Previous month:
March 2014
Next month:
June 2014

Is Salvation Universal?

You know one of the things that I've had to learn so well since coming into revelations of New Covenant Grace over the past few years is the art of "double talk."  So when I am asked a question such as, "Is salvation universal?" my answer is double talk: "Yes and no!"  How's that for a load of politically correct talk?  Lately I am finding that there are not a lot of absolute issues that I can wrap my thinking and eventually my doctrine around these days.  Over the past 3 years I have begun to see things completely different than the way I used to see them.  That means my doctrinal views have been radically changed.  I believe that this has been for the better too!

This is my take on the universal salvation issue.  I come to this place after years of research and heart searching.  Is salvation universal?  Yes....from the stand point that God is love!  Christ came for the world to be saved.  Even in John 3:16 Jesus said that He came for the world to be saved!  When He died on the cross the Law came to a screeching halt!  Therefore all sin ended!  He eradicated all sin; past, present and future sin, because he ended the Law.  Galatians and many other passages clearly indicate that sin is only in existence where the Law still stands.  I teach that where there is no Law there is no sin!  After all, it is God's will for all to be saved and to come into the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4) The word, "all" simply relates to everyone!  So, yes, all of mankind is saved through the death of Christ!  I cannot ever come away from this important point!  However, saying this, the Bible makes it very clear that there is still something that man must do in order for this salvation to be fully accomplished.  Romans 10:9-10, which are Paul's words on the subject state that we must confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Christ was raised from the dead in order for God's universal salvation to be manifested in our lives. 

In Acts chapter 15, at the first Jerusalem council, dealing with such issues, Peter makes it very clear that, "He made no distinction between us (Jews) and them (Gentiles), for he cleansed their hearts through faith." I see this is an action that we must do in order to obtain the fullness of Christ's wonderful gift!

To me, this is how it all works:  It is like I give you a free gift, a debit card attached to a bank account that has unlimited amounts of money in it.  I give you the card and tell you that you can use the card anyway you would like.  There is no limit to the amount of money you can spend using this card. You take the card and on the way home you decide that you need to purchase a loaf of bread. You go into the local store, pick up the loaf of bread and proceed to the check out.  There you hand the clerk your unlimited funded card to pay for the bread and immediately the card is rejected!  You are perplexed!  I told you the card had unlimited funding attached to it. Yet it is rejected!  You contact me, "Larry I tried to use the card to purchase a simple loaf of bread and it was rejected!"  You then ask me, "What's going on with this?"  I then ask you, "Have you activated the card?"  You answer, "No!"  Any credit or debit card requires activation in order to use it!  So you see the problem with the unlimited debit card is not the card itself, but rather your issue of not activating it! 

This is the exact way salvation works!  All of mankind are in principle saved, yet it takes faith in Christ to activate that salvation!

Can you now understand why when asked if salvation is universal I state, "Yes and no?"

I believe that this is the Gospel that Paul, and others preached!  I hope this helps some, at least in understanding where I am coming from.  This is the Gospel that I preach as well!

Grace and peace!


Why Do Some Preach Law?

From time to time I am accused of being a "preacher of lawlessness."  Usually every couple of weeks that label is pinned to my shirt.  When it happens, I actually become very thrilled!  I am a "preacher of lawlessness!"  I'm very proud of that as I am preaching the true Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ!  Friends...please allow me to be very plain and simple here: Jesus ended (fulfilled) the Law of  Moses! Period!  Also, He ended all human effort in any type of legal or moral obligation that in following will bring  a Believer closer to God in any way or form!  All law is now of none effect! 

However, the problem comes when so many followers of Christ still try to "work out their salvation with fear and trembling!"  By the way, this is a very interesting concept as most Christians can quote this verse of Scripture.  They may not know where it is located but they have been taught the importance of following this verse.  The fact is they may know this verse, which is  Philippians 3:12 however, no one can quote the verse following!  Philippians 3:13, "For it is God working in you giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him!"  Wow!  Where was that verse when I was a young struggling Christian, trying as hard as I could to please the Lord due to all of the bad teaching I was taught!!!!???? 

