INTRODUCTION An important part of understanding the grace that is ours through the living Word, Jesus Christ, is that we have a firm Biblical foundation on which this grace is established. This is so that the intimacy, hope and blessings that come with Jesus' grace cannot be undermined. As you go through this study course we ask you to spend time looking up all the scripture references quoted in brackets and allow the Holy Spirit to establish the Word in your heart and mind.

1. JESUS DEALT WITH SIN ON THE CROSS 1.1 GRACE FROM "ABBA" Eph. 1:6-8 "To the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him Jesus we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding". Under the New Covenant of grace we are called children of God. As such we should have a personal and intimate relationship with God as "Abba" (Ro.8:15: Abba is Hebrew for daddy). Sadly many believers still allow sin or unworthiness caused by an over consciousness of sin to separate them from "Abba". The issue of sin and our sinlessness in Christ is probably one of the most important and yet for some, the most controversial issues of grace. The Scriptures are clear that because of "Abba's" love for us, through the cross and by grace, Jesus has destroyed the dominion of sin, the power of sin and dealt with all our sins, one and for all so that we can now live in an intimate, loving and confident relationship with "Abba" - and live by His Spirit within us. As the great British Preacher, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) said: "The saints shall persevere in holiness, because God perseveres in grace".

1.2 IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS John 1:29 "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" Mat 26:28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 2Co 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. The good news of grace: Jesus has taken away the sin of the world. He has set us free of sin. We are forgiven. We have become part of him. When we see him we see a reflection of who we are in him (Col.3:3). Sin is no longer the issue or the focus. Those who are in Christ are righteous in God's eyes and that righteousness will work its way out in their lives. God no longer relates to us based on our sin or sinlessness but on the basis of our union with Christ and his righteousness. Our sin identity and the law of sin and death is effectively done away with for those in Christ Jesus.

1.3 OUR SINS ARE FORIVEN AND FOGOTTEN Heb.8:12 (Amp) For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more. [Jer. 31:31-34.] Heb 10:16-19 "This is the (new) covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus". Rom 4:6 "David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works ”Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered". Col 2:13 "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins". Isa 43:25 "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more". This is the good news of grace and the New Covenant. All believer's sins are forgiven and forgotten by God. When God's Word say all he means all, not just confessed sins, not just past sins, not just known sins but all our sin were dealt with at the cross. The slate is wiped clean. On the final judgment day when the account books are opened (Rev.20:12) no sin will be found against our names. The only thing accounted (2Co.5:19) to us is our righteousness in Christ. Not only does it say all our sin are forgiven but it says God's remembers them no more. We may choose to remember them and dwell on them but God doesn't - and we need to adopt the same attitude. We can now come to God with confidence and boldness (Heb.4:16) as his beloved, children knowing that he sees us as sinless because we are in Christ (1Jn.4:17). It sounds too good to be true - that is the offence of grace and that is why some people just can't receive grace, they just can believe God is that good and that graceful.

1.4 SIN WAS THE BIG PROBLEM Let's be clear sin is evil, harmful, ungodly and destructive. Sin is a big problem and in no way do we promote, encourage or underestimate the terrible effects of sin. There is no such thing as "cheap grace" as sin is so bad that the Son of God himself, Jesus Christ, was humiliated and put to death to destroy sin's power and domination, that is the cost of God's grace to us. The cross declares that the solution to sin is Jesus - not our self effort, self righteousness, law keeping, or adherence to the Ten Commandments. God's solution to sin was the cross and the grace of Jesus Christ. Unbelievable as it may seem to many Christians, Scripture is clear; law living produces sin, grace destroys sin. Jesus came to set us free from both sin and the Law that gives sin its power (1Co.15:56). The cross of Christ and the grace that came through Jesus is the only truly effective antidote to sin. There is no other effective solution, there is no other sacrifice. This is the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ. Without Christ and his grace we are all lost and dead in our sins.


2.1 MANKINDS SIN NATURE; THE FLESH, THE LEGALISTIC NATURE Rom 5:12 "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned....." Sin is powerful and deadly. Many ask "Why does God allow terrible things to happen?" The truth is that it's not God but the fallen nature of creation that manifests in the evil and catastrophes we see all around us. All of creation is fallen and has been corrupted by sin. All of creation is longing to be redeemed from the affects of sin and be made anew (Ro.8:20-12) (Rev.21:5). Likewise mankind is fallen and has a sinful nature it's evident in mankind's actions of war, murder, abuse, greed, pollution, crime, etc. etc. and we all live and suffered the consequences, sadly, even those of us who are saved. Scripture teaches that through Adam all became sinners (Rom.5:12). We have all inherited both Adam's natural genes and his diseased spiritual condition called sin. Adam's choice to trust himself, his ability and his intellect totally polluted both him and his offspring. Mankind became spiritually dead to the things of God and our noble character totally warped. Sin killed us off spiritually and physically and still does today. The Law of sin and death has been at work in all mankind since Adam (Rom.8:1): You sin you die. We inherited a sin nature (The Greek word is sarx) from Adam. This sinful nature (Rom.7:18) is also referred to as "the flesh", the fallen nature, the carnal nature or the law nature. The flesh is highly self centred, independent and legalistic. It lives by the accumulation of knowledge of good and bad (Gen.2:17) and its application through avoiding bad that harm and embracing good that blesses. This is done through rules, regulations and techniques; systems of control which are manipulated for self gain and independence - producing the ultimate "self made man". God's input is not wanted nor required.

