Pt.4 on salvation –grace and faith
“Without faith it's impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6), so our relationship with the Lord is dependent on it. Faith is what brings the things God has provided for us from the spiritual realm into the physical realm (Heb. 11:1). Our faith is the victory that enables us to overcome the world (1 John 5:4). Everything the Lord does for us is accessed through faith.” (The Faith Of God By Andrew Wommack)
This statement has some truth that accompanies error - this is why one must distinguish what is being said using the Word correctly. This error is what we continually see from his teachings.
God does not store what he has for us in a so called spiritual realm that is drawn out, released to us by our faith. Neither is everything done by the Lord because of our faith, but by grace which the new covenant operates by, as we live by faith.
Wommack also says, “We spend a lot of effort, like a dog chasing its tail, trying to get something we already have. Every born-again Christian already has the same quality and quantity of faith that Jesus has . That's awesome!
“We have to put faith in God's grace, but the faith that we use isn't our own human faith. This verse says that faith is the gift of God .”
We are never told to put faith in his grace - but in Him. Grace is his favor that comes from him, so that we can have faith to believe to be saved. Eph. 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of yourself.”
Grace continually comes to believers in the New Covenant. It’s not faith that is the gift but salvation. That comes by grace through faith. Being saved is the gift- salvation is the free gift. It says it is not by works, but Wommack makes faith a work. His application of our receiving anything from God is caused by faith.
The Galatians were turning back to the law and Paul reminded them in Gal. 1:6 God “called you in the grace of Christ.”
We receive grace for our salvation to occur (2 Cor.6:1).
Rom. 3:24 we are “ justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”
The qualification is Rom. 5:2 “ we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand. ”
Grace comes from God (Gal.1:3, 6; Rom.5:15, 17) as we continue living by faith.
Eph. 1:2 “Grace to you and peace from God,” not faith. Our Faith is our response, our trust in God, not a power to get things from God.
Further proof is found in the same book Eph. 3:7 “ I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me.”
Eph. 4:7-8 “ But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.”
In addressing the gifts to be used Paul explains in Rom. 12:3 “ God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Which comes by the indwelling Spirit (1 Cor.12:9) so that we can exercise our unique spiritual gift[s] in the body. These gifts are called grace gifts. Rom. 12:6 “ Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us.”
The subtle but substantive difference of Wommack’s portrayal of grace or faith is different from the Bible’s.
Grace after the gospels is mentioned 123 times. Grace’s origin is from God. Our trust, our faith is in God, not grace.
Wommack convolutes the terms which then makes his application wrong.
Grace comes from God, Faith is always toward God (Acts 20:21) Mark 11:22 “Have faith in God.” One can read how many times (23) our faith is in Christ. Faith is trust, a reliance on another, who is God. Faith is what justifies us in his sight (Rom.3:25, 26.4:5; 5:1) it has us made righteous in Christ.
Paul states “ Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God ” (Gal 2:20)
Again, Rom. 5:2 “we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand” As we continue to trust the Lord we receive the grace that comes from Jesus Christ, this is why it is called “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) Paul says numerous times that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Paul also speaks of the “dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:2).
“faith comes from hearing the word of God .” (Rom 10:17) and we walk by faith (2 Cor.5:7). As we believe and live by what we hear our faith is built up, it matures. It is not the same quality as Jesus. His trust never failed.
Rom. 8:9-10 “ if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” And we ‘receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal 3:14 not just by grace).
While all this may seem like splitting hairs, it is not. Grace is initiated from God first then comes faith to be saved and to walk with him in his grace (being unmerited favor).
Now when we come to the subject of forgiveness that accompanies salvation we see why these must be distinguished or confusion will arise.
“Do you need to be healed today? It’s already been done. Jesus bore your stripes in His body 2,000 years ago. Do you need to be saved? It says in 1 John 2:2 that “ he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. ” He’s already forgiven the sins of the entire world . It’s not a matter of if God will forgive you; He’s already forgiven sins.”
The whole world is not forgiven, only those who believe in the gospel are forgiven. Propitiation does not mean forgiveness is applied. It means Jesus has done what is necessary FOR our forgiveness. Is everyone forgiven now and do not know it? Or does it mean Jesus paid the price for you to be forgiven and that you receive it by trusting in his work of the crucifixion? And that only comes by believing the gospel, by faith.
Wommack puts himself in a very dangerous position of being a universalist, that all are already saved because of Gods forgiveness.
Wisdom states, Proverbs 13:17-18: “ A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful ambassador brings health. Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored. ”
If you are forgiven then you are saved, and going to heaven; that is what the gospel does. And that is what he is saying. Forgiveness means to be reconciled with the one you were at odds with. Jesus atonement for forgiveness cannot be received without one exercising faith. And you cannot trust in him “if” you do not believe who he is and what he has done.
If Jesus can forgive people that are unrepentant then why are we to tell people to repent, to believe. He died for them to make a provision that will be applied - when they repent – ask for forgiveness of their sins, when they believe the gospel.
Forgiveness includes reconciliation, it involves both parties. You can forgive a person in a matter and hold no animosity toward them, and ignore the offense. But that is not forgiveness by God, who tells us to repent. This forgiveness by man is not the same as forgiveness by God.
Luke 17:3-4 and Mt.18 have examples of one not asking for forgiveness; there is no reconciliation applied.
