Theology of Grace

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There is a large portion of the brotherhood who regard salvation by grace through faith not only as a new testament doctrine but only a Pauline doctrine. Grace Theology, the subject of this study, believes that Paul was the first person in the Bible to be saved by grace through faith alone without works.

Theology of Grace

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D. Paul Walker

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

Nehemiah 8:8


Introduction

But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Acts 15:11

A significant portion of the Christian brotherhood regard salvation by grace through faith as not only a new testament doctrine but a doctrine that was first instituted with the calling out of Paul and his ministry to the Gentiles. Grace Theology, the subject of this study, sometimes referred to as Hyper-dispensationalism, contends that there are two gospels, one for Gentiles and a different one for Jews. Within the purview of Grace Theology, there is a variety of teachings, variations on the same theme, some even as far as stating that Paul was the first person saved by grace without works and/or the first person to be put into the body of Christ, the Church. Trying to correlate the variety of different variations can be quite difficult.

Due to that difficulty, the focus of this study will be concerned with the basic assertions or cornerstones of this theology. The main tenet of Grace Theology is that Paul preached a different gospel to the Gentiles than Christ Jesus, Peter, John, James, and others, to the Jews.

It is not certain whether all adherents of Grace Theology preach two gospels today. If it is taught that there is still a Jewish gospel different than Paul’s that must be preached to Israel today, then it would indeed be deceitful and pernicious. If they believe in two different gospels today then the gravity of the error reaches the definition of heresy.

It is difficult to filter as not all teachings concerned with Grace Theology by its different advocates are in agreement with each other. This theology is certainly not being singled out on this point as it is the same with most theologies and this can make it difficult to discuss the common ground within any of them. The differences within Grace Theology are of no consequence to this study as it will be shown that there never were two gospels of salvation.

Grace Theology is defined here as believing that salvation by grace through faith without works was a mystery given to Paul for the times of the Gentiles and that our Lord, Peter, John, James, Matthew, Luke and the Jewish believers preached to the Jews a different gospel. This difference is such that some teach that John chapter three (John 3:16) is a Jewish gospel that will not lead to gentile salvation today.

In this study, we will look at several aspects of the teaching of Grace Theology comparing them to the Scriptures.

  1. The Gospels—are there more than one?

  2. Works—can they save?

  3. Dispensations—is grace but one of many?

  4. Mysteries—is the gospel one?

Men have a tendency to learn something the wrong way and stick to it no matter what for many reasons, all bad, rather than learn to diligently study, rightly divide God’s word, and prove all things for themselves. There is no growing in knowledge and understanding without constant reexamination and making needed changes to what you thought you knew.

The contention over this teaching, as all the battles over God’s word, is spiritual. The same assertions of defending the word, rightly dividing, and holding to the King James Version, will be made on all sides. It is important to keep in mind the confusion and division within the Church two gospels has and remember that God is not the author of confusion.

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.


The Gospel

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16

There are several gospels mentioned within the Scriptures:

Matthew 4:23the gospel of the kingdom,…

Mark 1:1the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

Romans 10:15 the gospel of peace, …

Mark 1:14the gospel of the kingdom of God,

Acts 20:24the gospel of the grace of God.

Romans 1:1the gospel of God,

Romans 10:15the gospel of peace,…

Galatians 2:7the gospel of the uncircumcision the gospel of the circumcision

Ephesians 1:13the gospel of your salvation:…

Revelation 14:6the everlasting gospel

The best definition for the word ‘gospel’ is—truth. It is the truth concerning the topic at hand.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation:...

If we are to understand the Scriptures, we should be able to determine any difference between one gospel from another if there are any differences.

Only one gospel concerns us at this point, “the gospel of your salvation.” It must be determined whether or not Christ Jesus, Peter, James, John, and all the others preached the same gospel of salvation as Paul, Barnabas, Mark, Silas, and the other Jews and Gentiles that ministered with Paul: that we are saved by grace through faith and not of works.

Are there two different gospels of salvation? This is our first question to be resolved.

Jesus was the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”

Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

There is only one lamb slain from the foundation of the world, one plan of salvation, one sacrifice for sins.

Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

The gospel of Christ being born of a virgin, our sins being laid on him, his dying for them, and being raised from the dead, are all subjects of prophecy throughout the Old Testament taught before he was born. Paul himself states the truth of this fact.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Paul’s gospel was not a mystery “kept secret since the world began.” It was according to the Scriptures and at that time it could only be a reference to the Old Testament.

Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

We need to compare the gospel preached by the Lord, Peter, John, et. al. The gospel of salvation that the Lord preached was that you had to believe in and on him, what he said about himself, and what he was going to do.

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Mark 8:31 …the Son of man must suffer many things, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

John 3:14-16 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:... 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Matthew 27:63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

Our Lord preached to believe in him and that he was to be crucified, die, be buried, and rise the third day.

Compare the above preaching of Christ’s with that of Paul’s:

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,… how that Christ died for our sins... 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

What is the difference? Is there a difference simply due to the Lord pointing to it in the future and preaching believe it and Paul pointing to it in the past and preaching believe it? Are they two different gospels?

John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he,…

Then shall ye know,” it was to the Jews that Christ stated that they would know the truth after he made his sacrifice. Naturally, if they had been understood and enlightened beforehand they would not have crucified him.

1 Corinthians 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

There may seem to be differences in the administration of the gospel before and after his resurrection which is understandable as no one could receive the Holy Spirit before he made the atonement. The way had to be prepared for the understanding of the gospel.

John 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises,…

Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my spirit within you,…

It is taught by some that John the Baptist’s preaching is the same as that of Christ, Peter, John, James, etc. This is not true. John the Baptist was not preaching the gospel of salvation but the remission, personal forgiveness, of sins in preparation for the gospel; he was preparing the way to it.

Matthew 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

John preached baptism for the remission of sins. Remission of sins is not salvation, it is forgiveness of sins. Remission, forgiveness, of sins is only half of what you need for salvation. John the Baptist was preparing the way for the other half. The other half is faith in the atonement for sins, the payment for sins, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

When the Lord arrived on the scene he preached that he was the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the Messiah, that he must suffer, die, and rise from the grave on the third day. The particulars of the gospel he preached are the same as the one Paul preached.

The Jews were waiting for their Messiah and the restoration of their kingdom, gospel of the kingdom.” Until the martyrdom of Steven in Acts and Israel’s rejection of Christ as Saviour; the great commission and bringing in the kingdom were the next items on the agenda.

The only difference in the gospels before and after the atonement, we have discovered at this point, is that before they were told they would receive the Holy Spirit and after we are told we have received the Spirit. Does that make them different gospels?

This causes some misunderstandings in the book of Acts. At the stoning of Steven; Israel as a nation is set aside for later and the individual transition from the old covenant into the new covenant of the Church consisting of Jew and Gentile continues.

In the book of Acts, a couple of transitions take place owing to this division in being able to receive the Holy Spirit. One transition concerns those believing or receiving the remission of sins by John’s baptism before the atonement having now to be led to and baptized unto the resurrected Lord obtaining the atonement and full salvation from sin. That is you could be baptized for the remission and forgiveness of sins before the atonement and then after be pointed to faith in Christ and be baptized unto him to receive the atonement for sin, the Holy Spirit, and full salvation. Sin having been paid for, we are pointed after the atonement to faith in Christ for the remission of our sins receiving the Holy Spirit and full salvation. This is done all with one gospel, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ that he died for our sins was buried and rose again the third day.

(See the Studies in Scripture booklet, "Salvation.")

Another disputed proof text of Grace Theology is that the gospel of the circumcision is different from the gospel of the uncircumcision as found in Galatians.

Galatians 2:7-9 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; 8(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) 9And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

The teaching that the two gospels in Galatians are different is the product of taking the terms out of the context of not only their sentence but chapter, book, and the Bible as a whole.

The correct interpretation of the phrases “the gospel of the circumcision” and “the gospel of the uncircumcision” is found by keeping the context of chapter two and not forgetting what you should have just read in chapter one.

Galatians 1:6-7 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Paul states that it is really not another gospel the Galatians are getting messed up with but a perversion of the gospel of the grace of God. They are backsliding, now that they are saved they think they have to keep the law to keep their salvation.

Acts 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

Galatians 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

We know that Paul is preaching the same faith he persecuted.

Galatians 1:23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

Take note, also, that it was not Gentiles but the Jewish Christians he was persecuting.

