Pt.2Grace, and the lack of personal accountability for sin
It is God’s grace that gives us the way to Him through faith (Eph. 2:8-9) for salvation. We enter into covenant by His work, through faith, trusting in what He has already done. Several words are used for grace, chesed meaning intense kindness and love which is related to God's covenant. Grace means it is God’s work alone; it is His mercy given freely to us, which expresses His love for us. We are undeserving of his love, unable to earn what He freely gives. Our new estate is living “under grace.” Grace is unmerited favor; God’s grace is consistent; it is not dictated by our performance.
Our whole Christian life begins with and is lived by grace. We began in Grace, we stand in grace, and we finish in grace.
Yet we should not neglect that we aresaved by grace through faith, and we are to continue to trust in Christ’s work for grace to be at work. We are told to continue in the grace of God. We are kept by the power of God through faith (1 Pt. 1:5). Peter writes of Pauls letters there “are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet 3:16-18).
Prince teaches that concentrating on the law does not make us holy, and he is right. But he also teaches that grace and our knowing that we are righteous keeps sin from intruding.
Some have gone too far with law and fall into legalism; others who preach grace can also go too far and ignore the commands of Christ in the New Testament. We are not without law, there are commands of Christ and there is the law of the Spirit. Prince is on this side of the extreme grace error, where he states “there is power to sin no more” (p.167).
Being a recipient of God’s favor does not mean we no longer do wrong, sin and expect no consequences from it. It is not a “get out of jail free card” for anything we do.Prince’s exaggeration on the power of grace has it include word faith blessings that most word faith teachers claim comes by our faith (healing and prosperity). Prince has taken another angle, instead of faith being the activator; he says it all comes by grace. We just need to relax and receive it, therefore it is effortless.
We No longer sin by our understanding grace
Prince says “God does not leave you wondering whether you are saved or not. He tells you outright that you are His and that nothing can ever separate you from the love of Christ. Not even sin because His blood is greater than your sin!” (ibid. p.95)
Prince seems to forget that sin does affect our communion with God, the blood is applied when one is willing to turn from sin, just as in salvation. Love has us tell the truth to someone when they have done wrong, God is no different, he wants truth, not just grace.Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ - where’s the truth?
“Believing that you are the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus and simply receiving the gift of no condemnation gives you the power to go and sin no more.” (Destined to Reign p.166)
Does this mean one reaches a perfect state in this life by just believing you are the righteousness of God through Christ? Certainly people need to hear God does no longer condemns them if they have accepted Christ, but the Bible distinguishes condemnation from being corrected.
“The more they believe that they are righteous, the more they experience true victory over sin... You see yourself righteous and this give you the power to rise above the temptation.” (ibid. p.244, 245)
Prince gives us a formula for not sinning by repeating the phrase “I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ.” One may ask where we are told to do this in Scripture? Clearly Prince shows he is sponsoring Word of Faith teaching (Positive Confession). Whatever right teaching he is giving on grace becomes negated by this word faith mixture. If he would remove the inserted word faith philosophy he would have a purer message that contains the truth.
Herein is the contradiction; at the same time he tells one to confess righteousness he also tells people not to confess what the Bible explicitly states we should do to practice righteousness, confess our sins: “Beloved, confessing your sins all the time will only make you more sin-conscious. But knowing that you are under Jesus' waterfall of forgiveness will keep you forgiveness-conscious. And knowing that you are forgiven of all your sins will give you the power to reign over every destructive habit and live a life of victory. (ibid. p.109)
Actually an attitude of knowing you are forgiven before you do something wrong can give one a freedom to do whatever they want, and here is where the accusations of antinomianism surface.
But if you go and say “Im going to be sensitive to sin to live holy. … you don’t realize you are doing the opposite. You are going to have more sin manifesting in your life, you’ll be dishonoring God” (program 210 Daystar, Sept 16, 2011).
After watching a number of TV programs here is what I gathered, if you have sin on your conscience you have an evil conscience because you have become aware you have sinned. Since God has forgiven everything and forgotten, so should we. This is a very ignorant way to live because the Bible has all kinds of commands of when one is offended they are to reconcile. One must be aware of this to act, this does not mean we dwell on it but it certainly does not mean we take the position of forgetting it. What are we to do when a brother sins against a brother (Mt.18), or I Jn. 5:16: “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin.”
Prince: “Knowing that you are completely forgiven destroys the power of sin in your life.” (Destined to Reign, p.100). “It is the gift of no condemnation that gives people the power to sin no more.” Prince of Grace,” Charisma, Vol. 35, Number 11, pp. 34-38)
That would be wonderful if it was true, but it is not. Rom 8:1 actually says there is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, “who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” In other words being obedient, submitting to God living by the Spirit, not by no condemnation.
