Law vs. Grace: the Changed Life and Salvation

Pantelism or Comprehensive Grace
(Short version)

In the above page, I expounded upon the belief in a completely "fulfilled" view of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a consistent extension of the preterist view of eschatology, that says the ongoing default condemnation of mankind most futurist and even a-millennial eschatologists preach, was actually abolished upon the destruction of the system of Law (embodied by the Jerusalem Temple) in AD70, which fulfilled the awaited "Second Coming" of Christ. I addressed many arguments used to insist on a conditional salvation that can only be possessed by the choice of the individual (whether by "free-will", or by an "effectual call" where God "enables" the person to "choose" for Him, contrary to their nature, which is set against Him).
Many of the arguments boil down to the "simplicity" of salvation, including by the "power" of the Holy Spirit, in both calling the individual, plus in essence, gradually reversing the effect of sin once converted, through behavior. Conventional theology reads the emphasis God placed on His divine Law in the Old Testament, and realizes that we cannot be saved by keeping the Law, but still believes the Law cannot be totally eliminated, for fear that this will allow sin to "run rampant". (Some even argue for a "New Testament Law", which is basically the Ten Commandments either stripped of the Sabbath, or the day replaced by Sunday, and all the remaining commandments "magnified spiritually" according to the Sermon on the Mount —i.e. "the spirit of the Law").

What we end up with, is a fear-based religion, even though the New Testament clearly says that True Love CASTS OUT fear (1 John 4:18), and many have tried to hide, almost in embarassment (under modern trappings such as a more therapeutic approach, entertainment, focus more on "love", etc), the underlying premise of fear.

A well known scriptural statement is that "the letter kills, the spirit gives life" (2 Corinthians 3:6). Letter and “Law” are understood by many reading this as “Jewish Law”, so that as long as we keep Sunday instead of the Sabbath, and an altar call or baptism instead of circumcision, and “have faith in Jesus” instead of slaughtering animals, and [among some] give up alcohol instead of pork, then you're free from “legalism” and safe in “grace”, which then is not about “law” in general, but only about keeping the right laws instead of the wrong laws, yet just as meticulously, or even more.

Another result is that Christ was so loving as to give His life in the ultimate sacrifice, yet if people don't give Him something back, He will essentially “get” them in the end. This is because of His “justice”, but the Cross itself was supposed to fulfill justice, which it wouldn't really, if it was so conditional and “justice” would still need to be imposed on so many. It is supposed to be superior to the sacrifices it replaced, which were a one-by-one “covering”.

Established religion assumed man's problem was bad behavior, so the solution always boiled down to replacing it with good behavior. It was assumed that the purpose of the Law was to motivate us to good behavior. Since we know we can't do it, then we figured God would give us some divine “help”.
So “regeneration” (new life) became construed to be about cleaning up one's bad behavior, and the admitted remaining “difficulty” in this was portrayed as the “race” Paul discusses or “dying daily”, or even God “testing” us to make us “develop character”.
( “pleasing God” should be understood as Him looking at us and seeing Christ's righteousness, which He is pleased by; not us pleasing Him directly ourselves with new behaviors that were simply impossible for us before, as it is commonly misconstrued. Putting off the flesh, putting on love and walking by the spirit means trusting in His grace as opposed to “biting and devouring one another”, which is precisely what people, then and throughout church history, to now, do with the Law. Another almost universal term is "getting right with God", and it should be clear that that is about the person's own works. It's also used for supposed "backslidden" Christians [who are supposedly still "saved"], but there too, it implies our "rightness" with God is based on our behavior, rather than Christ's covering!)

Yet it was possible for the “unconverted” to struggle to grow, and even to behave well sometimes. Hence, it further made it appear that “all religions are about the same thing (i. e. 'self-improvement')”, and Christianity's claims to exclusivity became tied to a supposed supernatural process of behavioral “growth”, and that it was only supernatural and evidence of salvation if done under “faith” in the right name. But the process ends up no different than anything else; “the true God” becomes just a name.

Focusing on behavior clouds grace, because it becomes about performance, and after awhile, you'll be expected to be better than perhaps you're ready to be at that point. And then, the people practicing this can never own but so much sin, and will often go into denial, or focus on certain sins (they presumably have licked, and can judge others for), while ignoring others.
If regeneration is connected with better behavior, then the "new life" is in the behavior, not from being covered.


Thus the main thing offered as proof of a continued judgment under the Law is the "changed life".

I address this, because of the fact that the "changed life" is often held up as the main "testimony" our "witness" is based on. But first of all, "witness" means one actually SAW something.
In scripture, never is it applied to some inner growth process, or "feeling" of the Spirit working (common things held up as "testimony"). This is too subjective, fallible and hence, ambiguous (as nonChristians can "grow" behaviorally too; including "heretical" groups we reject as being spirit-led) and why it does not convince many people. (Rom.8:16 is speaking of the Spirit's witness, not our own "witness" to other people).

This concept is often expressed in terms of "Christ Himself Living in us through the Spirit", or often just shorthanded to the Spirit in us. All of these scriptures have been used to support this: John 6:54-56, 14:19-20, 15:3-5, 17:22-23, Romans 8:9, 2 Cor. 4:8-11, 13:5, Gal. 1:15-17, 2:20, 4:19, Eph. 3:14-17, Col. 1:27, 3:9-11, 1 Tim. 1:16, Heb. 3:14, 1 John 3:24, 4:4, 12-16, 5:11-12, 2 John 1:9. Most of them address our behavior.
Since we are sinful but Christ is sinless, then in theory, we would stop sinning. Of course, no one has attained this (though you have groups who do believe you can stop sinning). So we end up dividing our lives into "Christ in us" and "our old nature", and this ends up tied into a so called "struggle against the flesh", and even scriptural "running the race to the end". Teachers will commonly say this is because "our old man has to die daily" (from one of the above verses pasted together with another one; 1 Cor.15:31, taken totally out of context), and some speak of going back and forth between "in the spirit" and "in the flesh" and more charismatic leaning Christians will even speak of things like a state of being "prayed up" that wears off.
But if it is Christ actually doing the "obeying" in us, then wouldn't it be less of a "struggle"?

For one thing, that "race" was to redemption itself; so to take such scriptures that way would contradict the key Protestant position of salvation by "grace alone".
And what "flesh" really referred to was the physical inheritance of the Old Covenant (people thought they were saved because they were of Abraham's lineage), not our physical makeup. While it can also extend to the natural, unregenerate state of gentiles, it does not create a permanent dichotomy determined by behavior.

So sure enough, in practice, we do not see any supernatural "life change" in anyone. So apparently, something is not being understood correctly.
This is not to insult anyone's walk or deny God's power, but I just do not see anything particularly supernatural in anyone's behavior; and regardless of how "bad" they were before conversion, and how impossible it "looked" that they would ever change. (Which seems to be held up as the ultimate "proof" in "testimonials").

I see people trying to modify their behavior out of obedience, but then this can be found in other religions (and aberrant forms of Christianity, such as "the cults") as well. Like the Jehovah's Witnesses are an example of a group that has the same exact morality as any evangelical church, and perhaps even more strict (and we are even forced to acknowledge their more diligent effort at evangelism than most evangelicals). But their theology is wrong, and their "Jesus" is thus "different". They don't even believe in being "born again". Yet they could all testify to "changed lives".
The same with any other legalistic religion who openly believes they must change themselves to be acceptable to God. Malcolm X's life was dramatically changed when he joined the Nation of Islam! Likewise, nontheists can change their lives as well, like when they see something they're doing is leading them down a destructive path.
All testify to a "struggle" that is not easy, and that they often "take one step forward; two steps backward".

Part of the common assumption of a "changed life" focuses on certain behaviors, such as lust, angry outbursts, envy, cursing, drinking, and then the "bigger" sins, of killing, stealing, adultery, etc. But this often neglects how much of our other behaviors are actually sinful; and people see this, and thus don't see Christians as that much "different", beyond the superficial level embodied in those mentioned acts.

What people who change their lives have that others don't is motivation.

Hence, Christians are motivated by "obedience to God". This of course is a good thing.

Yet it would be highly arrogant and untrue to claim that only Christians have ever "changed their lives" just to back up the claim it is "supernatural". (Many do seem to claim this, especially in preaching). We have brought a lot of the ridicule we complain about from the world on ourselves with that. Of course they are going to pick out Christians' sins and flaws then, when we claim we are so supernaturally endowed and morally or behaviorally better than them, but really aren't that much. What do we expect them to do?
We counter that this is just "the Devil attacking us". And it is! But we have "given him occasion" (Eph.4:27) through self-righteousness!

Saying it is not easy for nonbelievers because they "don't have the power", and on the other hand it is not easy for Christians because God is "testing" us, and other such claims, is just an attempt to explain away the falsification of their claims and thus commits a fundamental attribution error (and violates Occam's Razor). The entire claim of "proof" for God is supposed to be the "changed life", yet if it looks exactly like any other behavior reform and has to be attributed to different unseen causes, then it is not really a proof, and people cannot be condemned for not taking it as proof. It's akin to a belief that something falling is the act of an angel pushing the object to the ground.

