Continue in the Grace of God

cycling uphill

In the New Testament we are exhorted to continue in God’s kindness (Romans 11:22), continue in the faith (Colossians 1:23), continue in the teaching of Christ (2 John 1:9), and continue in what we have learned and been convinced of (2 Tim 3:14). In short, we are to continue in the grace of God: When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. (Act 13:43) In the mind of the secure believer, these are healthy exhortations that lead us in the path of life. But … [Read more...]

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager (Luke 16:1–8)

Unjust Steward

The strangest parable Jesus ever told was about a man who cheats on his boss and is then praised for doing so (see Luke 16:1–8). The parable of the shrewd manager (or the unjust steward) is puzzling. What is Jesus trying to tell us? That it’s okay to cook the books, diddle the figures, and engage in white-collar crime? No, Jesus isn’t encouraging dishonesty. He’s telling us how to plan for the future: And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. (Luke 16:9, NKJV) The punchline of the parable is “make … [Read more...]

Consider the Severity of God (Romans 11:22)

two-faced

Whenever I tell people about God’s goodness, I can just about guarantee that someone will call for balance and say I should also preach on God’s severity. Then they will quote this verse: Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. (Rom 11:22, NKJV) “You see, God is kind, but he’s also severe, so watch yourself! God has given you a chance to repent, but now you have to prove you were worth it by getting your act together, otherwise it’s the chop for … [Read more...]

Myth 8: Hyper-Grace Preachers Disregard the Words of Jesus

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“Hyper-grace preachers say the words of Jesus are not for us. They have no authority and are irrelevant to the modern church.” One of the strangest claims made against hyper-grace preachers is that we are dismissive of the pre-cross teachings of Jesus. In point of fact, hyper-grace preachers are the only ones taking Jesus seriously. When Jesus is preaching law, we say that’s authentic law, not to be taken lightly. And when Jesus is revealing grace, we bow in awestruck gratitude. We would not dare re-interpret his words with qualifiers and caveats. In contrast, those who preach a … [Read more...]

Conditional Acceptance? (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)

grubby kid

“God loves you just as you are and not as you should be.” That’s the gospel of grace in one sentence! Manmade religion says you have to clean yourself up before you approach the Lord, but grace shouts, “Come as you are!” So how do we explain this passage which seems to say something different: Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. (2 Cor 6:17-18) This sounds like conditional acceptance, as though we have to purify ourselves before … [Read more...]

“A.D. 30” by Ted Dekker

AD30

A few years ago someone recommended I read a novel by Ted Dekker. I forget which one it was but I couldn’t finish it. Then a month ago someone suggested I read his latest book, AD 30, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s a masterpiece! AD 30 is exactly the sort of book I wish I was good enough to write. It’s an historical novel that follows the trials and travels of an outcast woman as she seeks to save the very people who have rejected her. It’s a gutsy book because one of the characters in it is Jesus, or Yeshua in this story, and anytime you write fiction about the Lord you run a risk of … [Read more...]

Judged by the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:31-32)

fatal_communion

Are you good enough to take communion? To me, this is an absurd question. It is exactly like asking whether you are good enough to hear the gospel. But to many it is not an absurd question. It is a serious question because a wrong answer could make you sick and kill you! From whence comes this ridiculous notion? It comes from misunderstanding Paul’s instructions about communion (see 1 Cor. 11). If you’ve ever done communion in church, you may have heard that you need to examine yourself for sin and that if you don’t you could get sick and die. This is utter nonsense, as I explain … [Read more...]

Believing in Vain (1 Corinthians 15:2)

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“How do I know if my belief in Christ is in vain?” When a reader asked me this question recently, she was referring to Paul’s warning here: Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (1 Cor 15:1-2) What you look through determines what you see. Read this scripture through works lenses and you will see an exhortation to “hold fast or die!” The message you get will be, “I’ve got to believe and … [Read more...]

Grace Classics – Out Today

Grace Classics for website

There are hundreds of grace-based articles here on E2R. So many to choose from. If you’re new to grace, where do you start? Right here… My new book, Grace Classics, is officially released today. It is a collection of the very best articles from E2R along with reflections and stories about how each was conceived and received. Here’s an excerpt: Christ offers us an unfair exchange; our life for his. God favors us with this exchange. We give him our sinful selves and get everything in return. A law mindset looks at what we give up (nothing you could keep), but a grace mindset rejoices at … [Read more...]

Happy Fifth Birthday (And get a free book!)

Number 5

Escape to Reality is five years old today. If E2R were a child, it would be starting school. How time flies when you’re growing in grace! Five years ago E2R had no articles, no subscribers, no comments, no archives, no shares, no nothing. Now the website has 400+ articles on 700+ scriptures that have attracted 15,000+ comments from readers in 200+ countries. That’s a lot of plusses! I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have visited E2R in the past five years. Whether you’re an occasional reader or a subscriber, thanks for stopping by. I trust it has been as rewarding … [Read more...]

Some Honest Answers for Michael Brown

Brown and Prince

CharismaNews has just published an article entitled “Some honest questions for Joseph Prince.” In it Michael Brown puts 11 questions to “Pastor Prince and those who embrace the modern grace message.” Unlike Pastor Prince, I’m not a busy man. I don’t have to preach four or five times this Sunday. So I have taken it upon myself to respond to these questions on behalf of all who embrace the gospel of grace. Regular readers will know that this is not the first time I have responded to something Michael Brown has written against the grace message. “Paul, why do you keep taking the bait?” Because … [Read more...]

Jesus and Divorce

Second Marriage

In the past year I’ve had a couple of friends go through divorce and each time it has torn our hearts. I won’t go into details, but what has struck me is how some in the church have responded to these divorces. Let’s just say there has been an aroma and it has not been the fragrance of Jesus. Divorce seems to bring out the ugly in some people. In a recent post I asked the question “Can divorced people remarry?” By the grace of God they can! (Whether one should remarry is a separate question.) While some may wag their fingers in judgment, the message I want divorced people to hear is … [Read more...]