“For generations, the body of Christ has been defeated and put under a constant siege of condemnation from the accuser because they believe wrongly that the Holy Spirit convicts believers of their sins” (Destined to Reign, p. 139.)
Here Prince has introduced a teaching that has supposedly eluded almost all the Bible students and teachers for centuries, the Holy Spirit does not convict believers of their sins.
I Cor. 15:16, speaking on grace “who do you really think is afraid, (of the grace message) the Devil. Because we are removing his weapon”. (Sermon 208 Daystar TV).
Satan may wield the law as a weapon to make one condemned of their sin but God shows us what is wrong to bring us back to himself.
James 4:17: “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” One must be aware of what is good to do it; equally, they must know what is not so they do not sin. This is found in the the commands (the word).
Not doing goodis sin. Grace is given freely as a gift but the same author (Paul) says anything that is not of faith is sin. Paul also says Examine yourself to see if your in the faith. James 2:9: “but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” I Jn. 3:4: “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” I Jn. 5:17 “All unrighteousness is sin.”
Princes diminishes the identification of sin by not dealing with it, this does not alleviate one repeating the offense.
How do we know if we sin, according to Prince - never mind that! Prince tells people NOT to confess their sins, that only Satan convicts people of sin and believers should not think of sin. But it is the very opposite, who wants you to ignore sin? It’s not God. Satan wants us NOT to think of sin when we commit it or see it coming. Christianity is about making one more responsible, to understand what is and is not the will of God. Sin is a constant enemy to be resisted. It is the enemy of your soul that will have you feel secure while you are sinning, it will eventually shipwreck you. No Christian should want to continue in sin. We can walk in victory over sin but we cannot be sinless or afford to ignore sin when it takes place. It is this teaching of Prince that makes what he is saying error and dangerous.
Paul did not preach an ignorance of sin, you don’t tell someone that’s drowning that they are swimming and give security where there should be conviction so they can be cleansed.
Prince: “The bottom line is that the Holy Spirit never convicts you of your sins. He NEVER comes to point out your faults. I challenge you to find a scripture in the Bible that tells you that the Holy Spirit has come to convict you of your sins. You won't find any! The body of Christ is living in defeat because many believers don't understand that the Holy Spirit is actually in them to convict them of their righteousness in Christ. Even when you fail, He is ever present in you to remind you that you are continually cleansed by the blood of Jesus. That's the Holy Spirit. ... When you've failed, the Holy Spirit convicts you of righteousness, not your sins.” (ibid. p.134, 135). Underline mine. [this is repeated a number of times and further explained in his book]
Wow, that’s a real turnaround on the scripture; the Holy Spirit is telling you that you are righteous. Then Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit should not have wrote the numerous corrections to the various churches on there failure in morality or conduct. If the Holy Spirit is actually in them to convict them of their righteousness in Christ then what of Jesus speaking of sin and judgment? Either way Prince’s distortion of this scripture shows he is picking out portions and misapplying it.
Prince seems to overlook the difference between conviction and condemnation. The devil will continually remind you of your failures and use them to beat you down, belittle you and makes you unworthy of the relationship with Jesus. God on the other hand gently and firmly makes you aware and points to the solution and wants to cleanse you. Prince instead says the solution is in our knowledge of being righteous.
Lets read the Scripture he has referred to: John 16:7-11: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” of sin, because they do not believe in Me; “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
Jesus said the Holy Spirit is sent to believers (us). This can be understood in various ways, through believers preaching the message to “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jn. 16:8). Furthermore, this we need to understand that this is not the only thing the Spirit does.
And what of V. 13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; which means he will guide us away, warn us from sin and falsehood.
The Spirit represents Christ; He is another like Christ sent to the church. John writes, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” is repeated several times in the book of Revelation. We find the Spirit is correcting and rebuking the many churches, warning them of judgment: “and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works” (Rev. 2:23). Even telling them to “repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place-- unless you repent” (Rev. 2:5).
There are many more examples that Prince has ignored to build his “unique” grace teaching, clearly he is wrong.
“… the power to overcome sin is found in knowing that you are righteous. When a believer is struggling with sin, it is a case of mistaken identity. He thinks that he is still a dirty rotten sinner and as a result, he will continue to live as a dirty rotten sinner. But the more he sees that he has been made righteous apart from his works, the more he will be empowered to live righteously. Believers are struggling with sin today precisely because they do not realize that they are righteous. The Bible says, 'Awake to righteousness, and sin not.” This means that the more a believer realizes that he is indeed righteous, the more he will start to behave like a righteous person. It is time to awake to righteousness!” (ibid. p.138, 139)
We may be in right standing because of Christ but we are still under construction. Prince is wrong in his application, Paul said we still had sin but admonished us to live in the new nature to overcome it. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that is continually conforming us to the image of God’s Son. Prince is neglecting sanctification and focusing only on justification.