The "new life" was being free from under the Old Covenant (which sentenced us to death), and "God's power" in this light was was really a "right" to become a child of God, not some kind of psychic force that creates some visible effect, such as changing our behavior, as it is often portrayed.

Any supernatural behavioral/attitudinal "change" mentioned in scripture (where the "trials" led to special "growth") was a special grace for the firstfruits, and they either saw Christ (thus they were the true "witnesses", since they actually witnessed Christ), or were instructed by those who did (the apostles); and this parallels the apostles having the actual power to perform miracles as great as raising the dead, as Christ promised (not just "healing" or "tongues"), while most today do not even claim that.
Even though this behavioral manifestation of the "new creature" was accessed by the person's will, still, that again was apart of the temporary overlap of the covenants.

Hence, to reiterate, even the requirement to "believe" is ultimately more connected with the Law, than with "grace".

More evidence of the two covenants overlapping is the "deposit" or "downpayment" (KJV "earnest") mentioned in 2 Cor. 1:22, 5:5 and Eph.1:14. We take this today to refer to this invisible, either felt or unfelt (depending on the teacher or movement) influence of the Spirit, which is supposed to be the "downpayment" on heavenly bliss after death or the return of Christ. Or some might take it as a sense of "assurance" (admittedly limited) we have now.

But this "promise" in these passages is redemption itself in the first place. What should make this all the more clear is 2 Pet.1:11 where "entrance into the kingdom" itself, is said to be the result of a list of deeds or "growth" Christian teachers often cite! (And I have seen Catholics and Campbellists use it to "disprove" Faith Alone altogether).
We end up splitting salvation into "past, present, future" aspects ("saved from the penalty, power and finally, presence of sin", respectively, with the "power" part of it referring to now, for us, and "penalty" (Hell) being forgiven at conversion, and "presence" referring to the future sinless state of Heaven), but this is not what the scriptures expound, but rather what we are forced to posit to try to keep consistent with a futurist soteriology.
An overlap of covenants from AD33-70, (with a "deposit" of salvation) is the only explanation of this.

Catholics and Campbellists, and perhaps sometimes even some "orthodox" teachers, have also used Titus 2:11-12, which appears at first glance to define the "grace" that "brings salvation" in terms of a set of "instructions" (as Campbellists I have debated with put it; i.e "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts", living soberly, etc.) But this is just reiterating what Paul had taught in Romans 6, and the motivation is following Christ, and also, again coming out from under the Law. The "grace" brings salvation, and motivates people to be "dead" to sin, and "the Law", and in this period, what hinged upon this is gaining righteousness, and eternal life (v.19, 22; and from there, we get the all-so familiar 23rd verse), as they waited for "the blessed hope" (Tit.2:13), which wasn't for an end to the physical world, but for salvation itself (1:2).

This shows entrance to the Kingdom was not completely secure yet, so they had this "downpayment" on it until the time had come (Hence, Rom.8:16).
Today, in contrast, many of us assume we are supposed to be absolutely sure of our salvation (citing 1 John 5:13). And we end up debating those who believe otherwise. But in the NT context, this surety itself is the promise they were waiting for. Hence, we confuse all these scriptures speaking of surety, danger, faith and deeds (behavior). And this is why the "once saved always saved" debates rage on between the different groups!

Many will cite 1 Cor. 6:9 "Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you...", which when taken in this typical way makes it appear the redeemed aren't sinners anymore.
But the rest of the verse says "but you were washed, but you were sanctified..." (appearing to go along with the typical assumption), but concluding: "...but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God".
This is clearly positional. It's about what you are charged with before God. If a person is charged with those sins, they will not enter the Kingdom. If "committing"="charged", then EVERYONE would be barred. But if God looks at everyone and sees Christ's righteousness instead, and so doesn't count those sins against them (2 Cor. 5:19), then this verse cannot apply to them.

More evidence is continuing in Corintihans: "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." (v12, and eiterated with "but not all things edify." in 10:23). This is actually something long trashed in old conservative preaching; creating a "situational morality" by "what works". But it's what Paul is teaching here. They then turn to the "be brought under the power" part, to create a pragmatic argument of their own, for obedience to the Law, to avoid the bad habits that take over our lives. But then, they've basically brought us right back under the Law. (and these passages are examples of the overlap, with a future judgment being warned of).

The same with 1 Tim. 1:7ff, discussing those who "desire to be teachers of the Law" (which can describe just about any conservative preacher), while the Law is "not made for a righteous man, but for the unrighteous". The way this appears, and the way it is of course naturally taught (by those essentially "understanding neither what they say, nor what they affirm"), is that the way to be out from under the Law (so that it's no longer "made" for you), is to be keeping the Law! If you keep it, it's no longer "made" for you; you'll no longer be "under" it! Sabbatarian groups especially add and emphasize that it's the "penalty" of the Law we are freed from, especially in their interpretation of Col.2:16 regarding the "handwriting of ordinances". Again [from common analogies discussed on the first page], the courtoom defendant can only receive the pardon of [the penalty of] the Law, if he from there on in, keeps the Law!

But again, this is positional, where Paul goes on to say (v12,13) "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief" (most would throroughly reject any grown person ever being saved due to "ignorance"!)

So those "sinners" mentioned in v. 9, 10, who the Law was "made for" (v8) are those not covered under grace. They remain "dead in the[se] sins". They are the ones who say "a dying Savior; no thanks; keeping the Law is what will bring God's blessing upon us". But then how would they ultimately stand before the Law? Guilty of all the sins listed in v.9 and 10! —"lawless, disobedient, ungodly, sinners, unholy and profane, murderers of fathers and of mothers, manslayers, whoremongers, those who defile themselves with mankind [from unbridled lust as described in Rom.1, and we all know even the most legalistic religious leaders can fall into this], menstealers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine" —even if they may not have even literally committed all of those acts.
They are the ones who need to really read the Law, truly apply it to themselves (instead of judging others with it while glossing over their own transgressions), and then see that they are still failing, and that they too need to be covered by the blood of Christ; the only one who did anything that could possibly cover sins.

Paul says in Romans 7:12-14 "So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good...We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin". The following verses clearly show how our natures are such that the Law only makes the sin problem worse, not better, as many decrying what they consider "increasing" sin in society believe.
The argument of many people seems to be that the Spirit undoes this problem and makes us "good" and thus able to keep the Law. But Paul wrote this after he received the Spirit. And the focus in the entire passage is not how to get rid of "the old nature" in order to stop sinning (or "grow" by sinning "less" or "wanting" to sin less as time goes on), but the contrast between this nature as highlighted by the Law, and a "new life" not based on the Law. This then leads into chapter 8 with its contrast between "flesh" and "spirit". This is not about behavior, it's about one's position in Christ.

Using a "changed life" to differentiate the saved and unsaved (as is often done in practice) basically implies salvation by works. In a transitional period recorded in the New Testament, where people were still under the threat of the Law, then it figured in salvation.

Otherwise, "faith" becomes all about "doing".
The oft cited James 2 is written in the transitional period where they were still partly under the Law. Failure to understand this leads to the endless dispute among different groups regarding grace vs works and eternal security, and supports groups such as the Catholics, Church of Christ and other sects which use it to deny grace alone.
It should also be mentioned that this chapter. known for it's "faith without works is dead" and "the devils believe and tremble", also says (v13) "For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment." This right after pointing out that "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." (v10).

Yet they all admit that we don’t keep them perfectly, but [from what they imply] as long as we’re trying, we’ll receive grace (scripture doesn’t say this).
The context in James is people showing “respect to persons”, meaning discriminating against the poor in favor of the rich (which many seem to think nothing of). This technically doesn’t violate any of the commandments, but James, like Jesus showed in the Sermon on the Mount, shows that spiritually, it does.

v12 says “So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.” They interpret “liberty” as “freedom from the power of sin”, which is seen as some sort of force that causes us to commit the bad behavior. Hence, there's this force pulling us toward sin, and God offers us "freedom" through a sort of opposite force that would lead us away from sin, and the entire Christian life becomes a tug of war between these powers, with us required to [unceasingly] make the right "choices" so that the good power will win.

So no matter how much you actually have to “strive” against this force, and how “difficult” it is, and how many more rules we have to tack on to make sure you don’t even come close to “crossing the line” into sinning, this is actually the true “liberty” in their view! (And the same with Christ's "[lighter] yoke". Because again, it’s all about the behavior).
They’ll often quote Jesus and Paul on being “slaves to sin”, but Jesus is pointing out the true state of those who thought as Abraham’s children they were "free" and in pretty good standing with God, and then Paul expounds upon this showing the true positional nature of the concept. “Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?”

Our problem is that we read "slaves of sin" and then our minds envision people being caught up in some addiction or bad habit, (including "the world's" propensity to commit sinful behaviors) as opposed to “obedience”, meaning 'getting over' the habit, and thus keeping whichever commandment it was leading us to violate. (But when you start talking about "habits", you're talking about behaviors people in "the world" DO break, all the time, without appealing to any "power" from Christ).
But “obedience” (hypakoen) simply means “compliance” or “submission”. It’s not necessarily something we DO (“active”).

