This is a humble attempt at bringing clarity on the Doctrine of Grace that has been revealed progressively from the beginning of time till today by the Holy Spirit…
Though the Blog title might say about India, 99% of this blog content is generic on Grace Vs Law– and is universal in its coverage; and hence also meant for a global audience…The following 2 para’s will speak in brief about the Kerala context on Grace Vs Law, but the same would be true to other locations around the world from the perspective of the ongoing debate in Christian circles…
Kerala (a state in South India) and the Malayalam speaking people worldwide are blessed to have had the truth of the Gospel revealed to them more than two millennia back by none other than the ‘doubting Thomas’, and after losing out to the dark ages, saw a reformation initiated by Abraham Malpan in the early 1800’s and then a return to the truth of the word through the Brethren movement led by luminaries like K.V. Simon and V Nagel in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, and then an advent of the Spirit of God with the Pentecostal movement led by Robert F. Cook and K. E. Abraham in the first half of 1900’s.
But somewhere along the line, the True Gospel of Grace seem to have lost its clarity in the Kerala Christian circles. The truth is that, it is not a new teaching, rather it was The Gospel strongly preached in Christian circles from the time of Paul till Martin Luther & until 19th Century, when suddenly this teaching took a backseat for the last 100+ years!
In this context I find truth in what Martin Luther once said:
…“we need to relearn the gospel every day, since we are so prone to forget it…”
In fact if you trace back this trail of the Gospel of Grace: one would find extensive writings on same from Paul to Martin Luther (1483) to John Bunyan (1628) to Horatius Bonar (1808),Charles Spurgeon (1834), DL Moody (1837), EW Kenyon (1867) and Watchman Nee (1903)- before losing out steam on the topic, till a recent revival under a largely- ‘Grace’ movement pioneered these days- largely post 2000- by Joseph Prince, Max Lucado, Andrew Wommack, Paul Ellis, Philip Yancey, Brennan Manning, Steve McVey, Andrew Farley and Bill Johnson among others.
Other that the above list of obvious grace preachers, there are others who were law-oriented in their preaching who have shifted towards a grace-oriented perspective in the later parts of their ministry- most prominent being Derek Prince & in the current list of preachers-even Creflo Dollar & Kenneth Copeland .
Hence you can see that there has been a groundswell towards this direction post 2000 abroad, but not so much in India or Kerala.
But come 2014, I found that there were some discussions on the same topic among malayalee pentecostal churches- you can see an instance on same at LINK – but there seems to be need for greater clarity regarding the following:
- Law Vs Grace
- True Grace Vs Counterfeit Grace
- The end of the Law- Love
- Holy communion
- Chastisement of the Lord
- Judgment for/of the believer
I believe one of the best ways to go about this, would be to look at what the pioneers of faith taught on the same topics…
So what did the following Christian pioneers say about the above topics… ?
- St. Paul (AD 5- AD 67)
- Martin Luther (1483-1546)
- John Bunyan (1628-1688)
- Bonar (1808-1889)
- Spurgeon (1834-1892)
- Moody (1837-1899)
- Kenyon (1867-1948)
- Watchman Nee (1903-1972)
- Derek Prince (1915-2003)
What do the following preachers/teachers say about the above topics… ?
I therefore started a compilation from past well known pioneers of righteousness- till the present day preachers to understand what they believed and taught on same, which I have posted in this blog…
Just to get a small preview, go through the below:
Below is written by D L Moody– quoted from LINK:
|The Law was given by Moses||Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.|
|Law says—This do, and thou shalt live||Grace says—Live, and then thou shalt do.|
|The Law says—Pay me that thou owest.||Grace says—I frankly forgive thee all.|
|The Law says—The wages of sin is death.||GRACE says—The gift of God is eternal life.|
|The Law says—The soul that sinneth, it shall die.||Grace says—Whosoever believeth in Jesus, though he were dead, yet shall he live|
|The Law pronounces—Condemnation and death.||Grace proclaims—Justification and life.|
|The Law says—Make you a new heart and a new spirit.||Grace says—A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.|
|The Law says—Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written||Grace says—Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven|
|The Law says—Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart…||Grace says—Herein is love: not that we love God, but that He loved us|
|The Law speaks of what man must do for God.||Grace tells of what Christ has done for man.|
|The Law addresses man as part of the old creation.||Grace makes a man a member of the new creation.|
|The Law bears on a nature prone to disobedience.||Grace creates a nature inclined to obedience.|
|The Law demands obedience by the terror of the Lord.||Grace beseeches men by the mercies of God.|
|The Law demands holiness.||Grace gives holiness.|
|The Law says—Condemn him.||Grace says—Embrace him.|
|The Law speaks of priestly sacrifices offered year by year continually…||Grace says—But this Man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever . . .|
|The Law declares—That as many as have sinned in the Law, shall be judged by the Law.||Grace brings eternal peace to the troubled soul of every child of God|
Below is written by Derek Prince– quoted from LINK:
Operation of Grace vs. Operation of Law -from 2 Corinthians 3:3–13
|Verse||Law (Old Covenant)||Grace (New Covenant)|
|3||External tablets of stone||Internal tablets of the heart|
|10–11||Temporal glory||Continuing glory|
|12–13||Veiled meaning||Plainness of speech|
From the New Testament we have seen nine distinct ways in which the operation of grace differs from the operation of law as it is expressed in the Old Covenant.
