I believe in the truth, the principle, and the power of God’s grace, which the Bible presents and reveals to us in both the Old and New Testaments.
I began to have my first scriptural understanding around the revelation of grace in 1995 when the Lord directed me to study Romans and Galatians, immediately after I graduated from Bible College. I have spent years studying every word in these two books. The revelation of grace and the love that God has for us was strongly taught in all my messages wherever I preached. When we moved to Austria in 1996, this message spread across all parts of the country, from Upper Austria to Vienna to Salzburg to Innsbruck and Graz. When we left Austria in 2004, many people had established themselves well in this truth, and to this day people still take this truth to hand and are growing in it. We still visit Austria every so often. In 2019, we met a lot of friends in Austria whom I remember from many of my meetings when I ministered there. Many of our friends there still express to us how grateful they are that they were taught a solid foundation in the Biblical principles of Grace and the Love that God has for us.
Since we moved to the UK in 2004, I have seen the popularity of “the Grace movement” across Europe and the United States grow. When I preached it in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands for the first time, there was a lot of resistance and criticism from leadership in Christian circles. Now it seems to have become the new normal and many want to preach it. This is great, but there are still some rocks in the stream that direct the flow of this grace truth in directions that it should not.
I have identified some of these issues and intend to address them. Be warned that once these issues are resolved, the way you understand the message of grace may change completely. This could possibly allow you to access the power of God’s grace like you never could before, but always knew should be possible.
The revelation of grace really aligns us with God’s (supernatural) mindset. It contradicts the way in which our natural polarized, minds have been governed by dualism and legalism throughout our upbringing. Therefore, establishing yourself in Grace-truth can be difficult and time consuming. With a little help in understanding the scriptures, however, we can finally renew and synchronize our minds with this truth that is already present inside each of us. The truth is in all of us. Sometimes we only need the right guidance to bring the truth into our awareness.
Is God’s grace for all or only for a few?
What I mean by rocks that redirect the flow of a stream is just an analogy for misunderstandings, false teachings, and harmful teachings that contradict or even hinder the grace of God working in our lives. This statement is actually an oxymoron because ultimately nobody and nothing can hinder God’s grace. For example, the fact that the sun rises every day on everyone on the planet, is God’s grace in the natural world. Nobody can prevent the sun from coming up. The fact that everyone was eternally redeemed by Christ is something that no one can ever hinder or change and was completely a work of God’s grace in the spiritual world.
However, people can hide from the sun when they are in their house. This is their decision for whatever reason. Preachers who passionately preach that people will go to hell for eternity if they do not accept Christ cause people to believe that without Christ they are separated from God. In fact, most of the world’s population still see themselves as separated from God. Most of the world’s religions have helped to reaffirm this collective consciousness. Does that mean they are separated from God? No, they just think they are. Therefore, their entire mental-physiological constitution continues to reflect this belief in their everyday experience of life.
People fight, hate, and despise others, and commit crimes and hideous acts against others based on their beliefs about God, themselves, and others. Someone could say that if everyone was saved, shouldn’t they be evil anymore? The answer: How could they behave differently? People only know what they know, even if Christ is present deep within their spirit. They are not aware of the presence of Christ at all. For many their inner perception is conditioned by their echo driven beliefs and passions, and in extreme cases by hatred, theft and lies, the use of dangerous drugs, rape, or murder, etc. Make no mistake, especially a religious mindset can re-enforce the illusion of separation from God. It all depends on where a person is in his or her ability to feel and experience love. The more receptive they are to love, the closer they may be to a complete transformation of the heart (mind and feelings).
As for the popular Grace message or Grace movement in Christian circles, it seems to me that many who preach it have not fully identified on what Theological foundation their message is build. It is important to know on which foundation we build our house of theology. Is it built on sand or on the rock of ages (Scriptural accuracy as revealed in Christ)?
In my observation, the message of Grace which has become popular today is an amalgamation of two messages. 1) The message of faith-righteousness (right standing with God received through our individual faith in what Christ has done) and 2) the Gospel of peace. Two messages with a their own unique emphasis, yet mutually truly corroborating and belong together as one whole part of the Good News. As you read along you will see where I introduce a tectonic shift in part of the foundation of these two messages.