Acts 9:1-2 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Roman Gentiles did not come under the control of the Jewish High Priest so the gospel he preached was the same that he persecuted which was the same gospel the Jews were saved by.

Later in Galatians chapter two Paul shows again that there is but one gospel for Jew and Gentile. When Peter, who was enjoying the fellowship of the Gentiles in so much that he was eating with them, described by Paul as living like them. At hearing that some Jewish believers sent from James were coming, Peter decided he needed to be a Jew again.

Galatians 2:11-12 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

Paul takes notice and rebukes the Jews for trying to make two gospels and reminds them there is but one.

Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel,...

In rebuking Peter for trying to divide the gospel into two, one Jewish, one Gentile, we get Paul’s dissertation on the Jewish gospel.

Galatians 2:15-16 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,

We, Paul says, being natural born Jews and not Gentile converts.

16Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ,

We, Jews, know that no man is justified by the works of the law, but salvation is through grace by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.)

even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

As Paul states, we being Jews, know that no works can save us, that there is but one gospel preached by Paul, Peter, James, John, and the Lord Jesus Christ. There are two ministries, one to the Jews and one to the Gentiles. This is by no means absolute as both Paul and Peter preached to both Jew and Gentile.

Ephesians 2:11-17 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 13But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

The middle wall of partition between us,” spoken of here was the barrier to keep Gentiles from entering the temple, “between us.” Remember, Paul was accused of bringing a Gentile into the temple.

Acts 21:28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.

With Christ’s atonement, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.” Gentiles were the people far off and Jews the ones that were nigh. How can there be a difference in the gospel?

Acts 15:8-9 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Romans 10:11-12 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile!! How then can there be two gospels?? “Put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” God was giving both, Jew and Gentile, the Holy Ghost and purifying their hearts by faith alone before Paul’s conversion and ministry.

If you accept all of what Paul said, how can you possibly get two gospels? Paul contends that there is one gospel for both Jew and Gentile.

Is Christ divided?” Who is causing the contention in the Church? Is it not those that say the gospel is divided, that they are of Paul and the Jews are of Peter?

1 Corinthians 1:11-13 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

1 Corinthians 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

It is carnal Christians dividing Christ by saying I am of Paul and the Jews are of Peter.

Romans chapter fifteen is an excellent exhortation of the unity of the Jew and Gentile Church and the one gospel Paul preached. In it, we have the gospel of God, the gospel of Christ, and the gospel, all synonymous with one another, verses 16, 19, 20 & 29.

Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God,….

Romans 15:19 ...I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

Romans 15:20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel…

Romans 15:29 ...I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

These gospels are surely synonymous with these:

Ephesians 1:13 ...the gospel of your salvation:…

Ephesians 6:15 ...the gospel of peace;

2 Thessalonians 1:8 ...the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Acts 20:24 ...the gospel of the grace of God.

Surely, these are the same gospel, the same one that was to be preached to all nations and every creature.

Mark 13:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

The gospel of the kingdom seems to be the only gospel that is not dealing with individual salvation but the restoration of the nation and kingdom of Israel.

Never in all of Paul’s writings does he condone, mention, not preach against, there being any other gospel but the one he preached to both Jew and Gentile.


Works

And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

Psalm 143:2

A major problem for Grace Theology in teaching two gospels of salvation, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles, is establishing what is the difference between them? There is only one name under heaven given whereby men must be saved. He gave himself once for all, not willing that any should perish, there is but one Holy Spirit which all receive. These are all particulars of Paul’s gospel. In order to make two different gospels something has to be added or taken away from this.

What do they have that they can take away from Paul’s gospel, the Lord, the Holy Spirit, the one sacrifice? There is nothing that can be removed. This leaves adding something to Paul’s gospel. What do they have they can add to make them different?

The only thing that can be changed is a different condition on which to receive salvation. The condition to receive the grace of God in Paul’s gospel is believing, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

It can be seen in the above verse that faith is contrasted against works. Works were briefly mentioned in the previous chapter. Here we will go into more depth.

Is it possible that Grace Theology is relying on the common misconception of the book of James and believe that:

for by grace are ye save through faith and works; it is partly of yourselves and partly the gift of God.