2.2 JESUS DIED FOR ALL TYPES OF OUR SIN Rom 4:25 " Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification". Isa 53:4 -5 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions , he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (A prophetic picture of Jesus on the Cross). There are a number of different types of sin. We normally refer to them all under the generic term "Sin". Jesus died for all our sins and all types of sin, once and for all. 1. Sin. Greek: αμαρτία hamartia. Thayer defines sin as, to be without a share in, to miss the mark, to err, be mistaken, to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong, to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin, that which is done wrong, sin, an offence, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act. Collectively, the complex or aggregate of sins committed either by a single person or by many. Sin is used 174 times as a noun and 42 times as a verb in the New Testament. The Greek Septuagint uses this word in Isa.53. 2. Trespasses or transgressions. Greek: παράπτωμα paraptoma. Thayer defines this as to fall beside or near something, a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness, a sin, misdeed. Its' used 9 times in the New Testament. 3. Iniquities. Greek: ανομία anomia. Thayer defines this as the condition of without law, because ignorance of it, because of violating it, contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness. Strong defines this word as; illegality, that is, violation of law or generally wickedness. Iniquity, transgression of the law, unrighteousness. It's used 25 times in the New Testament. The Greek Septuagint uses this word in Isa.53.

2.3 THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVICTS US OF THE SIN OF UNBELIEF John 16:8-9 (Amp) "When the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness and about judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me [trust in, rely on, and adhere to Me]..." Unlike the teachers of the Law, the Pharisees, Jesus did not point to peoples moral sin but to the sin of unbelief in the goodness and love of God. The New Testament scriptures make it clear that the real sin issue between man and God is the sin of unbelief. It is a lack of trust and faith in a loving and kind God that leads to rebellion and moral sin. Many teach that the Holy Spirit convicts believers of sin. It's almost as if the Holy Spirit has come to replace Satan as the accuser and condemner. They conclude this from quoting John 16:8 out of context. John 16:9 explains that the sin the Holy Spirit now convicts us of is unbelief not moral sin. We need to urgently repent of this wrong teaching and thinking as it brings condemnation and guilt. The issue that the Holy Spirit wants to help us all to deal with is "Where are we living in unbelief" for unbelief is sin. The affects of unbelief is apparent throughout Israel's history. They chose to disbelieve God (Heb.3:19) (Ps.78:32) (Ps.106:24) and his goodness and trust in themselves or other god's. The result was that they fell into moral sin, great evil and were robbed of their blessings. Likewise with Adam and Eve, their sin of unbelief in God's goodness and promises was the root of all other sins and the loss of their blessings. Our sinful, fallen nature is intrinsically one of unbelief but when we are in faith and believe, all the promises of God are ours through Christ and his grace (Jn.1:16).

2.4 OUR SINFUL FLESH NATURE WAS CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST Gal 5:24 "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires". The flesh sin nature embraces sin and opposes the will and the Spirit of God (Rom.8:3-8). The only way to be freed from the sin nature is to die to self, and to be "born again" (Jn.3:5-6). The good news is that the sin nature of those who have turned to Christ has been nailed on the cross with Christ (Gal.2:20). We have been baptised into Christ's death (Ro.6:3). The sin nature of believers is dead. It's memories and habits may still plagues us but our sin nature is dead in Christ. However we do need to allow our minds to be renewed and our actions sanctified by the Word and the Spirit, and this takes time. Col 2:11 "In Christ you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ" Rom 2:29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God. The Scriptures also describe freedom from our sin nature in another way, circumcision. Just as Jewish men had their useless flesh physically cut away so we who are in Christ have been spiritually circumcised. The fleshy fallen part of our inner person has been cut way and cat off. Our hearts have been circumcised of their sin nature. Gal.2:17-21 (The Message) "Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? No great surprise, right? And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren't perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. If I was "trying to be good," I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan. What actually took place is t his: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily".


3.1 GOD NOW SEES US AS SINLESS Grace is all about our identity in Christ and about us choosing in faith to see ourselves as God see us. If you are "Born Again" by the Spirit of God, you are the righteousness of God (2Co.5:21) and as such you are qualified for blessing upon blessing and the power of the Holy Spirit to reign and rule from a place of rest and peace. This issue of taking our eyes off sin and putting them on Jesus righteousness given to us by grace, is core to living in the abundant life of Christ. Lots of people in the Old Testament tried to be sinless and they always failed (Rom.9:30). But amazingly both David & Abraham (Gen.15:16) knew that true righteousness and sinlessness depended on them believing and trusting in a good God. David understood and received Gods grace and after God’s forgiveness of David’s adultery & murder David saw himself as righteous – just as if his sin never existed (2Sam22:12). That's the offence of the cross and Jesus grace. Even though he was under the Covenant of the Law (Gal.2:21) David prophetically foresaw God's grace for the forgiveness of his sins, as did Abraham, and took hold of it. God considered David (Acts 13:22) to be a man after his own heart! Likewise today (Rom. 3:21) Jesus has made us righteous and sinless in Gods eyes. I guess that's why grace makes a lot of religious people really angry, as it's seen as being unfair or unjust. God considers you to be a man /woman after Hid own heart. This is the good news of the gospel and it will bear mighty good fruit as you allow the truth to renew your thinking. 1Jn. 4:17 "In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him" i.e. holy and sinless.