Prince is quoting 1 Cor. 15:33-34 which the previous verse says “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Paul is saying how we are to be separate, to do this one must be aware of evil, as it can have you sin, so this a preventive command.
Col. 3:5: “Therefore
put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness,
passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
Rom 6:12 Reign basileuetoo (NT:928). Present active imperative, “let not sin continue to reign” as it did once (Rom. 5:12).(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Rom 6:13 “Stop presenting your members or do not have the habit of doing so, “do not go on putting your members to sin as weapons of unrighteousness.”(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Paul who wrote on grace said that he still struggled with sin that affected doing God’s will and purpose. Rom. 7:19-25: “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”
All sin is in opposition to God Sin influences the intellect, the emotions, and the will, and it finds expression through the body when we act upon it (Prov. 4:23; Jer. 17:9; Mat. 15:19-20; Lk. 6:45; Heb. 3:12). We still have sin resident in us as believers. Sin is a missing the goal, falling short of the purpose for which man was made. There are seven different Greek words which define the aspects of sin. Within the definitions of sin there are basic facets it consists of: selfishness; a transgression of a known law; a wrong attitude and a wrong desire of the will or the self; unbelief; the intentional disobedience of an explicit command of God or acting contrary to his nature intentionally or non intentionally.
Rom.7:23 Paul explained plainly the war we all have “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
Paul explains the situation all believers are experiencing - Gal 5:16-17: “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
Paul writes in 1 Tim. 4:7 “exercise yourself toward godliness. Gr. Gumnazo - exercise, a discipline. One must know the difference of what is Godly and not to disciple themselves to the right things.
And this is how -- 2 Peter 1:3-8: “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
None of this comes automatically from grace, we have this instilled in us by the Holy Spirit and must cooperate with his work in conforming us to the Son. These are added as we grow in both knowledge and faith.
Vv.9-11: “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Notice what it states to have an abundant entry, we must remember we have been forgiven of our past sins and add all these qualities of the divine nature (the Holy Spirit that lives within us) to be fruitful, and be diligent so that God would work in us the fullness he has for us.
As I read on Princes view of grace I found there was a component missing which I believe brought him to the wrong conclusion on sin and righteousness. That component is sanctification.
The believer is justified (a legal declaration to be right before a holy and righteous God) by his faith –Acts 13:39, 15:9, 26:18, Rom. 3:28, 3:30, 4:4, 5:1; Gal. 2:16, 3:24). Faith is not a single event that begins at salvation. Our sanctification also began when we were justified, but sanctification is a continuing work. We are His workmanship (poema) he is sculpturing away making us individually into His idea of a masterpiece. “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:17)
Its not just grace but grace through faith, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Without faith, not grace. Furthermore if it is not done in faith it is sin. If grace is teaching you to ignore sin then it is not God’s grace. In Colossians 1:22, 23 Paul explains that he has reconciled us “in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight-- if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard.” Salvation is by grace through faith and our sanctification is by grace through faith. Its only when we are glorified that sin is done away with, for this completes the sanctification PROCESS that began by faith at our salvation.
Prince states, “You are either righteous or you are not. There is no such thing as first having 'positional righteousness' and then having to maintain that through 'practical righteousness.' You are the righteousness of God in Christ, period!” (Destined to Reign p. 27) Prince takes the position that God actually made us righteous already, therefore sanctification is not necessary, which is about our improving in out conduct behavior or thinking.
If this is accurate why did Paul also state “For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” (Gal. 5:5). It is a fututre promise, by glorification.
2 Cor. 7:1: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Perfecting means to bring to a completion, there is growth in our holiness.
Sanctification and cleansing, (purifying) are attributed to Christ's blood, Heb. 9, 10:10; 1 Pet. 1:2; to the Holy Spirit, 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Cor. 5:11; and through the word Jn. 17:17.
There is a difference of our position “in Christ” and practical living as we are being sanctified.