It matters not that some teaching Grace Theology do not admit to teaching works as necessary for the Jews, work is all they have to add to make the gospels different. Having spoken to many individuals advocating this teaching all ardently confessed before the atonement salvation was by works as well as it will be in the Tribulation. Whether aided by the misreading of James or not works is what they add to the gospel to make it different than Paul’s holding to the concept that God’s grace was only in one dispensation given to Paul.

Is it possible to be saved by grace and works? Is it possible to be saved by works alone? Is it possible to be saved by faith and works? These are the question that must be answered.

Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace;...

Regardless of what period of time you are speaking of the above two verse and the precept they contain will apply, if by works it is not of grace or faith. Therefore, we must remove grace and faith for Grace Theologies gospel to the Jews.

for ye Jews are saved through works; it is of yourselves: not the gift of God, not by grace.

Would that statement fit anywhere within the Scriptures?

Keep this thought in mind when trying to interpret Galatians 2:7-9, is the gospel of the circumcision one of works and the gospel of the uncircumcision one of grace?

Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

The gospel is “saved by grace through faith” at all times, to all peoples. The Lord, Peter, James, John, Matthew, Luke, et al., preached the same gospel as Paul, Barnabas, Mark, Silas, etc. This is affirmed in Acts 15 at the great apostolic council where Peter, John, James, Paul, and many others, concluded that keeping the law was not necessary for Jew or Gentile to be saved.

Acts 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

We, the Jews; Peter, James, John, Paul, et al., believed that they were saved the same way as the Gentiles?through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Salvation at any time, pre-crucifixion, post-crucifixion, tribulation, is by grace through faith, not of works. Noah and Abraham being examples show it is a universal precept of God’s word and not a Pauline mystery.

Genesis 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Exodus 33:17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace;…

Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works:…

This is not difficult to explain. If salvation was by works anyone obtaining it would be glorifying himself, not God.

Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

1 Corinthians 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

We are here to glorify God, not boast ourselves.

Grace Theology will go so far as to teach that Paul was the first person saved by grace through faith without works and the first to be in Christ, in the body. However, Paul preached the same faith he once destroyed and states that others were in Christ before him.

Galatians 1:23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

Romans 16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

It was the same faith, same gospel, that Paul preached that he once persecuted. This shows that the gospel Paul preached was being preached before he was converted. Paul’s gospel was not new, not a mystery hidden until revealed to him but the same faith, same gospel, he had been persecuting.

In Galatians chapter two Paul is speaking to both Jew and Gentile, especially to Peter, when he confirms there is but one gospel and it is not one of works.

Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Paul was speaking for all Jewish believers, even those in Christ before him, and he was certainly speaking to Peter when he said, “even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified

At this point ask yourself, are the gospels of the circumcision and uncircumcision two different gospels, one by God’s grace through our faith and one by our works, or are they two different ministries?

Not of works” is a universal biblical precept, not just a church age, dispensational, or Pauline, teaching. Eternal salvation is never by works, alone or in concert with grace. Any teaching to the contrary is not biblical, not Christian doctrine. Unless this precept is accepted you will error in the formation of doctrine and teachings as Grace Theology has.

(See the studies, “Methodology of Salvation,” and “Dispensational Salvation for further information.)

Romans 4:14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

A major stumbling block to their thinking is understanding biblical works. The Bible defines works as the keeping of God’s law to establish your own self-righteousness. Whether you are observing the given written statutes or verbal statutes of God. Remember, keeping the law of God is fulfilled in one commandment, “love thy neighbour as thyself.” Violating the law is doing something to someone you would not want to be done to you.

Romans 13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Noah building the Ark was not a work of obeying the law, it was an act of faith, “it is of faith, that it might be by grace.” Abraham sacrificing his son was not a work of obeying the law. It was a trial of his faith.

Genesis 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:…

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,…

Being told to do something by God is not the same as doing the works of the law given by God. Being baptized for the remission of sins is not a work of the law, not a work period. It was a witness of the faith put in God’s word that was being preached. It was also God’s judgment and a snare on those that would not put their faith in his word.

Mark 11:30-32 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me. 31And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? 32But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.

Baptism is not a work. If someone had just followed the group and had been baptized by John, would they have received remission of sins?No. John’s baptism was not only not a work it was not salvation.

Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

Even keeping the whole law of God without the right attitude and understanding, by faith, profited and obtained you nothing.