E.W. Kenyon 1867 – 1948 wrote many books, one of which is called: The Two Kinds of Righteousness, written in 1942. This message shows the differences between righteousness as a position of full acceptance with God and as a gift (oddly) received through personal faith in what Christ did, and people’s own attempt to do right and earn acceptance with God based on their own accomplishments and their own lifestyle.
This message was of great influence in the circles of the Word of Faith. Kenneth E Hagin senior was a key advocate of Kenyon’s books and the message of righteousness through faith. In the late 80s and early 90s, a preacher friend of mine whom had become successful within the Word of Faith movement, was well established in the message of righteousness through faith (later called, Faith-righteousness). He also had a preacher friend, from a different Word of Faith group, who taught him “the Gospel of peace”. The Gospel of peace is the message that God made peace with man through Christ and that God is no longer angry with the world.
If you put Faith-Righteousness and the Gospel of peace together, we are now really taking a step closer towards a deeper understanding of what the Scriptures in the Bible are telling us and a Good News Gospel. The combination of these two messages was the trigger for the beginning of today’s grace movement. Now we see preachers from different parts of the world preaching this message on Christian TV. Although the preachers and teachers of grace have advanced in knowledge of the scriptures, there are still some steps to be taken towards the „full Gospel“.
The Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International founded by Demos Shakarian in Los Angeles, USA in 1951 used the term „Full Gospel“ within the name of his organization. Then there were Pentecostal and Charismatic Ministries and Churches which adopted the title of „Full Gospel“ to indicate that they were not preaching half a gospel. It was generally understood that the baptism with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues and the manifestation of the gifts, was the message that the average Baptist and Methodist, or Catholic organizations, lacked.
It was believed that the message of the baptism with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues should make their Gospel a full Gospel.
Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit and praying in tongues, or even operating in the gifts of the Spirit however, is not evidence of an understanding of what the full gospel could be. Christians have now generally moved on from this assumption and have developed a broader message. The message and movement of grace are a true sign of how revelation and understanding of the scriptures evolve over time. But we are not there yet.
Prophecy date: 24/01/2020 (P. Schram)
Something new is developing in the hearts of believers who are sincerely searching for the truth in the Bible. It consists of bringing together all the most recent movements that we have seen in the organized Church of the past 150 years.
It will be pure and take only the good and the true and eradicate the harmful things. It will change the organized Church from the inside, and she will finally become effective in reaching the world with a voice that resonates with people outside of a relationship with a local church group.
It will become a Church without walls and everyone on this planet will hear and know the full Gospel for the first time since the first century. Our civilization will be saturated with this message. It will stamp out false news and false gospel and pseudo-gospel purely by knowing the true from the false. The full Gospel will be known, and its power will be seen and experienced, and everyone will be in a better opportunity for generations to come to know the Father personally.
The basic theories of the modern doctrine of grace
Today’s message of Grace consists of components of faith-righteousness, the practical application of personal faith, the Gospel of peace and the love that God has for people. Although these elements are amazingly powerful in and of itself, there is a faulty part in the theological foundation to be reckoned with.
It is generally assumed that the cross is the intersection where God’s judgment and punishment for sin ends. The cross becomes the “cut off” point for God’s judgment. This is based on several scriptures, but they are more of a misunderstanding regarding the correct translations of these verses.
The following three verses are the main ones used to represent the message of the Gospel of peace, which is a main part of the Grace message.
Romans 10:15 King James Version (KJV)
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Isaiah 54 King James Version (KJV)
7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. 8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. 9 For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. 10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
It is correct to conclude that the covenant of Peace refers to the New Covenant in Christ. It is also right that this New Covenant will never be cancelled and that this covenant of Peace lasts forever. This peace is not the absence of conflict between man, but it means that God is at peace with man, and not angry. This to is absolutely correct. Forgiveness and reconciliation between God and man is anchored in Christ in this New Covenant of Peace. In fact, God swears that He will never be angry again. Swearing an oath is also part of the ritual when making a covenant. It is all true.
However, it becomes a problem when modern Bible teachers use the cross and death of Christ as the complete fulfillment of this prophecy by Isaiah.
There is partial fulfillment by those points I just explained above. But there has also been some misunderstanding. Christ established the New Peace Covenant through his death. However, it is a wrong conclusion that God’s wrath came upon Jesus at the cross.
