It enables men to make great sacrifices (2 Cor 9:8). It comes through faith (Eph. 2:8-9), the Holy Spirit (Zech. 12:10; Heb. 10:29), God’s choice (Rom. 11:5-6; Gal. 1:15; Exod. 33:19), Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:4), and humility and choice on the part of man (Prov. 3:34; Jas. 4:6). It comes in various measures (Eph. 4:7; Rom. 12:3-6; 15:15); and is governed by the individual faith (Rom. 4:16; 5:1-2), humility (Jas. 4:6), and the will power and life of the believer (Heb. 12:15, 28; 13:9; Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5).

Further proof that grace is governed in the individual life by the will power and life of each person is clear from the fact that a person can receive the grace of God in vain (2 Cor. 6:1). He can frustrate grace in his life (Gal. 2:21). He can fall from it (Gal. 5:4). He can cause it to fail in his life (Heb. 12:15). He can turn it into lasciviousness (Jude 4). He can sin in spite of grace (Rom. 6:1). And he can continue or discontinue in it as he pleases (Acts 13:43). Christians can minister grace to others (Eph. 4:29; Phil. 1:7; 1 Pet. 4:10) and grow in it (2 Pet. 3:18). Grace is an attribute of God that is used along with the words “mercy” and “compassion” in connection with sinners (Exod. 34:6; 2 Chron. 30:9; Neh. 9:17, 31; Ps. 86:15; 103:8; 111:4; 112:4).

It might seem like blasphemy to some to believe and teach the above-stated facts about grace, but facts are facts and when they are stated in plain Scriptures that any man can read for himself, it is foolhardy to reject them. To hold to some theory of man that some church makes the sum total of its religion is not worth the price one has to pay. It would be best to be honest with all the Scriptures on a subject and believe them all instead of twisting a few to mean something they do not say and flatly rejecting what many others say on the same subject.

It may appear to these interpreters that we are making man’s will greater than the grace of God. But we answer that this is true not only of grace but of many other attributes of God that cannot possibly bless rebels when they choose not to accept of these blessings. It is not so much that man’s will is greater than any attribute of God, but that God cannot do, and He has promised not to do certain things for man until man accepts of His grace and freely chooses and submits to the work of God in him. God simply cannot and will not break His own laws and be a despot for any man. He will not force any free moral agent to conform to His will. Therefore, it is up to free moral agents to choose whether they want God’s grace, love, or favor and to what extent. If it were left wholly up to God’s will in the matter, then all free moral agents would conform to His will, and all would be blessed alike, and all would enjoy the grace and favor of God to the full. As it is now, no one can accuse God of not having love for all men if they want to become recipients of that love. The fact that all are not saved and even all the saved do not partake of God’s love to the same extent proves that God’s blessings according to His grace are not wholly dependent upon Him. Neither are they wholly dependent upon the free will of man. It takes both the will of God and the will of man in full co-operation to demonstrate the fullness of God’s love and grace. One cannot work for the good of one master when he is serving the other. Thus, God’s grace or love is naturally limited by the free moral agency of man.

To argue that forgiveness is not an act of grace is to contradict the many Scriptures cited above that say we are justified, and we receive salvation by grace. To separate grace and the mercy of God in forgiveness is also unscriptural, for God cannot be gracious to anyone to whom He shows no mercy. Mercy and forgiveness of sins go hand in hand (Deut. 5:9-10; Neh. 9:17; Ps. 26:11; Lk. 18:13-14). Scores of times in Scripture men have asked for mercy when asking forgiveness and blessing (Ps. 51:1-13; Prov. 16:6; etc.). God is by nature gracious, merciful, loving kind, good, and compassionate (Exod. 34:6; Neh. 9:17; Ps. 86:15; 111:4; 145:8). To separate His graciousness from the other characteristics of God and magnify it above His justice and all else about God just for the sake of upholding a church theory concerning grace is more than intelligent people can do.God’s Plan for Man.

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