By Brother Michel Lankford
Have you ever had a friend that comes to you, and they love to cry on your shoulder? That is, they love to tell you about all their problems and bemoan the challenges in their life to you, while you give them understanding and sympathetic glances and not your head. We’ve all experienced that at one time or another. Sometimes we have been the sympathetic understanding friend, and other times we have been the ones crying on somebody’s shoulder.
So, let’s say that you’ve heard your friend verbalize their painful situation for the fifth time this month, and it’s obvious to you and anyone else listening that they are hurting. You love your friend. You hate to see them constantly beating their head against the wall. You want to see them prosper, overcome their challenges, and succeed.
So, naturally, as both of you are “BELIEVERS,” you start addressing some Biblical Instructions that you know they can be obeying better, because you have walked in life with them, and you have seen some measure of how they live.
Example:“You know neighbor, the Bible says that we shouldn’t hold on to anger. We’re not supposed to let the sun go down while we remain angry (Ephesians 4:26). Is it possible that you should be practicing more forgiveness, and dealing with frustrating situations on the day that they occur instead of stewing on things for too long and letting them grow into resentment?”example complaints
Be honest for a moment. What are the first words that will usually come out of a person’s mouth whenever you remind them of virtually any Bible Instruction whatsoever?
“Well, were not saved by our works you know. We’re saved by grace, and not by what we do.”
Okay, I wasn’t talking about the person’s salvation. I was talking about obeying Biblical Precepts so that they could overcome and be victorious over their painful situation, but you notice where the person will typically go. Can you see the dynamic behind the person’s virtually automatic response?
The functioning dynamic behind what the person said is, ‘I want God’s blessing of salvation.’ ‘’I would like for God to bless me in my situation, and for my painful circumstances to change. ‘However, since I claim salvation through Christ, and I’m “Under Grace,” I believe that I should NOT be required to OBEY ANYTHING.’ ‘I believe that I should obtain Kingdom Blessings and receive Kingdom results, just because I claim faith in Christ, and I want those good results.’
Please be objective and honest for a moment. What is the likelihood that God is going to bless that person’s life, and that their circumstances are going to change for the better?
Based on the way that they have decided to approach the situation, there is virtually no chance that they will overcome and gain victory over their circumstances with the attitude that they carry toward obeying Biblical Principles.
Many modern Christians may not want to admit that this is how they routinely function, but nevertheless that is the functioning reality in their lives. When they don’t see regular automatic victories over their painful circumstances, they get frustrated, and sometimes even angry. They put themselves in a catch 22, because they don’t want to be angry at God, (or admit that they are), but because they misunderstand what the Grace of God is truly supposed to do in their lives, they also don’t know how to own their personal responsibility for the mess that they have created for themselves, and their own painful circumstances continue to plague them, because they refused to change how they do things.
In my experience, modern Christians are only interested in Paul’s writings when he appears to give them permission to disobey God’s Laws and Commandments. Most Christians seem to treat Paul as an apostle of convenience. They love to throw Paul up in your face when he APPEARS to teach that we should no longer follow God’s Holy Commandments but IGNORE everything else that Paul says which openly CONTRADICTS their convenient “Lawless-Grace Narrative.”
Example: “We are Not Under Law But Under Grace.”
As it is written: “…for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14b, NKJV)
Modern Christians only LOVE the SECOND half of Romans 6:14. It APPEARS to say that we are “Under Grace, and we should supposedly NOT OBEY God’s Laws and Commandments anymore. The problem is that such a conclusion works ONLY if you willfully IGNORE the REST of Romans chapter 6, including ignoring the FIRST HALF of Romans 6:14. Look at what the “FULL Verse” says:
As it is written: For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14, NKJV)
- Does the verse say, ‘God’s Law’ shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace? NO, it DOESN’T.
- Does the verse say, ‘God’s Commandments’ shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace? NO, it DOESN’T.
- Does the verse say, ‘Scripture or the Old Testament’ shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace? NO, it DOESN’T. But modern Christians pretend it does, and they treat the verse as though that is what it teaches when it clearly does not.