Verse 8 in Isaiah 54 is not about God’s wrath unleashed on the battered Christ on the cross or the Father turning His face or withdrawing his presence from the Son whilst He suffered unto His death. Chapter 54 is in the second half of the book of Isaiah. Many of those prophecies of Isaiah relate to the threat of the fall of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. However, the reason why I do not believe Isaiah 54: 8 is referring to the Babylonian invasion 587 BC is because it Speaks, in direct connection of the Covenant of Peace, the New Covenant in Christ.
Verse 8 is about God releasing His wrath over the Old Sinaitic Covenant system and the renegade Jews who rejected their Messiah and persecuted those who believed in Christ about 35 years after Pentecost, between 66-70 AD.
The Old Sinaitic Covenant with the Law of Moses would invoke wrath if any of the parties of that covenant broke that covenant. Wrath is linked to the Law of Moses, not the New Covenant of Peace. Wrath was unleashed for a time on Jerusalem and the rebellious Jews who resisted the arrival of the Messianic Age.
Matthew 3:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
So we see that wrath was about to come upon them, not on Jesus.
Matthew 23 King James Version (KJV)
35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
The wrath and judgment of God was about to come upon that generation, not on Jesus, not on us or our future generations.
Here is another important set of scripture which the current message of grace incorrectly uses to state that all of God’s wrath came on Jesus at the cross.
John 12 King James Version (KJV)
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
The King James Version put the word „men“ in italics in verse 32.
Below you can see how this verse was translated from Greek to English.
Each Greek word has its own Strong’s reference number. Note that the word „all“ has the reference number 3956.
As you can see the word „men“ is not in the original Greek language. Nevertheless, the word „all“ literally means: everyone.
Most Protestant Evangelical movements in the past hundred years have preached this verse with the understanding that when Christ was crucified, all people/men would be drawn to Him.
Some proponents of the modern Grace message may have had a reactionary response by questioning almost everything that has traditionally been taught by Evangelicals.
As a result, some have attempted to say that the word „Men“ has the number 9999 in Strong’s concordance, and that’s why we find it italicized in the King James Version.
We know that words with the number 9999 were placed there by translators and therefore do not belong in the text. Hence, the claim was made that the word „Men“ does not belong in verse 32. However, you can see above that there is no number 9999 or the word „men“ in the Greek interlinear. So this does not work as an argument against the meaning of the word „all“ as meaning „everyone“. It is a straw-man argument.
Others claimed that the word „all“ does not refer to „everyone“, but to „all judgment“.
This is because the word „all“ or „all people“, as in „everyone“ can also mean „everything“. Which is correct, it can mean that. This conclusion prompted Grace Preachers to say that when Jesus was crucified, instead of all people, Jesus drew all judgment onto Himself.
The teaching that all judgment and wrath came on Jesus would indicate that God’s wrath was then satisfied concluding that there could be no wrath after the cross. It is not uncommon then to hear grace preachers state: “if God’s wrath is still to come upon the world, then He would have to apologize to Jesus”, assuming that the finished work of Jesus is what satisfied and ended all wrath. This concept seems to have become the basis for the popular message of grace and the gospel of peace.
The end result of that conclusion is awesome and true as it would imply there should be no expectation of judgement for us and the future. I agree with the end result of „no expectation of judgment“, and not the foundation for this rationale.
(notwithstanding the odd conflict, that to date most Grace teachers still hold to a futurist eschatology, which would mean that wrath is again unleashed at the great tribulation according to a futurist interpretation of the book of Revelation)
As stated, the basis for that conclusion is wrong. God’s wrath did not come upon Jesus. It came upon the apostate Jews in Jerusalem and Judea about 35 years after the cross between 66-70 AD because of the broken Sinai-tic Covenant for the purpose of ending it.
Note: I must also state that I deeply appreciate some of the teachers of the Grace message of whom I gleaned much back in the day, and to this day I still consider my friends.
The Satisfaction and the Penal Substitution Atonement Theories
Many other mainstream Christian groups also teach that the wrath of God came on Christ on the cross. The Word of Faith emphatically teaches this, and as far as I know, Pentecostals, Baptists and most Charismatic groups.
It is a widespread theology. This has everything to do with how theologians developed their Atonement Theories. The idea of God’s wrath coming on Christ at the cross, is known as the satisfaction and the penal substitution theory. These two views were only largely adopted around AD 1100. Before that time, the dominant atonement theology was known as the Christus-Victor view. (I will discuss the Christ-Victor view in another article)
Here is an exaggerated example of what the so-called Gospel message looks like according to satisfaction and penal substitution theory.