To stop relying on our effort and trust in Christ IS to “obey”; meaning “obey the Gospel”. To trust in that "striving" being held up as the true "liberty", is actually the true "slavery" to sin! The result, as some have pointed out, is the Church's obsession with "sin". (Under the banner of trying to stamp it out). Meanwhile, the people don’t even realize how much of their actions still really violate the Law, and that’s the whole problem today as well.
This is the true "slavery to sin"! And this is why Paul attributes it to the Law.

Legalists will often point to the part about Abraham being "declared righteous", and OT passages showing other figures called "righteous" by God, to dispute the notion that no one has ever been justified by works. Since they'll admit no one has ever kept the Law perfectly, the difference between justified and unjustified then becomes that those justified "confessed and repented" of their sins, citing 1 John 1:9. But James (regarding Abraham) does not say that. What we end up with in practice, is, as stated before, that it's about trying to stop sinning, or wanting to. Which then becomes a steady regiment of effort. Then and only then, are the imperfections we have not cleaned up yet brought under the covering.
But Abraham is cited for one single act, that showed faith in God. It wasn't even the Law; but rather a special one time command, and one that in fact was contrary to the regular Law! (either the prototypical universal "Noahide" laws then in efect, or the full Mosaic code that would later be issued). It was a single test of faith! (That word "test" gets used a lot in modern teaching, and often ends up connected to our efforts in "living in faith").

But actually Paul and James are both reflecting an overlap of covenants, where both faith and works are necessary. But ultimately, this would be a temporary arrangement.

Paul focuses on grace, in which works are contrasted with "faith", and points out that they had only an "earnest" of this until "the end" came. If they "hold fast" (effort to remain in the faith), then they "are not under Law, but under grace".
James was speaking to Jewish Christians, who gravitated more to the Law. To those who tried to take advantage of this conditional state of grace and ignore that the Law was still in effect, James reminds them that under the Law (v8-13), faith must be expressed through works.
He was warning them (again, like Jesus did) that their compromises (claiming to uphold the Law, but softening it to make it more achievable, like many Christians do today) were not passing. The whole context is those mistreating the poor by showing "partiality" toward the rich (which many "religious" people today think nothing of; not even seeing it as an issue of Lawbreaking, like sexual sins and others). They probably believed, like the lawkeepers today, that “faith” will “fill in” the holes of their imperfect works (if they happen to be wrong; as the last resort of their line of defense when you point something like this out to them).

But as James is showing if you’re going to go by works in the first place (even under the banner of “faith”); you either keep the whole Law perfectly, or you’re judged “lawless”. And again, v13, which they always seem to skip over shows that even he is ultimately pointing to mercy or Grace!

So we see that even he recognizes that "mercy" is the real goal, and is warning those who like to "judge", not realizing they were breaking other parts of the Law.

(Mainstream theology has not sufficiently dealt with these two passages, which appear to directly contradict and rebut each other; leading some to believe that James' "Jerusalem Church" was at odds with Paul's "gentile Church"!)

Even some in mainstream Christianity recognize this point to some extent. Like Michael Horton, in one of his latest books Christless Christianity criticizes this "inward focus" (which ultimately turns glory right back onto man) in the "changed life" concept, and others. It's essentially "Law Lite" as he calls it. (Also, he mentions how many in practice treat God/Christ/The Spirit as an "energy source" we "tap/plug into". His alternative is a more "outward" focus through a more liturgical corporate worship. Yet it shows others see a problem in the inward focus of much of our teaching. In the article Holiness Wars: The Antinomianism Debate, he terms the "new law for the Christian life" promoted by "antinomianism" critics, as "neonomianism").
In his previous Beyond Culture Wars, he also aptly points out "We would know better than to say 'we are saved by our obedience to the Law', but we find it more difficult to detect that 'we shall achieve victory by following these principles or steps' is a new way of saying just that". (p.114)

It should also be pointed out, in passing, that some people cite Eph.2:10 about being "created unto good works". The "works" they were created for were not THEIR works (their efforts at obeying the Law), but rather God/Christ's works ("HIS workmanship"). It's all about Him, not us.
Though some translations interpret it in terms of what we "do". It actually says that "we may walk in them", which many will also associate with what we do, from the OT passages that use "walk" in this manner.
But the work was SAVING us (v.5-6, 11ff, including "abolishing the enmity even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making PEACE").

Where did these concepts come from?

It seems the main source for this teaching was the Keswick "Higher Life" movement. This was a Methodistic philosophy related to the Holiness movement which stemmed from John Wesley's doctrine of "Christian perfection" — the belief that it is possible to live free of voluntary sin — and particularly by the belief that this may be accomplished instantaneously through a 'second work of grace'. This is called "impartation", as opposed to "imputation" (the monergistic position that God declares us righteous apart from our works) or "infusion" (the Catholic doctrine that we become righteous through confession and sacraments). So it spoke of “entire sanctification”, “the second blessing”, “being filled with the Holy Spirit”, and various other terms. (This of course would also shape the Pentecostal/charismatic movement that would branch off of Methodism).

This naturally raises the question that if virtual perfectibility was possible, why would Christ give the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican? People like this seem to think that applies to us in our "unregenerate state", and if we're truly converted, that should already be taken care of, so it doesn't apply to us. But in practice, many Christians, believing in this perfectability idea, end up acting just like the Pharisee. They have to, and probably think of Christ's statement "Except your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees, you shall in no wise enter the kingdom" (Matt. 5:20) and figure the Spirit helps one attain that state. Then, the parable wouldn't apply to you.
But that's not what it says; the person who was justified was the one who had no claim to any "righteousness"!

While Catholicism openly taught works-salvation, and the Reformation aimed to curb that tendency with its doctrine of grace, it seemed the Arminian branch of Protestantism tried to stem the tide of monergism, which was seen as promoting "antinomianism" (though Calvin and Luther's movements could be quite legalistic), by putting more focus on the Christian and his works (aka "fruits"), and with a big emphasis on "choice" through "the will" as the means. They still had to pin it on the work of the Spirit, however, to avoid the charge of Pelagianism (denial of the sin nature altogether). But it still then becomes all about our "choice", and therefore a virtual form of merit.

So while it is seen as being within the pale of orthodoxy; when seen in light of man's actual ability to reform himself, it just takes us right back to works-righteousness. Nobody has lived up to this, though many can claim to have (and if you don't know the person preaching it, you don't know how true it is —until he gets caught in a sin).

This “impartation” (of "power") concept came to be used to justify the “hardness” of the "Christian walk" [for believers; in addition to the harshness of the penalty for nonbelievers; i.e. those who "refuse" or "deny" this "readily available" power]. Thus, the emphasis on "steps" to "growth" and "victory", since no one could do this instantly. Yet, the clincher was that it was claimed to be a special supernatural work exclusive to Christians, yet by now, this "process" wasn't much different than a "process" non-believers could engage in.
(Inasmuch as both Reformed and Wesleyan Protestantism have for the most part melded together into the current "evangelical orthodoxy", the concepts have spread into many churches identifying as "Calvinist", emphasizing "grace alone", as well).

So, much of conservative Protestant Christianity in practice claims to accept grace, but then inadvertently turns it back into works, because, under the high demands of this "changed life" concept, we end up not being able to completely own the depth of our sinfulness (which the Gospel is supposed to bring more to light), so we try to squelch that, accept "grace", and then try to reform our behavior as if we were never sinners to begin with (and then among many, to prove it, become hard on others, or even ourselves if we continue to struggle!)

Those "Higher Life" type gifts (attempted to be addressed in those above terms) were part of special grace to the firstfruits, who needed them to be able to run that race to the end of the age and not draw back unto perdition. This is the only way to explain the lack of any such real unnatural behavioral change in Christians today.

Here is an excellent article on Jesus' message to Nicodemus: The Eschatology of Being "Born Again"

The Work of the Holy Spirit

God's Spirit has been "poured out on all flesh" (Joel 2:28/Acts 2:17). While it may not seem like it, as we are accustomed to thinking of the influence of the Spirit as causing good behavior, this can be understood as a greater level of conscience in mankind, compared to ancient times. This would be a part of what some acknowledge as common grace. (And again, perhaps part of this "witness" of the Spirit to all of man is their belief that ["if there is a God"], He must be forgiving of them; and thus recognize the Church's maintaining of Hell as contrary to the message of Grace and Love). This concept right here fits in with the idea of Fulfilled Grace, where Grace is simply something God has spread to all; not just a measure of it being given to the wide majority of men, who will still miss out on a distinct "saving grace" and end up "lost".

The problem is, men still do not obey their conscience. But then neither do the supposed exclusively "regenerate" (born-again Christians) obey perfectly either. Again, they have more motivation to obey than the nonbelievers (and liberals, nominals, etc). Regeneration in this case, is positional, not behavioral. Behavior, again, figured more for the firstfruits, who were coming out from under the Law. Our motivation for good behavior is to be love, not something the Spirit makes us do (only if we "cooperate"). That focuses on the works themselves, rather than love. Hence, people can do this and go through all the motions, and still come up short (1 Cor. 13:1). Hence, "serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter" (Rom.7:6).
If we obey out of love, then “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil ["God is judging the nation through these tragedies", "God burns the wicked in Hell fire so we can appreciate Grace and praise Him for it" etc]. but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Cor. 13:4-8). This means that it doesn't compare with others, to judge them as deficient (under the premise that we have been called to “bring {you, the church, the nation, the world} to repentance”). That's strictly Law, not love!