- Paul clearly SAID that SIN (disobeying God), shall not have dominion over you (i.e. SIN and DISOBEYING God shall not continue to dominate your lifestyle; because God gives you the Grace to obey God so that you don’t continue to sin (Romans 6:1; Romans 6:14-15; Romans 6:19; cf. Philippians 2:13; Titus 2:11-15).
If you look at ALL of Romans Chapter 6 IN CONTEXT, Paul is NOT teaching, ‘Don’t obey God’s Law anymore because you are under Grace. Paul was teaching the OPPOSITE concept.
Paul WAS teaching: “Don’t continue to sin. Don’t continue to obey the law of sin and death which is in your old nature. Sin and death (disobeying God), no longer have dominion over you. So don’t continue to obey the law of sin. Instead, use the Grace that God gives you to OBEY God and NOT to obey sin anymore.”
Example: The “Lawless Grace” Doctrine ONLY Works IF You Purposely IGNORE and CONTRADICT the Fact that Paul SAID he WAS NOT Teaching AGAINST Keeping God’s Law and Commandments.
Paul clearly said that he served the God of Isaac Abraham and Jacob. He couldn’t do that and promote DISOBEYING that same God at the same time, (Genesis 26:5).
- Paul clearly said that he believed EVERYTHING and that he was in ACCORDANCE with the Law and the prophets (Acts 24:14). If he was teaching AGAINST KEEPING the Commandments of God, that statement COULD NOT be TRUE. Because in the Bible, whatever you DO, IS what you actually BELIEVE.
- Paul said that he always did his best to maintain a clear conscience before God and before man.
- Paul said that he had committed no offense against the Law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Cesar. (Acts 25:7–8).
- If Paul was teaching people not to honor God’s Law, that statement would be a LIE. The Law of the Jews in written Scripture clearly FORBIDS teaching ANYONE to disobey God (e.g. Deuteronomy 13:1–5; Exodus 12:49; Leviticus 24:22; Numbers 15:16; Deuteronomy 27:18; Isaiah 5:20–24; Isaiah 8:20; Isaiah 40:8; Isaiah 56:1–7; Eccles. 12:13–14).
- IF Paul was truly teaching that Jewish believers in YHWH had to live one way (Obey Torah), but Christian believers in YHWH should live in the OPPOSITE Manner (Disobey and Disregard Torah, because you are Under Grace), that means that Paul would have been LYING in his statements of (Acts 25:7–10). There is NO CHANCE that Paul could be telling the TRUTH under such a scenario.
- Paul said that he had done no wrong to the Jews (Acts 25:10). Again, the ONLY way that this statement CAN be TRUE is if Paul was NOT teaching AGAINST honoring the Torah of YHWH. If Paul is teaching against keeping God’s Law, then what he said in Acts 25:10 must be a LIE, by necessity.
- Paul said that he had done nothing against the customs of the Jewish fathers (Acts 28:17–21). The custom of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph was to OBEY God, and do as God said to do (See Genesis 26:5; Genesis chs.12–50). Even Jesus the Messiah taught that people who claim to be descendants of Abraham must live the same way that Abraham lived (John 8:31–40). Christians claim to be descendants of Abraham through faith. If Paul taught that people should DISOBEY the Commandments of God because we are “Under Grace,” then Paul contradicted the way Abraham lived. He contradicted the declarations of Messiah. This would mean that once again, Paul would be LYING in Acts 28:17–21.
If Paul truly was teaching, ‘Don’t obey God’s Commandments, because you are under Grace,’ then every one of the statements that Paul testified about what he believed, what he practiced, and what he preached would be a lie. He could not have been telling the truth if that were the case. If Paul were teaching against obeying God’s Law when he said he was not teaching that, then he would be lying. If he was lying, then he would not even be saved, let alone an apostle, (Revelation 21:8). Christians are typically contradicting what Paul said about his own teachings.
There appears to be some EXTREME cognitive dissonance in the body of those who call themselves Christians today.
Paul openly declared that he was NOT teaching against Torah. He said so on multiple occasions. It’s recorded in the book of Acts. Yet Christians insist on claiming that they can reject, put away and disobey God’s Law based on Paul’s apostolic authority.
