KJV - 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
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At the moment we trust Jesus as our only savior, that we can not possibly do anything to save our selves, we are given the Holy Spirit of promise. Ephesians 1:13, In whom ye also trusted, after ye believed the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. And Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not thee Spirit of God, by whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. The thing we have to know, is that we can not be saved by our works. What we do or do not do. No one is without sin, and all our sin has to be paid for. God hates our sin, but He loves us. So he sent Jesus to pay for all our sins if we receive the free gift of salvation by grace. John 1:12 But as many as received Him, gave He the power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His name. Eternal security. What is the will of God? And this is the will of Him who sent me, that everyone that seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise Him up on the last day.Eternal security. John 6:37. All that the Father gives to me, will come to me, and ALL that come to me, I will in no wise cast out. Eternal security. This is such a great problem in the church today. Many are trusting in their works to save themselves. They believe if they go to church, give money, keep from sin, and do good works, they are saved. But that is not true. We can only be saved by what Jesus did for us on the cross by shedding His blood to cover us from all sin. And we all sin. But if all of our sins have been paid for, we can not go to hell to pay for them. After we are saved our good works and keeping from sin earns us rewards in heaven, but has nothing to do with salvation which is all by grace, what Jesus did for us on the cross. Our works could never save us which should keep us knowing we are saved because we have believed, not by what we do or do not do. (our works) If we could be saved by keeping from sin and doing good works, then Jesus died for no reason. But we can only be saved by grace, so we have nothing to boast in but the cross. Salvation is complete the minute we trust Jesus as our only savior, because any thing we do after that adds nothing to our salvation which is all grace. Romans 4:5. But the one who does not work, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 11:6 It is all grace, not works, what we do, if it was by works, then it would no longer be grace. We can only be saved by faith alone that Jesus paid for all our sins so that we do not have to go to hell to pay for them. Eternal life is a free gift of God by faith alone, and once we believe it we are saved forever and can never be cast out. First John 5:13, For we know we have eternal life, because we have believed on the name of the Son of God. This is why it is hard to tell believers from unbelievers, because one believes he is saved by keeping from sin and doing good works, The other one keeps from sin and does good works because He is saved.
I understand your question, and apparently Paul (despite his clear teaching of Christians being saved through grace) did also, for he addressed this very concern in passages such as Romans 6 (the whole chapter). Also, even though Christians are saved by grace through faith, there will still be eternal consequences for the choices that they make, as Paul makes clear as well (1 Corinthians 3:10-17). I think that the fact that Christians are to be mindful of this, despite salvation being through grace rather than works, is also indicated by Paul's words in passages such as Philippians 2:12.
I think Paul tells us from the Holy Spirit in Romans 3:20-24, that Righteousness is declared and applied and given to anyone who through faith in Jesus Christ believes. He also says all have sinned and all are justified freely by Grace through redemption. Now, since we are declared righteous, justified and redeemed by Grace does that mean we become more immoral, of course not. It means something supernatural has happened to us bringing about a change. Paul then writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 that we become a new creation with a new life and the old is gone. Then in Galatians 5:16-18 he tells us if we walk by the Spirit we can defeat the desires of the flesh. So if we are a new creation, why do we still have fleshly desires, it is because we are still in the flesh. One day when we go to be with the Lord the flesh will be gone, then we will be perfected. So in Position, we are declared Righteous by God through Grace, but in Practice, we are still in the Flesh with a new perspective and power to fight sin, by the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Again if one is truly saved or born again they will not be careless, but be desiring to serve God in purity as much as they can.