3.2 WE ARE NOW SAINTS NOT SINNERS Nowhere in the New Testament does it address believers as sinners, except in the past tense. Believers are referred to as the saints (Ro.16:15) or as brother and sisters in Christ. So let's look more at our identity. We need know who we are and describe ourselves accordingly. For those who are saved and born again, all our sins are forgiven, past, present and future, without conditions, we don’t have to do anything further. Understanding the difference between a sinner and a saint is important as if we refer to ourselves as sinners we will act as sinners. A sinner is someone that is unsaved, un-righteous and enslaved by sin. On the other hand sinners who have given their lives to Christ are now righteous and are "saints" or "holy ones". Believers identities are no longer dependent on their actions, either good or bad but on who they are in Christ, Therefore we now humbly talk about ourselves saints (Heb.10:10) not sinners - that’s what we used to be. We do however recognize that without God's grace and our union with Christ we would be sinners, it's only in grace that we are identified as saints, it's nothing of ourselves. We may be saints that sometimes sin but that's a big difference from being a sinner who cannot help but sin. Sadly many liturgies still put our focus on our sin and on our old identity as sinners, this leads to a constant sense of unworthiness and condemnation. We are not sinless because we never sin, we are sinless because through Jesus and his grace God has chosen to do away with the system of keeping records of believer's sins. Under the New Covenant God does not relate to us anymore on the basis of our sin or lack thereof, God now relates to us as sinless children who are right with him through Jesus. God remember our sins no more so why should you? Under the New Covenant God’s only issue with believers sinful actions is that they hurt and rob his children and others of his blessings and well being. (More about our new identity in part 6).

3.3 WE WERE SANCTIFIED (PAST TENSE) 1Co. 6:9-12 "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God". (MSG) "A number of you know from experience what I'm talking about, for not so long ago you were on that sinners list. Since then, you've been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit". The Greek word sanctified is hagiazō which Thayer defines as to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow, to separate from profane things and dedicate to God , consecrated things to God, dedicated people to God, to purify, to cleanse externally, to purify by expiation: free from the guilt of sin, to purify internally by renewing of the soul. The above scripture says we were sanctified. It's past tense. We were sinners but we were washed clean when we came to Christ, that's now our position in Christ. Sanctification is a position in Christ that then works its way out through a process of the renewal of our minds and the changing of our actions (2Co.7:1) as we live by God's Spirit within us. Some have misunderstood our holiness and based it on our actions instead of on who we are in Christ. Jesus is now our sanctification and holiness (1Co.1:30) not our actions or Law keeping.

3.4 GRACE IS NOT A LICENCE TO SIN Rom 3:8 "Why not say--as some slanderously claim that we say--"Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is just!" Rom 6:1 "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" As in Pauls day, those who oppose grace claim that preaching grace is a license to sin or do evil. This is because Jesus’ grace is offensive to the religious spirit that relies on carnal, soulish, thinking (1Co.1:12-16), laws, self will and self effort. Grace and can only be accepted in one's spirit by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. God's grace always offends and confuses all who ultimately exalt carnal knowledge and logic above Spirit revealed, scriptural, truth. There is no worldly logic in God's grace. No logic in the fact that God himself died for sin and then freely pardons all our sins. God's heavenly wisdom, thinking and ways are simply not man's ways (Isa.55:8). God's way of grace offends the flesh and fleshy thinking but exalts the Spirit within that reveals the deep truths found in Christ alone and confirmed by the scriptures. Having said that, it is clear that some people misuse grace, just as many under Law based Christianity continue to sin in secret and cover it up. We are warned that there will be false teachers who preach grace and promote licentiousness (Jude 1:4). However because some people misuse grace it does not nullify grace. The scriptures are clear that grace is the power to say no to sin (Titus 2:12)(Rom.6:14), grace is not a licence to sin. Those who are truly in Christ and his grace will find that sin becomes less and less of an issue as grace has is affect.

3.5 SIN IS NO LONGER OUR MASTER Rom 6:6" For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin". Before we were saved Sin was our master whom we were compelled to obey. The unsaved cannot help but sin, it is their nature. Mankind does not sin through choice but because it our Adamic fallen nature. Those in Christ have a new nature and a new master, Jesus and we are no longer slaves to sin. Christ has redeemed us from slavery. A Christian who says that they cannot stop sinning and are enslaved by sin need to be founded in grace and their identity in Christ.


4.1 THE LAW PROVOKES SIN Rom 7:7-8 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Rom 5:20 "The law was brought in so that sin might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more". Just as grace is the power to overcome sin, the Law provokes sin. In grace we uphold the Law as the Law is good and powerful when used for its correct purpose. As stated in part 4 , the Laws purpose is not to make us holy but to emphasis and expose sin, especially the sin of unbelief and self righteousness. When the Law is preached it actually stirs up and provokes moral sin. Tell someone not to touch something and sees what happens. The mixing of Law and grace effectively nullifies the power of grace to overcome sin, because the Law stirs up sinful desires. The solution to this problem is simple, get rid of the Law from your belief system and life, replace it with Jesus centred grace and sin's addiction will be broken.