"Spirit" is contrasted with "letter", not something simply added to it (as in "spirit of the Law" being "kept" and not 'just' the letter), or "empowering"/"enabling", etc. it!
Again, some groups take "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6) essentially to mean "if you're only avoiding literal adultery and killing, but still lusting and angry, you're failing the Law [correct], and will still suffer death; so keeping the Law 'in the spirit' by avoiding lust and anger (with the "help" of the Spirit) is what will bring 'life'". Basically, “letter”= “literal reading”; “spirit”=“spiritual” (and more restrictive) reading, accompanied by “The [Holy] Spirit” who gives us “power” to try to better meet the increased standards.

But this "spirit of the law" (which is actually a secular term and not biblical), ends up becoming "letter to the tenth power"! Thus, it is still the Law! It still falls under "the Letter" in Paul's categorization of "Letter vs Spirit"; albeit, it is the deeper spiritual 'intent' of the letter, which serves to show us just how far we fall short.
We are to "serve" in the newness of the spirit (Rom. 7:6); it's not about us keeping the "spiritually magnified Law" better, as if that's what really saves us. ("The Law" is what we are "delivered from" altogether; not saved by keeping a higher level of it. Though it would be ideal if we could attain that).

Perhaps the number one scriptural statement that is used to support the "changed life" concept is the whole concept of "the new heart".
Ezek. 11:19-21: "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh. That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
But [as for them] whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD".

This is used by orthodox and "lawkeeping" sects alike, to teach that God "changes" us, and our changed attitude (if not behavior) is what then passes us from judgment, or at least gives us the right to claim salvation. (At least, that is what is implied by keeping it in the context of verses 20 and 21. And it is not seen as violating grace, because God is the one who initiated it). It also justifies the harsh judgment we consign unbelievers to.
People read all the OT passages on keeping "the Law of the Lord", "the path of the righteous", punishments for "regarding iniquity in my heart", etc. and just because it is the Psalms or Proverbs and not Exodus or Leviticus, they forget that that is still the Old Covenant, and try to apply it wholesale to us.
Many on this point, actually hold the Bible as an "instruction manual" on behavior (leaders like Armstrong even called it that, but some "orthodox" evangelicals do too). Then, "conversion" gets associated with things like “full blown exchange of heart; a surrender of control”, which usually involves stuff like behavior and our "attitudes" toward the resulting "difficulties" of the "life change".

So basically, we can keep the Law —what man needed was "God's help"! (Especially with that "spiritually magnified" New Testament version of the Law that goes after even our thoughts. Of course, "grace" then kicks in with forgiveness when we still fail. But at least we are to be "trying". This, rather than just instantly perfecting our behavior, because "slow growth is better"). This is what forms the basis of the entire Christian teaching industry (and even the cults' corresponding teaching) with its focus on "Christian growth" and "victory". Hence, Israel failing with "the letter" while the Church is to succeed, through "the Spirit".
They cite all the "instructions", not realizing that there is both "the Law" (Moses) and "the Testimony" (Christ), and the Law was ultimately really to show us that we need Christ.

But they again fail to see that this is nothing short of works-salvation, even if it was really "the Spirit in us" actually 'doing' the works. Salvation is still something merited, and the merit lies in the "choice" (of the all-important "will"; — even if "enabled" by God) to receive the new heart, (and let's not forget, in practice, this "new heart" is only fully realized by a long, hard "growth" process!)
And under this type of setup, rather than Christ being the "end" [aim] of the Law (Rom.10:4), the Law is the aim of Christ! (i.e. The purpose of Christ is to make it easier to us to "pass" with the Law by cleaning our slate of the past, and then paving the way for the Spirit to make us more obedient in the future. In this setup, the Law is the center of the whole Gospel, not Christ).
The true “control” we are to give up is the focus on our own efforts of “giving” something to God. Yet again, common lingo has it all backwards.

The Fall story is clear that man suffered a sense of deficiency as the primary effect of the knowledge of good and evil. Ironically, Christians think more knowledge of good and evil (through more rigorus application of the Law, only with the more ritual "OT" practices removed) is the solution, and less of it is what has "caused" so much "sin" in the modern world!

Peter asked those trying to bring the Church (in which the faith was bring opened up to Gentiles) under the Law: "Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." (Acts 15:10, 11)
It is tempting for some to claim this is just over the "Jewish laws" such as circumcision, which is the one that happened to be specified in the context. But is that really any harder than all of the "laws" for "living" we are often given as the test of "true conversion"? (That's actually a one time thing, that's actually done anyway to most males in many places, and doesn't even affect females at all!) Even some of the other laws; are they really that much harder?
No, the "burden" no one could bear was being under this Law (the whole thing, in the first place) that no one could keep, and thus having to worry whether they were condemned or not!

Philip Yancey (Disappointment With God, p.150-1), in explaining the benefit of "los[ing] the clear sign God exists" from Him being invisibly present today instead of visibly present as in the wilderness as recorded in the Old Testament (leading to, among other things, "1,275 denominations in the US"), sort of paraphrases this point, by hypothesizing on Paul's reaction to a question of "what's the gain?":

Hey I spent half of my life trying to measure up to those demands, and you can have them. The difference between the Law and Spirit is the difference between death and life, between slavery and freedom, between perpetual childhood and growing up. Why would anyone want to go back to that?

But unfortunately, even with God removing the special revelation that accompanied the Law, the Church has maintained a scaled down version of that same system of "demands" (and accompanying judgments), as if there was still special revelation! So to this, we can truly ask "what's the gain?" (That's one reason why so many would want to go back to the clarity of the age of Law with its divine appearances!)

It should be reiterated that what many Christians (who would protest being accused of believing some of what I'm discussing) would most confess would be that the "change" or "new heart" that signifies salvation is that we "want to stop sinning". But this just becomes salvation by intentions or sincerity, which would normally be rejected when certain "sinners" appeal to it (like someone stealing, living in adultery, or those other "big" sins, and not showing enough remorse. Or of course, unbelievers who use it in place of faith in Christ altogether).
Another version of this we hear is that we will "no longer have to do the sin". But this is just "habit" again, which is not exclusive to "spiritual" growth .

So again, it will produce expectations of "trying" harder, and when someone doesn't perform a certain amount, it "looks like they're not even trying". On the other hand, it is also based on the assumption that all nonbelievers always want to sin. But many do want to live good lives, and not steal, kill, lie, cheat on their partners, or even the "spiritual" versions of these. Of course, these "intentions" are what a lot of people who dismiss Gospel invitations are trusting in, but are regarded by evangelical teaching as works that do not save. Only "faith in Christ" saves. But then if these intentions by themselves are "works", how do we figure adding them to "faith" is not adding works to faith?

Or, some may truly stick with the "sincerity" side of this, and they become the ones who begin watering down the requirements for salvation, and saying stuff like maybe those who never hear will be saved.
But then where do you draw the line? (Such people will then likely say that is for God to decide. But now there is no clear line between salvation and damnation. You would be better off just removing conditions for salvation and placing it all on unconditional grace).

We do realize “our best” doesn't measure up to God, and probably figure this is the result of the Fall, and where Grace needs to kick in, but then striving to reach our best, or wanting to sin less then becomes the new standard we are judged by, and that the Spirit or “new nature” helps us achieve. But the truth is, we do not even try our best. Hence, all that is, is a lowered standard that distracts us from the reality of our ongoing sinfulness, and often leads to judgmentalism towards others.

But Ezekiel, along with all the other OT prophecies were contingent on Israel keeping its end of the covenant. When the nation didn't, all of those promises were spiritualized, including the very nation itself (Matt. 21:43, 1 Pet. 2:9). It was made clear that "by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified" (Gal 2:16). So in 2 Cor.3, Paul now applies the "stone vs flesh" heart concept to the Law vs the Spirit. (v.3) Where before, the "Spirit"-changed "hearts of flesh" would [hypothetically] be able to keep the "statutes and ordinances" [Law]; it is now revealed that the Law itself was what kept the hearts as stone in the first place! (And this was seen even more clearly in Romans 7). In verse 7, it is even called "the ministration of death".
In v.14,15, it's revealed that those who continued to use the Old Testament as their guide, had a veil over their faces, preventing them from understanding! This would explain much of the Church today! (And hence, why it is so divided, including about doctrine and practices, and often having to accuse others of leaning too much on "understanding"). They read all of this, and miss its significance, thinking "the Law" simply refers to sabbaths and various other OT rites; while they think they are safe in simply abolishing those particular ordinances, yet still judging the world by [the rest of] the same Law, and thinking themselves as passing it with some divine "help"!