Yet Prince insists, “When He said that the Holy Spirit would come to “convict the world of sin” because they do not believe in Him, it is clear that He was referring to unbelievers because they are of “the world”. And notice that the Holy Spirit does not convict the word “sins” (plural). It is only one “sin” (singular) that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of, and that is the sin of unbelief, the sin of rejecting Jesus and not believing in His finished work. ... If the Holy Spirit never convicts you the believer of your sins, then what does He convict you of? Jesus says that the Holy Spirit convicts you “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see me no more.” (p.136, 137)
Here’s where we come to the core error “Does the Holy Spirit convict you of sin? “That is a very good question and the answer is really simple Now pay attention to this because it will liberate you. The bottom line is that the Holy Spirit never convicts you of your sins. He NEVER comes to point out your faults. I challenge you to find a scripture in the Bible that tells you that the Holy Spirit has come to convict you of your sins. ... many believers don't understand that the Holy Spirit is actually in them to convict them of their righteousness in Christ.” (p. 135. Bold original)
Never? First of all, He is called holy, and if you are sinning, then you are not being holy. If Holy Spirit does not convict us who will? Prince writes on this, “We don’t have to confess our sins in order to be forgiven. We confess our sins because we are already forgiven. When I say ‘confess our sins’, I’m talking about being open with God… Confession in the new covenant is just being honest about your failures and your humanity. It is the result of being forgiven and not something you do in order to be forgiven.” (Destined to Reign p.104)
What he is saying is that our confession is not about sin but about our being righteous. This makes no sense. Are we forgiven before we ask for forgiveness?If we apply Princes theology, this mean we don’t have to ask in prayer because God already knows you’re going to ask. Confession on this subject means agreeing with God that something was sin. Of course one cannot confess everything they think or do wrong but they can what they do know, and God expects this from mature spiritually minded saints. Sin may not break our relationship, (God is faithful) but it does affect our communion with Lord.
Speaking of 1Jn. 1:9 “People have taken this verse and built a
whole doctrine around it when actually, chapter 1 of 1 John was written to the
Gnostics, who were unbelievers” (Destined
to Reign p. 106)
1 John is not written to Gnostics, 1 John is about Gnostics trying to protect Christians from being deceived. Prince completely misses the point and makes this book of the Bible to be written to enemies of the gospel and Christ. So let’s read it in context and see what John meant.
I Jn. 1:4: “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” The letter is written to believers not Gnostics, the same recipients are addressed throughout the whole letter, unless you want to believe he wants the Gnostics joy to be full.
V:5-10 “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
First, I don’t see the word Gnostic anywhere. What I see is “we”, “us” and speaks of having fellowship with one another; the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses “us”, forgive us our sins, cleanses us from all unrighteousness. No confession no cleansing. Why, because we are not walking in the light.
The Book of I John was indeed written to believers and speaks about believers. V. 8, John makes the point that believers still have the sin nature and in v. 9, he mentions that when believers commit sins it needs to be confessed. In verse 10, John instructs that:If we say that we have not sinned (present tense) then we are making God (the one who is the truth to be a liar).
He is using the pronoun “we”, including himself in this statement. According to Scripture, believers do continue to commit acts of sin and they have need of cleansing, it is not just a one time act at salvation.Faith has one trust in Christ; repentance has one turn; from sin to Christ because of faith.
The believer has a new position in Christ, and he is called to live up to this position in this world by walking in obedience to God. This is done by walking in the Spirit and not in the old nature. We are given the new nature to overcome the nature of Adam that is still resident -- the power by the Holy Spirit rules over the old nature that has us sin, but the choice is still our decision to make (Rom. 12:1; Col. 1:13).
1 Jn. 1:7 Cleanseth katharizei in the present tense. The cleansing is present and continuous. (from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament).
1 Jn. 1:7 heemas, continues to cleanse us, i.e., to keep clean what it has made clean” (from Adam Clarke's Commentary)
The qualification - If we confess our sins.
John continues in the next chapter summing up what he just wrote on sin and cleansing to the recipients of the church. 1 Jn. 2:1: “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
So John clearly taught as Paul did that we do still sin and we need to be aware of it to be cleansed by the blood. That our fellowship/communion with God is broken when the believer commits sin. This fellowship must be restored by means of confession (I Jn. 1:9). The Bible says that confession should be made before one goes to sleep (Eph. 4:26), and should be made before one participates in Communion (I Cor. 11:27-32).
Sin is not to be our way of life any longer but to say it is removed because of being forgiven is a completely utterly false. We are now saints that occasionally sin, we once were sinners that knew no righteousness and always sinned.
When we sin God is faithful to cleanse us from all the sin we commit, if we confess it. Prince's view on the 1 Jn.1:7-9 passage is crucial, because it affects the basis of his teaching on grace.
“Beloved, confessing your sins all the time will only make you more sin-conscious. But knowing that you are under Jesus' waterfall of forgiveness will keep you forgiveness-conscious” (Destined to Reign p. 109)
What is at stake here is a cleansing for a clear conscience and being useful for the Lord. God will not use those who are in continual sin, but Prince says before we sin we are already forgiven because of grace, that the spirit never convicts and that he has us focus on our righteousness in Christ. As we have read, confessing our sin is necessary to have sin cleansed, but to do this you need to be aware of the sin.
Prince has absolutely no basis for this teaching.
Christ has called us to holiness and does not teach people to be blind to sin because of grace. We are all in a constant battle to refrain from sin. Because of certain individual weaknesses we can all sin. We cannot resist sin if we ignore it. We cannot afford to have an oblivious attitude about sin. When we do sin there’s is a prompting, that darkness has entered. We should not ignore it but focus on Christ for the solution, confess it and have him cleanse us.