4.2 GRACE EMPOWERS US TO STOP SINNING Rom 6:18 "You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness". Tit 2:12 "Grace teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age". Freedom from the Law and abiding in grace breaks the power of sin addiction and slavery. It is grace that empowers us to say no to sin and temptation not the law. In the New Covenant the Holy Spirit leads believers from within. He shows us the way to live righteously without sin. No longer do we rely on external laws and rules. Instead the Spirit lays Gods ways on our hearts and governs our thinking (Ro.8:5-9). We know within ourselves what is right and what is wrong and how to live this out. We are now slaves to righteousness and have to obey our masters promptings and commands within us. When we were unsaved we could not help but sin, as were salves to sin, now that we are slaves to righteousness and grace we cannot help but do what is right. Righteousness is now our new nature in Christ. As we believe so we do, believe you are in grace and righteous and you will find you live righteously, believe you are a sinner and you will sin. When we are fully established in grace and our identity as God's children we find that we have the power to put off our old sins of immorality, lying, stealing, hate, anger, etc. - we can put off the sin that was of our old self because it now no longer has a foundation within us to feed on and support it. This is the process of working out our salvation and sanctification in practical and real terms from the truth that in Christ we are sanctified, righteous and holy.

The great British Victorian Preacher, Charles Spurgeon, nailed it when he said, “When I thought God was hard, I found it easy to sin; but when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I beat my breast to think I could ever have rebelled against One who loved me so and sought my good".

4.3 JESUS NOW DEFENDS US 1Jn 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence—Jesus Christ, the righteous One. Heb 7:24-25 Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Rom 8:33-35 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? We all sin at some time, even though we don't want to. The good news is that if and when we sin Jesus defends us against any accuser, he declares us as not guilty. Jesus interceded on our behalf. He is not only our high priest but also our advocate who is constantly declaring us innocent and the our sins paid for by his own blood. Jesus is the heavenly administrator and dispenser of God's grace. No longer can Satan or anyone else bring a charge against us because of our sin. We are not like Job God allowed to be accused and afflicted by Satan, Satan no longer has any rights to accuse or afflict us. Job longed for someone to defend him (Job 9:33) - in grace, we have Jesus to do just that.



5.1 REPENTANCE Mat 4:17 "Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." Most people think that to repent means to confess one's sins. This is incorrect. Repentance may lead to this but this is not what repentance actually is. When Jesus called people to repent, he was calling them to change their thinking: What is good and what is evil? What is righteous and what is unrighteous? What is Godly and what is ungodly? To recognize what was sinful and what was holy. Under the Law repentance was focussed on moral sin. Under the New Covenant of grace repentance focuses on unbelief and a change of mind that leads faith in God and then a change of actions. The Greek word to repent is μετανοέω metanoeo. Strong defines repentance as to think differently, to reconsider, morally to feel compunction. Thayer defines it as to change one’s mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins. Grace thinking is not sin focussed but Jesus focussed. In grace repentance is about dealing with unbelief that is the root of all moral sin and choosing to believe in God's goodness expressed in and through Jesus Christ. One of the crucial things that we need to repent of is that we are still sinners under the dominion of sin and that God is angry with us and out to punish us. This is probably the biggest lie that is inhibiting believers today and disempowering the church.

5.2 RENEWED THINKING Rom.7:23 "I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members". 2Co. 10:3-5 "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ". Most spiritual warfare is in the mind and it's all about believing or doubting God's grace, goodness and the sufficiency of the finished work of the cross for you personally. The key is repentance – which means a change of mind about what is good and what is bad, what is Godly and what is evil. This then results in a change of actions. Renewal of t he mind from sinful patterns of thinking comes about when we accept we are in a state of grace which allows the truths and promises found in the scriptures to be appropriated in faith and to change our thinking (Rom.12: 2). We replace lies from Satan that have taken root deep within us with truths from the scriptures. We reject any thinking or teaching that says Satan, sin, death and sickness etc. have a right to afflict us or that God is out to punish us. Under grace all the enemies rights and any punishments have been cancelled at the cross (Col.2:14). We are no longer afflicted for sin and any thinking that says otherwise has to be rejected.