“Honor Me with your lips (but your heart is far from me)” (Isaiah 29:13/Matt. 15:8) is also assumed to be based on behaving good enough (e.g. “lips only” thought to mean not obeying enough), but what they were doing wrong was adding the "precepts of men", while bending (not really outright breaking) the rules that are truly from God. This is often done under the banner of "obeying", and strict rules, as we see with the people Jesus applied the statement to.

The true "offense of the Gospel"

Many groups, from the orthodox to the cults, teach (based partly on Gal. 5:24) that the discomfort we suffer from restraining our "fleshy" desires, as part of Christian living is itself "the Cross". In other words, the difficulty in "denying the flesh" by resisting the "sin" it "desires" is "dying to self" and thus taking on The Cross. As an extension of this, people who say modern secular activities are bad and even worship services shouldn't be too lively because it may lead to sin appeal to "the Cross". This is what they interpret as "walking in the Spirit" as opposed to "the Flesh". And of course, the Cross is associated with "the Gospel" (good news) and "grace". Making it worse, many will cite OT passages to the effect that God's "good news" for us is found in the Law!
The Cross and the Law have been virtually fused into a single entity, even though they are diametrically opposed in New Testament teaching! Again, "grace" is just some "power" the spirit gives us to make the Law a bit more achievable, with the remaining difficulty plugged into this as "the Cross". This is NOT what the Gospel is about!

Of course, one of the most commonly used scriptures is Christ's instruction to "Deny yourself and take up your Cross" (Matt. 10:38, 16:24, Mark 10:21). From this, it is surmised that we are "imitating" Him or "partaking in His suffering", both by the "struggle" of overcoming "the flesh", as well as often the rest of the difficulties of life. But for one thing, when Christ said this, He had not even gone to the actual Cross yet! Think about it! If it was all "finished" when He died on the Cross, and He bore it all for us; then why do people AFTERWARD still have to bear a "cross"? Was His work on the Cross sufficient by itself, or was it not?
It was obviously instruction for His immediate disciples, to follow Him, right then and there. It's not even used that way in the rest of the New Testament for the Church.

The only thing to be "crucified" was our "flesh", which was our standing under the Law (which was taken care of in that one act of dying on the cross); not just the "passions", but also our own feeble efforts at taming them!
The wellknown passage “There is no no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus; who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit” (Romans 8:1), means us being free from the GUILT (fear of condemnation) that follows us when we put ourselves under the Law, and then of a necessity, end up having to rely on our own choices (i.e. FLESH) for assurance. Hence, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us".
Many Lawkeepers actually dispute Paul's choice of words here, calling the Law "weak", leading some even more radical —and consistent ones, to reject Paul altogether. But Paul would clarify this in ch. 7 (v12ff): "So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good...We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin...For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Notice, this is the converted Paul saying this. It was not "changed" in his behavior. What changed is what he then leads into in the following chapter (regarding the position of being "in the flesh" or "in the spirit").

People read there of another "law", and think this is just a rehash of the original Law, and that it being "fulfilled in us" is about our behavior. But the "carnally minded" he then goes on to describe are those who rather than not trying to keep the Law enough, are really those trying to keep it, and ending up judgmental and meanspirited (as often happens), and not even really free of the other sins to boot! This is precisely what we have seen in the religious world!

In passing, it should be reiterated here, that what "flesh" really meant in Paul's usage was using our physical lineage as the means of reconciliation with God. It was referring primarily to the Christ-rejecting Israelites, who thought their status as Abraham's children made them "the chosen", rather then one's position in Christ. That was determined by physical blood lineage, or, "the flesh". The sign was adherance to the Law (which of course, was done "in the flesh", which was not sufficient to truly keep it). So Paul shows that all your physical nature you trust in can really do for you spiritually is produce sins (transgressions of the Law; "missing the mark") such as lust and anger and the rest he mentions. And as much as the people trusting in Law try to suppress these sins, it still comes out as those behaviors. This actually characterized them (hence, they're the "abominable", "whoremongers", "murderers", "liars", "idolaters", etc. condemned in the epistles and prophecies, even as they openly shun such behaviors and preach at others), and such people are blinded by their own "spiritualized" rationale.
Like justifying meanspiritedness and hostility with "we're angry at wickedness". "We hate those people because they're causing the blessings bestowed upon our nation to be taken from us". The spiritual "fornication" or "adultery" of using a corrupt political system as your divine protector (requiring much compromise, which is always seen as wrong when another ecclesiastical body does it, but is OK when one's own movement expects influence over a government or society in a less institutionalized fashion).

This is what will explain the positional nature of many other passages (Rev.21:8 and 22:15 are two examples), which if taken literally (behaviorally), will flatly contradict grace alone.
It's by the Spirit that we are justified and sanctified. This has become misconstrued as the physical "flesh" being bad and dirty through its desires in themselves; while the Spirit somehow counterbalances this by causing us to behave better (but only if we "yield" by suppressing those physical desires).

So none of this has anything to do with any "offensiveness" of "the hard path of a 'changed life'", (or a "scandal of particularity", or "particular election" or any other "hard doctrine" men may plug into the Cross).

"Vineyard worker's syndrome": Accusations of excusing sin

We must beware the temptation of the "vineyard workers" (Matt. 20:1-16), who understood prior agreements where they had to work for their pay, but then became angry that God had paid later comers for less work. This is generally the gist of the response of those who criticize this doctrine. (Even if they're not aware of it). Again, how dare we make it so "easy", when others believed they had to work so "hard"! So yes, this does speak directly to this issue!
Otherwise, who do you think the later hires represent? Christians, as opposed to people under the Old Covenant? Then what does "working all day" represent? (Since both groups, apparently, are just as much required to give total "devotion"). Is it just the "heavier load" of animal sacrifices, instead of just going to an altar one time to say a prayer; or taking bread and wine occasionally? Of circumcision instead of baptism? Of keeping the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday with more restrictions instead of just "going to Church" on Sunday?
While the Christian rites may be "easier", they really do not fit the concept of the later hires. They are hired for a lowered requirement altogether (lowered almost to nothing), not just easier tasks!

But God's word to those opposing this is "is it not lawful for Me to do what I will with my own? Is your eye evil because I am good?" (v.15) This then becomes the ultimate example of the Calvinists' lynchpin verse Romans 9:15 I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion". So if He decides to have mercy on all now, then who are we to challenge this?

And this under a moralistic premise that it will allow "sin" to run rampant; like we know how to handle sin better than He does! The primary objection is "people going to Heaven for free with no consequences of their sin". Such an objection really does not understand Grace at all. (It's like they are so busy changing "Grace" into some sort of "power" that changes our behavior or attitudes —based largely on 2 Cor. 12:9, that they haven't fully grasped its true meaning as unmerited favor!) The whole point is that those consequences were borne on the Cross. To maintain it has no effect unless we ourselves DO something; (even "anything, no matter how small") is to take us right back into works-salvation.

Those who argue this for one seem to believe a little bit of a fear factor is necessary to rein it in ("if there are no requirements, people will sin with impunity"), but this has never worked, as the most legalistic have fallen into the vilest sin. Love is to be our motivation now, anyway. (1 John 4:18, 19). That is precisely what is lacking in all those trying to obey out of fear. That is actually "the way that SEEMS right to man" (Prov.14:12), and it just does not work. If it were not for Grace, its end result would certainly be "death", and to a lot more people than we would think!

Yet a quick question I get when explaining pantelism, is "do you believe sin is OK?" and "why should anyone obey, then?" It's not even "why should anyone believe?", but rather "why should anyone OBEY?" But who said anything about whether something was "OK"? Where did that come from? They're incredulous that anyone would believe we should obey, if we believed that all were saved now! And they don't see the clear-as-day implication of works-righteousness in this. That the fear of Hell was the ultimate motivation for doing good in the traditional belief system is patently denied, though what else does this imply?

In direct connection to this, I've also heard the objection in terms of "getting off the hook". All of this is to sway our emotions, as the terms are often associated with criminals, and to let them "off the hook" is bad, and encourages the sin, right? In this case, Christians take upon themselves the role of "God's prosecuting attorneys", making sure no one 'gets off the hook' with sin.
But yes, it IS about getting off the hook! That's the whole point! We were condemned by our works; our efforts (including to do the "right things"), and Christ set us free from that. It's not about reforming our behavior, because that is not what saves us.

People think there's a whole plot just to be "excused" from "all the warnings in scripture", and also, some of us even just acting in "anger" at how difficult the Christian life is. But here also, that's the whole point! The Law was against us, so of course we are against it. Paul spoke with anger at himself being enslaved for so long, and then at people like Peter trying to play both sides of the fence at one point.
Again, people think a life of endless "striving" is the true "liberty" or "freedom".

It's easy to clam up at those intimidating accusations, because we are so used to thinking "yeah, we can't 'excuse' ourselves completely; it's being 'lawless'", etc. But that again is the whole point. The traditional view is all about EFFORT, even emphasizing how "hard" it is, but at what point do we realize this is no longer "Grace" (Rom.11:6, 4:4)?