God is a good God, but He is a just judge. Imagine the heavenly courtroom in session. God the Father points a finger at you and explains that you are guilty of sin. His punishment is eternal damnation, but then Jesus steps in and says to the father: „No, I will take his place, I will carry his/her punishment and die for him/her.“ God the Father accepts Jesus as a substitute and payment for the debt of sin and you go free.
Doesn’t that remind you of many of the messages you have heard in the past, or at least some version of it?
John 3: 16 is then added at the end of that message i.e. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,..” but sadly many unconsciously hear that God was so angry with the world that He murdered His only begotten Son.
Let’s be honest, that is in essence what we are saying if God’s wrath came on Jesus and it was the Father who slew Him unto death.
Now let us take a closer look at John 12: 31-32.
John 12 King James Version (KJV)
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
We must first look at some of the words and their true meaning in the relevant context. I have already highlighted them in the text.
Now = nŷn = hereafter, soon, present, this (time), at this time, now.
World = cosmos = could mean: harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government. The world, the universe, the circle of the earth, the earth, the inhabitants of the earth, the people, the human family.
Cosmos also means: The ungodly multitude, the mass of people who are alienated from God and are therefore hostile to the cause of Christ. Because the topic here is judgment, I believe the context requires that this is the appropriate application.
The prince of this world, who influenced the multitude of people who were hostile to the cause of Christ, was Satan. He is also called the accuser (prosecutor) of the brethren.
I will eventually produce a series on this topic at some point as it will require more elaboration. For now, it is good to briefly explain that Satan would raise allegations against the people of Israel. God set up the covenants to protect them. When they broke the Sinai-tic covenant with the Law of Moses, they opened themselves up to allegations (accusations). Satan would use the violations of the Law of Moses as the basis for his allegations. The end and abolition of the Sinai-tic covenant meant that Satan could no longer use the transgressions of the law as a basis to accuse and condemn Israel.
Check the sentence at the beginning of verse 32 that begins with “and I”.
The science of linguistics explains that there can be a significant difference in the meaning between the words „and“ and the word „but“. „And“ is a word that adds. „But“ is a word that takes away. For example, I am a preacher and a teacher would suggest that I am both. If I say that I am a preacher, but I am really a teacher, it will indicate that my focus is on being a teacher.
The two words „and I“ = kagṓ = can also mean; „but I“.
This is how I believe the verse of John 12: 31-32 should be read:
John 12: 31-32 – My translation – P. Schram 01/26/2020 –
31 Hereafter judgment will come upon this people who are hostile to Messiah’s cause.
The prince of this world will then be cast out. 32 But if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone unto me.
The context here is of paramount importance. Jesus did not say that He would draw all of God’s judgment and wrath upon himself.
By letting Jesus say that he would draw all wrath and judgment to Himself, we are forced to perform grammatical acrobatics and would therefore depart from the original context and meaning. Jesus was explaining that through his death on the cross and His Divine Atonement in Heaven, he would draw all of humanity unto Himself.
This next verse came to mind as I wrote this article.
Luke 16:16 King James Version (KJV)
16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
Look at how this verse is printed; it seems the translation is saying that everyone individually takes the initiative and uses violence to force their way into the kingdom of God. However, the study of the Greek words shows that it is exactly the other way around. The Kingdom of Heaven exerts force and pushes everyone towards and into it. There was and is no escape from the Kingdom of God.
Luke 16:16 – My translation P. Schram 26.01.2020 –
The law and the prophets [prophesied] until John; since that time, the kingdom of God is preached and every person is pressed, forced, pushed and funneled into it.
Philippians 2:10 King James Version (KJV)
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Let me assure you that it is only due to tragic theology that has caused us to deny the glorious majesty of this verse. We may have been tempted to project a model of forced submission into these verses, as would be given to a tyrant like a Nero, Hitler, Stalin, Pinochet, or Pol Pot. Without such prejudices we would never have interpreted this set of scriptures that way.
A closer look at the context will show that this is referring only to real, willing worship on the part of the worshiper. This only describes genuine and sincere voluntary worship from the heart.
Part 2 of this series will be published soon.