Debunking Hyper/Extreme Grace – Interpretation Confusion?

Hello, everybody! We hope you have gotten a good start this new year! Please feel free to browse the previous articles. Since we are talking about the Bible – God’s love letter to you – you should find that most of the content on these pages remains relevant to living life to the fullest measure even after a couple of years!

This new year, we pray that you would really study the Bible – like your life really depended on doing so. If you knew that by studying the Bible you would essentially tap into God’s infinite store of wisdom and thereby gain understanding that would enable you to live life with more rest and peace, wouldn’t you find the time – no, wouldn’t you make sure you have a good chunk of time blocked out each day for reading God’s Word? If you haven’t done this, you don’t know what you are missing!

So, you owe it to yourself  - if you don’t already have one – to get yourself a good study Bible; such as Zondervan’s “NASB Study Bible”. A good study Bible has notes that help explain almost every verse. Another good study Bible (King James version) is “Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible” by Dake Publishing.

The concept in both of the above study Bibles is that the Bible is self-consistent and self-explanatory. This is important because the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. So, in order to keep from straying into deception, we need to increase our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. If we are faithful in this, God is able to teach us His will for our lives through His Holy Spirit that indwells us. When we are careful to follow the truth of God’s Word, He will bless us beyond our understanding.

An example of a deception that is being debated today is that of “Hyper/Extreme Grace”. Extreme Grace is basically the idea that once we pray the “prayer of faith” accepting Jesus Christ the Son of God as our Lord and Savior, we are free to live our lives however we would like; even if this means spending the rest of our lives in the deepest mires of immorality we can imagine.

However, if we would diligently search our Bibles for God’s thoughts on the subject, we would find that God’s Word commands us to live holy lives free from immorality. This can be seen in Jesus’ teachings in the Gospel books (the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John); as well as, in the other books of the New Testament.

A major part of Jesus’ teachings can be found in what is commonly called “The Sermon on the Mount” which can be read from Matthew chapters 5 – 7. Matthew 5:7 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Verse 16 says, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Verse 20 says, “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Here, the scribes and Pharisees were the teachers of religious law in that day.

Reading further in verses 21 – 47, Jesus teaches how we are to have a higher standard than what the Old Testament laws taught. Here, Jesus’ examples include: Calling someone a fool carries consequences as severe as committing murder; Lusting after someone carries consequences as severe as committing adultery; The consequences of sin is hell so it is better to cut off a part of the body that might be used in committing that sin in order to enter heaven than to have the whole body thrown in hell; If someone wants to take advantage of us, offer them more than they asked for and we are to love those who hate us.

In the last verse of chapter 5 (verse 48), Jesus said, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”. From these passages, it seems pretty clear that Jesus’ teachings contradict the “Extreme Grace” message and this is really just scratching the surface. But, how might the Extreme Grace deception come about?

Deceptions such as Extreme Grace can be avoided by being careful students of God’s Word. A good rule in Bible interpretation is to always look at the verse in question in the context where it appears. Our studies must be based on the belief that God’s Word is perfect (inerrant) and consistent; since this is also God’s character. Therefore, a verse must agree with its contexts; such as, the chapter where the verse is found; as well as, the book of the Bible where it is found; as well as, with all the other books of the Bible.

Admittedly, such a thorough study of God’s Word takes time, but we will find that we are blessed abundantly for our efforts. Jesus promised in John 8:31-32 that ”If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

With the above thoughts in mind, we should be able to search the Bible and uncover the flaws in the reasoning of the Extreme Grace deception. Proponents of Extreme Grace like to cite the Ephesians 2:8-9 passage where the apostle Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” One deception here is that salvation is a gift from God to us and that because it is a gift, that He would never revoke it.

Actually, this teaching is not new. This message has been preached for many years. The main motivation being to help make the gospel message more appealing to people. Basically, “Just ask the Lord to save you and you are headed to heaven.” Granted, many have prayed that prayer realizing that they were making a total commitment to follow Jesus as their Lord; but because of the way the message was presented, not a few probably prayed that prayer without realizing the requirement of a total commit and thinking that they are headed to heaven.