A well known "duty faith" passage that also clearly promotes works when consistently applied is "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able." (Luke 13:24). Sects that deny "faith alone" of course have no problem with this; it can be one of their strongest proof texts. But many who do profess faith alone will appeal to it as how "hard" the "walk" is, not seeing this as clearly denying faith alone. "Lordship" leader John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus p.182-3 even says it's "an agonizing, intense, purposeful struggle", like "an athlete battling to win a victory...It is a struggle, a battle, an extreme effort. There is almost a violence implied.". (This then leads to the citing of the "small gate").

That Rom. 4:5 and Heb. 4:10 “For he that is entered into his REST, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his” shows that what Jesus was saying was before the Cross, when they were still fully under the Law. (As the convenants were at that point overlapping when the epistles were written, then once in the faith, you had to "hold fast").
This view makes mincemeat of the terms such as "rest", "ceasing from works", "peace", and Christ's "light yoke" by changing them into an attitude toward the incredible "difficulties" of the "walk" they say is necessary to be saved!

A similar argument uses 1 Peter 4:18 “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” One sabbatarian site even says “First Peter 4:18 says that even the righteous, those who are keeping all the commandments, will very nearly not be saved.”
The verse is always quoted by itself, in isolation from everything else.
There is no thought that this removes all hope, and puts everything in our hands. It continues “By ourselves, without God’s grace, God’s power to keep us from sinning, it is totally impossible for us to obey the law.”

What this means, is God gives us some “help”, but according to Peter, it’s not even enough to keep most “righteous” from destruction! You have to struggle daily to “grow”, and most won’t win the “race”, so what does this “help” really accomplish? What is the point of the Gospel then?

Peter is actually quoting Prov. 11:31.
From The Pulpit Commentary

Verse 31. – The righteous shall be recompensed in the earth. Them are two ways of understanding this verse. The word rendered “recompensed,” (shalam), is a vox media, and can be taken either in a good or bad sense. So the meaning will be, “The righteous meets with his reward upon earth, much more the sinner,” the “reward” of the latter being, of course, punishment. But the versions lead to another interpretation, by which “recompensed” is rendered “chastised;” and the meaning is – if even the righteous shall be punished for their trespasses, as Moses, David, etc., how much more the wicked! The Septuagint, quoted exactly by St. Peter (1 Peter 4:18) has, “If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

This highlights the assumption that “saved” means “saved from Hell” (or eternal “annihilation” as most of the sabbatarians argue). It means some sort of punishment or “judgment” for their behavior. And that it would be worse for the “ungodly”, which in Peter’s context was those persecuting them for the Gospel, rather than obeying it.
The Proverbs chapter is obviously laying out the pattern of the behavior the righteous and the wicked. And it clearly reflects a period of Law, and Peter’s time was the overlap of the Law with grace.

Jude 4 is another one brought to mind: "For there are certain men crept in unawares...ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."
It's assumed that these were people coming in and saying "Oh, because we're under grace now, we can do whatever we want", and thus indulging in "lasciviousness" or "license" or "lawlessness". That term "license", which is from the NIV and heavily used by people citing the verse, really carries a different connotation in English than the Greek aselgeia does. It suggests the "PERMISSION to sin", which is the accusation being leveled, but the term just means "wantonness", "unbridled lust" or "excess".

But in any case, none of this is what Pantelism is doing. (I'm not even sure this is really describing the person ACCEPTING the doctrine of grace, and then "turning" it into "lawlessness" in his PRACTICE; or whether it might be someone REJECTING the doctrine of grace, and turning it into lawlessness, IN THEORY, in order to ACCUSE those who do live according to grace. In other words, turning the concept of grace into license and then condemning it based on that, rather than turning their or their followers' behavior ("practice" of 'grace') into "license to sin".
This would fit quite well with Satan being the "accuser" who uses the Law to "accuse the brethren". It is exactly what people were doing to Paul in Rom.3:7,8. The rest of the description of these people in Jude would fit the Christ-rejecting lawkeeping Israelites. Jerusalem at that point was actually likened to Sodom (Rev.11:8), despite its rigorous lawkeeping).

Explaining "the warnings in scripture" (including the New Testament) in terms of an "overlap of covenants" sounds to people like something just made up on the fly to "excuse ourselves", but that's the only way to explain grace and works in the New Testament. Else, you just fall back on the old standby of "it's a paradox; we can't fully understand it now". But when the eternal fates of so many souls are supposedly in the balance, I think things should be clearer than that!

The attitude is NOT “It's OK now, go and sin (in fact, it's not even really 'sin' anymore)”. It's to stop trying so hard to suppress things (which really betrays a failure of trust in Grace; our own attempt to add our own merit. To even accuse this as making sin OK is looking at it legalistically).
People often say “Not religion, but relationship”. But then, what (in practice) is “relationship”? [i.e. with God] A bunch of “do”s! (prayer, devotions, "living for Him", etc). And what was “religion” (to begin with)? A bunch of “do”s! The only difference is that the “do”s have been lessened.

The Gospel and Faith as Salvation/Regeneration, or psychological health.

In connection with this, the whole "life change" issue affects the areas of regeneration and sanctification as well.
Scriptures talk about “peace” and while all will associate that with salvation, it has been extended to overall mental health. (Based on their reading of 2 Tim. 1:7 along with some other scriptures). However, when New-Evangelicals push this to a focus on psychological principles, "old-line" types (from the Reformed to the Revivalists) criticize them as “compromising”, and insist it's only about "regeneration" and "sanctification". Yet their “Biblical alternatives” to therapy are the same behavioral improvements and even mental “choices” for good results the others teach, which they associate with “sanctification” and thus hold to be fruits of regeneration.
The fundamentalist claiming “all mental illness is a choice” (i.e. in contrast to common psychological knowledge) thus ends up with the same premise (and “steps to victory”) as the popular “psychologizing” teacher he criticizes for speaking of “self esteem” or “the power of positive thinking”.

The problem is, both camps believe "salvation” is, to begin with, escape from Hell through a conditional “grace”. If this is the case, then the fundamentalists are probably right that that's our only real “need”, and diverting the focus to anything else (such as temporal health) is a waste of time.
YET, even amongst them, it is often cast in the terms of temporal health! If you pray, read the Bible every day, think about serving God and others more than self, realize difficulties are “good” to make us “grow”, and have a “joyful attitude” toward them, then you will be “of sound mind”, and not have any “soul” (i.e. “psyche”) problems.

This is derived from various scriptures, and yet if they're being interpreted right, then the new-evangelicals are basically right (and the old-liners arguing over nothing), for this is pretty much the basis of what they're saying, only with newer terminology added.

The problem is when it doesn't work this way. First of all, what that whole method really is, is a process of forcing sin into unconsciousness. Then, when it still doesn't go away, and you have to struggle to keep suppressing it, this is then blamed on the Devil. You can see it that way because he is the "accuser", and yet we fall into his trap by trusting in our effort at repressing the sin instead of really trusting in Christ's work (even if we redefine “trust” in terms of an attitude toward the difficulty of the effort, or whatever else the teachings define it as).

But in order to hold on to the teaching, two different approaches will be used: the new evangelicals will turn to increasingly to “therapy” and other secular principles, and the old-liners will just start judging the Christian “struggling” with problems they feel should have been gotten over with this divine “power” granted us through these “biblical principles”.

Yet if the main aspect of salvation was freedom from the fear of the penalty of the Law, then we see how the “peace” promised IS the regeneration of salvation!
Basically, the whole concept of a “race” is effort/works. That the Christian life in the NT was described as a race clearly shows the overlapping nature of the covenants, with the end of the race as entering fully into Grace.

Part of fundamentalists' war on “humanism” is the need to PROVE intellectually that everyone deserves to go to Hell. If we say “That person did that horrible crime because they were psychologically damaged”, right away, a [subconsciously controlled] conscientious sense of compassion kicks in, and we feel bad for them, and find it hard to condemn them. So the moral conservative fears that this would lead to such people being 'let off the hook', both now in the world (leading to “the decay of society”, which they are always trying to “save”), as well as them being granted pardon by God and escaping Hell, which will undermine fear as a deterrent to sin.
So if we instead say "that wicked sinner willfully CHOSE to murder", the feeling is more like "YEAH! He deserves to ROAST!"

So just as we saw above with the question of sin being "OK", the fundamentalist or anyone else condemning psychological explanations for things has to guard against anybody “getting by” with an “excuse”. Everybody MUST be proven to be knowingly, deliberately “shaking their fist at God” (A common illustration in evangelistic literature and teaching material. The Bible never uses that exact analogy, and any truth in it must be understood in a more collective rather than individual way, but the illustrations make it look like it is literal and individual, and the goal is once again to prove why every man's fate should default to Hell, and God cannot pardon him unless he has a change of mind, and in practice, behavior).

Overall, the problem starts because the assumption in basically all the branches of "mainstream" Christianity, is that because man "fell" through "sin" (disobedience), then the entirety of Gospel history afterward becomes the process of undoing disobedience behaviorally. If we're sinning, then the solution is that we must stop sinning.
Having one's sins "cleansed", "washed" or "taken away" then means "taken away" from our actual behavior.

