Video available here: http://youtu.be/rpYvH3R3lAQ
The most difficult first step for any person as they leave
the darkness of a cult and are blinded by the sunlight of new life in Christ is
finding comfort in Grace. After studying
the scriptures without the filter of man, it doesn’t take long before coming to
the realization that this word, “Grace,” has an entirely different meaning in
the Bible than they were accustomed to in the past.
To any new convert to Christ, this word, “Grace,” is
comforting. It is freedom. It is love.
It is peace, joy, and hope. It is
every good gift that Christ gave us by his suffering and bleeding on the cross,
as he hung there crying, “Father forgive!”
But by nature, cult theology will rob you of God’s greatest
gift. That same Grace that sets a sinner
free brings chains of bondage to the cult member. That same freedom in Christ that a new
Christian experiences as they read their Bibles for the first time is a job and
a chore for those who have been programmed to believe a different kind of grace.
Ephesians 2:8-9 is my favorite passage of scripture, having
been through this experience. This
should be the foundation to everyone’s faith, yet it has been covered with the
graffiti of man’s theology:
“For by grace you have
been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of
God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
This word, “grace,” is translated from the Greek word
“chariti,” the word very similar to our own English word “charity.” It is a Gift, because you are loved, and not
given to you by anything that you can possibly do by yourself.
This gift won’t be given to you because you followed the
rules; it has already been given to you.
It won’t be given to you because you stayed within the invisible
boundaries created by man-made religion; it has already been given to you.
Strong’s Concordance describes this word as “blessings,”
which afford joy and pleasure. It uses
examples, such as the love of a good master towards his servants, and of one
finding favor in the eyes of the Giver.
In other words, we have found favor in God’s eyes, but not
from ANYTHING that we do, simply because He loves us as a father loves his
One author explains this word “Grace” using the phrase
“Unmerited Favor,” the summary of the entire definition of the translated
word. Our favor in God’s eyes is
unmerited – we did not do anything to deserve it, we can never repay it, and it
is only because He loved us enough to send His own Son, Jesus Christ, to die
for our sins that we have this Grace.
To the new Christian, this is wonderful! This is the wonderful Gospel of Jesus
Christ! Christ came to save THEM, and
they did not do ANYTHING to deserve it!
Why anyone would not want to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ is beyond
me, it is a free Gift! All you have to
do is have faith in Jesus Christ!
But as converts to Christ from the chains of a cult, this
isn’t so easy. We had to “earn” this
Grace. We had to follow man-made rules
in order to even deserve it. And if we
broke those rules, we were “taken out from under it.” For some, even to question the rules or
theology was to be taken from Grace.
We want to serve Christ.
And we want to walk in His perfect will.
We do not want to do anything that He does not want us to do.
For this reason, the first mistake every cult member will
make as they struggle to find their new life in Christ is to try and determine
which rules they SHOULD follow in order to deserve God’s Grace.
Finding a church becomes difficult. I can remember reading through the belief
system of many different churches once I realized that I had been born and
raised in a cult. None of them sounded
like Christian churches to me – they did not have the same rules I grew up
with. I began accusing some groups of not
having read their Bibles, because they didn’t know the rules for earning God’s
That same pride that causes scorn towards other Christians
will cling fiercely. Without even
realizing it, you return to the same sin that made you decide to leave the cult
in the first place.
Remember the last half of that passage of scripture from
Ephesians? “not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Boasting is one of the many sins described in the New
Testament. And this word “boasting” does
not simply mean bragging through words spoken, we can also have boastful
hearts. Boasting is the reflection of
“pride,” which is also a sin described in the New Testament. Those same Christians that love the Lord
Jesus Christ with all their hearts in those other churches are no different
than us. They are no less deserving of
God’s Grace. They have done nothing less
than we have to deserve God’s Unmerited Favor – because we also did absolutely
nothing to deserve it!
Jesus gives a parable in Matthew 20 about laborers in a
vineyard. The first workers agree to a
day of labor for a denarius, or a “day’s wage.”
They began working, but the master of the house found more workers later
in the day.
Though the first workers were still laboring, new workers
started long after, and received the same wages. This was repeated the third, sixth, ninth,
and eleventh hour of the day, each worker receiving the same “day’s wage” for
Those that were first worked the hardest. They worked all day in the hot sun, working
for the “day’s wage” that they agreed upon.
But they were upset, because those that only worked half a day received
the same “day’s wage.”
Jesus says that this parable describes the Kingdom of
Heaven. Our labor does not earn us any
more favor in God’s sight. He chooses us
for the work that He would have us do – not the work that man would have us
do. He chooses us at the time and place
that He wants us to serve – not at the time and place that man would expect us
And the best part? We
ALL receive the same reward!
This should make us rejoice and sing constant praise to
God! The Children of Israel suffered
through Law. They labored from the day
Moses broke those stone tablets to the day Christ was rejected. They earned their salvation through the
constant work of the Law.
But we have come into the Kingdom at the eleventh hour! We did not labor like the Jews, and we
receive our reward simply because the Master chose us! His love for us is Unmerited Favor, something
we don’t deserve, given to us with the Reward of New Life in Christ!
Anyone who listens to or reads this is probably thinking to
themselves right now, “WHAT? Why would
ANYONE not want to accept this Grace that is so freely given? It’s so EASY to be a child of the King! Why not just accept it?”
It’s not that simple.
Cult worship does not always serve the same God that is
described in the Bible. Sure, they serve
a god that is called “Jesus Christ,” and they serve a god whose father’s name
is Yahweh, but they are not the same. In
fact, these gods are far from the same.