Romans 9:31-32 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

“If by grace, then is it no more of works,” "it is of faith, that it might be by grace,” if it is by grace there is no element of works. It is either works or grace and God will not accept any man’s works. He will accept the faith if that is what provoked and caused the works.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him:…

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace;…

Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works:.. if it be of works, then is it no more grace:…

Hebrews chapter eleven is filled with the examples of Old Testament saints and their faith toward God, “it is of faith, that it might be by grace:” It is their faith that found them grace in God’s eyes, not their works. It was their faith that caused them to do the works, the works that proved they had faith.


Dispensations

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

Ephesians 3:2

Dispensational teaching is the dividing of the Bible into divisions of time or ages. The usual divisions are:

  1. Innocence—Adam and Eve before they sinned

  2. Conscience—First sin to the flood

  3. Civil Government—After the flood, government

  4. Promise—Abraham to Moses, the Law is given

  5. Law—Moses to the cross

  6. Church or Grace—Cross to the millennial kingdom

  7. Millennial Kingdom—The rule of Christ on earth

Dispensations charts are formed in several ways with different numbered divisions. The above list would be considered a common chart and manner of explaining dispensations. Regardless of what religious belief system sets forth their idea of dispensations, there is one very grave mistake associated with many including ones use by Grace Theology. That error is assigning salvation by grace as existed in just one dispensation. The one called the Church dispensation is also known by some as the dispensation of grace with the specific meaning that it is only in this dispensation that men are saved by grace through faith and not of works. The rest have an element of works which we have seen in the previous chapter is not consistent with the Scriptures.

Salvation at any time is by the grace of God. Being so means that it is by faith to the exclusion of any and all works and never by any other way.

Romans 11:5-6 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

All dispensations, however differently God was dealing with men, are all a dispensation of God’s grace: Grace = faith without works.

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace;...

Part of Grace Theology’s mistake is going by this mistaken belief that the grace of God is covered by just one dispensation. Grace Theology is also known as Hyper-Dispensationalism due to their teaching that Paul was given the dispensation of grace with a different gospel to go with it.

This too is derived by taking things out of context and not diligently comparing Scripture with Scripture. Paul was not given THE dispensation, he was given A dispensation.

1 Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

Paul was given A dispensation of the gospel” which according to him was a dispensation of the grace of God.

Ephesians 3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

If I give you A pencil then you have THE pencil I gave you and you can say, see THE pencil which was given to me. But, it is still A pencil, one of many.

So here is one gospel separated into several dispensations, “a dispensation of the gospel.” The dispensation Paul was given was one dispensation of the same gospel as other dispensations. All the dispensations are dispensations of God.

Colossians 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

The dispensation he was given was A dispensation of the gospel.” Paul was given a ministry, a dispensation of the gospel of the grace of God to the Gentiles. It was not a different gospel but a different ministry, the ministry of the grace of God to the heathen, those that had not the law.

Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law,…

Why would it be that Paul was given the ministry to the Gentiles and not Peter? Could it be that the Gentiles “which have not the law” would not benefit from the law as a schoolmaster to bring them unto Christ?

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Possibly the ministry needed someone to explain the law and its purpose to them, a doctor of the law: Dr. Saul of Tarsus, PhD., graduate of the school of Gamaliel, taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers.

1 Corinthians 9:8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?

It could be the Gentiles were in need of a little tutelage so that they would not be deceived by another or perverted gospel.

Galatians 3:12 And the law is not of faith:…

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

In order to kick start the Gentiles, they needed instruction in the law for several reasons. It was necessary to know from what they needed to be saved, how they were supposed to live, and the knowledge of the prophecies contained within the law to strengthen their faith. Hence, a dispensation of the gospel was given to Dr. Paul Attorney at Law. It was not a different gospel but a special ministry.


Mysteries

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

1 Corinthians 4:1

Grace Theology teaches that salvation by grace through faith was a mystery given to Paul by being given the dispensation of grace. We have covered dispensations in the last chapter in this one we will look at the mysteries in the Bible.

The mystery of the faith is God being manifested in the flesh, that God was in Christ.

1 Timothy 3:9-16 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience…. 16And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh,…

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Colossians 2:2-3 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

And that Christ is in the believer.

John 14:20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

Colossians 1:25-27 ...26Even the mystery... which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: …

(Is Christ teaching anything different than Paul?)

And that the Church is Christ body.