- The Law writes with ink. Grace writes with the Holy Spirit.
- The Law writes on external tablets of stone or other material. Grace writes on the internal tablets of the heart of the renewed believer.
- The Law writes letters. Grace writes spiritual truth.
- The Law ministers death. Grace ministers life.
- The Law ministers condemnation. Grace ministers righteousness.
- The Law has a temporary glory. Grace has an abiding and exceeding glory.
- The Law uses veiled meanings. Grace uses free, open language.
- The Law was given through a mediator. Grace gives us a direct, personal relationship with God through Christ.
- The Law reminds us of our sin through continual sacrifices. Grace removes our sin from God’s consciousness by one complete, sufficient sacrifice.
Below comments by grace preachers is compiled by Dr. Paul Ellis– quoted from LINK:
…”Look carefully at the following good news announcements. Note the absence of carrots and sticks. See how they all point to the grace of God as revealed in Jesus.
- Paul: “Christ died, was buried, then rose. He reigns!” (see 1 Corinthians 15:3–4,25).
- Martin Luther: “The gospel is nothing else but laughter and joy … This was first spoken unto the Jews; for this laughter was first offered to that people, then having the promises. Now he turneth to the Gentiles, whom he calleth to the partaking of this laughter.”
- Spurgeon: “None but Jesus! None but Jesus!”
- Malcolm Smith: “Preaching the gospel, we are announcing the news of the revelation of who God is and how He feels about us. We stand on the street corners of the world shouting the news that God is not the way we thought He was—He loves us! … This is the greatest news in the world …”
- Andrew Wommack: “God loves you and is extending forgiveness for your sins. Everything that comes as a result of salvation—like forgiveness, righteousness, healing, deliverance, and prosperity—comes to you by grace through faith. It’s not based on your performance, but God’s grace.”
- Joseph Prince: “The gospel is the gospel of Christ, and everything is about Jesus. It’s not the gospel of morality and character, and it definitely isn’t the gospel of money and prosperity. But do you know what the gospel does? It produces all of those things. The true gospel of Jesus Christ always produces godliness, holiness, morality, character, provision, health, wisdom, love, peace, joy, and much more. They all flow from the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
- Robert Farrar Capon: “If the gospel is about anything, it is about a God who meets us where we are, not where we ought to be.”
- Dudley Hall: “Grace is a message of unconditional love from the Father of the universe. It’s the free offer of the eternal life. And we can experience it all in the gritty now as well as in the sweet by and by.”
- Max Lucado: “Grace is everything Jesus. Grace lives because He does, works because He works, and matters because He matters. He placed a term limit on sin and danced a victory jig in a graveyard. To be saved by grace is to be saved by Him—not by an idea, doctrine, creed, or church membership, but by Jesus himself, who will sweep into heaven anyone who so much as gives Him the nod.”
- Jerry Bridges: “We are brought into God’s kingdom by grace; we are sanctified by grace; we receive both temporal and spiritual blessings by grace; we are motivated to obedience by grace; we are called to serve and enabled to serve by grace; we receive strength to endure trials by grace; and finally, we are glorified by grace. The entire Christian life is lived under the reign of God’s grace.”
- Tullian Tchividjian: “The gospel of Jesus Christ announces that because Jesus was strong for you, you’re free to be weak. Because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose. Because Jesus was Someone, you’re free to be no one. Because Jesus was extraordinary, you’re free to be ordinary. Because Jesus succeeded for you, you’re free to fail.”
- Benjamin Dunn: “The scandal (of the cross) is that though your sin was great, God’s love was greater … It is a scandal of love. We couldn’t provide a sacrifice, so God provided one for Himself—in Christ. We couldn’t climb to Heaven, so Heaven came to us—in Christ. In Christ we see the grand display of the heavens invading the earth. This scandal is designed to make you blush. Its intention is to make every cell in your body scream with thanksgiving and joyful praise!”
- Judah Smith: “That’s the gospel. It’s good news for everyone. It’s not good news just for people who are already good, for those who are self-controlled and disciplined enough to have all their ducks in a row. It’s good news for the people who can’t even find their ducks. They haven’t seen some of their ducks in years. Their lives are a mess. But they can come to Jesus and find instant acceptance.”
- Paul White: “It is grace that saves us and then it is grace that keeps us. We are defined by grace.Everything we have is a free gift of God, given to us for Christ’s sake.”
- Various: “The Son of God became the Son of Man that the sons of men might become the Sons of God.”
- Anna Bartlett Warner: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
Let us re-discover the truth, together…
God Bless & Regards, Aju John Varghese, India.