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The Scandalous Secret: Why Everyone is Already Saved and in Christ.

by Don Keathley


The religion we're trying to break free from is a man-made system of living, often built upon cherry-picking mistranslated scriptures. These scriptures have been used to dictate behavior, promoting the belief that grace and love from the Father are rewards for obedience. We thought that if we obeyed, grace would be given. Living by this religious standard, we learned to interpret scripture through a transactional, legalistic lens. 


As we did our best to meet these self-imposed standards, we hoped to receive the promises we desired, whether heaven, health, or prosperity. However, we were constantly uncertain, never knowing if we had done enough to earn God's favor and grace. This uncertainty led us to view God as unstable or unpredictable. If we didn't receive what we hoped for, we assumed our faith or belief wasn't strong enough.


We blended Old Testament scriptures on obedience and sacrifice with New Testament grace and love verses, causing mass confusion. Attempting to merge these contrasting ideologies led to frustration, fear, insecurity, and uncertainty, ultimately driving people away from the church. We hoped to reconcile Old Testament practices with the unmerited favor we called grace or faith, but this endeavor proved futile.


The truth is, when it comes to salvation, Jesus is the initiator. He doesn't sit back, waiting for us to earn His favor through our actions. Instead, He freely offers His love and grace, inviting us to respond to what He has already done.


How did we fall into the trap of believing that salvation hinges on our efforts—our prayers, confessions, and actions—as if they were the key to redemption?


For many of us, it all started in church, lured in by a message and culture promising acceptance just as we are. Attached to that message was the assurance that our struggles would be resolved, that we'd find eternal life or escape the wrath of an angry, judgmental God. Whatever incentives your particular denomination attached to the "come as you are" message, the entry fee was simple: say the sinner's prayer. But here's the kicker: there's no mention of a sinner's prayer in the Bible. 


Once you uttered that prayer or signed on the dotted line, you were hit with the fine print. Suddenly, the grace that accepted you as you were morphed into a laundry list of expectations, standards, and commitments you had to maintain through your efforts. To keep what you received by grace, you had to meet these conditions, and if you failed to meet all these conditions, you were threatened with eternal conscious torment in hell.


Paul saw this in his churches, with the Galatian church being a prime example.


This issue was a recurring concern for Paul. Every church he established on the foundation of the pure Gospel tended to regress into legalism. 

Religion Busters was born out of my personal journey and the countless stories I've heard from people struggling under the weight of religious bondage. As a pastor, I've witnessed how fear-driven doctrines can create a fortress in our minds, preventing us from fully experiencing God's love, grace, and mercy. We have difficulty accepting something for nothing; we always feel the need to earn it. Without constant reminders of grace, we tend to revert to actions or works to maintain what we receive freely. 


In Galatians 3, Paul confronts this issue head-on, chastising the Galatians with the question, "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?" He reminds them that he had given them the message of the finished work of the cross—the message of grace plus nothing or Jesus plus nothing. This was not a mere theological debate for Paul; it was a heartfelt plea to a community he deeply cared for.


In verse 2, Paul asks, "Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" In other words, did they receive the Spirit by what they did, by keeping the law, or did they receive it by hearing and believing what God promised, trusting that He had the strength and power to fulfill His promise? Of course, they responded that they received it by the hearing of faith.


So, in verse 3, Paul continues his warning, asking, "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?"


In Chapter 5, verse 3, Paul directly challenges this works-based mentality, questioning, "Why are you trying to perfect yourselves by works when you received grace?"


In verses 1-2 of the same chapter, Paul urges us to stand firm in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and to refuse to become entangled once more with the yoke of bondage. He warns against slipping back into a mindset of condemnation or unworthiness based on our actions.



This tendency to rely on our own efforts instead of embracing the grace we've been freely given is all too common, even among those who claim to understand grace.


So, what is the good news? What is the Gospel? What is salvation? 


Salvation is the inclusion of your life in the life of Jesus, apart from your efforts. It's an awareness of your relationship with Him, an acceptance by Him of you, without your vote. Whether you believe it or not doesn't make it any less true; it's a fully done deal. That's the good news! That's the Gospel of Grace. 



Don are you suggesting that everyone is already saved and in Christ? Yes, that is precisely what I am saying.


The Father isn't waiting for your choice to save you. The Father, through the Son, has acted decisively, universally, and for all mankind! Salvation was freely given—a gift of love from God to you.



 

Don Keathley is the author of eight books and the President of Don Keathley Ministries and Global Grace Seminary. He is married to Linda, and they have two grown and married daughters, Janell and Shawn, and four grandchildren.


Don received degrees from Olivet Nazarene University and a Ph.D. from Barnham Graduate School and Seminary. As president of Global Grace Seminary, he brings over 40 years of pastoral experience and a heart for developing leaders who are on the cutting edge of the message of grace and the finished work of the cross.

19 bình luận


James W Neal, DDS
James W Neal, DDS
08 thg 7

Don-

My wife and I have been following your messages for years now and this wonderful revelation never gets old. Keep shouting it from the mountain tops. We will keep shouting it from ours.

Your brother and sister in Christ

James and Susan

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Melissa Jarrett
Melissa Jarrett
06 thg 5

Don, I think you are spot on! Thank you for teaching the TRUE GOOD NEWS of the finished work of Christ! Jesus plus nothing!!! I think people that are clinging to the lie that we have to do something are confusing ultimate reality, objective reality, with subjective experience. Most of us have heard the metaphor of having a million dollars in the bank but not using it either because we don't know it's there for us or we don't believe it's that simple or we think we don't deserve it. So, the person(s) in this example could be a millionaire but not experience any of the benefits of being a millionaire. To know what it feels like to be completely…


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renslin
27 thg 4

To the negative responses regarding everybody’s inclusion, some of them are rather a bit harsh, in my view.


The author of the article has a solid grip of Gal 3. His assessment of what we’re inclined to do is, in essence, correct and soundly worded. This deserves to be acknowledged.


However, the criticism about his response to the question at the end also has merrit; he should research the question a bit more.


Interesting how we, including me, can be humbled, at the best of times!


To the author, Don, don’t lose heart!

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genewillis4
26 thg 4

Everyone is NOT saved but everyone DOES have the opportunity to be saved.  The initial discourse is correct but the conclusion that everyone is saved is incorrect.  Salvation is a free gift through Grace but it also needs faith (Ephesians 2:8).  It is all about the relationship.  But it takes two to have a relationship.  Just because salvation is available to you by the free gift of grace.  Without your faith in that free gift, you are not saved.  Yes, God has done His part and now we must have faith in what He has done.  There is a difference between saved by grace and saved by grace through faith. Faith is trusting in the finished work of Jesus.

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Iamchristophertrammell
13 thg 5
Phản hồi lại

Jesus either did it, it's done & it's for all or Jesus didn't do anything at all. All are saved. It's important for us to fully understand what Jesus did, because the life, and that in abundance lies within that truth.

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wixtestemail07
26 thg 4

:)

Thích
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