MIXING GRACE AND RELIGION: AN ABOMINATION TO GOD
It has been said that the Book of Matthew is more than ninety per cent religion and less than nine per cent Grace; and that the Book of Romans is more than ninety per cent Grace and less than nine per cent religion. Whether this is true or not, we know that the word "Grace" is not found in Matthew, and that the only two Gentiles who received Kingdom blessings from Israel’s Messiah, according to Matthew, were two Gentiles of great Faith. Matthew 8:5-12 . Matthew 15:21-27 .
Surely to an unsaved man we would be intelligent enough to suggest that he read the Book of Romans for the message of salvation rather than the Book of Matthew. In the church creeds and church programs of all of our leading evangelical churches most of the religious messages, ceremonies and legal requirements of the Book of Matthew have no place. Why? AND, In most cases they have been omitted, BUT without explanation. Why no explanation?
Even a GREATER CONTRAST is found in God's message and program when we compare Matthew and Ephesians. They are so different. Matthew tells us of two Gentiles who received Kingdom healing for their loved ones, because of great Faith; Ephesians tells us of ALL Gentiles who receive spiritual blessings in the heavenlies, because of God's great love. Ephesians 2:4 . This is all pure Grace, by Faith; the gift of God; not of works.
Gentiles could have LITTLE in Matthew; but EVERYTHING in Ephesians. Matthew 10:5 , Matthew 15:24 .
Just this simple question: If we should find contradiction between the truth of Matthew and Ephesians and had to make choice as to which truth should be applied to the Church of the Dispensation of Grace, which is Christ's Body, would not the LORD expect us to take our truth from Ephesians, and apply the truth of Matthew IN THE LIGHT of the truth of Ephesians? He certainly would; and He would expect us to study and apply the truth of the Book of Acts and the "Book of Acts" period in the light of the truth of Ephesians and other messages written AFTER Acts was closed.
The seven messages which the Holy Spirit wrote by the pen of the Apostle Paul, after the close of Acts, are messages of pure Grace; no religion; no signs; and no ceremonies; nothing Israelitish. Israel was set aside with the close of Acts.
Surely we have asked ourselves the question, why did the LORD for more than thirty years postpone the judgment announced in Matthew 22:7 , "When the King heard thereof, he was wroth: and He sent forth armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city?" God had a purpose in protecting His Nation Israel for more than thirty years after the death of Christ and giving them favor with Rome not only in their own land, but throughout the countries of Asia and Europe where the Apostle Paul witnessed to them until 60 A.D. Why did God permit their temple to stand all during the "Book of Acts" period? Why did God permit Paul to become a Jew to the Jews all during that period?
Christ said in Matthew 23:38 , "your house is left unto you desolate." There He called them "serpents". Matthew 23:32-39 . But during the “Acts" period He again dealt with them in great mercy, as "children". Acts 3:14-25 . We must know that God had a purpose with Israel, during the "Acts" period other than giving them, as individual Jews, the opportunity to become members of that Body of Christ which is mentioned in Ephesians 1:19-22 .
Even a superficial student of the Word of God must know that Romans 11:6-31 marks a very definite turning point in God's dealings with Israel, and that such a radical change took place after Acts 28:28 , that Church truth must be studied as to whether it was written before or after Romans 11:6-31 and Acts 28:25-28 . To miss this is to miss one of the most important keys to the truth of God concerning the Body. In Paul’s last seven Epistles, concerning the Truth of the Body, the word "Mystery" (secret) is used twelve times.
Among the truths and commands mentioned for the first time, in these Prison Epistles, we learn of "The One New Man"; and that we are to endeavor to keep the UNITY of the Spirit; and “make all men see what is the Dispensation of the Mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God." Ephesians 2:15 , Ephesians 4:3-6 , Ephesians 3:8-9 .
Inasmuch as all saved people are members of the One New Man, members of that one Church which is the Body of Christ, and are in Christ….complete….one flesh, most assuredly anything but UNITY among these Body members is displeasing to the LORD which is the ONE Head of that ONE Body.
With prevailing sectarianism, (denominations), it seems as though it would be wasted energy and futile endeavor to make any attempt to keep the unity of the Spirit. Our duty is to make the endeavor and leave the results with our Father.
Pause for a moment, and ask yourself this question….Do I know of any preacher who is trying to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery made known to the Body of Christ, about that Body, through the Apostle Paul? Is not the Holy Spirit as much concerned about making known this Dispensation of the Mystery as He is in having religious people struggle with the Kingdom Sermon on the Mount?
The Bible truth and the Bible program that are to be emphasized today, if we would obey these "Ephesians" commands, IS the "Ephesians" truth. And the all important fundamental truth is that there is ONE, and only ONE Church for this Dispensation of Grace, and that is the Body of Christ! It is the duty of every servant of the LORD to declare that truth unqualifiedly and uncompromisingly.
