Labor to Enter His Rest (Hebrews 4:11)

Migrant-Mother-Dorothea-Lange

The other day a strange man approached a young girl and offered her candy if she would get in his car. Thankfully, the girl knew all about stranger danger and quickly walked to a shop where she was safe. I know you’ve heard this sort of story before but this was different for us because it happened on the street where we live and the girl was a classmate of one of my daughters. She was walking home when it happened so you can guess what every parent in our school is now thinking. That could’ve been my little girl! I mention this story because a few years ago this incident would’ve sent … [Read more...]

How Do We Read the Commands of the New Testament?

House Rules

How should we read the commands of the New Testament? A legalist will insist we read them as commands that must be obeyed. After all, didn’t Jesus say, “If you love me, you will obey my commands?” He did, but he wasn’t preaching law-based obedience. He was saying obedience is a fruit, not a root, of a healthy, loving relationship. Live by the law – any law – and you fall from grace. You set aside the cross and trample the Son of God underfoot. It makes no difference whether you keep the law to be saved, sanctified, or sanctimonious. Being faithful to the law is being unfaithful to Jesus. … [Read more...]

Grace Disco – Out Today!

Grace Disco_med

In a couple of months Escape to Reality will be five years old. Five years isn’t a long time, but my goodness, a lot of water has gone under that bridge. Truly grace is a fast-flowing river that will take you a long way in a short time. Here’s a comment I received from a kind reader: “I have learned more truth in less than one month following E2R than I have learned in 21 years of religion.” Does this mean I am the world’s greatest teacher? Nope. But Jesus is the Truth I have written about in every article here on E2R. Indeed, he is the Reality in E2R. (Incidentally, I have a theory that … [Read more...]

Keep Plowing or Die! (Luke 9:62)

cow_plow

Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62) Is Jesus calling you to a life of unswerving service? Is he saying, “You’re here to work and work hard”? Well if he is, then he’s contradicting what he says here: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28) See the problem? In one verse Jesus exhorts us to “Plow” and in another he says “Rest.” Plowing is hard, back-breaking work. You can’t plow and rest at the same time, so which is it? “It’s both,” says the mixed-up … [Read more...]

Is it Wrong to Ask God for Forgiveness?

forgiveness

“Beware the grace Pharisees who jump on you if you dare to ask God for forgiveness. They will say you’re operating in unbelief and legalism.” This claim is sometimes made against those who preach grace. Because we say God has forgiven all your sins, apparently it’s wrong to ask him to forgive you. Apparently asking God to give what he has already provided is an insulting sin. But I don’t buy it. It’s true that God has forgiven you, but if asking helps you to receive, then by all means ask! There is nothing wrong in coming to the throne of grace in your hour of need to receive mercy … [Read more...]

What Pleases the Lord?

boy scout

Scripture exhorts us to “find out what pleases the Lord” (Eph 5:10). Do you know what pleases the Lord? You do! You are his dearly-loved child and your heavenly Father is thrilled to bits with you. You need to know this otherwise you will spend your life trying to earn what you already have. You’ll fall prey to those who say, “You need to improve yourself to please the Lord.” Or “You need to clean yourself up before God will be pleased with you.” Such messages will distract you from God’s grace. They will draw your attention to your sin instead of his Son. They will cause you to fall from … [Read more...]

What is Godly Sorrow?

tears

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance…” (2 Cor 7:10). What is godly sorrow? Apparently it’s when the Holy Spirit makes you sorry for your sin. “God grieves over you, you sorry excuse for a Christian. You have become an enemy of God!” There are some who insist you must weep and wail when you repent. “You need to show some godly sorrow,” they insist. “Repentance must be marked by regret, tears, and grief-stricken anguish.” In other words, if you don’t weep, your repentance isn’t genuine. Spurgeon had a different view: A curious idea men have of what repentance is! Many fancy that so … [Read more...]

How Does the Holy Spirit Convict Us?

blinded by light

“Through the law,” says the mixed-grace preacher. “It is by God’s law that we are convicted. When you sin, the Holy Spirit will remind you of God’s holy commands and show you the way to go.” The Bible says you are not under law, but grace. But if we get rid of the law, how will we know how to please the Lord? How will the Holy Spirit set us on the straight and narrow? Or to use a recent example I read on Charisma News, how will we know it’s a bad idea to steal from Walmart? The mixed-grace preacher says the law shows us the way of life. Yet the hyper-grace preacher Paul said the law … [Read more...]

Myth 2: Hyper-Grace Preachers are Against Confession

confession-youfirst

“Hyper-grace preachers say it’s wrong to confess sins. They say confession is a form of unbelief.” Actually, every hyper-grace preacher believes in the power of confession. We say things like, “confession is good for you,” and “confession is healthy.” But what is confession? Like the word repentance, confession is a word that has been mangled in the machinery of manmade religion. Instead of bringing healing to the hurting and life to the dead, confession is seen as the cost of admission into the house of grace. “You wanna be clean? Then ‘fess up you miserable sinner! Tell God your dirty … [Read more...]

If We’re Holy, Why Does God Call Us to Be Holy?

be holy

Here's a question grace preachers hear a lot: “If we are already holy, then why does God call us to be holy?” Answer: He’s calling us to be who we truly are. He is saying, “You are my sanctified children. Act like it. Be who I made you to be.” As D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said: Holiness is not something we are called upon to do in order that we may become something; it is something we are to do because of what we already are… “Paul, I’m still confused. It seems there are a lot of scriptures exhorting us to become holy. How do we reconcile those with other scriptures that say that we are … [Read more...]

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...]

What about Those Who Never Hear the Gospel?

Palestinian kids

Everybody responds to God’s love and grace, one way or another. But what about those who die before they get a chance to respond? To pick an extreme example, what about those Palestinian children who perished last week and who presumably never heard the gospel, never heard that God loves them, and never heard about Jesus? What about Israeli children who have been killed by suicide bombers? And what about the children caught up in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan? What happens to them? In my last post I asked the question, “What happens to babies who die?” It should be a … [Read more...]