So the true Gospel is that Christ has freed us from all Law!  Again...it's ALL LAW!  Glory!!

Around 50 AD Paul and the Boys were preaching Christ in Antioch of Syria.  Some religious guys came along and told the Gentiles that were coming to Christ that they had to follow Jewish law, especially circumcision.  Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem to meet with the other Apostles so that they could  find out from the Holy Spirit what was correct doctrine here.  Here is the bottom line in the letter that the Jerusalem Apostles sent back with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch: Acts 15: 28 (NLT), "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.  IF YOU DO THIS, YOU WILL DO WELL." 

That my friend is the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Freedom in Christ allows for holy living which leads to zero amounts of fear, shame and condemnation!

So...how about you?  Are you too a "preacher of lawlessness?"  I sure hope so!

Grace and peace!

 

 


I love bass fishing! I always have. I so well remember the many, many times my high school friend, John, his dad Ben and I would go out after supper and fish for bass with fly rods. How well I recall the time when John hooked his dad in the ear lobe with a rubber spider fly. Ouch! It wasn't pretty when John asked his dad, "Did it hurt?" lol We had a blast when a hooked fish would come busting out of the water, dancing on its tail, trying to dodge the boat and the frying pan to follow! Yes, I still love the thrill of catching bass and now I live on a great Florida bass lake and can chase them just about anytime I wish.

However, to me the best part of going out fishing is the wonderful time I get to spend with the Lord! Yes, I like taking others fishing with me, but I totally love being alone with the Lord, just meditating on New Covenant truth, getting my mind wonderfully renewed.

Our lake is Tsala Apopka in Citrus County. It is a 22 mile chain of lakes that I pretty much have a lot of access to. I've never seen it all and almost weekly I am discovering new fishing territory. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was fishing on one of the attached lakes, near a canal when I was able to get into a good time of "fishing talk" with another guy out there. We sat, with our boats next to each other, talking fishing for about 20 minutes or more. His name was Forest and he told me about another little lake just a ways down the canal we were floating by. So, I went on another exploring venture. I motored down the canal and then saw a very small canal veering off to the right. Forest told me to go down that even though it might look like I couldn't get my boat down it. He was right as to me it looked like just a air boat canal and not deep or wide enough for my boat to navigate. Because I spend a lot of time in the swamps I always carry a push pole for such purposes, just in case I get hung up in shallow water or swamp grass. Well, I was able to navigate that canal alright and I was able to make my way into another little lake, completely off the beaten path at the end of that canal. I was completely blown away when I checked my depth finder and found that the water was 12-14 feet deep right next to the Lilly pads all around that little lake. How in the world did a deep hole like that get there right in the middle of a gator swamp?

Monday morning, just before sun rise, I made my way back to that little deep, lake. As the sun was coming up, my heart began to once again fill with the wonderful goodness of God's Grace. I soon became so aware of the so many people who love God, have made a profession of faith in Jesus, yet have no idea of what New Covenant Grace is all about. Even more sad are the many who just don't want to know what Grace is all about!

Monday morning's fishing trip was a total bust as far as fish catching was concerned. I didn't even get one hit! Yet, I came home that morning, feeling like a million dollars as I had spend a wonderful morning just thinking about the Lover of my Soul! It was one awesome day!

2 Feb. bass


Do You Believe Paul's Gospel?

Back a few years ago, when God was first awakening me to the revelations of New Covenant Grace, the following two verses of Scripture became very, very important to me: Galatians 1:8-9, "Let God's curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.  I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed."   All I can say to these two verses is, "Wow!" Paul was dishing out some pretty rough stuff here! He certainly was not messing around with anyone!