But the Fall wasn't just an act of disobedience. It was acquiring knowledge of good and evil, whose immediate effect on them was shame, even of their physical existence. The "death" that occurred "that day" was obviously spiritual rather than physical. However it colored our perception of even physical nature. Adam and Eve's first self-initiated response was covering themselves physically.

God then began progressively giving man the Law, which appeared to aim to directly correct the problem of disobedience through more statutes to command obedience. The religion that arose from this assumed the purpose of life was "pleasing God" through obedience. Then, you would "get" something. Much like parents demand of and reward their children, and bosses demand of and reward their workers. The nation of people for the most part failed this, and then the Gospel was introduced.

Christianity afterward ended up continuing the old assumption. Squaring this away with “grace, not works” became the source of a lot of confusion or so-called “paradox”, and conflict between groups who focus on grace, or more openly insist on works.

Scriptures on the ministry of the Spirit, and "growing into the image of Christ" were taken as going along with a practical reversal of sin conversion was supposed to initiate.
But since most will acknowldge we do still sin afterward, they had to come up with a notion of intention. The "cleansing" is taking away our wanting to commit the sins. Or, the other one; of habit; taking away our "having" to sin. So again, that we still end up committing them is then blamed on "the flesh" we struggle ["daily"] with, or the Devil.
But this actually waters down the concept of "washing/cleansing", far more than what they think a positional view (which is the only thing that can explain ongoing commission of sin in our lives) does.
So both the "psychologizing" approach, and the "Bible terms only" approach are operating off of this same premise.

However, a "change of life" is not exclusive to Christianity (even though they often have made a big point of non-Christians "doing whatever they please", and thus contributing to the "downfall of morality" in society). Jungian psychology and eastern philosophy, for instance, teach something called "relativization of the ego" in favor of some bigger "spiritual" reality, which would match what Christians teach regarding attitude change, through which ego should be diminished, and others focused on more.

The difference is, these other belief systems do not try to make fear as the motivator. Like if your behavior is not changing, you're probably not really "converted" and may still be bound for a literal burning Hell. (Those other philosophies are the ones most likely to say "Hell is what you make it here on earth"). Hence, people are less likely to focus on behavior, and be more permissive of the things such as the sexual behaviors the Church has long focused on (adultery, divorce, abortion, homosexuality, lust) and so it seems Christianity is the only one that demands behavior change and thus in their argument is the "glue" to society's morality.

This is important, because when regeneration and sanctification are turned into “inner”-focused “change” or “growth” processes (even if you insist the God who “works them out” is “external”; it is still said to be done through the indwelling Spirit), then the rest of the world will naturally draw a parallel with other religions and philosophies which teach inner change. What we end up with is the familiar cliché Christians have long complained and preached against: that “all religions are the same, and it's all about inner growth and [inner and outer] love”.

A Gospel that says the problem is guilt (and thus “sin” as “falling short”), and the solution is Christ bearing that guilt, and NOT man's efforts or striving (“growth”; and also guilt not being the solution as many seem to argue), clearly stands apart from all the others.
To insist that every nonreligious psychology or therapy is wrong because “The Bible” is supposed to be used to accomplish those things reduces the Bible and its Gospel to to the level of those "self-help" therapies, and then the much decried “secularists” and eclectics are right, then! The only difference is that you've added this ongoing debt and fear of Hell to it. And that just looks to everybody like an addition with an ulterior motive behind it.

Prayer is portrayed as “making your requests known to God”, not any psychic change. (One may recoil at and deny the term “psychic”, but all that means is “pertaining to the psyche”. Whenever a Christian utters the familiar phrase “prayer changes you”, he is giving it psychic power! i.e. Some, acknowledging that prayer “might not change the circumstances” then make “changing you” its primary purpose!)
The passage in Philippians (which is one of the main "proof-text" sources of this "spiritual growth" concept) is saying that one should pray instead of being anxious (and then lists other virtues to "add" to this) which would grant them God's "peace". This may seem like a "supernatural growth process" (through "the power of positive thinking"), but it's common sense that anxiety is the opposite of peace (with or without God).

The issue is what causes the anxiety in the first place. This is where people will turn to therapy to get to the root of their problems, and "Bible-answers-only" critics will scold them for it. Much of the anxiety referred to in the New Testament was not about the "daily mundane circumstances" referenced in modern teaching, but rather over redemption, and persecution by those insisting one must be under the Law in order to be loved by God. Hardships were often held as the sign that one was "cursed" by God. So naturally, Paul's answer is to make your requests known to God and not be anxious about these things. This would be the purpose of "faith", not a growth process that presumably makes us more fit for Heaven, or even to improve our "testimony".

The point here is, to repeat, if we portray the Gospel as being focused on behavior, then we actually reduce it to just another self-help/growth philosophy, as much as we may decry it being relegated to such by larger society. The point of the Gospel is freedom from the sin taken on by knowledge of good and evil. This will hopefully affect our behavior, but it is not focused on the behavior.

More points

•In much preaching, love is pitted against “holiness” (and often “justice”), as if it overrides love and grace. In other words, it's like “yes, God loves, but He's also still HOLY [with the “thrice” mentioning of it in scripture emphasized], so He MUST still punish”. They fail to realize that holiness in that context is connected with the Law, so again, they are trumping Grace with Law. Grace and holiness are not in some ranking order competing for “main attribute”. Grace is needed precisely because of God’s holiness, and our inability to meet its standards. They are not at odds! God is holy, and man cannot measure it up, but God, in Christ no longer holds this against him. If you say He “cannot” do so (often citing “God cannot look upon sin”), then you have just rendered the Cross null and void (i. e. totally ineffective, or at odds with His holiness)!!! (Should make one think whos's really in danger of committing what Heb. 10:29 is describing!) See also Grace vs Holiness

•Legalists (of all stripes; "orthodox" or sectarian/"cultic") appeal to the judgment of the "strange fire" (Lev. 10) or the misplacing of the ark on the cart (1 Chron.13), and while most admit their works aren't perfect (then they actually claim it's 'not about perfection', which runs clearly counter to this passage they use), yet they think their efforts are what would have them pass such a test. So, if really held to that, they would still come up judged as bringing the strange fire; especially when they THEN start appealing to "the Cross" and talking about the particular laws they will admit are no longer "binding".
That was not recognized under the Law they're appealing to (which specified that many of those commands would continue "forever"). To try to add "grace" then would be too late. They have already spurned true grace.

In fact, much of the rules, traditions, moralizing, etc. they have added to scriptures would in fact correspond to the "good intentions" of Uzza, to "protect" what is "holy"! People love to throw these verses at those they see as too "lax" in spiritual things, but don't realize it applied to them in the very act of trying to "emulate" (Gal.5:20) principles like this they see in scripture or the authority of prophets or trachers speaking against others' sin or "compromise".

•Eph 2:15 teaches that the "commandments" are "enmity", that was set aside by Christ's flesh (And it's not just "old testament ceremony" as many will try to claim). They are what led men to judge one another as they try to prove themselves by their own efforts.
I myself, disowning this enmity, used to take the "We're not judging; we're just beggars telling other beggars where to get food" line. But if it happens to be true that the food has already been given out, and someone still comes and says “that's not food; THIS is the REAL food”; ego still ends up likely involved).

•If we love God, then we will not want to worship other gods or idols, or dishonor His name. (We'll also rest in Him, which is what the Sabbath was aiming at). If we love our fellow man, then we'll honor our parents, and not kill, cheat on our spouses, steal, lie or covet from others. The New Testament clearly says this was what summed up the Law. There is no need for any threat of Hell, proving our "election" to escape Hell, being better than others, or let alone, trying to control others through fear. We may still fall into violations of these things anyway; but then so do those trying to "obey the Law" out of fear.

1 Cor. 8:9, Gal.5:13 and 1 Pet.2:16 warn of the way we use our "liberty", and tells us it should be used in love. This shows that "liberty" is not "striving to be free from habits of sin" as it has been construed, but is something that can be wrongfully used in sin. But the motivation to not do that is love, not the distorted concept of trying to clean up sin.

Which is better; not committing adultery because I love my spouse (which is God's will, and I'm supposed to love Him too), and I don't kill because someone loves the person I'm killing, and it's not my place to remove them from the world...
Not committing adultery or murder just because "the Law says not to", and it's thus it's only the Law (and fear of punishment) that keeps me from doing these things?

Which one is really the more lawless; looking at things from the perspective of how much he is allowed to do (which legalists often accuse others of), rather than pleasing God and fellow man? (Such people tend to be quick to find legal loopholes where the forbidden behavior can actually become OK under the right circumstances. This is how it has always worked, from the legalistic rabbis of Christ's time, to cult leaders who end up claiming carnal "rights" to their members' wives and daughters, with various religious and political wars and corruption inbetween in this scale! This is how sin is bred among the "lawkeepers"! It's why Paul associates the Law with sin the way he does!)

•From here, we can also mention the appeal to Gal.6:7 "Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, he shall also reap".
But under that, everyone would once again be ultimately condemned. Unless salvation is attainable by works! This principle is obviously another holdover from the Law. Again, "flesh" was our carnal nature under the Law, and "spirit" was the new life one must choose, with the "reaping" being "in due season" (implied to be in their lifetimes, not just death for every believer, or a second coming thousands of years in the future).

