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A Big Mistake(s)

3.10.2024

Tradition has led us away from truth and causes us to make some big mistakes when it comes to reading and understanding Scripture. I believe if we can recognize these mistakes and change our thinking and correct our errors we can embrace the truth of the Gospel of Grace in a much deeper way. Today, let’s see what these mistakes are and then we will spend the next several days looking at how to correct these errors and what difference it will make to our spiritual growth as we renew our minds (Rom 12:1-2).

1) BELIEVING THAT THE BIRTH OF JESUS USHERED IN THE NEW COVENANT.

This faulty understanding causes us to see the teachings of Jesus as directly to Christians when no one would be able to be a Christian until when the New Covenant really started:

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matt 26:27-28

2) BELIEVING THAT WHEN JESUS SPOKE OF COMMANDS (COMMANDMENTS) HE ALWAYS REFERRED TO THE LAW.

This way of thinking is shortsighted and leads to the belief that the Law (Law of Moses or Old Covenant) is still in place for Believers despite the overwhelming Biblical texts to the contrary:

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Gal 5:18
In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Heb 8:13

3) SHORTCHANGING THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST WHEN IT COMES TO FORGIVENESS.

When Christ died, He gave forgiveness, complete and total forgiveness, to all who would accept it. It can’t be any other way for if we are still in need of forgiveness than Scripture is full of error like this one that shows we are forgiven in the past tense:

buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Col 2:12-14

4) BELIEVING WE ONLY NEED FORGIVENESS TO BE SAVED.

How many times have you heard an ‘alter call’ that mentioned the need to have His Righteousness to be Saved? I haven’t! All I have ever heard was that we need to be forgiven such as with these statements from well-respected sources:

"Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I want to turn from my sins, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe He died for my sins and that You raised Him to life. I want Him to come into my heart and to take control of my life. I want to trust Jesus as my Savior and follow Him as my Lord from this day forward. In Jesus' Name, amen." “Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. Amen.” From the Harvest Ministries (Greg Laurie) website.
"Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I want to turn from my sins, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe He died for my sins and that You raised Him to life. I want Him to come into my heart and to take control of my life. I want to trust Jesus as my Savior and follow Him as my Lord from this day forward. In Jesus' Name, amen." From the Billy Graham Association website.

I would never claim that those who prayed this prayer with sincerity aren’t saved but something very important is missing- our need to be made righteous. Jesus didn’t just forgive us of our sins but also justifies us- makes us right before God. The fact that we only stress needing forgiveness causes us to think that forgiveness alone is needed when forgiveness alone can’t lead to Salvation. We need much more- to be made right again and that doesn’t come from our effort but through Christ:

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Rom 5:18-19

5) ACCEPTING COMMON STATEMENTS AS TRUTH.

The adage is true- tell a lie often enough and it becomes truth. Within the church many statements have been used as truth when they are lies. One such example is, ‘where are two or three are gathered I will be with them.’ That statement is Jesus attesting that He will stand by us as we witness for Him but has been used to show there is more ‘strength’ in our prayer when we are with other Believers or to prove it only takes a few of us together to have Jesus sit with us. We need to start questioning those things said over and over and see what the truth is.

6) FALSELY BELIEVING THAT SINCE GOD NEVER CHANGES NEITHER DOES HIS WAYS.

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow but this doesn’t mean He doesn’t change how He deals with us. What doesn’t change is His character, but He can relate to us in different ways. For example, Adam, Noah, and Abraham related to God in faith without a Law. Israel had the Law. We have the Holy Spirit. Three ways of relating differently by the same God. We need to understand that God’s character can remain intact even though He relates to us differently- most notably, He can now give us grace and love because His need for justice was satisfied by Christ:

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. Rom 5:9

7) NOT READING SCRIPTURE IN CONTEXT.

When we read Scripture, we need to be investigators. Good investigators ask questions and challenge everything to get to the truth. When we approach Scripture, we need to do just that. Who is being spoken to, what are the circumstances? Is it something we are to apply directly to our lives or is it something to help us understand what Christ did?

8) GETTING TRAPPED INTO VERSE AND CHAPTER.

The Bible was written without the chapter and verse numbers we have today. Those were added years later but are helpful for us to reference Scripture. The danger is that we mentally allow these artificial breaks to influence our ability to obtain correct context.

9) CERTAINLY NOT THE LEAST OF THE MISTAKES- NOT LISTENING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT AS WE READ SCRIPTURE.

The Holy Spirit is our personal guide to truth and yet we fail to let Him guide us. This is an error we can’t afford to make because Jesus promised us that His ministry to us was in finding truth:

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. John 14:16-18

We will start to break these down but maybe you know of a mistake I didn’t mention that you would like addressed. Please feel free to mention those in the comments. In the end, we want to be the best students of the Word we were given and use it via the Holy Spirit to learn the deep things of God.

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