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Does God give us GRACE and mercy upon certain conditions?

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God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble

The Bible says that God does not want anyone to perish (2 Pet. 3:9), that Jesus has given light to all men (John 1:9) and that we have no excuse for rejecting him (Rom. 1:20-21) since we are created for the precise purpose to seek him and find him (Acts 17:26-27). In this way God shows mercy to all, and Jesus also died for ALL (or else people would definitely perish, which God does not want).

Grace, favor, kindness, thanks, pleasure and benefit are some possible translations of the Greek feminine noun χάρις (charis, Strong’s 5485) used 157 times in the KJV, and we also have the Greek neuter noun χάρισμα (charisma, Strong’s 5486) meaning something like a divine favor, used 17 times in the KJV.

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL MEN unto me.

Jesus Christ died for the whole world (John 3:15-17), so all are offered mercy/grace and must therefore not necessarily perish. We also know that not all people will choose to take the chance to be saved and rather prefer to live in darkness. The grace of God that brings salvation has been offered to ALL people, and the grace of God teaches us to stay away from sin here and now. We must not wait until death before we can stay faithful to God:

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to ALL MEN,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world

Both in the Old and the New Testament the teaching is that we must forsake our old way of living and start living a holy live, in order to be given mercy.:

Isaiah 55:7 says ”Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

So even if all people have been provided a way to God’s kingdom, God still chooses to resist the proud (those who refuse to believe, and/or those who refuse to follow him and serve him only). In this sense God gives grace only to the humble, because only the humble will benefit from the grace that God has offered to all:

Ja. 4:6 But he giveth more grace (χάρις). Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace (χάρις) unto the humble.

1 Pet. 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Matt. 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The Bible does not teach ”once declared righteous, always righteous”. We will never be considered righteous unless we live righteous lives, and that goes for believers as well (see also Ez. 33). We are not ”free” to disobey God either in the old or the new testament:

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, 9 Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God. 20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

1 Pet. 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

In Romans 9 (the Calvinists’ favorite) we can read about God’s mercy, which is a translation from the Greek verb ἐλεέω (eleeō, Strong’s 1653), and the term to have compassion which is a translation from the Greek verb οἰκτίρω (oiktirō, Strong’s 3627). Naturally God can choose to have mercy and compassion to whoever he wants, like those who have repented for their sins and who continue to follow him. You can read more about Rom. 9 in this article and this.

Rom. 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.—15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

We can also fall from grace, as you can read more about here. Examples:

Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel

Gal. 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace

Hebr. 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled

God does not only hate the SIN but also the sinner who refuses to repent

love3It is not the SIN that will be thrown into the lake of fire but the SINNER

God indeed loves the world – so much that he let his only son die for us even though we haven’t deserved it. It was not only dirt, trees, lakes and flowers that he loved (no need to die for them) but the people living on earth. God doesn’t want anyone to perish, and the Bible says that he does not have any pleasure in the death of the wicked. God wants us to repent from our wicked ways so that we can live, and there is joy in heaven for each person who decides to repent. Looking at it this way, we can’t get rid of God’s love for us. His desire is always that each one of us will repent and be saved, because it’s naturally better to end up in heaven than in hell.

However, even if God loves us it doesn’t mean that he will accept us and welcome us into his kingdom no matter what we do. God’s love is in a way conditional, even if we don’t deserve his love and our salvation by anything we do or believe. It is when we confess our sins and repent as our previous sins are being removed, and when we have moved from spiritual death to spiritual life.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Rom. 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Rom. 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ezek. 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?—32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

God does not only hate sin, but the Bible sometimes describes God as hating the sinner who refuses to repent from his evil ways

Psalms 5:4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man

Psalms 11:5 The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Proverbs 6:16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

 

Lev. 20:23 And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.

Titus 1:116 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Can you detect the conditions listed in these verses?

