When did grace start, with Jesus?
A reader by the avatar Las Artes left me a comment on my post The Church of the Living Dead. Please go there and view the entire comment.
I agreed with the comment concerning everything written by Las Artes except at one central point, which needs clarification, since it is central to The Gospel According to the Gospel. Even though my response is directed to Las Artes, it is meant for everyone. We all need to have a correct understanding of when God started to impute men righteousness and the manner in which He does so. Hint, it is not as we are taught in church, “the crucifixion of Jesus brought forth a new gift: the gift of grace”.
Hello Las Artes,
Thank you for coming to The Gospel According to the Gospel and leaving a comment.
You said, “the crucifixion of Jesus brought forth a new gift: the gift of grace”.
In the past, I have posted many articles concerning the origins of grace that we gentiles share in through the sacrifice of Christ for us. This is a very important subject for us to understand as believers, because the answer to this question can and does create different gospels. And we all remember Paul’s warning…
Gal 1:6-9 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
So, the origins of God’s grace in the gentile’s life is very important to us.
The church, Las Artes, teaches exactly what you have expressed, “the crucifixion of Jesus brought forth a new gift: the gift of grace”, so it is natural for you to repeat what you have learned. But does scripture teach this?
What the church teaches about Grace: (many people, including myself at one time, believe this teaching)
- God’s grace (men not having their sins held against them which we call imputed righteousness) started with the coming of Christ.
- God’s grace, which started with Christ, excluded the Old Testament saints from this Grace.
- New Testament saints have the grace of God and we don’t have to work for it, we just get to receive it as a free gift from God.
- Old Testament saints didn’t have grace, instead they had the Law and had to work for their righteousness.
- The Old Testament saints are grafted into what Christ has done for us (they only have grace because we had it first through Christ).
What the Gospel teaches about Grace:
- God’s grace (men not having their sins held against them which we call imputed righteousness) started with Abraham. Rom 4:11-12
- God’s grace, starting with Abraham included the Old Testament saints in this grace as well. Rom 4:11-12, Gen 17:7-11
- New Testament saints have the grace of God and we don’t have to work for it, we just get to receive it as a free gift from God. Rom 4:16, Eph 2:8
- Old Testament saints, starting with Abraham, had grace. The Law which came 430 years latter did not do away with this promise given to Abraham. Gal 3:17
- The New Testament saints (gentiles) are grafted into what God started with Abraham for His people (we only have grace because they Old Testament saints had it first through Christ). Gal 3:6-9, gal 3:17, Gal 3:13-14
Except for point number three, what the church teaches about grace is completely opposite of what we have presented to us in the gospel.
If grace did not come till Christ came, then we can assume that none of the Old Testament saints could speak of grace, since it had not yet come. Yet, even David spoke of the grace of God. David’s comments were so right on the mark that even Paul quoted David concerning God’s grace instead of making up his own opinion on grace.
Rom 4:6-9 KJV Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, (7) Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. (8) Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. (9) Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
We can see that David put his faith in the grace of God. He does not call it grace, but it is grace still the more. Grace is not having our sins held against us. David, being a Jew was circumcised and he enjoyed the grace of those who put their faith in the living God of Israel, no more and no less than the other true saints of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The difference between the Old and New Testaments is that this grace was only for the circumcised (the Jew, the chosen people of God) in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the gentiles were included in this grace though Christ.
Paul’s gospel (his good news) is that this grace, given to Abraham and his children, is now given to us gentiles.
Gal 3:13-14 KJV Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Paul’s own testimony to us is not that gentiles have been included in the blessings of Christ, the grace given to the apostles, a newly available grace or some new teaching outside of what was given to Abraham. Instead we see that Christ was made a curse and by Him hanging on the tree we get to participate in a blessing by which we gentiles can receive the Holy Spirit. That one and only blessing we get to share in is the one given to Abraham who did not have his sins imputed to him. The Holy Spirit we gentiles get to receive, and through this blessing given to Abraham, is the very same Spirit by which God seals us and establishes us in Christ upon our hearts.
2Co 1:21-22 KJV Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; (22) Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Here is how Paul articulates this blessing as it was first given to Abraham.
Rom 4:11-12 KJV And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: (12) And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
Imputed righteousness is the blessing given to Abraham and this is the same blessing that is given to us today when we put our faith in Christ. Before Christ, we gentiles were outside of the promises given to Abraham. This promise was only given to those who were of the circumcision (the Jews). But now in Christ we who were afar off are brought into this promises that the Jews enjoy.
Eph 2:11-13 KJV Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; (12) That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: (13) But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
The testimony of scripture is true, Abraham was credited righteousness, and we who are the same faith as he (whether Old or New Testament saints) are the children of Abraham. This means not only the Jews (the circumcision) who have the faith of Abraham are imputed righteousness (which circumcision was a seal of), we gentiles are now blessed with faithful Abraham when we put our hope in Christ. We are granted the same grace of imputed righteousness and we are now circumcised in the heart and not in the flesh, not by hands but by Christ.
Gal 3:6-9 KJV Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. (7) Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. (8) And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. (9) So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
This is how we in point three above, the only point where the church doctrine and the true gospel agree on the grace of God, can say that it is by grace (which we know is a free gift of God) that our sins are not imputed to us anymore. This promise is for both the Jew and the Gentile who have the same faith as Abraham who is the connection point to bring the Jews and the Gentiles together through the promise which Christ used to make both Jews and Gentiles one in the faith.
Rom 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Now, the church has a hard time with what scripture really does teach us about the grace of God. They want to insist that the Old Testament saints had the Law and had to work for righteousness, because they had no grace, since their sins were still imputed to them. But what the New Testament is testifying to is this: Abraham had a promise and this was also given to his physical descendants when they had the same faith as he did. This would include such people as David, Samuel, other prophets, the seven thousand who did not bow to Baal,. etc. The New Testament testifies that not only did the Jews enjoy this blessing given to Abraham, but so now do we gentiles enjoy this same blessing through Christ becoming a curse on the tree that we too might receive these promises and even the Holy Spirit. Gal 3:13-14
The truth of the matter is that the Law which came 430 years after what God did for Abraham, did not nullify the promise and blessings of Abraham that we gentiles are now grafted into. So true is this statement, that scripture calls this blessing, this promise given to Abraham a “covenant before of God in Christ“.
Gal 3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
The gospel the church refuses to believe is that the covenant that God made with Abraham was for God to be his God for him and his seed and for him and his seed to be His people, came with the gift of imputed righteousness to those who have the same faith as Abraham. The gospel the church refuses to believe is that we gentiles now share in the grace given first to the Jews through a “covenant of God in Christ” which was made with Abraham and passes to us gentiles through Christ being made a curse on the tree.
(I have only briefly written about this grace that started with Abraham and the other doctrines in scripture that are part of this true understanding of grace. Please read some of my older post if you are wishing to gain more insight into The Gospel According to the Gospel.)
So now you know The Gospel According to the Gospel, now you understand how the church refuses to believe this gospel spoken of in scripture. So what about you? Will you believe in the gospel the church refuses to believe? Or will you continue to believe in another gospel that we did not receive from Paul, which is no other gospel at all?
Heaven is waiting.
If you have further questions please ask in the comment section below.