In the last three posts I’ve been unpacking the When, How, Where, Why of grace according to religion.
Now it’s time to begin to see true grace in scripture.
But there is a problem!
If your understanding of grace comes from religious influence, then you will be hindered in knowing the fullness of true grace in either the Old or New Testament.
This religious influence can be determined by two words – ‘If then’.
‘If then’ is religious Christianity’s formula for knowing God and following God. But is it right? Really.
The formula works something like this –
- If God does this, then you must do this.
- If you do this, then God will do this for you.
- If you want God to do something, then you should do this.
So when reading the Bible please consider that many translations come from those influenced by ‘If then’.
Here’s an example of what I mean.
Religious ‘If then’ Old Testament grace translation of Ps 84:11
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Ps 84:11 NKJ)
As an aside, in case you didn’t know, when you see a word in italics in a Bible verse that means the interpreter added this word.
Religious ‘if then’ interpretation of Ps 84:11 explains (and in my former traditional religious Christianity I would have concurred)
- The religious translation says ‘will give’ (future implication), it does not say ‘gives’ (present tense). Thus any grace (or even glory!) He might give will depend on something you do.
- If you walk uprightly (are good, live morally upright, do the church requirements – go to church weekly, participate in church programs, tithe, pray, worship, have daily quiet time, memorize scriptures, do the rituals, etc.) then He will give you good things.
- He will even be a shield to you – i.e. will protect you if you live uprightly and do those religious requirements.
Conditions, conditions, conditions to get God’s blessings. Really?
Ps 84:11 is better and fuller than ‘If then’ religion says!
Check out the eye-opening fuller Hebrew meanings (in bold) of the key words in this verse. The words are in order as listed in the Hebrew translation of Ps 84:11. (source BibleHub.com)
“For (because) a sun (daylight) and shield; Lord God put/place/set grace (charm, pleasant, elegance, precious) and glory (glorious, abundance, riches, honor); the Lord not withhold (restrain) good (beautiful, pleasant, agreeable), walk (go, come) blameless (complete, sound).”
In other words – Because God is a sun and shield He put grace/charm/elegance/preciousness and glory/abundance/riches/honor (in you)! He did not withhold good/beauty/pleasantness/agreeableness (from you). So you go forth as you really are (full of charm, preciousness, abundance, and honor) – in blamelessness/completeness/soundness.
Notice the present tense of this verse in the Hebrew. There is no future tense ‘will’ nor is there any ‘If then’ equation in the Hebrew.
Now that is true grace!
Don’t let religion make you think or believe there is an “If then” in your relationship with God. Be you really are – full of grace and glory. Amazing!
- There is no ‘if then’ with God – all His promises and gifts are “Yes and Amen” in Christ Jesus. (2Cor 1:20)
- God has ALWAYS been for you, in fact for everyone. Read scripture with this truth in mind, it will help you get rid of the religious ‘If then’ mindset.
- Grace came in fullness when Jesus (God Himself) showed up as a human being, but the shadow of Jesus and His fullness is found in the Old Testament. Process all grace (in Old and New Testament) through Jesus Christ and you will grow in true grace and in fullness.
P.S. More to come in really seeing true grace in the Old Testament.