Ephesians 5:30-32 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones….This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

That the Gentiles are fellow heirs and of the same body with the Jews.

Ephesians 3:3-6 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery;… 6That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

The mystery that the saved will be changed from mortality to immortality.

1 Corinthians 15:51-55 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,… the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed….

Matthew 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

(Is Christ teaching anything different than Paul?)

In addition to the mysteries directly related to the faith, there are a couple of others.

The mystery of all things being gathered together in Christ.

Ephesians 1:9-10 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will,... 10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Colossians 2:2-3 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

The mystery of Israel not being cast off but blinded for a time.

Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery,... that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

The mystery of the kingdom of God.

Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

The mystery of the seven stars and candlesticks.

Revelation 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

The mystery of Babylon the Great.

Revelation 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

These are the mysteries of the Bible. Take note that there is no mystery of salvation by grace through faith. The gospel of salvation by the grace of God through our faith in him is a universal precept of the Scriptures. God will not allow any man to stand before him and declare his own righteousness by his own works at any time.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.


In Closing

Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:12

It has been seen that Paul was given “a dispensation of the gospel” which as all dispensations are “the dispensation of the grace of God,” given to him to minister to the Gentiles. Paul was the foremost defender of there being but one gospel, one faith, with no difference between Jew and Gentile.

It has been shown that there is nothing that can be taken away from Paul’s gospel to make it different than Peter’s. Further, if works is added it nullified grace and faith, nullifying the gospel.

Job 25:4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?

Paul most assuredly did not preach a divided Church, a dual gospel.

Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Paul preached one undivided gospel and a curse on anyone who preached another. Grace Theology is divisive in that they say the Gentiles are of Paul and the Jews are of Peter.

1 Corinthians 1:23-24 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Ministering the Gospel of God” to the Gentiles, not ministering the gospel of the Gentiles, the gospel of the uncircumcision to the uncircumcision.

Galatians 1:8-9 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

It has never been by the act of doing what God said to obtain righteousness but by doing it out of faith toward him. Salvation has always been and always will be by God’s grace through faith in him which excludes works of any kind.

Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

It seems apparent that Grace Theology has not completely made it over the stumblingstone.”

Job 19:25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

Paul was given “>A dispensation of the gospel,” “the gospel of the grace of God,” not a unique dispensation particular to its own special gospel for Gentiles.

1 Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

It was just one of several dispensations of the gospel. It has always been a gospel of grace that was divided into dispensations, grace throughout all dispensations. Salvation by the gospel of grace through faith was not a mystery solely given to Paul. Granted, Noah, Job, Abraham, and the Old Testament saints might not have known that their salvation was contingent upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus for the payment of sins, but it was upon their faith that God granted them his grace and forgiveness of sins.

For further understanding see the Studies in Scripture, “Methodology of Salvation,” and “Dispensational Salvation,”

Paul ministered to both Jew and Gentile. After his pronouncement of a curse on any other gospel, It is doubtful he preached a different one to the Jews.

Romans 15:25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.

Just as importantly, the mysteries were not only revealed to Paul but to others as well.

Ephesians 3:4-5 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

Taking all that has been said into consideration, how can it be asserted that there is more than one gospel of the saving grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? There is only one other gospel in the Scriptures and that is the gospel of the kingdom which concerns Israel as a nation and the restoration of its kingdom in the millennium.

The consequences of this error might not be clearly seen at this time, but it is a false understanding of God’s word. As such it can only bring harm to the gospel of salvation if only by the confusion and division it causes within the Church of God. Where this theology began is inconsequential; diligent study and rightly dividing God’s word is all that is needed to understand that it is in error.

All of what has been said in this study must be considered and explained away in order for Grace Theology to maintain itself. There are brothers that will stick to their guns no matter what, for many reasons, all bad. The one fact that is sure is that they reject half of what Paul, the apostle they claim as theirs, says. Then there are false brethren, false apostles, false prophets, false teachers, and Satan and his minions, bringing in damnable heresies. This is not a pointed condemnation of anyone, it is just a fact. Many advocating this doctrine have been soul winners. However, the many deceivers we are warned about is the reason each and every one of us needs to know and study the Bible for themselves.

Peter preached grace through faith for salvation, the same as Paul.

1 Peter 1:9-10 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 10Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.

AW. Tozer 1897—1963