Again, there is no way to express to you how important these two verses became to me!  Over and again, the Holy Spirit literally imprinted me with these verses.  In the beginning I felt that there was great importance attached to these verses because Paul repeats himself, so I thought that anything repeated like that must be for a reason. 

Also, I cannot express to you just how important the Bible is to me!  I have found New Covenant Grace on the pages of my Bible!  What happened was that the Holy Spirit made the words of my Bible come alive, so I believe that the words of the Bible mixed with the Holy Spirit's unction is actually the Word of God!  Now, in no way do I put a higher importance on the Book over the Author of the Book, but that's the point.....I do believe that God is the Author, thus making the words divine and life changing!

Throughout this journey the Lord is showing me just how to interpret the Book.  For instance, not every word in the Bible is written to me!  Even many of the words of Jesus are not written to you and I as He was dealing with people still under the Law at the time He spoke. 

Now some today, within the "Grace Movement" deny the authority of the Bible.  Often human reasoning comes into play like, "How can a loving God send anyone to hell?"  Yet, I find it interesting that Paul, the guy God used to bring the revelation of New Covenant Grace to the Church, does not in any way suggest that every human being is saved and going to spend eternity in Heaven!  For instance, Romans 10:13 says, "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Isn't it interesting that Paul did not say, "For everyone will be saved?"  Instead he said that only those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Does this look like universal salvation to you?  By the way, this verse is just the tip of the iceberg.

If I believe in Paul's Gospel, there is no way that I can believe in universal salvation! 

Recently a lady told one of church gals, "Larry teaches Grace so he teaches that everyone is saved!"  That is not the case.  Yes, there are some in the "Grace Movement" who do teach universal salvation, but not me!  I do teach that, yes, Jesus saved the world!  However, that salvation has to be activated by faith in Christ.  (Rom. 10:9,10 "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved." To me, that is very, crystal clear!

Two last points here....I would do anything if I could embrace universal salvation!  I don't know why some will go to hell.  However, I decided a long time ago that I am not to use human reasoning in trying to understand God.  After all, His ways are not my ways and His ways are higher than my ways!  People who state, "Why would a loving God send anyone to hell?" are trying to understand God's ways with their own human reasoning and it just will not work. 

Lastly, I do highly love those who teach universalism!  If it's a choice between religion which leads to fear, shame and condemnation and universalism, I'd choose universalism in a heartbeat!  However, I don't have to make that choice and I will follow a word that some in the "Grace Movement" do not like: BALANCE! I find a whole lot of balance in Paul's Gospel.  That is why his message is the message I preach!

Grace and peace!

 


Religion Kills But Holy Spirit Brings Life!

I keep telling the people of our church, New Covenant Grace Fellowship of Citrus County Florida, (www.ncgrace.com) just how excited I am about the prospects of the people of our region being set free from religion and brought into the transforming life of New Covenant Grace.  This week I heard a couple more horror stories from the ranks of religion.  My heart goes out to those who constantly live with the fear, shame and condemnation that is a product of religion. 

So often we hear the criticisms that some have in regards to the current trend within Christianity which is leading people to Grace.  Just last week I was called a "evil religious leader" and that both I and the people I lead are "damned" because of my teaching on the sin issue.  I was again brought face to face with the fact that so many who oppose the "Grace Message" are just down right mean!  Yet, I very seldom hear any criticism that would deal with religion and all of the great damage that it has created through out its existence. 

My friend Mark Drake (www.markdrake.org) says, "I'm not afraid that people will "abuse" grace.  I am afraid they will never know the power of grace and keep being abused by fear, shame and condemnation!"

I hope that you can shout a hearty "Amen" to that statement!

One last point....It is one of the goals of our ministry to insure that people leave our services feeling better about themselves when they leave than when they arrived!  Now I know some say that if you are really preaching the Word you have to stomp on a few toes, but friends....THAT IS NEVER THE JOB OF A PREACHER!  Our job is to just lift up Jesus.  If there is any toe stomping to do, he's more than able to take care of that Himself!

Glory!

Grace and peace!