Remember the history behind the covenants that brought the
Mosaic Law. Remember how God made a
covenant of ten simple Commandments that were all bound in two simple
rules: Love God with all your heart, mind,
and soul, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Remember how the children of Israel broke the first and
second rule immediately after making the first covenant between God and man
through Moses. God’s wrath was
kindled. He was a loving Father, but he
was also an angry Father.
This time of punishment was a time of correction. The Mosaic Law was given to show the Children
of Israel that they could never save themselves. The entire rest of the Old Testament shows
how a righteous man would rise and uphold the Law, and then that same righteous
man or those with him would quickly fall and break the Law. Each time they broke the Law, God’s anger was
This is the “god” that is served by the cult. Not God in His fullness, but one single
personality of God. They serve the God
of Law, not the God of Grace. They serve
the God of wrath, not the God of Unmerited Favor. They serve the God of the Old Testament
during punishment, not the God of the New Testament after penalty for that
punishment was paid.
Many cults subscribe to the “Oneness” or “Modalistic”
theology, the idea that the “god of punishment” from the Old Testament is the
same Jesus that died on the cross in payment for those sins. It is common among many cult, from the
Jehovah’s Witnesses to the Mormons and more.
This theology is designed to lift the cult leader into
power. Sermons or writings will be
presented that lead the people into believing that this same “god of
punishment” is alive and well in the ministry of the leader. Some will even start believing that this
leader is “god” himself. Others will
label the ministry or the denomination as “god” and compare the two spiritually
rather than physically. They will
believe that the same “god of wrath” in the Old Testament became Jesus of the
New. Then, that same “god of wrath” in
the New Testament was made manifest in today’s “age” through the ministry of
the cult leader.
But as in times of punishment in the Old Testament, they
will tell you that if your “works” do not meet the standards of their theology,
you will “grieve the Holy Spirit” into leaving.
That same “god of wrath” that seemingly turned His back on the Children
of Israel would turn his back on YOU!
This is the reason that the Trinitarian belief is denied in
so many cults. The Trinity is not some
new idea that creates more Gods – it is the SAME God of the Bible. It just isn’t the “god of wrath” that they
have been serving.
The “Children of Israel” were called “Children” for a
reason. They had a Father. This Father was Yahweh. He was a loving father as He displayed with
Adam. He was a graceful father as He
showed to Abraham and David. He was an
intelligent Father as we find with Solomon.
He was and IS the Heavenly Father who loves His children.
That Love brought punishment for disobeying. God does not want us to serve other gods, and
when the Children of Israel did, they were punished. But they weren’t punished because God did not
love them – they were punished so that we would one day realize that God’s
Grace is sufficient. There is no reason
to serve other gods; we serve the greatest God of all! We serve the God who loves us!
That Son who died on the cross for us was not the same
Father who punished the Children of Israel.
That Son stood before men as the Father called him His own beloved Son.
That Son begged the Father to let the “cup” pass from him as the hour of the
Gift was coming. That Son cried out unto
the Father to forgive the Jews, because they did not know that they were
crucifying the Gift.
That Son promised to send His Holy Spirit to us. That Holy Spirit would lead us, and guide us,
and would never leave us. He promised
that He would “never leave us nor forsake us.”
That Son is God. That
Father is God. That Holy Spirit is God. These Three, the Three that we read about in
our Bibles, are One. They are
inseparable, yet we find example after example in scripture describing one as a
Father, who loves us as His children. We
find One as a Son, who intercedes on our behalf to the Father. And One who lives within us, a Holy Spirit
that gives us strength. A Holy Spirit
that will never leave us or forsake us.
Finding comfort in Grace means finding the truth in that
very statement. He will NEVER leave
us. He will NEVER forsake us.
Finding comfort in Grace is learning to take those first
steps, while the Father is holding our hand.
The Loving Father is reaching down his hand to his child, letting us
hold onto His finger as our legs wobble.
As we learn to walk, He is standing there with us.
Christ is standing there, covering us with Grace. The Unmerited Favor that he purchased on the
cross is flowing through us as he intercedes on behalf of the Father.
The Holy Spirit is within us. It is calling out, begging us to take more
steps. It is leading us to the
Truth! It is drawing us closer to
You won’t find comfort in Grace until you suddenly realize
that these Three are One. After being
mislead by a cult leader whose motives were his own, that trust is hard to
establish. You don’t want to trust in
the blood that was spilled on the cross.
You won’t trust that the cross is sufficient – and you will want to take
your salvation into your own hands.
Until you find comfort in Grace, you won’t trust the Holy
Spirit that is calling out from inside of you.
You’ve already been led, and you realized that it was not down a pathway
that was pleasing to God.
But when you realize that Jesus IS God, and until you
realize that the Holy Spirit IS God, and that same Father that showed his wrath
to the children of Israel also had the ability to show love, mercy, and
Unmerited Favor, you will become more confident. Your next step becomes easier, because that
is GOD speaking inside of you! The faith
in your own salvation becomes greater, because that is GOD standing there on
your behalf, erasing every sin that you committed. Your next step seem?s more solid, because that
is GOD reaching down to hold your hand!
Finding comfort in Grace is realizing what Grace is. It isn’t some strange magical power that
requires words spoken during baptism. It
isn’t some mythical angel sent down to spread his wings of healing. It isn’t some code of conduct that you live
by to achieve spiritual enlightenment.
Grace is a Gift, one that is given because the Father loves
you. He knows that your next few steps
may cause a tumbling. But He also knows
that He’ll be right there to pick you up as you fall. And He already knows which direction you are
going to fall, because His Holy Spirit is the One leading you.
Accept the Gift! Find
comfort in Grace! Find peace and
satisfaction in knowing that the Father loves you as His own child!