So, you are willing to reject and break the Commandments because you think that Paul’s writings permit you to do that, even when Paul directly says that he was not teaching against the Law. How incoherent is that belief system?
How determined must you be to give yourself a license to sin to believe that way? You are willing to think that Paul LIED and that he contradicted what he said about what he felt, practiced, and preached, just so that you can continue to sin and disobey God’s Commandments, and believe that you are going to heaven because you claim faith in Jesus Christ. You don’t have to obey God because Paul said it’s okay?! The scary thing is that Christians THINK this is a sound doctrine. It’s not. I believe that the chief witness against you on the Day of Judgement will be Paul the Apostle himself.
Example: Paul Told Timothy to CONTINUE Doing the “Old Testament” (2 Timothy 3:12-15).
As it is written: Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:12–15, NKJV)
There are quite a few modern Christian approaches to doctrine that make ZERO sense. Few more so than the issue illustrated here. On the one hand, modern evangelical Christians will fervently assert that they believe that the Bible is God’s Written Word, that it is all true, and that it is authoritative for the believer. At the same time, the same modern evangelical Christian will passionately affirm that God’s Holy Law has been nailed to the cross, completed, and thus supposedly abolished in Jesus Christ. They will passionately argue that believers should NO LONGER obey God’s Commandments because we are, “Under Grace.”
If you are a spiritually and intellectually honest person, then you must bravely confront some crucial questions.
If the modern Christian approach to doctrine is correct, and we should no longer regard and honor God’s Commandments anymore because we are saved by Grace, then WHY did Paul the apostle of Grace tell Timothy to CONTINUE doing the Old Testament Scriptures that he had learned since he was a child? There was no New Testament when Timothy was in childhood. Why DIDN’T Paul tell Timothy specifically, ‘Stop doing the Old Testament now, you are “Under Grace?” That is a massive inconsistency with modern Christian doctrine. Timothy was “Under Grace,” So, WHY tell him to CONTINUE in the “Old Testament” Scriptures IF they were allegedly ABOLISHED through Christ?(cf. Romans 15:1-4; 1 Corinthians 10)?
Example: Paul SAID that ALL Scripture IS profitable (2 Timothy 3:12–17)
Moreover, Paul specifically said that ALL Scripture (which INCLUDES God’s Law or Torah), was powerful enough to do some very specific things in the lives of believers (2 Timothy 3:12-17). Now, God’s Commandments WERE NEVER meant to be used to EARN salvation of course, but it was still profitable to perform other crucial purposes, according to Paul.
The problem is that either the Law of God is nailed to the cross; it’s been rendered powerless; God doesn’t care, and it doesn’t matter whether you obey God’s Law or not, because you are saved by Grace. OR ALL of Scripture is still valid for the believer, and ALL Scripture including God’s Law still has the power to perform the tasks that Paul said Scripture could do.
The problem is that both extremely opposite ideas CAN’T be TRUE at the SAME time. IF ALL Scripture is God-Breathed and profitable to do what Paul said it can do, then NONE of Scripture can be abolished. NO part of Scripture should be considered obsolete. NONE should be IGNORED.
On the other hand, if the first five books of Scripture are nailed to the cross, abolished, and obsolete, so that God wants us to disregard these things because we are saved by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ, then by necessity, NOT ALL Scripture is STILL profitable anymore, as Paul said that it is.
IF 2 Timothy 3:12-17 is true, then we CAN’T rightly disregard God’s Law as obsolete.
IF you believe that Paul taught that you should disregard God’s Law as being obsolete, then that means that 2 Timothy 3:12-17, CAN’T be TRUE. This would mean that Paul was a false teacher by necessity.
Scripture can either be obsolete and done away with, OR, it can still be profitable to accomplish certain results, BUT BOTH aspects CAN’T be TRUE at the SAME time.
We MUST face the fact that somebody’s misinterpreting Paul somewhere.
