«FAITH ALONE!»

How did it happen that God’s commandments went from being God’s moral standard for mankind to compete with faith? Evangelicals have for many years been taught that faith alone is required and that even keeping certain parts of God’s law can be insulting to Christ. So how did it happen? Firstly the word «faith alone» is not found in the Bible. Rather the opposite:

«Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone» (Jas.2:17) .

He also says: «Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.» (Jas.2,8)

In the book of Hebrew chapter 11, an entire chapter is given to having faith, and it explains that someone’s faith is seen in what they do. So how can the two be separated?

The term is original «Sola fide» meaning «by faith alone» which was the new protestant movements most important theological trademark. They took it from a concept Paul gave in his letter explaining «justification by faith alone».

And this is a biblical doctrine: «justification by faith alone». But when the word «justification» is removed slowly the «faith alone» movement started attacking God’s law instead. What the term originally was for was something else. Justification is tied to the removal of sins.

«Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life» (Rom_5:18)

When a man had sinned and the law revealed them as a transgressor they were under judgment. When their sin was atoned they were acquitted and cleansed of this sin. This is justification.

The reason it was important to make the point of this not being by own works was the false understanding of the sanctuary in Paul’s days that later was abused in the worst ways in the Catholic Church.

Martin Luther’s theses on the church door were not against God’s law. He was against the church claiming they could be justified by «paying», «committing acts of atonement» or «punishing themselves».

The stairs Luther climbed. Photo by Dguendel (Wikipedia commons)

Pauls revelation about the errors of this teaching came as he climbed the steps of Scala Sancta on his knees while praying the same prayer one for each step. This was supposed to atone for sins he had committed. And it was common practice in the Catholic Church to make up a way for people to atone for their sins.

So according to this understanding, Christ atonement for us only paid a certain price, the rest the people had to pay themselves.

Now, this is the doctrines the early protestants were battling when they made «faith alone» their go-to slogan. It was against the church doctrines and laws that claimed you could yourself atone sin, not against the existence of God’s law.

The reason this term was successfully transferred over to hostility towards God’s law was the lack of understanding of the difference between justification and sanctification.

The Jews had, although unlike the catholic church, had their rituals instituted by God.

The law and ceremonial laws had two different purposes.

The law revealed what sin was. It was there for them to keep to show that God was their King and Leader. When they broke it they needed atonement. The ceremonial laws were given for that purpose. When they brought a sin offering to the tabernacle, and the offering died in their place and the blood was presented before God’s throne, they were given pardon. Through this act of faith, they were given justification.

The ceremonial laws didn’t reveal sin or define sin. They only offered atonement against sin. While God’s moral laws defined sin but couldn’t offer atonement. Confusing these two when studying scripture can, therefore, give many different and strange new doctrines.

The ten commandments cannot remove sin, it cannot pardon you. It’s a guideline, a standard. So when you have broken them you cannot be acquitted by your sins by keeping them. Your present obedience doesn’t remove the crime already committed. That is not how God’s law works.

When you have sinned the sin is recorded in God’s system. And it can only be removed by judgment/punishment. This to uphold the juridical system. However God sent His son to take our punishment in our place so that by transferring the sin to Him, He would be the one to take the punishment. This way, when we have broken the law, Christ is now our only way to get justification. And there is nothing we can do but to go to Christ and give Him our sins for Him to atone. All we can do to be acquitted or justified is to give Him our sins.

This is why Paul wrote that there is no other way. He wasn’t speaking against God’s law that defined sin, he was just giving it it’s rightful place.

In his days there was this misunderstood concept that if you did enough good deeds or showed strict obedience you would cover up your past «sins». But this was a lie. Justification didn’t come this way.

And so when the Catholic Church later came up with all these ideas on how you could atone for your sins, they were according to the Bible lying to people. Whipping yourself, saying a prayer 100 times in a row, giving money to the church, doing a pilgrimage, nothing of this could atone for past sins. There is no action we humans can do that takes away a previous crime against God’s government.

It works that way in our society too. If a man robs a bank and gets away from the police and live a good life for the next 10 years, not committing even one crime, he still has to go to jail for his one crime 10 years ago when found. Why? Because he is written as an offender in the registry and that registry is not removed until his crime has been paid. His past 10 years of peaceful living is not going to remove the record against him. It’s the same when we break God’s law.

It can only be removed by God’s juridical system. And the law demands that either we die for our sin and lose our eternal life, the right to live as the punishment for our sins OR we can give our sins to Christ and His death will be in our place.

Nothing else can atone sin. The crime must be atoned and at registry against us will not be removed until the crime has been atoned. That is why every individual has a registry against them and needs to go to Christ to have it transferred to Christ.