It’s been likened to purchasing “fire insurance”. Jesus warned us against this deception by His teaching in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Jesus warns further in verse 21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”

Jesus’ closing passage reads in verse 24, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” And in verse 26, “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” Here, Jesus is emphasizing the importance of following Him in obedience to His teaching.

When we look at Ephesians 2:8-9 by itself, we can see that one can easily come to the conclusion that we don’t have to do anything more to get to heaven after we receive God’s gift of salvation. The Amplified version reads, “For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not of works [not the fulfillment of the law's demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]” The phrases enclosed in parentheses and square brackets have been inserted by the translators to help increase the reader’s understanding. This is why it is called the “Amplified” version.

If we are not careful, we can fall into deception when we are used to reading a passage with a certain mindset gained from popular teaching. So, we really need to think about what we are reading before accepting it for Bible-truth. We need to pray that the Lord will give us a Spirit of Wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. And that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened so that we will know … (see Ephesians 1:17-18).

The Amplified Bible is a good example to us how even the scholarly translators can become confused when translating the word “grace”. Besides the Ephesians 2:8-9 passage as quoted above, the apostle Paul uses the word “grace” in numerous passages in this same book; as well as, in his other letters (epistles).

If we look at the way this word “grace” is translated in a few of the other passages we start to see inconsistencies that might not be readily apparent in more casual reading. For example, in Ephesians 1:2 of the Amplified Bible, Paul writes, “May grace (God’s unmerited favor) and spiritual peace … be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Do you see that the above seems inconsistent with the translation of the word “grace” in Ephesians 2:8-9?

If Paul really meant the word “grace” to mean “unmerited favor” as it is being translated in both the above passages, then would it really make sense for him to wish in this passage that we have this “grace” when, as the Extreme Grace proponents have asserted, God has already bestowed this “unmerited favor” on us? Here, Paul is definitely writing to Christians as can be seen from the preceding verse 1 where he mentions that he is writing to the saints at Ephesus.

The same line of reasoning can be applied to other passages in which Paul uses the word “grace”. But as this discussion has become quite lengthy, we will defer to the next time. We hope you found this discussion stimulating, thought provoking and even uplifting. We think it’s so important to know the truth and we hope this has gotten you started in searching out God’s truth in His precious written Word, the Bible.

Until next time, we pray that God’s blessings would be on your lives as you commit to live your lives for Him each day.

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Kingdom Culture!

Happy New Year! We welcome you to our page where we pray that we can help you find true fulfillment in this life. We trust that you have found your way into God’s Kingdom (please see previous articles for more information).

The Kingdom of God is like any culture, in that it is possible for one to progress from a very brief exposure through a web page to finding more information in a book to experiencing through a video to visiting as a tourist to learning to speak the native language to living in the land for extended periods to eventually actually immigrating and becoming a permanent resident.

There is a difference for us; though since after having asked Jesus Christ to be the Savior and Lord of our lives, He has granted us full citizenship to His Kingdom. Not only that, He made us heir to His Father’s Kingdom with real benefits that apply now on this earth and forever in heaven!

Isn’t all this very exciting? There is much to being heir to the Father’s Kingdom that we only come to understand as we learn to walk in it each and every day of our lives under the care and direction of the Lord through His Holy Spirit in us. Generally, the process involves extensive training and learning in order for us to grow into the wisdom and maturity required to carry out the responsibilities that the Lord wants to entrust us with. Further more, because of the Father’s infiniteness, there is forever more to know, understand and explore, so that we will always be in awe of His Awesomeness!

Another way to think of this process is that we come into Jesus’ Kingdom as His child. He lives in us and teaches us through His Holy Spirit who dwells in us (John 16:13-15). The apostle Paul likens us to an adopted child in that we need to go through training in order to begin to adapt to a very different way of thinking and culture (see the following excerpts from the book of Galatians).

3:26 For you are all sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

4:1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,

2 But is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.

3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.

4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

5 To redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying out, “Abba, Father!”

7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Isn’t this great stuff? Doesn’t all this just make you hunger for more? We pray that we have succeeded in encouraging you to search the scriptures for more; as this is truly only scratching the very top surface of the vast treasures of God’s Kingdom!