Example: What Most Christians Call Grace Today, the New Testament calls SIN
Christians THINK This is What Means to Live “Under Grace”
- The condition of being without Law
- Being ignorant of the Law
- Violating/ Breaking the Law
- Having contempt for the Law
- “To be destitute or in violation of the Mosaic or Jewish Law.
This LOOKS and SOUNDS Like “GRACE” to most modern Christians today, The HUGE problem is that what most Christans believe to be a description of “Grace,” actually turns out to be a “New Testament” definition of Lawlessness and SIN. Living OUTSIDE of God’s Laws, Commandments and Instructions CAN’T be “Grace.”
- Paul said THIS is ANTICHRIST (2 Thessalonians 2:7-12).
- Jesus said THIS is CONDEMNED (Matthew 7:21-23 Matthew 13:41-42 Matthew 24:12-13).
- Paul said that the true Grace of God Causes us to OVERCOME THIS, and NOT continue to DO THIS (Titus 2:11-15).
- Paul said that we MUST SEPARATE FROM THIS to be a Child of God (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).
Example: It Was Paul the Apostle Who SAID that NOT Subjecting Ourselves to God’s Law is a Sign of Carnal-Mindedness (Romans 8:5–8). He did NOT Call that a Sign of Grace.
As it is written: for those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:5–8, NKJV)
It was Paul the apostle himself who said that NOT subjecting ourselves to God’s Law:
- Is a mark of the sinful nature.
- Is Carnal-Minded.
- Is HOSTILE AGAINST God.
- It CAN NOT please God.
- It leads to DEATH.
Then the SAME apostle allegedly turns around and taught us ‘Do not subject yourselves to God’s Law because you are ‘Under Grace.’ REALLY?! If you have understood Paul correctly, and Paul was truly telling you NOT to subject yourself to God’s Law, that means that Paul was also telling you to walk by your sinful nature. He was telling you to be carnal-minded. He was telling us to live in a way that is hostile against God. He was telling you to live a lifestyle that CAN NOT please God. Paul would be teaching you to walk in a manner that leads to DEATH, and NOT to Eternal Life. Remember, these are definitions and Standards that PAUL himself confirmed in the ‘New Testament.’ There is ZERO chance that Paul was truly teaching ‘Don’t subject yourself to God’s Law.’
What Paul was actually teaching was “Don’t try to obey God and don’t try to follow man-made religious customs, ‘To Get Saved,’ or to “EARN” your salvation. That’s because you really CAN’T Obey God’s Standards as long as you are still controlled by your sinful nature. Instead, get saved through Messiah FIRST. Let God convert and transform you FIRST, so that you CAN submit to God and obey God successfully AFTER you are already Born-Again and saved through Messiah (cf. Ezekiel 11:19-20; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Philippians 2:13. AFTER you receive salvation through Messiah, THEN learn and practice doing what God wants you to do. Don’t follow religious customs and traditions of men (Colossians 2:8). Follow Scripture, and don’t exceed or go beyond what Scripture says we should do (e.g.1 Corinthians 4:6). THAT is what Paul was truly teaching.
Example: Look at What Paul SAID DOES NOT inherit the Kingdom of God… (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9–10).
As it is written: Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19–21, NKJV)
FACT: Paul the “Apostle of Salvation by Grace through faith is the one who wrote these solemn warnings.
FACT: Paul was “Under Grace” when God caused him to write these warnings.
FACT: Paul wrote these solemn warnings to Christians who were meeting in Christian gatherings. The Christians who received these warnings were also “Under Grace,” when they first received this letter.
FACT: Every single sinful attitude or behavior that Paul SAID would Prevent Christians from going to Heaven was a practice that was FIRST CONDEMNED in God’s Law, CONEDMNED by His prophets, and confirmed again by the apostle. NO standard that Paul stated was a “Brand NEW” Standard. God had already declared this to be sin well ahead of time (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21). If God’s Law is “Nailed to the Cross,” so that it no longer matters if you obey God’s Law or not because you are “Under Grace,” then WHY does Paul clearly teach that these violations of “God’s Law” WILL STILL CONDEMN a person and keep them OUT of Heaven? These are Paul’s warnings, not merely my opinions.
