NOTE: I suggest you work through the “Grace Quiz” above before reading these insights.
1. Jesus came into the world to make bad people good. False. Jesus came to “seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10), “to give life in abundance” (John 10:10), and to adopt estranged humanity into his family (Colossians 4:4). “But when the time was right… God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as his very own children.” Eph. 1:5 “His unchanging plan… was to adopt us as His very own.” Christians will naturally become more and more Christlike, but goodness is only the byproduct of redemption, and never the aim.
2. A good definition of a Christian is, “A sinner saved by grace.” False. Although this is a true description of a believer, it is an inadequate definition of one because this statement declares that Christians “are sinners.” Not true! Even though you still sin, God no longer calls you a sinner. He calls you a “son”, a “saint”, and a “new creation.” You cannot be both a sinner, (one who is sold to sin), and a saint, (a holy believer), at the same time. If you believe and confess “I am a sinner”, then you will sin by faith. Proverbs 23:7 “As a man believes in his heart, so is he.” To continue identifying yourself as a “sinner who is saved” validates the forgiveness of the cross, but discounts the amazing work of regeneration that was also accomplished by Christ in the resurrection. It says “What Jesus did on the cross was enough to forgive me, but not enough to change me.”
3. Christians have two natures: the “new” man, and the “old” man of the flesh. False. Romans 6:6 “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Our challenge as believers is to “reckon” ourselves – by faith – to be dead to sin. (Romans 6:11) If we fail to understand this, our flesh will go on trying to control us. (Remember the slaves who had not received word of their freedom at the end of the Civil War. They continued to live as slaves.) II Corinthians 5:17 “If any one is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
4. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to convict believers of sin. False. The Holy Spirit is the comforter, not the faultfinder. In John 16:7-11 we see that He convicts the world of sin, but not the believer. The law convicts us of sin. (Romans 3:20) Our conscience convicts us of sin. (John 8:9) And the Accuser of the Brethren convicts us of sin. (Rev. 12:10) But the Holy Spirit comforts believers and assures us that we belong to God. Romans 8:16: “His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts, and tells us we are God’s children.” If we have trouble hearing the Spirit’s voice assuring us of our place in God’s family, then it’s likely we have returned to the law.
5. A Christian can fall from grace. True. But it’s not the way many people think! Galatians 5:4 says “You who are trying to be declared righteous by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace!” Notice this happens not when we sin, but when we return to the law! It is impossible to both rest in faith and at the same time depend on our performance before the law. Therefore we will always forfeit grace when we turn to the law.
6. We practice righteousness by doing good works. False. The only “righteous act” we can ever practice isn’t an act at all. It is faith in the finished work of Christ. In John 6:28 Jesus was asked, “What does God want us to do?” Jesus told them, ‘This is what God wants you to do: Believe in the one He has sent.” No other work will bring us into right relationship with God.
7. The Law is indispensable in the Christian life. False. It is indispensable in bringing you to Christ, but once you have come to Christ, its work in us is finished. Galatians 3:24: “Before Christ came, Moses’ laws served as our guardian… but now that this faith has come, we are no longer under the control of a guardian.” Galatians 2:19 “… I died to the law, that I might live to God.” Also Romans 6:14 “…you are no longer under the law, but under grace.”
8. The New Testament equates freedom from sin with freedom from the Law. True. Romans 6:14 says “Sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.”
9. The Father loves me as much as He loves Jesus. True. “... May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.“ (John 17:17, 21-23 NIV)
10. Before Christ came people were dependent on blood sacrifices to take away their sin. False . Hebrews 10:3 & 11 states that “it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.” Verse three goes on to explain that “those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins.” At best the Old Testament blood sacrifices could only cover Israel’s sins. But in Jesus our sins are once, and for all time, removed.
11. It is important for Christians to be mindful of the flesh. False. But this is one of those questions that can be interpreted in different ways. Romans 8:5 says “For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” The Christian life can only be lived by “minding” the Spirit. Although it’s good to be aware of the weakness of our flesh, to take our focus from the Spirit and place it on the flesh is to return to condemnation and death.
12. How many acts of righteousness have you committed today? Just one! There is only one act of righteousness, and that is faith in the work of Jesus Christ! Galatians 3:11 “The Righteous will live by faith.” Romans 4:5 “People are declared righteous because of their faith, not because of their work.” Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (This is the same idea as question #6)
13. When a Christian sins, he loses God’s favor. False. A believer is God’s child. The Prodigal Son, (Luke 15), never for a moment lost his Father’s favor. God’s favor towards us is not based on what we do, but on who He is. He extended favor towards us while we were yet sinners! (Romans 5:8) If this is his favor towards us while we had our back towards Him, will it be any less when we are adopted into His family?
14. The goal of the Christian life is to stop sinning. False. The goal of the Christian life is to know the Father. John 17:3 “This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.” Philippians 3:10 “… that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection…” The process of knowing the Father and the Son will inevitably lead to a more holy life. But to place the cart, (holiness), before the horse, (knowing God), is to live as the elder brother who stayed home, kept the rules, and totally missed out on relationship with the Father.
15. In order to “walk in the Spirit” we must first stop sinning. False. Galatians 5:16 “Walk in the Spirit and (then) you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” First the Holy Spirit, and then freedom from sin.
16. We must walk in a balance between law and grace. False. Galatians 3:25 “”Before Christ came, Moses’ laws served as our guardian… but now that faith in Christ has come, we no longer need the guardian.“ Galatians 3:11-12 “The person who has God’s approval will live by faith.’ Laws have nothing to do with faith, but, ‘Whoever obeys laws will live because of the laws he obeys.'” Trying to combine grace with the law will destroy both: Grace will destroy the law’s terror, and the law will destroy the freedom of grace.
17. Grace is an important part of the Christian life. False. Grace IS the Christian life! Grace is Jesus – His shared life with us! To say “grace is an important part of the Christian life” is like saying “breathing is an important part of being alive”, or “food is an important part of your diet.”
18. If a person sins and dies before confessing his sin, his eternal salvation is in peril. False. This idea assumes that Jesus forgives each of our sins on a moment-by-moment basis. He does not. Hebrews 10:10 explains that “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10:14) Jesus took all of our sins – past, present, and future – upon Him and made one sacrifice for all time. In the strictest sense, Jesus has not forgiven a single sin since the cross – because He forgave all of them at the cross. What amazing good news!
19. I am as Righteous as Jesus Christ. True. 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The righteousness we have is the exact same righteousness of Christ. I am as righteous as He is!
20. It is easier for a Christian to sin than to be righteous. False! We are righteous! You don’t have to try. It doesn’t get any easier than that! If we understand grace, and embrace our new nature in a walk of faith, then it is easier to be the saint that we are than to act like the sinner we used to be.