What do we do with Matt 6:14-15? "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses .”
This verse is not an isolated teaching by itself but is attached to the other statements. It means that when a brother comes to you and asks for your forgiveness, you forgive them. How do we know this? By the numerous other verses on the same subject that go deeper into the application.
Luke 17:3-4 “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him ."
Col. 3:12-14 “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” So the point is, how did Jesus forgive. He confronts what was wrong and expects a person to repent. (Change their mind, their direction)
In forgiveness there is an offender and the offended. The offended can tell the offender what he has done but if he refuses to acknowledge the act or admit it was wrong then the offender is not seeking to be reconciled with the one he offended and cannot be forgiven in the Biblical sense by God.
Is grace more important than faith, or do they as components work together? According to the Bible the grace of God appeared to all men, but it is not given to all without faith exercised. It was made known to all by Jesus Christ. We should not mistake grace by itself as salvation.
2 Cor. 5:19 “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (Mt.28:19) That word is the gospel which they MUST hear and believe in to be forgiven.
Sin is sin
Generally speaking this is true, any sin will keep you separate from God.
Wommack speaks on this as if he is correct, he is not. “According to God's Word, there is no such thing as a "big" sin or a "little" sin (James 2:10).” (Andrew Wommack, Spirit, Soul and Body, p. 61)
The Bible does make distinctions of sin. 1 John 5:16-17 “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.”
Do all sins that a Christian do lead to death? John says no. Is there a distinction of certain sins being more harmful? Certainly all sin is unrighteousness, yet Blasphemy of the Spirit certainly has greater consequences. (See also 1 Cor.6:18).
Paul lists in 1 Cor. 6:9-11 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you.”
We were that but if we continue to be that, then have we been born of the Spirit? (Apart from struggling, which is a whole other matter on this topic).
These actions are the works of the flesh, our fallen nature that is still with us that we struggle against. Gal. 5:24 and “those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (See also Eph. 5:3)
Wommack writes, “Have you ever asked yourself what changed when you were "born again"? You look in the mirror and see the same reflection – your body hasn't changed. You find yourself acting the same and yielding to those same old temptations – that didn't seem to change either.” (Wommack, Spirit, Soul and Body, back cover)
But change must come within or you were not born of the Spirit. The body does not change (although he claims it does, so if you are handicapped you are expected to have a bodily change by healing.)
Wommack teaches, “Sin and its effects cannot enter into your spirit. When you sin your spirit does not participate. It retains its original holiness and purity—and will for eternity. (Andrew Wommack, Spirit, Soul and Body, p. 42)
“Your spirit has been perfected forever—for all time. You don’t lose your right standing with God if you sin .” (Andrew Wommack, Spirit, Soul and Body, p. 51)
While our Spirit that was dead to God is made alive by believing the gospel and the new birth occurs, it is not perfect.
“When you fail in any area of your life after being saved, the rottenness, uncleanness, and defilement that comes to your body and soul don’t penetrate your spirit. This Holy Spirit seal keeps the good in and the bad out.” (Andrew Wommack, Spirit, Soul and Body, p. 41)
If what he was saying is true than Paul could not write of the Lord, “ sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit , soul, and body” (1 Thess. 5:23) then our spirit does not need to be sanctified. Nor 2 Cor. 7:1 “ let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
There are sin’s that affect our spirit, not just our body or emotions. Yet Wommack goes further and also writes “your sin doesn't affect your relationship with God.” (Wommack, Spirit, Soul and Body, p. 62)
But it does. Paul tells Christians that sin does affect our relationship. Especially through the book of Romans. Rom. 6:11-12 “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. and do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin.” He says this because sin brings death.
His teaching on sin leads to further error. We are told it does affect our relationship all through the epistles. Paul states, " Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." Speaking of those in the house of the Lord. In his conclusion “ therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Tim 2:21)
I would say this is a summation of our sin affecting our relationship with God. We are not being sanctified when we are sinning and disobedient . Yet God is faithful and is there for us when we repent, we can then be CLEANSED and USED for his kingdom.
Wommack further explains, “You're saved by the grace of God, so sinful actions don't cause you to lose your salvation. However, sin can harden your heart until you eventually come to a place where you renounce your faith in the Lord.... If that happens, it’s impossible to ever be renewed again to repentance.” (Andrew Wommack, Spirit, Soul and Body, p. 64)
This is why grace is to accompany faith for salvation. Grace alone cannot save, God initiates but we are to respond.
‘You can't sin your salvation away, but you can renounce it.” (Andrew Wommack, Spirit, Soul and Body, p. 63)
Do our words matter more than our actions? That we can only speak words to lose salvation? This is word faith teaching further distorting this matter. James teaches sin begins in the heart and leads to actions that bring death. Wommack’s Word faith teaching does contaminate so many other doctrines. We are not saved by grace alone, but grace THROUGH FAITH just as it says in Eph.2:8 (Which qualifies v.5). You must believe, have faith in the gospel message to be saved. The Bible teaches we are justified by faith, not by grace alone. (Rom.5:1; Gala.2:16).
When we read scriptures like Titus 3:7 that having been justified by His grace,” this is not to be isolated from the complete statements “ we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Rom. 5:2). We are to continue in faith to have the grace of the Lord in our lives. Heb.10:38 “the just shall live by faith.”