Here are some resources to help with your own rootings:

www.DreamsAndMysteries.com by John Paul Jackson. Jackson is a mature Christian leader with a unique prophetic anointing to teach Biblical wisdom, understanding and insights. This website is well worth your time and is even free!

www.StreamsMinistries.com This is another great web site by John Paul Jackson! For a small subscription fee you can access even more material that will greatly help increase your understanding of God’s kingdom!

Jackson is an accomplished Biblical dream interpreter like Joseph (Genesis 40 and 41) and Daniel (Daniel 2) in the old testament. Though Jackson has had this ability from his youth and credits God as his source, he encourages us that God speaks to each of us through our dreams (see Job 33 verses below).

33:14 For God may speak in one way, or in another, yet man does not perceive it.

15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds,

16 Then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction.

17 In order to turn man from his deed, and conceal pride from man,

18 He keeps back his soul from the Pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.

The dream interpretation courses Jackson offers are well worth the price. You will learn that God often communicates with us through the use of Biblical symbols. We have found that increasing our learning in this area has opened the door to hearing from God as He is able to provide day-by-day wisdom, guidance and direction in many areas of our lives.

Below is our prayer for you!

III John 2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

 

 

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Psalm 1: God wants you to prosper!

Greetings,

If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and have become a follower of Jesus, you are already on your way to abundant living (see previous article, Becoming part of God’s family, for more information).

What is so great to know is that Father God wants all His children to prosper. This is the underlying tone of the Bible from start to finish. One of the reasons that Father God has given us His word in the Bible, is to connect with us and to show us how being in relationship with Him – by knowing and loving Him each and every day of our lives – we can draw on the vast and abundant resources of His kingdom to live happy and fulfilled lives.

Psalm 1 is a passage that shows how we can prosper and find true success in our lives here and now on this earth. It’s shown below, in case some one does not have his/her Bible handy.

“Blessed is the man/woman who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

From the above scripture passage, it is clear that in order for God to be able to prosper us in whatever we do, we need to meditate on God’s word day and night. In the process of meditating on the contents of God’s love letter to us, He reveals Himself to us so that we are able to touch His heart as He touches our hearts.

Psalm 1 is a great passage to commit to memory in order to start conforming to God’s word (Romans 12:1-2). It’s a great passage to meditate on in the first moments of waking up! What a great way to start the day knowing that God wants to prosper you!

Along the same lines, God instructs us in Joshua 1:8-9, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

In the New Testament, we read in 3 John 2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” God reveals here that His prosperity includes our health (We hope to expound on this further in a future article)!

We are happy to pass these truths along to you because, with His help, we have come to know God’s heart for us in our every day lives. We pray that God will supply wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to you as you apply these truths to your lives. God wants you to know that He loves you and has great plans for you!

Please pray for us as we pass on to you what we know of Father God’s love for us. We give God the glory and praise for all He has done, all He is doing, and all that He is going to do!

May God bless you all abundantly as you seek Him daily in His word!

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Becoming part of God’s family

Greetings to all of you!

Having commemorated Jesus death and resurrection, we are reminded that Jesus chose to go through all He did for us in order to restore us back into fellowship with God (John 3:16). However, even though God very much wants us restored back into His family, He still gives us the option whether to choose or reject His offer.

To accept His gift of eternal life, we acknowledge that we are totally helpless to save ourselves because of our sinful condition (Romans 3:23); and hence, we are totally dependent on Jesus Christ to save us through His perfect and complete work of redemption completed on the cross of cavalry 2000 years ago.

In gratefulness for His abundant blessings, we ask Him to take the position of Lord of our lives and ask Him to help us be obedient to Him and make us more and more like Him in all aspects of our lives (Romans 10:9). If this sounds complicated and you can only manage a prayer that sounds like “Help!”, you can be sure that God will honor that.

If we choose to reject God’s offer, He never retracts His offer and He doesn’t ever give up on us! Jesus taught, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). If you ask God to help you to find Him, He will honor your request.

However, please realize that in rejecting God’s offer, we are choosing to continue to live in dangerous territory. A good read that might help is Mark Cahill’s book, One Heartbeat Away: Your Journey into Eternity.

An excellent web site to checkout is Ray Comfort’s and Kirk Cameron’s www.WayOfTheMaster.com where you can get answers to some questions that you may have. And please, by all means, keep coming back here. With God’s help, we should have more resources for you to explore.