5.3 NO CONDEMNATION Rom 8:1-4 "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him". John 8:10 -11 "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." Freedom from condemnations is one of the most important aspects of Jesus grace. Jesus was condemned so we could be free from condemnation. Jesus made it clear in the above scriptures that his ministry is not one of condemnation but grace and salvation. On the other hand the Law is a ministry of condemnation (2Co.3:9) and those who mix law and grace will constantly feel condemned and guilty. Sadly, so many believers still separate themselves from the Lord and beat themselves up because they carry the guilt and shame of past and present sins and short comings. To focus on sin and short comings will drive us crazy and result in double mindedness about who we are as children of God. Declaring that we are unworthy sinners denies what Jesus has bought for us on the cross and denies God's grace. This is a false and misplaced humility and robs us of joy and life in Christ. Condemnation and guilt are the biggest cause of sickness, depression, fear and passivity in Christians. Let it be known today that the Scripture clearly states that we are free from condemnation and we are no longer guilty. When we condemn ourselves we are allying ourselves with the work of Satan, who along with the Law (Jn.5:45) is the Accuser (Rev.12:10). Satan's very name means one who accuses and condemns. We must stop condemning and disqualifying ourselves, stop our anguish over our failures, stop punishing ourselves, or expecting punishment for something that Jesus has already paid for, been punished for, and dealt with on the cross. To focus on our sin instead of focusing on our righteousness (Ro.3:22) is tantamount to denying the effectiveness of the cross. Our sins, past present and future are completely forgiven (Heb.10:17) and we need to learn to live in God’s wonderful state of grace by focusing on Jesus. Knowing Him, trusting Him and abiding in His grace empowers us to say “No” to sin and to overcome (Titus 2:12). We believe the Word of God; the solution to sin is grace (Rom.6:14). Some may say "Ah, but this only applies if you live by the Spirit". Correct. When we are saved and in grace we are in the Spirit and no longer in the flesh, but "Christians" those who trust in the Law are still alive in the flesh and not in the Spirit and therefore the Law condemns them. Law condemns us as guilty, grace acquits and finds us guiltless. Those who still feel condemned and guilty are those who have a mixed gospel of grace and law or works. Get rid of the law, embrace the good news of grace and be free of condemnation.

6. A SCRITURAL EXERCISE The Woman Caught in Adultery John 8:3-11 (KJV), "And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us [Leviticus 20:10], that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." Discuss the above story in light of the gospel of grace and Leviticus 20:10. What does the above story tell us of hypocrisy, of God's grace and no condemnation? Do you think this woman carried on sinning? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

7. A GOOD CONSCIENCE 1Tim. 1:1-20 Holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Grace clears our consciences. When we are in grace, understanding that we are forgiven and not condemned, understanding that we are God's beloved children and righteous in Christ, leads to a good conscience and peaceful mind. Faith isn't any good unless we have a good conscience within ourselves (Heb.10:22). What are we aware of, our righteousness or our sin? We must always be conscious of our righteousness in Christ and not allow any false teachings or sin to undermine us and shipwreck our faith.

7.1 CONFESSION 1Jn 1:7-10 If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 2:12. "I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name". It's helpful, good and often needful to confess sin and the things we get wrong if and when the Holy Spirit guides us to do so. It can help us off load our burdens of guilt and condemnation, heal relationships (Jam.5:16) and talk with God about the issues we need help with. When we sin it can be a release to confess what we have done wrong but we need to be clear in our understanding of confession as New Covenant believers in grace. Confession is there to help us off load, it's not there as a condition. Any conditions added to grace deny the effectiveness of the cross and put the onus back on our performance or "doing" instead of focussing on Jesus. For a Believer there are no conditions that can be added to grace. Once saved, confession is no longer a prerequisite for God's forgiveness or eternal life. When we came to Christ we repented; we acknowledged that we were sinners that needed help, we confessed our sin (1Jn.1:7-9) and confessed our need to be saved. God responded by purifying us from all sin and unrighteousness through the blood of Jesus, forgiving us, wiping the slate clean and no longer remembering our sins (Heb.10:17). If God says he has forgiven and remembers our sin no more then he doesn't want us focussing on our sin and reminding him of them, again and again and again. Now that we are in Christ all our sins are dealt with on the cross, past, present and future, whether we are aware of them or not, or whether we confess them or not. The salvation and blood of Jesus is totally and permanently effective; we are now forgiven, righteous and have eternal life, it's as if we have never sinned. This is the offense of grace. There is a false teaching going around that unconfessed sin separates believers from God and salvation. Think about it, not only is this absurd but it totally denies the work of the cross. It would mean that our sinful actions are more powerful than Jesus' atonement and shed blood. We know that Scripture teaches that nothing now can separate us in Christ from the love of God (Rom.8:39). The movie "Joan of Arc" is a good illustration of the bad fruit and mental instability which comes with the false doctrine that unconfessed sins separate us from God and condemn us to hell. Joan understood that we all sin all the time, in some way, none of us are or can be righteous in ourselves. However, because Joan had no revelation of grace, she became totally obsessed with confessing her every sin and thus could hardly leave the church confessional. Instead of relying on the finished work of the cross the church of the day (16th century Catholic) had added a law of confession to the cross and made salvation conditional. Likewise, the adjacent cartoon shows in real and practical terms the absurdity of this kind of wrong thinking that makes our salvation conditional on our ongoing confession of our sins. This teaching causes believers to feel unworthy, condemned, unqualified to be intimate with God, and unable to receive anything from God except his wrath for their sins. This kind of obsession with sin and confession actually leads to more condemnation, insecurity and strangely enough, more sin. On the other hand, putting our focus on Jesus and our righteousness in him brings true life and change! Try confessing what Jesus has earned for you on the cross: "I am righteous, I am forgiven, I am loved, I am blessed, I am a child of God, I am Holy, I have eternal life, sin has no power over me". This will build you up and this will glorify Jesus.

