“Confronting the Error of Hyper-Grace” – a response to Michael Brown

In a recent CharismaNews article, Dr. Michael Brown confronts what he calls the “dangerous error” of the hyper-grace movement. He describes the foundational doctrines of this movement as follows; (1) we have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus, (2) all our sins have been forgiven, (3) the Holy Spirit never convicts believers of sin, and (4) we need never repent for nor confess our sins.

Although I would qualify the last point, Dr. Brown has done a fair job summarizing the gospel that we in the grace movement proclaim. (Some movement – it’s 2000 years old!) Those who are united with Christ are just as holy and righteous as he is (1 Cor 1:30); God dealt with our sins once and for all on the cross (Heb 10:12); and consequently the Holy Spirit remembers our sins no more (Heb 10:17).

As for repentance and confession, the Bible tells us that these words mean different things to different people. Repentance in the old covenant meant turning from sin but repentance in the new means turning to God. As the Pharisees showed, you can turn from sin until you’re dizzy but it won’t make you righteous. However, you cannot turn to God without leaving your old life behind.

ImperfectionsSimilarly, confession under the old covenant meant reviewing one’s sins, but confession in the new means agreeing with God. It’s a subtle difference with profound consequences. Reviewing your sins in the vain hope of earning forgiveness or fellowship will ultimately leave you guilty and sin-conscious. This sort of confessing-to-be-forgiven is a faithless work of the flesh. In contrast, healthy confession will always leave you focused on Jesus and his finished work.

Where Dr. Brown takes issue with the grace movement is in the claim that “when God looks at us, he loves what he sees.” Dr. Brown provides examples from scripture that seem to challenge this idea. Did Jesus love what he saw in the Revelation churches? Did Paul love what he saw in the Galatians? Obviously not for Jesus and Paul both rebuked what they saw.

The punch-line of Dr. Brown’s message is that we must purify ourselves from everything that contaminates. He concludes by describing self-purification and the pursuit of holiness as our “beautiful, lofty calling.”

There is a way that seems right to man…

I would argue that Dr. Brown’s conclusion leads to exactly the same sort of self-reliance that caused Jesus to get nauseous over the Laodiceans. It promotes the same sort of performance-based Christianity that caused the Ephesians to forget their first love and the Galatians to fall from grace.

Dr. Brown’s concerns regarding sin’s destructiveness are on the money. But the gospel Jesus revealed and Paul preached is first and foremost a declaration of God’s love. The gospel is the unqualified announcement that God loves us and will do whatever it takes to get us back, even if it means dying on a cross.

Dr. Brown surely knows this for the word “love” appears 13 times in his short article. But where Dr. Brown and many Christians get confused, is what we must do in response. Evidently, Dr. Brown thinks we must turn from sin. (The word “sin” appears 14 times in his article.) But this is old-covenant thinking. It is selling the love of God for the price of a little old fashioned repentance. It is not the gospel of unmerited grace.

One of the most stunning claims in the Bible comes from Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” If God loved us while we were still sinners, he surely loves us now. We don’t repent and confess or do anything to merit God’s love but because we are loved. The love of God is the foundation of all we are and do.

This is why Jesus rebuked the Ephesians – not because they weren’t loving God enough, but because they had left their primary love. Like many Christians today they had got so caught up doing things for God that they forgot to do the most important thing of all, which is to receive and remain in their Father’s love.

“Remember the height from which you have fallen,” said Jesus. “Repent, and do what you did at first.” What had they done at first? Well what did you do when you first came to Christ? You probably did nothing other than receive his love. “Do that,” says Jesus. “Stay in the high place of my love and you won’t fall back into the old ways of trying to earn what I have freely given you.”

Dr. Brown asks an important question: “Does God always love what he sees when he looks at his people?” According to him, the answer is no. God doesn’t like what he sees when he looks at us. Our sins grieve him. But here’s the thing: we are not our sins.

The most important question

Defining people in terms of their behavior is old-covenant thinking. It is not how God relates to us. Children are defined by their parents. In his article Dr. Brown asks no less than 20 questions but he never asks the most important question of all: Who’s your Daddy? This is the question Jesus came to answer.

Want to know what your heavenly Father is like? Look to Jesus. Jesus is exactly like his Father (John 10:30). This is why we are told again and again to fix our eyes on Jesus.

And this is why I have a problem with any message that distracts us from Christ, even a religious message that frets over sin. You simply cannot focus on yourself and Jesus at the same time. You cannot attend to your shortcomings and behold his glorious perfections simultaneously. It’s one or the other. It’s you or him. Who are you going to trust?

Our calling is not to try and purify ourselves in the vain hope we might become pleasing and acceptable to God. Trust me – your best efforts will never be good enough.

Rather, our beautiful and lofty calling is to, “Be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph 5:1).  We don’t imitate God to become his children, but because we are his children, and dearly-loved.

