For by Grace you are saved, by faith,
if you only abide by our
“For by Grace you are saved, through faith,
if you only abide by our
PART II of the article series on FAITH
By Jan Lilleby
“The known word from Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians (2:8, 9) contains the most important exhorting suggestion we can imagine as Christians: We are saved by faith, and not by knowledge or our own efforts/performances.”
This I wrote in the introduction of my first article in this series. Thus set in quotation marks.
You may not have thought I was aware of the sad fact, that as the centuries have passed since Paul wrote the Ephesians and Colossians, certain things have been added to the original Grace Gospel, in the form of erroneous interpretations of the Bible. Many human thoughts and ideas have been popping up and presented ordinances not found in the Bible.
My ‘Fiddled Headline’ here – as you will kindly notice – is not quite like the one I wrote in the first article. That is to make a point of the problem we meet as we are trying to comprehend or accept (?) those doctrines which Christianity as a whole are preaching.
If we try to get all the details of doctrine involved – then it is not at all so simple, to think that all we need is to believe, and we are saved.
And we cannot blame that on Paul, no, this is our fault entirely. Over the many years passed, we have generated an incredibly complexed sectarian Christianity, as we find countless opinions and doctrinal beliefs all in disagreement. While Paul’s doctrine of faith, regarding the free Grace Gospel, is not complex at all.
Christianity, by its many different doctrines, has perverted and twisted the Gospel and the simple plain teachings of Paul regarding our salvation, so much as to have new believers rushed through quite a number of ritualistic ordinances, to have them ‘prove’ that they have become real believers in Christ.
Eph. 2:8, 9 are thus trampled upon by all the human doctrinal ideas which priests and pastors through the centuries have added to the original Gospel.
They have made tall barriers/obstacles (certain must-do ordinances) which really are understood more as obstacles than ‘open doors’ into free Grace. These obstacles meet the new believers as a sort of ‘You cannot just walk in here like that, you will have to obey our doctrine and our authority’ - attitudes. The leaders thus signalize that one cannot think of getting saved unless you first have their acceptance to become a Christian!
Am I unreasonable now?
I don’t think so.
Within our times’ Christianity we find things added to the Gospel, that never were established by God, Christ, or any of the known apostles in the Bible.
The word of Paul in Eph. 2:8, 9 is run over by religious “experts” – who have stood behind much of the doctrinal errors terrorizing Christianity today. Things which God never told the believers to teach or practice. On the contrary, for it is really true that we are saved through faith alone, and not by works. A believer is saved instantly by God in the very same instance he comes into faith in Christ. And he is granted by God as one who has been baptized with the baptism of Christ’s death. This is the “one baptism” mentioned in Eph. 4:5. Paul also calls this action of God for a circumcision not made by (human) hands, but made by God – see Col. 2:11.
These are things the believer is not ordered by God:
Water baptism in any form or tradition
Baptism in The Holy Ghost (like on Pentecost in Acts 2, tongues etc)
Confession of sin, whether publicly or private
Laying on of hands by a person of authority, or by private, in regard to prayer for sick believers to get healed, as found in Mark 16
Enforced preaching of the Gospel (to have believers knock on unknown doors)
Duty to meet up in services (having people ordered to come to meetings) – our salvation is free, and we are not obliged to have to meet up in any assembly. That is by our own choice only, and cannot be commanded us by other believers
Keeping of Sabbath and keeping of Mosaic holidays and food ordinances (like found with the Adventists) – see Col. 2:16, 17.
But because of the grace of God and God’s generosity by this, no believer will be shut out from salvation just because he is not fully in line with everything Paul has taught of his Grace Gospel. So, even if a denomination demands of you to get baptized in water, and you do this, - you will not be rejected by God. It is wrong to baptize in water, but it cannot make you lose your salvation. The same can be said of other ‘ordinances’.
The faith mentioned in Eph. 2:8, 9 – by which we are saved – is such a faith that is inside us, and are not to be seen on the outside of us. We are not charged by God to prove faith by works in our dispensation of Grace. But the Jews and proselytes during Acts period were charged with this. Faith had to be proven by works.
Another matter entirely it is with our lifestyle and every-day-behaviour AFTER we first have believed on Christ.
If you were a thief before you got saved, then you do not steal anymore. Or if you were a violent criminal robber – this has to stop. Have a deep-dive into Eph. 5:5 so you can comprehend this moral aspect of our faith. We must not ‘over-literate’ our Bible reading; making it more ‘literal’ than it really is. We are not saved regardless as to how we live! Paul has set the moral standard in Ephesians and Colossians, that’s for sure.
The Lutheran Church, and the Catholic Church, has the practice of baptizing infants. Pentecostal movements, likewise the Baptist churches, practice baptizing adults only. But yet: All kinds of water baptisms are in error in the dispensation of the free Grace Gospel. God has not ordered the Body of Christ, called the ‘One new Man’ in Eph. 2:14, 15, to practice baptism. There is but one baptism says Paul, as I already have pointed out above. That one baptism is NOT by water, but it is likened to the death of Christ – as Christ was ‘baptized’ by dying on the cross.
Pentecostal churches and charismatic churches hold to the practice of prayers for the sick, by them laying hands on them in their meetings. Diverse tele-evangelists are doing the very same kind of ministry. They believe that the spiritual divine Holy Spirit gifts told of in 1 Cor. 12-14 have been inherited by todays Christ believers. But there is not a micro-chance that any of that, which we see in Acts, ever have been transferred over to the present Christianity. That is a total fantasy and wishful idea, but it is also a wide-spread deception.
Jesus promised these supernatural powers and gifts to His believing Jews and some proselytes. The Jews were segregated as a people of a covenant, and thus not part of the global community as such. Paul calls it ‘Wall of Partition’ in Eph. 2:14, 15 – which was the Law of Moses creating enmity between Israel and the world (Gentiles) outside the land. But as the Jews fell from God nationally, as we see in Acts 28:25-28, that wall of the Law was torn down – and thus Paul established the Body of Christ, in which Jew and Gentile are equals in the faith!
It was never chosen new apostles by God, after His original apostles were dead.
Apostles cannot ever be raised up in Christianity to replace others. The Mattias lottery incident in Acts 1:26, after Judas took suicide, was a ‘One-Off’ and it cannot stand as a standard to prove that apostles can be ‘continued’ at all times.
Today we have but the written word of God – The Holy Bible – and in it we find that God has appointed Paul as His one apostle sent to us Gentiles. Peter was sent to the Jews only (Gal. 2:7, 8).
We actually thus have gotten only two writings from God through His servant Paul: Ephesians and Colossians. These are the only two epistles in which we find mentioned ‘The Mystery’ – the Body of Christ and the new dispensation of the Grace of God for us Gentiles (Eph. 3:1-4). Only in these two epistles can we find direct teaching given to us, the Body of Christ. In these can we find NO water baptism, NO miracles and healings, NO Second Advent, NO Holy Communion, NO exorcism and demons, NO confessions of sin, NO Sabbaths or holidays, NO food ordinances, No nothing.
There is no Mark 16 or Mat. 28 or 1 Cor. 12-14 doctrines in the Mystery epistles. The free Grace Gospel of Paul has nothing to do with Acts-period.
We can find – however – what God wants us to find: The free Grace of God by faith in Christ, and given to us as an unmerited gift of Grace.
I recommend my free books (in Word format or Pdf format) which I can send you by email.
Titles are: “Paul – The Only Apostle God Sent to us Gentiles”, and “The Book of Acts – the Story of Israel’s Falling Away From God”.