Unfortunately, a super-emphasis on grace at the expense of a balanced teaching of grace, faith, the work of the Spirit, obedience, etc. Was used by some in the early church, and in the millenia since, as an excuse to indulge in sin. Paul addresses this misunderstanding in Rom 5 and Rom 6: Rom 5:20-Rom 6:1 "The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" Paul corrected this incorrect view that grace alone should be emphasized by balancing it with the purpose of grace, righteousness through Christ, and a reminder that believers have died to sin. He then goes on to emphasize in Rom 6:1-16 how believers who were baptized into Christ Jesus are baptized into his death so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. He emphasizes our death as freedom from sin, and our new life for God. Yet Paul anticipated the response of those who would claim that this new life simply meant freedom from sin by grace. "For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness...just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness...But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom 6:14-23 Paul is tempering the emphasis some were giving to grace by reminding them that God's gift of eternal life in Christ doesn't just involve us graciously being freed from sin, but our personal dying to sin and offering ourselves as slaves to righteousness. Eph 2:8 shows that it is the gift of God that we may be saved by grace and through faith. 'All the emphasis' then should be on this process as a whole; that God brings salvation in Christ, that through faith Christ's blood covers us and we are saved, and that the very offer and Christ's accomplishment of salvation are both by grace. Grace, then, is a huge part - but not the only part or part to be most emphasized. God was gracious before the cross in not immediately judging people for the sin. God was gracious in revealing Christ to all men when He came to Earth. God is still gracious in delaying judgement. Simply emphasizing grace wouldn't save in and of itself, or even tell people how to be saved. Grace, then, must be emphasized along with the acts Christ performed on the cross, His covering blood, God in making the gift of salvation be through faith and not dead works, etc. These all tie in to God's grace, but must be taught alongside and not de-emphasized in comparison. https://ebible.com/questions/15669-what-does-it-mean-that-it-is-by-grace-we-have-been-saved-through-faith-and-that-this-is-not-of-ourselves-but-is-the-gift-of-god https://ebible.com/questions/5757-how-are-we-to-understand-the-sequence-and-part-that-man-plays-in-his-salvation
My experience is that it does just the opposite, that receiving God’s Spirit into my life has changed my desires and appetites. Instead of wanting to sin, He gives me a desire to live a life in keeping with the intentions of God for my life. I hope I can explain this clearly. Something that I think many people don’t understand when they come to God for saving is that He gives us His own Spirit to be active in our lives - to actually make a difference. He doesn’t just give us the promise of heaven when we die and then tell us to get on with living as best we can in the meantime - He gives us Himself to actually accomplish His loving demands because He knows that we are simply not able to live according to His ways without Him living through us. In John 15:5, Jesus said, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” The Christian life is not something that we’re invited to try our best to live. It’s not difficult for us - it’s impossible. He has to do it. Paul mentions, in Philippians 2:13, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” If He didn’t take responsibility to bring His desires with Him when He comes to live in us, and to be our strength, because we’re unable, we would be hopeless. We would have the blue print in us of being made in the image of God, but completely unable to live it out. Being made in the image of God means that we will only be satisfied when our desires and actions line up with God’s. He has made us for relationship with Him, so we will only be frustrated until He Himself is the one living through us and we present ourselves to Him daily, committing ourselves to obedience while He does what He lovingly wishes through us. The term ‘born again’ has been butchered terribly in recent decades, but what it really implies is that we were dead - without a spiritual life. Of course we have a spirit in the sense of being creatures with a mind and emotions, but when humanity sinned in the beginning we lost the life we originally had - the life of God. When Jesus said, “I am the Life,” he was saying that He was that renewed connection with God that had been promised throughout the Old Testament prophets. So now, when we receive Christ, we actually receive.....Christ. He is the new life inside of us. When He told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again, He was telling him that he needed a new Spirit in him. It’s not so much that we receive God’s Spirit when we become born again, but that we’re born again because we’ve received His Spirit. I guess what I’m trying to say with all of this is that God actually makes a difference in us. He changes us. He Himself is that new life that we’ve received and because He loves so much, we can trust Him. He exchanges our life, with all its best, futile efforts for His own.
