Myth 1: Hyper-Grace Preachers are Against Repentance

repentance bear

“Hyper-grace preachers say there’s no need for repentance. They dismiss repentance as unbelief.” Actually, hyper-grace preachers are for repentance, not against it. We say things like “repentance is essential” and “repentance is to be our lifestyle.” We are for repentance, for without it no one can receive the grace of God. But what is repentance? Repentance is one of those words that means different things to different people. Those with a performance-oriented mindset typically interpret repentance as turning from sin. It’s something you do (turn) as a result of something you’ve done … [Read more...]

An Open Letter to Hot-Blooded Young Men

Leichenstein_in-the-car

Grace attracts sinners. Since I am someone who preaches radical grace, I get a lot of emails and Facebook messages from sinning Christians. Very few are looking for help in overcoming sin; almost all of them want an assurance that God will continue to love them despite their bad behavior. More often than not, these messages come from young men who are living as though they were married, even though they are not. Since I grow weary of being an an agony aunt for men who should know better, this post is addressed to all of you who are wrestling with sin, but particularly to hot-blooded young … [Read more...]

Why Do People Need to Receive the Gift of Forgiveness if the Whole World is Already Forgiven?

Gift_of_forgiveness

A friend of mine recently asked me some questions about forgiveness. If God forgave everyone at the cross, what use will sinners have for Jesus? Why will they care about the good news if there is no bad news? And aren’t we giving sinners a false sense of all-is-well by saying “all are forgiven”? His concern was that if we go around proclaiming forgiveness as a done deal, as I have done, some sinners are going to respond with “Meh.” They will not be motivated to do anything. That is certainly a possibility. Tell a sinner he’s forgiven - that the grace of God has been revealed at the cross - … [Read more...]

A New Covenant Picture of Repentance

new_covenant_repentance

Two classic signs of covenant confusion are: (1) you interpret repentance as turning from sin and (2) you think repenting will get God to forgive you. As I have explained elsewhere, God does not need your permission or even your repentance to forgive you. He forgave you before you were born in accordance with the riches of His grace (Eph 1:7). All well and good. But what about the other point? Shouldn’t we turn from sin when we come to Jesus? You would certainly think so judging by the popularity of this verse: If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and … [Read more...]

3 Reasons Why I Don’t Preach on Repentance (“Turn from Sin”)

repentance

Religious people often complain that we grace preachers don’t emphasize repentance sufficiently. It’s true. I hardly emphasize it at all. But then neither did the Apostle John. You’d think if salvation hinged on our repentance then it would be in the gospels but John says nothing about it. Not one word. Neither does he mention repentance in any of his three letters. I guess John must’ve been a grace preacher. Here’s something that will fry your mind: Repentance is one of the most important things you’ll ever do but it's not worth an entire sermon. How can you say such heresy Paul? I’ll … [Read more...]

Why Repentance is like Football

repentance

What comes to mind when you hear the word “football”? Your answer to that question says a lot about where you come from. If you’re a fan of football and you travel the world you’ll often have conversations like this:“So you like footy. Who’s your favorite team?” “Collingwood.” “Never heard of them. Do they play in the Bundesliga?” “The Bundes-what-now?”It’s a bit like that with the word “repentance.” Here on E2R there has been a lot of discussion lately regarding the purpose of repentance. Much of that discussion is like the conversation above. We’re all fans of repentance but we seem to be … [Read more...]

What Happens to Christians Who Commit Suicide?

suicide

What do you say to the parents of a Christian teenager who has just killed himself? I faced this situation several years ago and, I have tell you, it’s not easy. Premature death is hard to handle at any time but suicide leaves loved ones bewildered at its senselessness. It seems the subject of suicide is one of those sensitive issues that Christians don’t like to talk about. That’s probably because most of us don’t have anything good to say! Ask a believer, “What happens to Christians who kill themselves?” and you’ll likely get one of the following responses: 1.    They go to hell because … [Read more...]

Rahab’s Faith

Rahab waits for salvation

Last Sunday, near the end of the service, about ten people responded to the invitation to give their lives to Jesus. Of course I was as shocked as you are. I thought, “Who let all these heathen sinners in the building? Don’t they know that church is just for Christians?!” Of course I didn’t think that! Yet that is exactly how some people perceive the churches of the New Testament – exclusive clubs for Christians only. Some seem to think that the early churches all had halos around them. But the Bible tells us that the early churches attracted all sorts of people, including legalists, … [Read more...]

Laodicea, Part 6: Behold, I stand at the door (Rev 3:20)

romantic knocking on door

Why did Jesus send a message to the Laodiceans telling them they were in danger of being spewed out? What was his motive? This is an easy question. Why does Jesus do anything for us? Because he loves us. Perhaps the Laodiceans were sitting there on Sunday morning listening in terror as their letter was being read out and wondering, “Why is Jesus rebuking us?” Anticipating this, Jesus provides the answer: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline” (v.19). He rebuked the sinning Laodiceans because he loved them. True, in their godless state they’re wretched and pitiful. But red and yellow, … [Read more...]

Laodicea, Part 5: Be Earnest and Repent (Rev 3:19)

On_Fire_For_Jesus

The Laodiceans were warned by Jesus that they were on the verge of being rejected. Why? Because they were neither hot nor cold. But as we have seen, this is not about being apathetic (see Part 1 of this series). In fact, the Laodiceans were probably as zealous as Pharisees (see Part 2). They were so caught up in their religious performance that they hadn’t noticed that Jesus was not with them. The astonishing thing is that most of the church was probably unsaved (see Part 3). They may have been a church in name but their deeds said otherwise. The Laodiceans thought they were hot stuff. They … [Read more...]

Holding Fast in Thyatira: The Seductress versus the Savior (Rev 2:18-29)

Can you imagine what it must be like to have God visit your church and His eyes are blazing like fire? Look at how Jesus described Himself to the church at Thyatira: "These are the words of the Son of God, who has eyes that flash like a flame of fire, and whose feet glow like bright and burnished and white-hot bronze." (Rev 2:18, AMP) Before Thyatira got a message, they got a revelation of Jesus. It was a picture designed to awe saints and terrify sinners. And this was exactly what the folk in Thyatira needed to see. The Problem Thyatira is known to us as a church in compromise. The … [Read more...]

Incomplete Deeds: The Zombie Church of Sardis (Rev 3:1-6)

What a wonderful thing for a church to get a letter from Jesus! The seven churches of Revelations 1-3 were a real mixed bag with some getting rebukes and others encouragement, but all were blessed. Even the churches that were mucking around with the things of God were blessed because they were being warned. They were being given a chance to repent. These letters say as much about the mercy and goodness of God as they do the badness of certain people. When we read these letters it is essential that we ask two questions: What is Jesus saying in light of the finished work of the cross? And who … [Read more...]