7.2 HEALTH BY GRACE Luke 5:23-25 Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins..." he said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Under the Old Covenant of the Law God the Judge afflicted people with sickness because of sin - this was part of the curse of the Law. Grace changed all that. In the above story, when the man knew his sin were forgiven by Jesus healing came. Christians who are not in grace and who have a consciousness of their sinful state, subconsciously disqualify themselves from healing and blessing. They just don't believe they deserve to be healed and they still believe God is judging them. Condemnation brings death which manifests in sickness. On the other hand consciousness of our forgiveness and a clear conscience from sin leads to healing. If you believe you are still being punished for your sin then sickness is a sure way of this wrong belief manifesting. However when we know our sins are forgiven and we are righteous it will manifest in our physical life.

8. CAN WE LOOSE OUR SALVATION IF WE SIN AS SOME CLAIM? There are various false teaching concerning sin that need to be addressed if we are to live in freedom and confidence in the finished work of the cross and God's grace.

8.1 THE HEBREW CONTROVERSY Heb 1:3 “The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven”. The book of Hebrews is a wonderful letter written to the Jewish believers, probably living in Jerusalem, although it may have been a general letter addresses to a number of Jewish communities. It declares the glorious divinity of Jesus, His eternal heavenly priesthood on our behalf, the finished work of the Cross, the sufficiency and uniqueness of His blood and the grace of a new and better covenant. It is an important letter for us all, in that establishes the replacing of the Old Mosaic Law Covenant by the New Covenant of Jesus’ Grace along with the foundational truth that no other sacrifice except that of Jesus, is effective in dealing with sin. Jesus is the only priest that can sit down in the presence of God - because his work was finished on the cross.

8.2 MISUNDERSTANDING THE ISSUE Due to a lack of contextual revelation of grace, some parts of the book of Hebrews have been badly misunderstood and misused by those who have added law to grace. Certain scriptures from Hebrews, quoted in isolation can lead to condemnation, a lack of confidence and a waning assurance in the enduring sufficiency of the Cross. These scriptures need clarification in light of our foundational New Covenant beliefs that we are saved only by grace through faith and not by works (Eph.2:8), that we proclaim the Gospel of Grace (Acts 20:24), the Spirit of Grace (Heb.10:29) and Jesus’ New Covenant (Heb:10:16-17). We must again reiterate that one of the major issues addressed by all the letters of the New Testament was the division in the Early Church between those who believed Jesus' work on the cross to be a sufficient atonement for all sin and those that wanted to add Mosaic Law and religious rules to the Cross. Basically the fight was between these two opposing camps and this is the issue the letter to the Hebrews addresses.

8.3 THE CONTEXT OF HEBREWS The first thing that maybe a revelation to many modern Christians is that the letter of Hebrews was written to Jews and not to Gentile – I’m stating the obvious, that’s why it’s called Hebrews. Unlike most of the letters (except James) it was not addressed to a specific church, to an individual believer or to the saints (meaning born again believers) but to Jews who had various beliefs with regard to Jesus and who were influencing the church in Jerusalem. This is a crucial point to understand as the book was written to a specific people, the Jews interested in, or committed to Jesus, for the specific purpose of bringing them freedom from the Law of Moses, their Jewish traditions and the Temple sacrifices. However as I said before, Hebrews is also an important book for everyone, especially in the African context where many false teachers are mixing Christianity with ancestor veneration and animal sacrifices, just like the Jews of Paul's time.

8.4 JEWS WITH CHRISTIAN LEANINGS The very early church consisted only of Jews and for decades Christianity was considered to be a Jewish sect, not a new stand alone religion. The tone of the book of Hebrews indicates that it is addressed to a mixed bunch of Jews who were either Christian, dappling in Christianity. or attracted to the New Christian sect of Judaism. Today there are many Jews who identify themselves as Christians, or with Jesus teachings and still maintain their Jewish cultural identity. These Jewish background believers known as Messianic Jews can be found throughout the world. Praise God! In Paul’s day as within the modern Messianic church there are many different beliefs with regard as to what it means to follow Jesus, who Jesus is, what he did on the cross and how this affects a Jews obligation to both Jewish cultural traditions and the Law of Moses. In Paul’s day there was a huge debate going on over these very issues. Even Peter, James and Barnabas, who like Paul all grew up as Jews, fell into error concerning the Law and sometimes even came out against Paul’s “grace only” teaching (Gal.2:14).

8.5 JEWISH MIXED BELIEFS ABOUT JESUS Like today, the Jewish “Christians” of Paul’s time had a mixed bag of beliefs about Jesus. Many knew about Jesus, but did not know Jesus as Lord and Savoir - they were not “Born Again” (Jn.3:3) and not all were saved but simply had a strong interest in Jesus. Even some of Jesus closest disciples did not fully understand who Jesus was and eventually fell away. Here are some of the beliefs the Jews had about Jesus, some of which The Book of Hebrews was correcting: Like Moses, Jesus was a just ac powerful and good Jewish Rabbi (Jn.3:2). He was the Messiah /Savoir that would save Israel from Rome’s occupation. Jesus was about to establish the final Messianic Jewish Kingdom (Acts 1:6). He was the prophet Moses had spoken of – but not the Son of God (Jn.6:66). He was the Son of God to be worshipped (Mt.14:33). He was the Lamb of God that would take away the sin of the world (Jn.1:29). He was a God given sacrifice to unite Israel (Jn.11:4). A blasphemer and false prophet (Mt.26:63). Even today this same struggle goes on with Jews who come to know Jesus. To give you a taste of what some Messianic Jews believe, here is a link to a Messianic fellowship in Israel Shema- what is Messianic Judaism?.

