Many a religious soul who has repeatedly “missed the mark” has, in the eyes of many in professing Christendom, “fallen from grace.” Without realizing it, the mark-misser’s accusers have refuted one of the basic tenants of the Institutional Church–that grace is awarded unconditionally, and that faith is all that is required to receive and live “under grace.” If there are no conditions to receiving and retaining grace, from where did the one who was previously “in grace” fall? If there are no conditions to receiving and retaining grace, how do the accusers know that the grace-faller has fallen–from what status has such a one fallen? One cannot fall from where one has never been, nor can one lose a status one has never occupied. Therefore, there must be conditions one must meet in order to be “under grace.” Being under grace is conditioned upon being in a particular status. To attain a status one has to meet specific conditions. To remain in that status one has to continue to meet those conditions.
The church refutes this Biblically proven fact, claiming that both grace and salvation are awarded unconditionally by an act of God. Therefore, the theory goes, any effort put forth by the grace and salvation seeker is an attempt to EARN his/her grace and salvation. “Only believe and you shall receive” is the global church’s mantra. God’s response can be summed up in two words: Keep studying (Isa. 28:9,10).
Of the disciples who lived with Jesus throughout His ministry, John seemed to be the one closest to Him. He was, as is written, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” John spent much time in the Lord’s presence and seemed to pay close attention to what He said and did. John’s love for His Master and his attention to His Words cannot be refuted by those who read his gospel and his letters to the Church of God. When discussing the grace issue I use John’s first epistle extensively, particularly the first three chapters. Let us turn to those gems of spiritual wisdom to see what he had to say about God’s written conditions for receiving anything He has for those who honestly seek Him. When studying what the apostles and prophets wrote concerning the will of the Lord (2 Tim. 2:15/ 1 Thes. 5:21) we must ask the question: If works (behavioral conditions–thoughts, words, acts, etc.) are not required to receive grace and eventual salvation from God, why did John write what he wrote? And why did the prophets and the other apostles write what they wrote? The Word of God is all about qualifying (meeting His conditions) to enter the Kingdom of God and spending eternity with the Godhead–God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1:1-7– Jesus is the Word of (that gives) Life.” “The (eternal) life was “manifested” (revealed to) the world. the apostles “wrote” what they had “seen and heard” Jesus do and say as instructions for those who seek salvation and grace. Their writings constituted the “message” they “heard” from Him and delivered (in writing) to the church so that she would walk (live) in “light” (Word) and not in “darkness.”
Summary: Jesus’ Words and actions, if believed, obeyed and emulated until the end (Mat. 10:22) will result in the granting of grace in this life and rebirth/salvation upon His return to earth. There is neither grace nor salvation unless one believes what God said through Jesus and duplicates His “walk” of light. Failure to do so means that one is living in darkness. L.J.