WILL GAYS GO TO HEAVEN?
The theological term grace in this book will be applied primarily in the context of the free gift of salvation (justification).
He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. Colossians 2:13-14 (Emphasis added by me.)
Super, abundant, radical, undeserved,
Would you read a book about how to make a killing in the stock market if it was written by someone who had never invested? I don’t think so. How about a book instructing you how to fly an airplane written by someone who had never been in a cockpit? Again, I don’t think so.
If you want to thoroughly understand super, abundant, radical, undeserved, amazing, grace, then I am the author for you. I am a murderer, an adulterer, a liar, a drunkard, a gambler; I am a selfish, self-centered, greedy, lustful, hot-tempered, foul-mouthed son-of-a gun. If there is anyone who does not deserve to be forgiven by God, it is me. Yet, God has forgiven all the bad I have done, all the bad I am doing, and all the bad I ever will do as his gift to me.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9 (Emphasis added by me.)
If you are a church-goer, you probably hear your pastor mumble something periodically about grace, and if you are unchurched, you probably think grace is something you should say before you eat. It is time for someone to stand up and bellow: GRACE, GRACE, GRACE, GRACE! I am that guy.
I am a maverick
I was raised in a moral home, but there was no reference to any religion. As an adolescent, at my request, my dad would drop me off at church on Sunday mornings and then pick me up afterward. I was not welcomed warmly in church because I was very hyper, and I loved to laugh. My activity and laughter branded me as an agitator, so I quit going. I did not feel worthy.
In my early teens I began to drink, and play with the ladies — a lot. I was not an alcoholic, but I loved to drink beer in the pubs while looking for a lady. I graduated from high school by the skin of my teeth. Upon graduation (they only graduated me to get me out), I worked full time and attended night school, and continued to drink and pick up the ladies. No church attendance because I did not feel worthy.
I was married but only for a very short period (we had two wonderful children despite our differences). Following our separation, I worked, went to school, drank, and continued to pick up the ladies. I was not an evil person, but I loved to party. No more church attendance because I did not feel worthy.
While dating my current wife, Loveda, in about 1976, I took her to a local Baptist church — my first time in many years. Nervously (because I did not feel worthy), I sat in the very back pew. The atmosphere was very quiet and serene as I squirmed in my seat. When the angelic choir procession began down the aisle, followed by the holy-looking pastors, I panicked because I did not feel worthy. As soon as the coast was clear, I grabbed Loveda, and as she gripped my sweaty hand, I pulled her out the front door. I did not feel worthy.
In 1980, following my being born again, I began to realize there were many people in that church who were better than me, but there were also many who were worse. Of utmost importance is that we were all sinners housed in a hospital for people who needed healing.
If there is someone reading this who does not feel worthy, I pray that my experience of not feeling worthy will help. The only qualification for joining the Christian Church is to be not worthy. I still don’t feel worthy.
I have been chosen by God to write this book, not because I am a good person, but because I am the perfect example of someone who has received super, abundant, radical, undeserved, amazing, grace.
But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. Luke 12:48, Jesus’ words (Emphasis added by me.)
It is because I have been “entrusted with much” of God’s grace, I have been given the responsibility to share my knowledge of Jesus with you.
“O God, make me worthy of this calling, that the name of Jesus may be glorified in me and I in him.” Arthur Bennett (1915-1994)
Ripping the veil
The holy temple in Jerusalem was the heart of Jewish religious life. The temple was where animals were sacrificed and worship was conducted according to the laws of Moses. A veil separated the Holy Place (where only the priests could enter) from the Most Holy Place (where only the high priest could enter, and only once a year to atone for the sins of the Jewish nation).
That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. Hebrews 9:1-3 (Emphasis added by me.)
In the passage above, I emphasized “That first covenant between God and Israel” because the book you are reading is all about the New Covenant. The old (first) covenant was written in stone, but the new covenant is written on our hearts, made possible only by faith in Christ, who shed his own Blood to atone for the sins of the world.
That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant. Hebrews 9:15
I am going to rip, what may be a veil for you, something that was masked to me until the age of 34. At which time I learned that my salvation was based on Jesus’ finished work and not on my behavior. It wasn’t until God radically tore the veil of untruth from my blind eyes that I realized my eternal salvation was based solely on my trusting in Jesus’ finished work. Until that time, I was under the false impression I was saved by keeping Levitical laws (good behavior; i.e., following the Ten Commandments).
The illusionary good behavior veil that exists today, at one time was a physical reality. The veil of good behavior was “torn in two, from top to bottom” by Jesus’ death on the Cross.
Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. Matthew 27:50-52 (Emphasis added by me.)
After that veil was torn, God moved from that temple and its religious system was changed forever. This one act (the veil being torn when Jesus gave up his spirit) changed the course of history. It was at that moment man no longer needed, or needs, a Levitical priest, Roman Catholic priest, Protestant pastor, or anyone else to represent him or her before God. Now, it is a personal relationship with God via the Holy Spirit. As believers in Jesus’ finished work, Christ is now our High Priest.
Thank you for reading the first four pages of the 23 pages of Chapter 1. We feel that this sample should get you started understanding super, abundant, radical, undeserved, amazing grace.
Perhaps you are one who does not feel worthy of God’s love, thus have rejected anything to do with the historical Jesus, who loved you so much he allowed himself to be crucified on a cross to pay for your sins. Yes, Jesus knew you before he went to the Cross, and he knew everything wrong you would do, yet he loved you so much that he died a horrible death so you could spend eternity with him in Heaven.
We hope you will help our ministry to share the love of Jesus Christ by purchasing a book today. Thank you.