8.6 THE FLOW OF THE BOOK OF HEBREWS The Jews in Jerusalem were struggling and many had their feet in both camps of Christianity and legalistic Judaism, or a good mix of the two. The book of Hebrews was written to try to draw tries to draw Jews fully into Christ and the his finished all sufficient sacrifice on the cross. To understand the correct interpretation of the difficult passages in Hebrews it is helpful to have an understanding of the flow of the book of Hebrews. Chapter 1: Jesus was divine and provided a finished atonement for sin (1:3). Chapter 2: A call for the Jews to pay attention and receive Jesus’ salvation (2:3). Chapter 3: Jesus is greater than Moses, but the Jews had hardened their heart to the gospel and were still in the sin of unbelief (3:12). Chapter 4: Like their forefathers were still trying to obtain their righteousness by works (4:10) instead of accepting and resting in the finished work of the cross (Ro.9:31-10:4). Chapter 5: They were spiritual infants, they did not understand that true righteousness is a gift received by faith (5:13). Chapter 6: Many of these Jews had heard the gospel and knew the doctrines of Christ and they had seen the Holy Spirit’s miracles. Sadly they still chose Moses Law and the Temple’s animal sacrifices over Jesus' sacrifice. Having known what Jesus had done on the Cross and then rejecting it for another sacrifice, they could not have their minds changed (6:4). To repentant actually means to change one’s mind and actions and this they refused to do, they would not give up their animal sacrifices. They may have followed Jesus as a Rabbi but they would not accept his sacrifice for their sins and therefore were lost - and in fact were never saved in the first place. Chapter 7: They were still following the Levitical Priests in the Temple and seeking perfection through the Law instead of righteousness though Jesus, our Eternal High Priest in heaven. Chapter 8: These Jews were being called to let go of the Old Mosaic Covenant and fully embrace Jesus' New Covenant in which their sins are totally forgiven (8:12). Chapter 9: These Jews were rejecting Jesus' blood sacrifice and still attending the Temple sacrifices (9:12). They were basically claiming that the blood of Jesus was not good enough and they could not enter into Jesus' salvation because they could not let go of the Laws animal sin sacrifices that were so much part of their traditional culture. Chapter 10: Here the Law is declared as set aside by the New Covenant (10:9). Those Jews who kept sinning through unbelief, despite knowing the good news of Jesus' gospel - cannot be saved (10:26). Anyone rejecting grace and Jesus' blood as sufficient is eternally condemned (10:26-29). Chapter 11: These Jews are reminded that the father of the Jewish people was Abraham who received righteousness by faith (11:6). Their father was not Moses who taught righteousness by Law - which always failed to produce righteousness. Chapter 12: The Jews are reminded that the sin of unbelief had always hindered Israel and the Lord had often disciplined and punished them for it (12:5) and yet they still rejected Him (12:14). They were now called to leave the Law given on Mount Sinai and come into the New Covenant through Jesus blood (12:24).

8.7 BACKSLIDE AND LOSE YOUR SALVATION - REALLY? Heb 6:4-6 "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace". Traditionally many teachers claim that this scripture is about Christians who backslide and lose their salvation. This is incorrect, this letter is addressed to Hebrews not to "backsliders" to quote this scripture out of the context of the whole letter is to misuse it. We must remember that Hebrews was written when the temple sacrifices and the Levitical priesthood in Jerusalem was still in full swing and at full power. There was huge pressure for Jewish Christians to still participate in this system, shockingly even from the Apostle James (Acts 21:18-24). The whole context of Hebrews is about Jews rejecting Jesus as their great, heavenly, high priest that replaced the priests in the temple of Jerusalem. So what does these scriptures actually mean in their correct context and how do we correctly apply them today? The Jews, Israel - it's Scribes, it's teachers of the Law and the common people had been given God's word in the scriptures, they had experienced miracle after miracle, they had seen the Holy Spirit touching people. They knew the power of God. They even witnessed firsthand Jesus ministering by the power of the Holy Spirit with amazing signs and wonders - all specifically for Israel (Mt.15:24). They saw Jesus die on the cross and witnessed his and others resurrection (Mt.27:52) from the dead. On Pentecost they witnessed the out pouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles (Acts 2:5). They had been enlightened to God's plan of salvation by Jesus and the Apostles ministering in their very midst and YET they still chose to reject Jesus and cling to the Law of Moses for their righteousness. No matter how many miracles they saw, no matter how good God was to them they fell away from God's gift of the Messiah sent to save them. A stubbornness set in, there to this day. Nothing could get them to change their minds, nothing would get them to recognize their sin of self righteousness and rejection of the Messiah. Sadly this blindness also affected some Jewish Christians believers who never fully rejected the Law and accepted Jesus as their righteousness. This scripture still applies to Jews today who still reject Jesus despite all the evidence that he is their Messiah.