Proverbs 8:17 I LOVE THEM THAT LOVE ME; and those that seek me early shall find me.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

1 Cor. 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

1 Cor. 8:3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

Ja. 2: 5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.—21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

1 John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.—11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.—18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.19 We love him, because he first loved us.20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Jude 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Deut. 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

Daniel 9:4 And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

We can fall from grace, and grace is conditional – we must be HUMBLE

We can fall from GRACE

The word for ”grace” in Greek is charis and it can mean favor, kindness, mercy, etc. As always, it’s best to check the usage of this word in the rest of the Scriptures because lexicons might not get the true meaning. We can read here and there that the grace of God is endless, and this means that God is always a merciful and forgiving God ready to cleanse people from their sins, but it doesn’t say that he does this without conditions. Even if grace is unmerited, we certainly don’t get it unconditionally and no matter how we live our lives.

Unfortunately, there some who believe that Grace means that Jesus always covers our sin, or hides it from the Father, so that we can get some kind of a ”license to sin” even if they emphasize that we should still not ”misuse” Grace in that way. But they still believe that Jesus has taken our sins on himself and transferred his righteousness to us, so that we are always positionally righteous even if we sin – as long as we have faith in God. The truth is, however, that we are only righteous if we DO righteousness. We are indeed cleansed from our sins in the blood of Jesus IF we confess our sins and repent, but nowhere does it say ”once righteous, always righteous”.

The Biblical definition of Grace signifies obedience

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, DENYING UNGODLINESS and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world

Col 1:6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth

1 Pet. 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

We can fall from Grace and we can get it in vain

Gal. 5:2-4 shows that we can fall from grace. 5:14 shows that those who were rising to fall were previously saved. They had believed and received the true gospel (3:2; 1:9); were deserting God and turning to a false gospel (1:6); had received the Spirit of God (3:2,5) and were initially running a good spiritual life (5:7); etc. Compare this to Acts 14:21-23 which shows that the Galatians who became disciples were in the Christian faith and placed their trust in the Lord. Paul was not upset with the Galatians for that they had the nerve to obey the ten commandments, but because they believed circumcision (the ceremonial law) was necessary for salvation. 

Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

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

Gal. 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

Hebr. 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

1 Kor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

2 Kor 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

Jona 2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy (forfeit the grace that could be theirs NIV)

Apg 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

Hebr. 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Judas 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Sam 7:15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.

Jer 16:5 For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies.

Read the CONDITIONS stated below, and notice that being humble is one of the requirements

We cannot boast of grace because it appears before all men. Grace is a teacher that will instruct the humble to deny themselves and all sins. The grace of God appeared to all men, but only the humble receive of it.

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the HUMBLE.

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the HUMBLE.

Prov. 3:34 Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the LOWLY.

Deut. 5 Mos 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS to a thousand generations;

2 King 8:23 And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that WALK BEFORE THEE with all their heart:

2 Chron. 30:9 For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, IF YE RETURN unto him.

Neh 1:5 And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that LOVE HIM AND OBSERVE HIS COMMANDMENTS

Ps 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that FEAR HIM, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

Jer 3:12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, RETURN, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.

Amos 5:15 HATE THE EVIL, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.

Either we can work ourselves up to a point of salvation OR we are saved by God’s grace and mercy. It’s one or the other. Since none of us have obeyed the law perfectly, we are saved by grace. But does the fact that God cleanses us from our sins mean it’s ok for us to continue in sin? Of course not. Then we would be defiled and unrighteous yet again.

Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

We are to be merciful the way our Father is merciful, but if he is only merciful to SOME (the elect), wouldn’t this mean that we too can choose to be merciful to SOME people? The Bible says that Jesus died for all of us and we should always be prepared to be merciful to our neighbors. This doesn’t mean we should throw pearls to swine because we too can set up conditions. God has mercy on who he will have mercy, but this should not be interpreted as though he does this unconditionally or arbitrarily. God can set up his own rules, and if God decides to show mercy on whoever believes in him and love him, he is entitled to enforce this rule. He can also decide to show NO mercy to an individual who shows no mercy himself.

Romans 9:18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.