What If (1) (3)

by Troy Kearns

Many professing Christian denominations hold fast to the doctrine that you are saved by God’s grace alone. That God is extending the free gift of His grace, His unmerited pardon, to us and all we need to do is say that we believe in the name of Jesus Christ and we will be saved. In fact, after the collapse of the Worldwide Church of God, this was one of the main doctrines that was changed. One of the men who was on the doctrinal committee responsible for codifying many of the changes was quoted as saying: “Faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone. That’s it.”


In other words, once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, there is nothing else that you need to do. In fact, the belief is that when Christ came to establish the New Covenant, He actually did away with His Father’s law and the entire Old Testament. Therefore, no more need to keep the Sabbath, no more Holy Days, no more tithing, and pork and shellfish are back on the menu.


One of the scriptures used to discredit Mr Herbert W. Armstrong and his teaching on law and grace and to peddle the idea of being saved by faith alone was the following: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). On the surface, this Scripture sounds like it advocates the idea that you are saved by faith alone. However if we only read part of a passage, we can miss the context in which it is written. Verse 10 says this: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”


These ‘good works’ are what God expects of us as a result of accepting His sacrifice. We cannot earn salvation by works, but by being baptised after heartfelt repentance and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are justified from our past sins and become eligible to become an immortal spirit being in God’s family. But is it assured? God will keep his part of the deal. The rest is up to us. This is where works come in. The Bible speaks of the fact that it is possible to fall away and commit the unpardonable sin (Hebrews 10:26-27). Indeed, in many places in the Bible it refers to those who overcome, who will inherit the Kingdom of God.


What did Christ have to say about this? Did He say anywhere in Scripture that accepting His sacrifice or saying that we believe in Him is all we need to do to be saved? Did Christ ever say that He came to do away with His Father’s law? Absolutely not! In fact, Christ said the complete opposite. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17-18).


Christ died in our stead for our sins so we can have the death penalty removed. He didn’t clear us of the guilt of our past sins just so we can go back to living a life of sin once we are baptised. Once we are baptised the onus is on us as a member of the body of Christ to walk in newness of life. Paul summed it up in Romans, when he said, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:1-4). So, we are exhorted then, to put sin out of our lives. We all have a master reigning over us. It is our choice whether we live in sin and let it control our lives, or choose to submit to Christ and live a life of obedience?

So back to the question asked in the title of this article. Are we under law or grace? In short, the answer is both! We have all earned and deserve the death penalty for breaking God’s laws. However, because of God’s abundant mercy and love for us, He has removed the death penalty hanging over each one of our heads through His unmerited gift of grace, if we repent and accept Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. At this point we are no longer under law, which is to say, under the penalty of the law, which is death. But as faithful Christians we are required to strive daily, to put sin out of our lives through the help of God’s Holy Spirit working in us, if we are baptised, or with us, if we are not yet converted.


For more information and a deeper understanding of this important subject, please read Mr Weston’s booklet, 

“Law or Grace: which is it?”

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