8.8 SIN AND YOU LOOSE YOUR SALVATION - I DON'T THINK SO? Heb 10:26-29 "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?" This scripture has be used to teach that if we deliberately sin after being saved then we lose our salvation and can never regain it. Just thinking about this carefully will show that it is error. Quite simply, if we are honest, we have all deliberately sinned since we have been saved. We have all been tempted at some stage and we have all fallen. Thank God that is exactly why grace is available to us. In his love God has given us grace and remembers our sins no more. To use Hebrews 10 to teach that sin can cause us to lose our salvation is ultimately to deny the effectiveness of the cross and condemn ourselves to hell as we all have and will fall short of perfection and righteousness if it is based on our sinless performance. If we say we are without sin we are liars (1Jn.1:8). We are then in the dangerous position of denying grace and taking up an arrogant self righteous position. So you may ask what is the deliberate sin does this scripture refer to? It is deliberate unbelief in Jesus. As we have said earlier the sin the Holy Spirit is concerned with is unbelief in the Son of God, this is then sin he convicts people of (Jn.16:9), this is the unforgivable sin. The whole context of Hebrews is about the Jews accepting or rejecting Jesus as being greater than Moses, being their great high priest of grace, and being their atonement for sin. The sin that condemns all men is the sin of unbelief, the sin of deliberately rejecting Jesus after hearing the good news of his salvation and grace. This is the unforgivable sin. Reject Jesus and one's sins can never be forgiven, one can never bring any other sacrifice that will save.

8.9 GOD NEVER LETS US GO ONCE WE ARE HIS To conclude. Using these scriptures from Hebrews in an incorrect way shows a complete misunderstanding of God’s grace, righteousness, the work of the cross and how we are saved in the first place. Our salvation is not and never was, conditional on our performance or our self righteousness. Salvation has and will always be God unearned and undeserved gift of God’s love to all who would take hold of it in faith. If salvation is based on our performance then we are all lost (Ro.3:9) because at some point in our lives, if we are honest, we may either backslide or may intentionally sin – without grace, no one is righteous and we are all lost. Although we are no longer sinners we do know that without Jesus' grace we are the worst of sinners and we are lost. This is the humility we walk in. When we see a sinner our attitude is not one of self righteousness and arrogance but one of compassion and mercy, knowing "There but for the grace of God goes me" (1Tim.1:15). The parable of the Prodigal son (Luke 15:22) clearly teaches that the Father never lets His sons go, once a son always a son, even if you reject being a son. We may be unfaithful to God but he will never be unfaithful to us. He will never let’s those who are truly saved walk away, it’s no longer our choice. We no longer live but Christ lives in us (Gal.2:20), we are now an inseparable part of Him. We are sealed eternally by the Holy Spirit (Eph.4:30).

8.10 ARE WE RESCUED BUT THEN THROWN TO THE SHARKS? Teaching that sin can cause us to lose our salvation is like a Coast Guard who rescues his own son from drowning only later to throw him back in the sea because he behaves badly or is not grateful enough. Come on, God’s not like that. So brothers and sisters, be of good cheer and get rid of any doubt that you can lose your salvation, it’s a lie that denies the effectiveness of the Cross and God’s unconditional love. If you are a “back slider” or have deliberately sinned and allowed that to separate you from God, call out to the Father and receive His forgiveness and love once again. He will empower you in grace to hold the course and say no to sin.

8.11 THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN Mat 12:31 "And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven". Many Christians live in fear that they may have or will committed the unforgivable sin that Jesus talked about in the above scripture. This condemnation and fear is a scheme of the devil and is a wrong belief that needs to be repented of. Firstly this scripture was not addressed to people generally but specifically to the teachers of Israel, the Pharisees who actually new that Jesus was the Messiah and full of the Holy Spirit but still chose to reject his offer of salvation and call the Spirit within him, demonic. Not only did they reject salvation but they slandered God himself, despite knowing the truth. The unforgivable sin is simply rejecting the Holy Spirits revelation of salvation through the grace of Jesus Christ. Anyone who know the truth and dies in their sins can never be forgiven.

Now we understand we are free from sin we need to focus on our righteousness and identity in Christ. In the next part we will look at our righteousness.

9. GROUP TIME I the group discuss the issue of that ALL our sins are forgiven and our traditional over consciousness of sin. Is the message of grace too good to be true? How do you feel? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Group exercise and questions. Please answer the following questions. What sin has God forgiven? Do believers have a sinful nature? Name three types of sin. What sin is the Holy Spirit concerned with? What is sanctification? How are we sanctified? What is God solution for sin? Who is our Advocate and what does he do? What does the Greek word metanoeo mean? Explain. What happens if we do not confess a sin? Can we lose our salvation, if so how?

9.1 EMAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA LEARNERS If you are doing this course by Email it should ideally be done in a networked group setting with a minimum of five people so that an active discussion can take place and different viewpoints explored. Those doing the course at a distance by Face Book or Email should discuss the questions below in a study group either on line or at an actual group meeting. Individual should then answer the questions and email a copy to us at study for evaluation as this will help us to see the effectiveness of the teachings and how to improve them. We will endeavour to answer any questions that are unresolved by the end of the course. This course is free but we do ask that you help promote its use by telling your friends and other churches about it. Also please send us the names and emails of all participants so we can keep in contact with further course updates. All Email information will be kept private and confidential.