•The ultimate proof things have been mixed up is that the term "fallen from grace" is commonly portrayed as "falling" into sin (basically, breaking the Law, after having been successfully keeping it for awhile). But in Paul's use, it is almost the opposite. Falling back into trying to be justified by keeping the Law, rather than trusting in grace.
The world, which uses it the familiar way when a well-known Christian gets caught in a scandal, is only reflecting the virtual misinformation of typical Christian moralism. "Grace" has been thoroughly associated with good behavior; something we attain by our efforts, rather than God not counting our bad behavior against us!

An alternative claim

Also deserving mention, is some, including the most extreme conservative fundamentalists; who surprisingly say a lot of the same things I'm saying regarding mandatory repentance and "life change", and even "giving one's life" to Christ. This is basically in dispute of Lordship Salvation, which they seem very fired up against, even though you would think the Lordshippers would be seen as on their side against "ungodliness". Here is an example, of an old-line fundamentalist (KJV-only) site, who agrees with people like Jack Chick on many of the judgments of modern America and the Church (music, the softening down of the preaching on Hell, the wickedness of secular society and politics, etc.) yet has come to see Chick as preaching a false gospel because of his emphasis on the need for repentance in salvation:
I always loved this statement he makes against Lordshippers:
Salvation is receiving; NOT giving!
This is something that many groups should consider.

So it's true that at the end of every Chick tract, when it gives you the "steps" to salvation, it includes "Be willing to turn from sin (repent)", citing Acts 17:30, and "through prayer, invite Jesus into your life to become your personal Saviour" (citing Rom.10:13). In older prints, it continues "Now that you trust Jesus as your Saviour; ACT like it...", which includes joining a Church "where Christ is preached and the Bible is the final authority". (Now this has been replaced by " have begun a wonderful new life with Him. Now:..." Makes you wonder why it was changed!) In "Why No Revival" (which is aimed at Christians), he warns any "unsaved" readers who may be "enjoying" the upbraiding of Christians (who are "sinners saved by grace") that "unless you accept Christ as Lord, your future is pictured below" (showing the angels casting people into the lake of fire).

Still, this brand of fundamentalism, as you can see from this page, has extremely strict standards of "holiness" and "rightness". Everything in the Church this author (David J. Stewart) does not agree with is from the Devil, and the "sure road to hellfire". He may proclaim salvation is NOTHING more than "believing", but what really is "believing"? Or, "believing" in what? Every little deviation from what they believe is "truth" constitutes a "false gospel" to writers like this. And those do not save! So he even questions Chick's salvation, for preaching this "false gospel". ["If that's the message, i.e., that a person cannot be saved who is not willing to stop doing those things —willing to stop shacking up, stop getting drunk, stop going to strip joints, et cetera— to be saved, then Jack Chick is on his way straight to Hell, and this is a damnable false gospel of works salvation"].

Which I contend would be true if duty-faith (which this writer believes in, though in theory reduced to "belief" only) is true: that one must believe in Christ, and specified as not just any "belief" in just any "Christ" that saves; but rather the 100% "true" Christ of the Bible, and the true Gospel. But then, would he be saved, either, if any of his other beliefs happen to contradict "the true gospel"?
People like this end up with this 100% absolute claim of believing "every word of the Bible". But then so do many others (including other old-line fundamentalists like Chick, and others, such as the Lordshippers and other Calvinists, whom they condemn). But more than these other groups, writers and preachers like this CAN'T EVER admit ANY error; because any error would essentially forfeit salvation.

This is just as much righteousness by Law as any other group Stewart may condemn. It is much more harsh than even those who demand physical acts or behavior. Those other sins he mentions, which he says one does not have to stop before being saved, come from some of the commandments. Sexual sin, for instance, violates the seventh commandment, because you're not committing to one person. But then belief in the truths about God (including Christ and the Gospel), would be from the first two commandments, which he frequently cites against Islam, Catholicism and other religions.
God has revealed certain truths about Himself and His plan of salvation, and to believe anything else (as Stewart accuses others of) would be to have "another god before Him", and essentially create a kind of "idol". Inasmuch as the teachings are done in the name of "the true God", it also takes His name in vain too, for that matter! There's no escaping that this is the Law; just as much as the other commandments he says aren't "necessary"!

So what he's done is turn the New Testament's instructions on "believing" in order to be saved into salvation by keeping the first two or three commandments of the Law only. It is still salvation by Law, as much as Lordshippers and other religions placing salvation in keeping other points of the Law (under the banner of "repentance". And as we plainly see here, it's ultimately, in practice just as impossible to measure up to the strict standards, as it is with any other part of the Law).

"To be saved one must simply renounce their sins before God, not necessarily stop committing them. Some people may choose to stop doing certain sins upon being saved, while others may not be ready to break off lifelong sinful bad habits of shacking up (fornication), using illegal drugs or watching porno. Certainly, no one can stop all their sins, for only Jesus Christ is sinless (Hebrews 4:15). Salvation is just the beginning of a new life in Jesus Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:17; 1st Peter 2:2). The process of repentance continues throughout one's life, although salvation itself is NOT a process."

Correct, but this can still lead to a judgment if the person doesn't show this "repentance"; the "evidence" of salvation, after a time. Or if they don't "renounce" certain things as sin? Surely, all of the "wicked" in the world he condemns aren't saved, right? But he's judging by outward behavior, just like the Lordshippers.
The people he's condemning within the Church have just as much scriptural proof-texting for their views, and they condemn his view as being the same as all of these "sinners" in secular society, most of whom are not "atheists" or other religions, but would nod to the name of Jesus Christ, and some even plead "grace". "Easy-believism" is what they call it, and it is actually what they blame for all the sin in the land. (That one would even speak in terms of "easy" right there should show that effort in salvation is being implied!)
On his page on "righteousness", he says "Repentance is a change of mind, not a change of life", but people will argue that a changed life is the evidence of a changed mind, and what he says can go along with that. Again, where do you draw the line?

Stewart goes on to point out out that all of this "lordship" teaching; both Chick and MacArthur's movement alike, are coming out of California. He then starts talking about the opposite extremes in the state, such as the homosexuality, and even takes a jab at "Jewish owned and controlled" Hollywood, with a link to a separate article blaming Jews for the evils of television. The conclusion is that "anything coming out of California needs to be taken with a grain of salt carefully".
I would think if there is any connection, it's because Lordshipism is a reaction against the decadence of pop culture, which is heavily centered in California; in addition to the homosexual progressiveness there. What else would a movement as legalistic as Lordshipism have to do with the diametric opposite secular culture? One is perhaps an overreaction to the other.
But even while Chick may sound a bit like the Lordshippers on repentance, he really should not be lumped into their camp like that. For one, he is not Calvinist. Chick, as a KJVO, is really more of the same brand of "Bible Belt" fundamentalism as Stewart; only he puts more emphasis on repentance. (And the latter also apparently holds a more openly antisemitic view, in contrast to the outward Zionism of Chick. Chick also always seemed to me almost out of place in the West coast; but again, he probably felt that state needed his "witness").

Mandatory repentance was preached heavily in the past. Spurgeon is a major influence, but then he cites Spurgeon as denying "perfection" in "repentance" as a "condition". Still, Spurgeon's preaching of Hell at Christian congregations, which both the Lordshippers and fundamentalists alike are inspired by, still in practice assumes a person's salvation, or even a likely number of people "truly saved", based on behavior, based on the "evidence" claim.

Truth is, people's view of "the truth" today is an amalgam of different sources: "Historic Christianity" (which is what was given to us by Catholicism, and then we modified it in church organization and doctrine); and in American Protestant "orthodoxy", it is a mix of Reformed and Wesleyan doctrine, with the two leading conservative denominations being some form of Baptist or Methodist (or related) church.

The ONLY resolution for all of this confusion is an OVERLAP of covenants in the New Testament, where the Gospel (unconditional grace) is introduced, but the people are still partly under the Law, and had to obey the commands, from believing the right things about God (including the Gospel itself), to the standard moral behaviors.
Once the system of Law (the Temple) was removed, then the Plan was totally finished, and God would no longer have a special "called out" body of "believers" to hold and guard the truth, to dispense to others in order to be "saved". That's why that body ceased to be divinely guided, and then turned itself into an institution of control, which then spiraled out of control when it grew too big and corrupt to be manageable, and successive leaders would break away seeking to "restore" truth, and now we have all these different groups, many claiming to have the 100% truth, and the others taking the opposite path of watering things down to try to be more "inclusive" or "united".

To reiterate from the first page:

Comprehensive Grace does not deny sin, the Cross or the "cost" of Grace (like standard "universalism").
It does not teach that sin is "OK" now, because it will go "unpunished". (The motivation for obedience is love).
It does not teach man is saved because he is basically "good", or "a loving God wouldn't condemn man"
It is purely by GRACE, just like conventional theology teaches!

It in fact, more than the traditional doctrines, captures the full significance of sin, grace and the Cross!
We cannot save ourselves! Christ took the penalty of man's sin! Let's not add to this!