john the baptist

John The Baptist Was A Grace Preacher!

John The Baptist is always portrayed as a fire and brimstone preacher with an angry call to forsake sin and wash up for the coming Messiah. At least that’s how I always understood it. However, my understanding of the true Gospel is God’s gift of righteousness to sinners, which is definitely good news. I believe John must have been preaching grace because Jesus was grace personified. Not icky-gooey grace like sin-all-you-want grace, but more like Grace-is-here-to-free-us-from-sin kind of grace. In order to truly understand the gospel of grace, we must re-define our understanding of it. I believe that John’s mission was to help us redefine the offer of salvation coming to mankind. They were looking for a leader and a king to rescue them from bondage but they were getting a Savior who makes a way to God the Father and who teaches and empowers His followers to take back their God-given dominion over the earth, themselves, through the power of Grace through faith.

Repentance  is a really misunderstood word. 2 Peter 3:9 says God is “…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Repentance is caused by applying grace to the sinner. God wants us to take off the law glasses and put on grace-vision. Change your thinking of trying to be good enough and accept His free gift of salvation because of Jesus. Goodness and holy living can only be accomplished by Jesus living inside us. In other words, repent from the Law and believe the Good News of Grace by a decision to receive Christ! Repent means change what you believe. John The Baptist called people to prepare to change the way they believe, something new is coming – Grace!


The Grace Bible Translation

Mark 1:4-5 says, John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. ”  Remission of sins comes through changing what you believe… grace from God. Confession of sin exposes the area where grace should be applied. If we cover our sins and try to hide them, they remain unwashed. Recognition of our sinfulness is key to salvation. Sin, like an open sore, needs salve – or salvation! Grace is the salve. After we are “saved” we no longer focus on sin but rather on the salve which covers and heals – Grace! Focus on sin and continual confession of sin only re-opens the sore. Focus on Grace keeps us constantly cleansed, healed and delivered. To focus on grace, confess your new condition in Christ. “Thank God I’m righteous” no matter what you see, focus on your spiritual born-again self, not sinfulness. This applies grace to you and causes you to change behavior eventually.

John said in  Mark 1:14  “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.” Repent- change what you have believed and believe in Grace now!

In Luke 3:4-5 the translations in English all say “As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Legalistic thinking teaches that we bear the burden of straightening up in order to roll out the red carpet for God coming to earth. However, Jesus came to earth because we cannot do anything to clean up our sinfulness; hence the name Savior! Upon looking up the Greek words with Grace glasses, I believe the verse could have been mistranslated and should read something like 4He prepared the way to Himself for us all! God has made the way to Himself straight for us! [He has removed all obstacles of sin]
Now the next verse makes more sense: 5 ” Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth” [because God has provided the way (Jesus) to relationship with the Father ]  He removed all sin which reconciles us to God. 6. All men will see salvation [who want it.]

After that, verses 7-14 are interpreted very legalistically by all known versions today. However, in The Grace Version [if it existed]   I have looked at the Greek with eyes of Grace. (Look up the Greek at Scripture4all.com) The verses are definitely questionably interpreted. Where John supposedly calls the multitudes coming in a “brood of vipers,” (most condemning!) he more likely could have been telling the crowds who were leaving (it actually says they are going out!) to warn their own unsaved family members and generations to flee from the coming wrath, by offering them grace through Christ. They ask John “what should we do?” (legalism) and John gives them grace. He advised on how to bring people to Christ by saying “tell them not to say ‘We are children of Abraham’ for God is able to bring forth children of Abraham from these rocks.’ ” {They need Grace through Christ}

 John continues to advise them,  “you now have a covering of Grace, (2 tunics) share one with someone who doesn’t know about God’s grace.” And “do not intimidate them into salvation but be focused on sharing the provision of grace you have been given, require nothing more of them than what was required of you, belief.” Just as Jesus spoke of legalistic pharisees placing burdens on people that they themselves were not able to live up to, rules and more rules, John may have been telling them to begin their focus on the good news of God’s grace through Christ here. They always asked: “What shall we do?” which is understandable, coming from law mentality. Jesus would be the end of the law, though (Rom 10:4); so John was beginning to preach the transition from law to grace. That how I see it, from the grace point of view.