How Does the Christian Deal with Sin?  

a study series by Arthur J Licursi

Part 4 of 14 – 

Christians Can’t Be Deceived Today – Or Can They?

Obviously, as we see from Paul’s letter to the Galatians, many of the Galatians were deceived. Who deceived them and how were they deceived? As we saw in Part 2, they were deceived by the Judaizing believers in Jesus as Messiah; they who still believed in the Law and circumcision for all believers. They were sent to Galatian to draw the Galatians believers, who had received Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God,” back under the Law. Paul writes of this here. Galatians 2:4 (AMP) … false brethren who had been secretly smuggled in [to the Christian brotherhood]; they had slipped in to spy on our liberty and the freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might again bring us into bondage [under the Law of Moses].

These Galatians no doubt were not yet fully grounded in the foundational core truths of “the gospel of grace of God” that has pure grace, which is grace alone, as the new paradigm for their right standing and righteous living before God. We must never allow any book, preaching, teaching, or any man’s words lead us away from the pure grace of God that was provided for us by God’s giving His dear Son Jesus to die for us and make it possible for us to now be “hid in Christ.” We must stand on that firm unshakable foundation of Christ’s sinless life offering for us, and we must trust in our position “in Christ” if we are to become solidly established in the faith – a faith that works to yield peace and rest.  Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began

We must see that our right standing before God was given to us freely by God through the work of Christ’s cross.

Romans 3:24-26 (AMP) [All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, 25 Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment. 26 It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time (in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus.

Sadly, this problem we see at Galatia is one that plagues many Christians today, due to the pull and preaching of the Law. This is because the 100% pure grace gospel message that Paul received from Christ directly is mostly ignored or mixed with LAW. Paul faithfully delivered what he received of Christ to us in his fourteen epistles, which are mostly misinterpreted and/or ignored. Paul’s gospel of grace is no longer widely preached as it once was 100 years ago.

The neo-evangelicalism we see preached in today’s mega churches has abandoned those first core principles laid down as the foundation of the faith by the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul. Paul “laid the foundation” (1Cor 3:10), and we are to be followers of Paul. 1 Corinthians 11:1 (KJV) Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Paul says any degree of requirement for works negates God’s grace entirely. E.g., I personally have had a fundamentalist pastor say to me, “Art, I agree with you about pure grace, but if we don’t have some law these people won’t come to church.”  

Let’s see what Paul says about any degree of works of the law for righteousness sake.

Romans 11:6 (AMP) But if it is by grace (His unmerited favor and graciousness), it is no longer conditioned on works or anything men have done. Otherwise, grace would no longer be grace [it would be meaningless].

Sadly, I’m sure that most of us have observed that Christians today who have run into the same dilemma as the Galatians did, soon after they were saved. They are often victims of “bait and switch” preaching that still is preached in many neo-evangelical and neo-fundamentalist churches that claim to preach “the gospel.” But we should ask, “What gospel is that”? Actually, they preach a mixed gospel – one of grace initially, but then mixed or leavened with “the Law” in order to supposedly keep you properly saved. Oh yes, they may preach and proclaim that “You can only be saved by grace alone.” This is absolutely true, but soon after the sinner is saved some well meaning church mentors indoctrinate that new believer, implying, or even to say directly to him or her, “Now that you are saved, if you really want to please God, you can and should work to make yourself Holy by making a good effort to keep God’s laws – this of course is not true. They make laws of reading your Bible, going to the church building, tithing; none of which exist under grace. So, they often add laws that are not even in the Old Testament. They may even try to dictate how to dress, wear your hair, etc. In this they are implying that God is not sufficiently pleased with the offering of Christ on the cross for our sins of the past, present, and future. Somehow, apparently it is now the blood of Christ plus our effort (and our $50.00) that will make you really acceptable to God.

This kind of preaching is what Paul calls “another gospel” than the grace gospel he received from Christ from heaven and then taught and proclaimed as the “gospel of the grace of God.” Paul says their practice is opposed to grace. Paul says it should be anathema or banned from the church – yet it prevails today. Paul writes,Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Galatians 3:3).

You see, those foolish Christians in Galatia, and those victims of legalistic preaching and teaching today, are soon moved from the unconditional “gospel of the grace of God” and His love. They are taught an “if thou” works based system that says…“If you do this…” you will “be blessed,” and “if you do not do…” this you will “be cursed.” Doesn’t this sound quite like the program of the Law that was given to Israel in Deuteronomy, Exodus, Leviticus, and Lamentations? How can we call such a thing Christianity? Real Christianity is purely grace based with grace as the believer’s only basis for his standing justified and righteous before God, both initially and forever.