The first protestants protested against the unbiblical doctrines of the Catholic Church. Martin Luther was tired of seeing them twisting the gospel of Christ, making money of peoples suffering and sin. The letters of indulgences were a worthless piece of paper. People needed to know that. So they pointed to Christ, the cross, as the only way to obtain atonement. Through faith and not through some ritual or money.

Just like the Jews performing their rituals after Christ death would not give them atonement, the acts the Catholic Church presented as means to atone could not atone either.

The protestant movement wanted to express that justification was done by faith in Christ alone.

However, somewhere along the line, the role of God’s commandments was confused into the debate.

If we kept the ten commandments and God’s original sabbath (not Sunday) was that an act against «faith alone»? Removing «justification» made the term more fluently. Suddenly it was used, not to attack the doctrines of the catholic church, but against God Himself.

Gods laws that could never atone sin, only reveal sin, was placed in the same category as the ritual laws. And all was rejected as a whole. Then they took parts of the laws that they respected and constructed a new “law” they called a Christian law. But in reality, what they had done was replace the commandments of God with the commandments of men.

Rather keeping the law that defined sin, they claimed it competed with «faith alone». But the law never was. God always wanted His people to stop sinning, to keep His law. It’s in practically every book in the Bible.

Even Jesus said it to the woman who had committed adultery: «Go, and sin no more». Christ sacrifice for our sake was not a free ticket to continue sinning.

The law was to be kept. And if we came repentant to God’s throne asking for forgiveness it meant we were sorry for having broken His law. If we are sorry for having done something it means we try to stop doing it.

If someone steals from you and they come to ask for your forgiveness and you said yes and they took your mercy as permission to continue stealing from you, would you not after a while refuse to offer them forgiveness? Or at least throw them out of your house?

This is what is happening with Christians rejecting God’s law using «faith alone» against God. They ask for Jesus to take their sins yet they claim because Jesus died we are now allowed to commit these sins without condemnation. This is the false gospel Paul warned against.

«Faith alone» is not against God’s law, it’s against the idea that you yourself can atone your sins and be reunited with God and granted life based on it.

  • God’s law = Reveal what sin is, gives God’s standard for His kingdom and followers.
  • Ritual laws: Does not reveal sin. Offered atonement for the laws broken.
  • Christ offer: Replaces ritual laws in offering atonement and restoration to the sinner.

As you can see, Christ death on the cross replaces the ritual laws that had given them pardon, not the ten commandments or God’s moral laws.

The devil has confused the protestant movement into being hostile towards God’s laws seeing it as a competition to the cross. They think they do Christ service when preaching against them. While the law, in reality, points to the cross.

“If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me” (Joh 15:20-21). 

The end result can be horrible. People thinking they have atonement through the blood of Christ when in reality they never repented because they never understood that their actions were sins. Instead of being united with God’s law and order through Christ sacrifice, they use Christ sacrifice to oppose God’s law and order.

Unwillingly and unknowingly they are standing with the devil accusing God while praising Christ name. “all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, ” Jesus said. But one day Jesus will “profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt.7,23)

God’s law is still valid. It still reveals sin and exposes the sinner. And that is why we still need Jesus atoning work. And we go to Him in faith. We know that no good works we can think of or do can take away the sins we already have committed. There is only one way to remove the transcript against us: Christ taking our punishment. And so we look to the cross in faith, give Him our sins in faith. And then we listen to Christ plea: «go, and sin no more» (Joh.8,11). “sin is the transgression of the law” (1.Joh.3:4) So what Jesus is really saying is: “Go, stop breaking Me and My Fathers law”. Meaning, if we repent for having broken God’s law we should want to show that by not continuing braking it willfully. A change in behavior. How often does not the message from God given to man say: «turn ye!». “Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD” (Zec.1:4).

God wants us to stop breaking His law. But if we break it we have a chance of pardon through Christ merits alone. But having given us such an amazing gift of second chances, we should logically understand it’s not an invitation to continue transgressing the law.

«For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.» (Heb 10:26-27)

Again sin = breaking God’s law.

This doesn’t mean God cannot forgive more than once. Even Jesus said to his apostle to forgive 70 times 7. This means that if our attitude is that pardon is given so that we willfully can live as lawbreakers without facing punishment, if that is our doctrine of faith, we need to think again. We are on dangerous grounds.

After healing a man Jesus proclaims: «Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.» (Joh 5:14) 

Christ has the power to keep our path in harmony with Him. He was our example in how He lived His life:

«For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth» (1Pe 2:21-22)

And Paul stated it over and over again.

«Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.» (1Co 6:9-11)

When someone has started to sin, the harder it is to stop again. Sometimes committing ourselves to sins means being it’s prisoner. We can’t stop again.

«Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.» (Joh 8:34-36)

Once we have committed ourselves to sinful and destructive choices a miracle has to happen to help us start over. Cell memory together with hormones, impulses and learned preferences are all working in the flesh to keep us captives to past sins. Many of these functions in our body were laws created for a sinless world, to help people be in harmony with God’s law by nature. But when the flesh is introduced to sin early on it helps the body to tie knots with sin instead. And in this way what God created for good has become corrupted and we know become servants of our past sins.
Christ death atoned our sin, but the sinner still needs to turn from their ways once cleansed. Now the flesh that has grown custom to sin needs to be subdued under the Spirit. Jesus illustrated this plan of «rescue» in his speech to Nicodemus:

«Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. ..Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. » (Joh 3:3 & 5) 

For those sincerely repenting and wishing to be free from not just past sins but from continuing committing them, Christ offered a miracle solution. He would give His spirit to help man overcome the sinful urges in the flesh created by their sins. If we stay close to Christ, the spirit can overrule the impulses that are now ruling in our flesh. Man would have a higher authority in the flesh than the flesh itself. It’s like a muscle, the more sin is exercised the stronger the urge for sinning gets. This can be reversed if you stop using a muscle it weakens. If we start our walk with the Spirit and abstain from sin, the sins that were in our lives will slowly lose its grip over us. Our impulses and lust are to serve the Lord and the enmity the spirit has against sin will be ours when the Spirit is given room to rule within us. What before was a temptation now appears like a threat. This is how God is able to restore His image within His people, His kingdom within us, spite the fact that we still live in a world of sin.

“The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17,20-21).

If God is king, it’s His laws that are kept. If we break God’s laws, we don’t have God’s kingdom within us, we are servants of sin not of God.

Many would say the following statement as unchristian. But the words comes from Christ own mouth:

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

1Jn 3:8-9 

In Romans chapter 8 Paul explains how we can live by the grace and strength of the spirit in union with God even if our flesh is broken. We are not defenseless against sin

If we let Christ cleanse us in Christ blood and receive His spirit as a weapon against the flesh, we can live a new life as we were newborn babies.

We walk with Christ. But it is not possible to walk with Christ if we are rebelling against God’s law. Then we are still the prisoners of sin. We are not free, we are still in rebellion and under condemnation.

The flesh, after been subjected to sin, act in violation of God’s law. But when we walk in the Spirit, the Spirit is in harmony with God’s law and helps us reach God’s standard. So walking in the spirit helps shape our minds after God’s standard.

«Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.» (Rom.8,7-9)

For all evangelicals who have been taught that you can break God’s law. Please wake up to the deception you have been preached. Wake up before it’s too late. Turn to God, to His law (not the one re-written by man) and give Him your heart and soul. Let Him be King in His temple, the temple ye are (1Co.6:19).

And if the «spirit» tells you it’s ok to break God’s law, it’s not God’s spirit. God’s spirit is in harmony and at one with God’s law. God’s spirit is not a sinner, a lawbreaker. It will teach you obedience. If the spirit whispering in your ear says God’s law is a deception, that spirit is not from God. You might have invited that spirit in because you liked the gospel it preached, or because you have always been in a church where it has always been present. Or you have been taught that that spirit is God’s spirit. But the Bible exposes that spirit to not be the spirit of God, but a deceiver. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” (1Jn.4:1)
That preacher preaching you can continue violating God’s law without consequences, that preacher is not speaking through the Holy Spirit (1Jn_2:4, Mal 2:7, Matt.5,19) . The Holy Spirit is in harmony with God’s law. It’s the flesh and the devil and his angels that are in opposition to God’s law. In this way, you can know who is who. God has always identified Himself through His law, that’s how you know it’s Him. And because Jesus kept God’s law (Joh.15,10) He was revealed to be from God and of God. And His spirit the same.

“And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” ( 1Jn_3:24 )

It’s the devil and his workers that are trying all they can to make sure as many people are lost as possible. They know each soul lost is a great loss for God who knows them all by name as we would a close family member. They are the ones who preach you will have freedom if you oppose God’s law. They are the one who claims you are a prisoner if you are obedient to God’s requirements. This is the devil’s attack from the very beginning and it will continue to the very end. But we can have victory where Eve fell by exposing the devil’s disguise by his words.

If you have been deceived, remove yourself from your deceivers no matter how much you love them. Pray and seek God’s true Spirit, the truth. And as Jesus said: «And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free» (Joh.8:32).

The moment you realize that your spiritual guides, whether spirits or priests and pastors are lying, you will be free to interact with God without any other mediator than Christ (1.Tim.2,5). And you will be free from the destructive pattern of behavior caused by listening to evil spirits pretending to be God’s spirit.

Turn to God with your whole heart today. And repent for having broken and preached against God’s law. Turn ye! And through Christ merit for you on the cross, by faith alone, you can have your past transgressions and your future unintentional failures covered by His blood. Stop rebelling against God’s kingdom and His times and laws and seek refuge under His wings!

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