A broad view of scripture tells us without doubt that we can be saved only by the grace of God through faith in Christ. But faith alone will not save anyone, a fact amply demonstrated in the parables of Christ, as well as the teachings of James and the author of Hebrews: "But someone may [well] say, 'You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.' You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?" Jas 2:18-20 (NASB) "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on [the testimony of] two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?" Heb 10:26-29 (NASB) There are 40 parables of Christ. A number of those parables contain teachings from our Master regarding our behavior and attitudes in this world (e.g. The Sower [Mt13], The Wedding Feast [Mt 22], The Faithful and Sensible Slave [Mt24], the Ten Virgins [Mt 25], etc.). These parables warn of destruction awaiting those who willfuly ignore them. Indeed, Christ warns us plainly about the importance of our actions relative to grace and faith in this sober warning: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ “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 the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and [yet] it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “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. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.” Matt 7:22-27 (NASB) Paul adds clarity to these teachings by emphasizing the warring nature of flesh versus spirit, and the need to strive to put to death the deeds of the flesh, so that we may someday live in the spirit: "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able [to do so,] and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh– for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Rom 8:6-13 (NASB) In summary, I think it important to emphasize that grace is not a permanent "get out of jail free" card. It is the response of a loving God to our fleshly limitations and failures. But when we fail we must bow our heads in repentance, and seek the forgiveness of the Lord.
"Putting all the emphasis on God's grace," instead of putting some emphasis on "moral choices," is what this is getting at, I suppose. Long story short, I was taught to be careful of the choices I make in life. Choices matter. But eternal life isn't offered to them who make "good moral choices." Jesus didn't choose His disciples by the good moral choices they made, and they didn't choose Him (Jn 6:70). Some of the "cleanest living" people in my community are them of the Islamic faith. (muslims) They abstain from EVERYTHING, as far as I can tell. And for the record, they don't terrorize anybody. They don't join gangs, go to strip clubs, sleep around, etc. (At least they don't seem to, but we know how that goes). They are thought of as having good morals. Does having "good morals" produce relationship with Jesus, the Savior of our souls? Did Jesus ever say, 'You must be morally pure, or live morally good lives? Of course I'm not knocking morality, why would any reasonable person try to minimize the importance of living a good moral life? The choice isn't one or the other, moral living or God's grace. But moral living doesn't produce God's grace. This kind of comment makes me think that some of us believe God's grace is a reward for "good moral living." It isn't. FULL STOP. A good teacher puts an abundance of "emphasis" on grace because when God's grace is activated, the Holy Spirit is sent to indwell the recipient, and the sanctification process begins. The character of the person being saved is under reconstruction. That's a good thing, but the results don't determine the outcome of the whole thing. If God determines to give eternal life to a "knucklehead" that's the way it will be. There will be them who were "knuckleheads" in this life living the eternal life in the kingdom of God. How do I know that? There's no scripture that says that. The guy we know as "the thief on the cross" was promised eternal life while hanging on the cross, by Jesus. (Lk 23:43). He is what I call a knucklehead. It is only God's grace that will save a hardhead like that. A large piece of the church bristles at the thought of that thief having the same promise they have. They start fussing about where a comma should be, and what "this day" means. They sound a little like President Clinton trying to anatomize the word "Is." Yes, moral choices are important, but they aren't limited to the christian playbook. And they aren't tenets of the christian faith. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Eph 2:8,9). Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). There's no mention anywhere in scripture of "unless one lives a good moral life" he has no chance to receive the grace that is needed to have the faith needed to obtain eternal life. Everything has a "main thing." Heb 11:6 ~ Without faith it is impossible to please God. STOP And without God's grace we will have no faith. That makes "Grace" the main thing. When I taught my children to drive I told them that there is a "main thing" that would help them to become good drivers. Many driving instructors (parents) believe the main thing is to "watch your speed," don't drive fast. They think safety is best achieved by maintaining a safe speed for the conditions. They make a good point. I will never minimize the importance of good speed management. It's very important, but I don't think it's "the main thing." You can drive 15 mph and do a lot of damage if you don't "keep your eyes on the road." That's the main thing. Texting and driving has very little to do with how fast you're traveling. A safe speed is important, but it really doesn't matter if you don't look where you're going. The same is true for "moral choices." Jesus is the way, truth and life (Jn 14:6). Choose life that you may live (Deut 30:19). Jesus is "the main thing." He's ours by God's grace.
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