We pray for God’s abundant blessings to result in wisdom, knowledge, understanding, discernment, and fulfilment in your life through His truth as recorded in His love letters to us, the Bible. We read in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Thank you for visiting our site! Until next time, blessings to all of you!

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Resurrection Sunday Greetings to All!

We hope you are as excited as we are to commemorate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead!

This was the final seal of victory that God the Father planned from the beginning of the world. Based on this victory, the human race is now able to join Father God’s family (John 1:12), so that we can experience the richness of His friendship and all the benefits of His kingdom while we are on this earth (Matthew 6:10).

This is something that comes up over and over again as we read the Bible. Derek Prince, in his Atonement book teaches about the 9 exchanges made by Jesus Christ’s perfect work of redemption completed on the cross of Calvary (Ephesians 1:7-8; Galatians 3:13-14). These are so great to think about, we list them here:

1) Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven. 2) He was wounded that we might be healed. 3) He was made sin with our sinfulness that we might be made righteous with His righteousness. 4) He died our death that we might share His life. 5) He was made a curse that we might receive the blessing. 6) He endured our poverty that we might share His abundance. 7) He bore our shame that we might share His glory. 8) He endured our rejection that we might enjoy His acceptance. 9) Our old man died in Jesus that the new man might live in us.

Prince summarizes the exchanges, “All the evil due, by justice, to come to us came on Jesus, so that all the good due to Jesus, earned by His sinless obedience, might be made available to us.” He continues, “You will never be able to find any reason you deserved His exchange. It is the outworking of God’s sovereign grace. It is the expression of His measureless love.”

Isn’t this exciting? Doesn’t it just make one want to read the Bible and find the nuggets of truth that God has for us in His love letter to us?

We hope you are as encouraged and lifted in learning more about God’s great love for us, as we are! Also, The 700 Club at www.cbn.com has been a great source of encouragement for us. Please check it out!

Finally, we are doing a lot of praying and planning for this web site. Please pray that the Lord will enable us to do a great job in spreading His love around the world with the goal of helping more people find the Father and belonging in His kingdom. We know that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

To God be the glory! Blessings to you all!

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Hello, everyone!

Welcome!

We are excited that you are visiting our website! We hope to encourage you that God loves you and wants you to be part of His family. We are a husband and wife team that both have 3 to 4 decades of experience in living the Christian life. We have grown to appreciate God and His love for us over the years.

We have also come to understand that His love for us is really an expression of His love for the entire human race! So, we wish to pass on what we know works or doesn’t work because we know that’s what God would want us to do.

With that said, we would like our website to help increase our understanding of the God’s book written to and for us, the Bible, and applying Biblical truths to various areas of our lives that result in spiritual growth and benefits as God also desires this.

There are a lot of different Bible translations out there and you may find one that is easy to read, handy to carry with you, or other nice-to-have feature. Because we believe knowledge of God’s will as revealed through the Bible is so central to living a fulfilled life, it is critical that we know that the translation is faithful to the original Hebrew or Greek texts.

So, whatever translation you are using, we recommend having a King James version with which you can reference when you have a question about a passage of scripture. Many King James version Bibles come with a concordance section in the back that lets you locate a passage if you remember a word from a passage you partially recall.

Some Bibles have explanations in the margins; for example, the Dake’s Bible is very good in this aspect. Some Bibles like John Maxwell’s “The Maxwell Leadership Bible” is the New King James Version text accompanied by excellent insights and teachings by John Maxwell, a godly leader of leaders. In the conclusion of his book, “The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader’s Day”, Maxwell writes, “… the Bible is the greatest leadership book ever written.”

One resource we have enjoyed immensely is Sid Roth’s, “It’s Supernatural!”. Roth’s website, www.sidroth.org, features both television and radio interviews which he conducts each week. The interviews are testimonials of personal encounters with God in some aspect; such as, healing, deliverance, or provision.

We have found most of the interviews uplifting and encouraging. Also, each interview typically is accompanied by some resources; such as, a book or set of CDs or DVDs that can be ordered.

Once again, we hope you enjoy our website! Please come back again!

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Welcome!

Hello! We are finally back in new form. We are excited to build this site to serve our visitors with content that will help you live your life to the fullest! Thank you for visiting our web site!

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