PROBLEM: IF God’s Law is “Nailed to the Cross,” so that you are going to heaven because you proclaim faith in Jesus Christ; If you are “Under Grace,” and you are going to Heaven, whether or not you obey God’s Commandments, then HOW is it that VIOLATING God’s Law in these areas still has the authority to CONDEMN you, and HOW can DISOBEYING these Torah Standards PREVENT you from inheriting the Kingdom of God; as Paul clearly SAID that it does?
IF breaking SOME Commandments of the Law WILL STILL CONDEMN you as Paul clearly teaches here, then that ALSO means that NOT ALL of God’s Law was “NAILED to the Cross.” It could not possibly be so. Otherwise violating God’s Law in these places would not be able to PREVENT you from going to Heaven as Paul clearly said that it does.
Example: Everything that Paul Says will Produce the Wrath of God to Come on People’s Lives, was FIRST declared as Evil in the Torah, in the prophets, and in the Writings of the “Old Testament.”
FACT: Every single sin that Paul SAID Produces the WRATH of God on people was FIRST declared to be a SIN in the “Old Testament Law, the prophets, and the Writings of the “Old Testament.” There is NOT ONE single “NEW” SIN in any of the many lists of behaviors that Paul says makes God vengefully angary.
If God’s Law is “Nailed to the Cross,” so that it no longer matters if you obey God’s Law or not, because you are “Under Grace,” then WHY does Paul clearly teach that these violations of “God’s Law” WILL STILL produce the “Wrath of God” on your life? (Romans 1:18-32; Ephesians 2:1-3; Ephesians 5:1-7; Colossians 3:1-7; cf. Romans 6:12-15; Romans 8:5-8; cf. 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; cf. Philippians 2:12-16; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27; cf. Ephesians 5:11-16; cf. 2 Timothy 3:1-5; cf. Romans 16:17-18).
Clearly God intended that we would use the Grace that He provides to OVERCOME sin and NOT to INDULGE sin.
Question: When you pull out Paul’s writings from your Bible tool kit, are you ONLY interested in what Paul said if it APPEARS that Paul told you that you could disobey God and still be fine? Or are you an honest Bible student, who weighs EVERYTHING Paul says in CONTEXT, so that you can use God’s Grace to help you obey God better, instead of looking for permission to disobey God, “Under Grace?”
God has ALWAYS intended that believers would apply His Laws, His Commandments, His Instructions, and His Promises, throughout Scripture together WITH His Grace, so that we would OVERCOME our nature, and to TRANSFORM our hardships into blessings, both for ourselves and others.
The biggest tragedy of the FALSE “Lawless-Grace” doctrine is that you end up with people who THINK and declare that they are victorious Christians, but the truth is that they are DEFEATED (1 John 1:5-7; 2 Peter 1:3-11). They CAN’T OVERCOME their weaknesses and challenges in life because they DON’T OBEY God. As a result their circumstances don’t change, and they don’t see the victory that God intended us to have.
The ONLY way to OVERCOME ANYTHING is by OBEYING God’s Commands and Instructions as they relate to your situations. That’s because this is HOW you build an experiential testimony where you experience God’s Kingdom WORKING in your life, and TRANSFORMING you and your circumstances (Revelation 12:11). However, that CAN’T and WON’T happen UNTIL you OBEY God.
That’s why so many “Christians” are weak and defeated in this life. They don’t experience the overcoming victories that God intends for them to have, because we CAN’T have those WITHOUT OBEYING God, and applying His Kingdom Requirements to their circumstances. They don’t obey God’s Standards because they foolishly believe the LIE that being “Under God’s Grace” means that they SHOULDN’T OBEY God’s Laws, His Commandments, His Promises, and His Instructions anymore.
It’s TRUE, that we CAN’T EARN our salvation by Obeying God’s Commandments. The thing is that obeying God’s Commandments was NEVER FOR salvation. It’s ALWAYS been about GROWING up into a successful OVERCOMER, AFTER receiving the gift of salvation through Messiah. That’s what obeying is for.
Think about it.
Thank you for your kind consideration and attention.
Brother Michel Lankford