I believe a part of the latter rain mentioned in Joel 2:23 is the gospel of pure GRACE being restored to the Body of Christ. The predominant teaching in most churches today is a “mixture” of GRACE (based on the finished work of Christ) and WORKS (based on the Old Covenant law). However, the Bible clearly tells us that anyone who is under the law is cursed (Galatians 3:10); that no one is justified by the law (Galatians 3:11); the law is not of faith (Galatians 3:12); and that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13). We are now dead to the law and married to Christ (Romans 7:4)
For by GRACE are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). There is absolutely no way anyone can be saved by their own merits. God gave the law to show man the futility of trying to earn his own salvation through keeping the law (works). We’re told that if you offend in one point of the law, then you are guilty of ALL the law (James 2:10). Paul states that the letter (law) kills (2 Corinthians 3:6); and the ten commandments, the only part of the law written on stone, are called the ministration of death (2 Corinthians 3:7)…. but, the Spirit gives life! We have whole movements trying to get the Ten Commandments back into our schools and work places, but they are part of the LAW and the strength of sin is the LAW (1 Corinthians 15:56). We should be trying to get John 3:16 back into our schools and work environments instead.
Jesus said in Mark 2, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the bottles destroyed; but new wine is to be put in new (fresh) wineskins.” The “old wine” is the law (works) which Jesus came to fulfil (Mark 5:17) and the “new wine” is GRACE! He is telling us that you cannot mix GRACE and LAW!
If someone believes God will love them more, be more pleased with them, bless them more, or be more righteous in His eyes by praying a certain amount of time each day, reading a certain number of chapters in the Bible, or performing more good works, then they are believing in their own merits and what THEY can do and not in the GRACE of God. In other words, they have come back under the law. The LAW says, You Shall….You Shall….You Shall. Under GRACE God says, I Will….I Will….I Will.
Romans 3:20, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. ” We are justified by faith in Jesus Christ alone (Romans 3:22). “Therefore, it is of faith that it might be by GRACE……. (Romans 4:16).
We are saved by faith alone in Christ….He has become our righteousness, our holiness, our sanctification, and our redemption. That is GRACE!