Inasmuch as the Holy Spirit has been pleased to declare the pure message of Grace, the Gospel of glory freed from religion, in the Prison Epistles of the Apostle Paul, and in those Epistles has referred to the Church, as "the Church which is His Body" (His BODY not His Bride! Remember that), would it not help to clear away some of the confusion and show that forming multiple denominations is a spiritual crime by using the expression, "the Body of Christ", in speaking of the Church?
Now pay attention….The word "church" is too indefinite. Make note that the truth and ministry, the message and program, for the LORD's people, in this Dispensation of the Grace of God, have been obscured by the use of the word "church".
Intelligent Bible teachers are all agreed that there has been but ONE Body of Christ since Israel was set aside; therefore….one Bible Church. We are also agreed that there are different churches in the Bible, some of which were not identified with the Body of Christ, the Body of Ephesians.
To divide the One Body of Christ into many sects, or denominations, is strictly in disobedience to, and defiance of, the plain instructions of the Holy Spirit, "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit." "One Body", "One Faith", "One Baptism". Ephesians 4:3-7 . Perhaps, in most cases, it is because of ignorance of the Word.
Undoubtedly, one reason why God has not brought to an end this Day of Grace, this period of Gentile favor, by the return of the Head for the Body, is to give to the members of that Body the opportunity to help Him in that which He very much desires, namely, the recovery of the glorious Body truths, that have been covered beneath the abomination of religious mixture of Bible truth, the hideous mixture of Grace with an aspect of religion, and used without regard to their dispensational setting, and human traditions.
In assuming responsibility in this task of recovering the truth concerning the Body of Christ, we might be perplexed as to whether there is a difference between the Body of 1 Corinthians 12 and the Body of Ephesians 1:19-22 . If the Body of Corinthians and the Body of Ephesians are one and the same, then the question arises, "which Body program should be recovered, the program of Corinthians or the program of Ephesians?"
We should be able to answer this by reading the two fold position of the Apostle to the Gentiles, recorded in 1 Corinthians 9:20-23 . That two fold position was a thing of the PAST after the Apostle Paul had said the last word recorded in Acts. Any attempt to perpetuate the judgments of 1 Corinthians or recover the gifts of 1 Corinthians, even by the most spiritual members of the Body of Christ, will prove either futile or extremely exceptional instead of general, and in the light of the gifts of Ephesians 4:8-15 , it is apparent that the LORD gave the "Ephesians” program to supersede the "Corinthians" program.
In the Body mentioned in Corinthians there were two baptisms, whereas in the Body mentioned in Ephesians there was ONE baptism. The task of separating in the Corinthians Epistles that which applied to the local assembly and that which applied to the Body of Christ down to the present time is rather difficult; whereas in the Ephesians Epistle we have no such difficult task.
Therefore, our principal task is to recover the truth of Ephesians, Colossians, Titus, Philippians, and Timothy, that has to do with that glorious truth designated "The Mystery". This glorious truth should neither be mysterious nor hidden from every member of the Body of Christ; and would not be if the Christian pastors, preachers, and teachers had obeyed Ephesians 3:8-9 and Ephesians 4:3 .
Whenever there has been the attempt to recover the blessed truths of the Bible those who have made the attempts have had to stand the opposition and suffer the persecutions of “church” leaders, and have been branded troublemakers, generally as heretics. This applies to Luther, Knox, Calvin, Wesley, Darby, and many others.
Today, however, we behold in the denominations a falling away from orthodoxy to modernism on the one hand, and to fanaticism on the other hand. Most professing Christians drifting toward modernism are unsaved. And then, most of them going to fanaticism might be called fundamentalists. There are some truly saved people unequally yoked together under modernist leaders in church federation movements. They permit Jesus to have a little place in their human brotherhood and their social betterment programs; but these leaders care nothing about Body truth or the Gospel of Grace. Such a Gospel is an insult to them and an offense to their religious pride.
Religious Cain is still seeking to kill Faithful Abel today!
The present-day ultra orthodox Christians are called "Fundamentalists." Now, here’s the “kicker”….Strange as it may seem, while most of the religious leaders identified with sectarian orthodoxy, remain indifferent and inactive concerning the recovery of Body truth, being altogether occupied with their denominational programs, IT IS THE non sectarian Fundamentalists who are the chief opponents and the principal hindrance in the recovery of Body truth.
The Bible teachers and Christian leaders who are NEAREST (but NOT accepting) to the Body of Christ truth of Ephesians, are its bitterest and most aggressive enemies, and the chief stumbling block in the way of the recovery of this glorious truth so dear to the heart of our Risen LORD Jesus Christ.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” Acts 16:31 , while there is still time!
So There You Have it!
Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide. The time is short
Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20 )
Subscribe Here to the LLM Newsletter , Follow LLM on Twitter , Subscribe to LLM on Youtube , LLM on MySpace , and FaceBook