The Testing of Your Faith

Testing faith

What goes through your mind when you see men in orange jumpsuits waiting to be killed for their faith in Jesus? Do you think, “I could die for Jesus,” or “Thank God that’s not me”? The earliest Christians faced the lions of the Roman circus and persecution remains a fact of life many Christians today. But most of us are’t being threatened with torture and martyrdom. No one’s holding a knife to our throats and saying, “Renounce Jesus or die.” But what if they were? Could you go through with it? I honestly don't know the answer to that question since I've never been in that situation. … [Read more...]

The Lord’s Prayer

Prayed hard

There’s a myth that we who preach grace dismiss everything Jesus said before the cross. According to the myth, we disregard the red letters of the Bible as law for to those under law. Nothing could be further from the truth! What sort of followers of Christ would we be if we ignored what Jesus said? Take the Lord’s Prayer for instance. It’s one of the greatest prayers in the Bible: This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,” (Matt 6:9) Jesus doesn’t teach us to pray, “Almighty God and Judge of the Living and the Dead,” but “our Father.” God is our … [Read more...]

Sowing, Reaping and the Golden Rule

karma v grace

From the beginning of time there have been two worldviews, two trees, and two ways live. One is karma (you reap what you sow), and the other is grace (you reap what someone else has sown). This world runs on karma: Do good, get good. Do bad, get bad. But the kingdom of God runs on grace: God is good to you. Period! The old law-keeping covenant ran on karma: Obey and you’ll be blessed. Disobey and you’ll be cursed. But the new covenant runs on grace: You’re blessed because Christ obeyed. Karma vs grace Karma is about retribution and return on investment, but grace is about … [Read more...]

Did Jesus Put Price tags on Forgiveness? (Matthew 6:14-15)

Mongrel

The gospel that Jesus revealed declares that God loves you like a father, he holds nothing against you, and he longs for his sons and daughters to come home. It’s the good news an orphaned world desperately needs to hear. So why did Jesus say this: For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matt 6:14-15) This sounds like bad news, as though you must earn God’s forgiveness through works of forgiveness. How are we to read these words? I’m going to … [Read more...]

Win Ten Signed Copies of Paul’s New Book!

Vol4

This competition has now closed and the winners have been notified. Thanks to everyone who entered. In two months my new book Grace Remix will be released. This is the fourth and final instalment in my Greatest Hits series and it’s the best one so far. Well, it’s definitely in the top four. I’ve got TEN signed copies of Grace Remix to give away now! I want to give these books to people who’ve read at least one of the other Greatest Hits books. So if you enjoyed Grace Disco, Grace Classics, or Grace Party, you could be among the first in the world to get your hands on the new … [Read more...]

Are You Lukewarm?

Inigo

Here’s a favorite question of some preachers: “Are you a lukewarm believer?” You’d better have a good answer because if you’re not sure – “Am I lukewarm?” – Jesus may spew you out of his mouth. What does that mean? He’ll reject you, you apathetic Christian! You may think you’re saved, but if you’re not on fire for God, you’ll end up in the fire! What diabolical nonsense. First, you are a part of Christ’s body and Jesus doesn’t spew out body parts. Ever vomited up a kidney? A toe? It’s a ridiculous notion, yet this is exactly what the fearmongers say will happen! Second, being lukewarm … [Read more...]

An Open Letter to Pastors from the Author of The Hyper-Grace Gospel

THG_medal

Dear Pastor, Over the past couple of years, much has been said about the so-called hyper-grace gospel and the effect this message is having on the church. Apparently the hyper-grace gospel is the deception Jude warned about. According to some it’s a destructive message preached by godless men. Here are some of the claims made against this message and those who preach it: One national broadcaster says hyper-grace preachers dismiss the words of Jesus and are opposed to God’s law. An influential evangelist says hyper-grace preachers will be responsible for the spiritual death of … [Read more...]

Is Forgiveness like a Debit Card?

Forgiveness debit card

Are you completely forgiven or partly forgiven? It’s a simple question that reveals whether you appreciate all Christ did for you on the cross. Recently I heard a critic of the grace message say two contradictory statements: Christ paid for your complete redemption (amen!) but you are not completely forgiven (huh?). That’s like saying you’re saved, but not really. Or you’re holy, but sanctification is progressive. It’s the sort of mixed-up message you get from a mixed-up gospel. Forgiveness like a debit card? Some say that forgiveness is like a debit card. When Christ died he made a … [Read more...]

The Parable of the Dead Rich Man

rich dead man

Jesus told stories to nudge people toward receptive insight. So why did he tell the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)? According to some, it was so that we might learn about the fiery torments of the dead. However, as we saw in the last post, this parable should not be read as the Wikipedia entry for hell. It doesn’t even mention hell. So what’s going on here? What is the message Jesus is trying to convey? Short version: The blessings of God, which Israel had exclusively enjoyed, are for everyone. Who do the characters represent? In this story there are three … [Read more...]

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)

rich man in hell

In Luke 15 and 16, Jesus tells five parables in a row. The first three are about lost things; a sheep, a coin, and a son. The last two are about lost lives; a shrewd manager loses his livelihood and a rich man loses his life. 1. Story of the lost sheep (Luke 15:4-7) 2. Story of the lost son (Luke 15:8-10) 3. Story of the lost coin (Luke 15:11-32) 4. Story of the lost job (Luke 16:1-13) 5. Story of the lost life (Luke 16:19-31) I hope you know these parables are stories, not documentaries. They’re illustrative, not descriptive. Yet many people, including respected Bible teachers, consider … [Read more...]

No Liars in Heaven

Butterfly

With our new identity securely grounded in our union with Christ, we can begin to understand why the Bible draws big fat lines between who we are and who we used to be: Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9–10) This sounds like God hates slanderers and swindlers. He doesn’t. He loves slanderers and swindlers! When Jesus walked … [Read more...]

Is Humanity Righteous? (Romans 5:18-19)

briefcase

If I gave you a million dollars, how would you react? If you were poor, you’d be thrilled. You’d thank me and tell all your friends how awesome I am. But if you were Bill Gates you might say, “Meh. Add it to the pile.” How you react to a gift reflects your need for that gift. Which is why I am dismayed by the teaching that says humanity is justified and righteous. This is a central claim of inclusionism: “All humans are justified through the faith of Christ… All people, past, present and future, are justified already.” In contrast, the Bible declares that the righteousness you and I both … [Read more...]