*Special note: For those looking for a more detailed response to Dr. Brown’s scriptural examples, check out the articles I have written on Jesus’ warnings to the churches in Ephesus, Sardis, and Laodicea. I have also written on what it means to be friends of the world and I have a forthcoming post on what it means to fall from grace. If you’re having trouble reconciling what I wrote above with what you have been taught, it will greatly help if you first understand what makes the new covenant new.

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122 Comments on “Confronting the Error of Hyper-Grace” – a response to Michael Brown

  1. Although I don’t deny that some of dr browns thoughts would concern me, of which I won’t go into (time) I do agree that its great 2 people from very different views points can discuss whilst being respectful to each other, which is often what is missing. What I have noticed with grace teaching is that there is a high number of people (me included) who have been under the works mentality, come past this, had an revelation of grace and have completely come away from the works/performance (if that’s the right word) mentality..and found such freedom…(not as a licence to sin) to live out their Christianity. I wonder if the same could be said but the other way round? .??

  2. Gracious teaching Paul!. Everything we Christians have is a gift of pure grace.The more I have realized who we are in Christ in the continuous unfolding of His love, plans and purposes, the greater the incentive to walk in the leading of the Holy Spirit. Following the Holy Spirit leads to purification and transformation which is never attained through self empowered effort…..

  3. I am of the impression that many who are alarmed at the prospect of Antinomianism (‘cheap’ Grace) are overlooking that fact that most ‘Grace Preachers’ are NOT telling their congregation that they can continue sinning. On the contrary, I have personally heard otherwise – and many times at that.

    On the whole, I have seen more good come out of Grace preaching than bad – though i know that this view is subjective. My guess is that it tends to be more impactful to those who come from a religious background and who are tired of hearing messages about how everything they do is bad and they need to repent about everything. It brings a sense of freedom to hear a message of Grace and that God loves them and doesn’t condemn them even though they’ve made a mistake. It makes you want to love Jesus more and try not to make mistakes – it is a response of love to a message of Love.

  4. At the end of the day, i hope we can all have a giggle about our differences of doctrine in heaven, because we are all time wasting. It is belief in him and knowing him that means we are saved, and if we continue to remain in him we all have nothing to worry about. Time is short, the rapture is near, we should be mobilising all law and grace believers together and preach the gospel and love the lost, and forget our differences, i am getting a bit tired of im right you are wrong nonsense and we can easily ignore the signs of the times and its importance

  5. Wow I really enjoyed this article. I’ve been looking forward for a discussion like this from ‘hyper-grace’ camp and other camp (I don’t know what to call that group). 🙂 I am proud to say that I belong to hyper-grace.:) Hyper means abounds so I guess the name is appropriate because the Scripture says, “Grace super-abounds!”

  6. It is simple. It is finished. Can you hear the relief here? I prayed for 30 years to be truly free as I understood my gospel to make me. I knew I was free the day I agreed with Jesus that his death on the cross was for my salvation. Then I listened to hours & years of teaching from the most wonderful men who helped me to “understand” my status as a Christian and its responsibilities. Well, after 30 years of weariness and trying hard I fell in with a group of amazing grace revelers here in a sleepy little coastal town and God exploded in my life. We hadn’t heard about Joseph Prince or Paul Ellis or Michael Brown but we had heard about the most magnificent man who ever lived, and not only that but we party with him every single day. We gaze at his splendour and glory. Oh yes, and we take his life with us everywhere we go and share it and people catch the ball of hope we throw them. Sin, oh yes you wanted to talk about sin? Wow, sorry but I don’t have the time now. I’m retired but the Holy Spirit has opened so many doors of wonderful work for him I’ve never been so busy sharing the love. Sin!!!!!! Come on, you can’t look at Jesus and thin of sin. Impossible.

  7. I was just wondering if Jesus was on earth today and he met me, what would be his first concern? Would he say some lofty things about theology? Or would he just be interested in me as a person? Would he first want to just show me love? Or would he want to insist on “grace” vs “holiness”?

    I think the issue is that we leave the most important things – love, mercy and justice…and we chase after vain theology. I pray God helps us to see the most important things especially around us, and give us the heart to reach out.

    • agree kene we worry too much about theology, and instead we should start to love each other more in the body of christ, (we never are going to agree on all things0 andwe should be fighting the principlities and powers and not each other

  8. Jerry Nendel // February 23, 2013 at 12:14 am //

    When Ryan Rufus taught in his book Extra Virgin Grace that mixing the old and the new causes dullness of hearing, it explains so much. No one is exempt, even a great preacher like Michael Brown. They are still partaking from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Gospel message is so simple. Because of Jesus’s work we are God’s children and have an inheritance. In the end our pedigree will carry the day. We will end up acting like who we truly are.

  9. Matthew 7″21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ” So just read your bible and do the will of the Father (follow Torah).Its clear that believing in Jesus,but not obeying His commandment is being a hypocrite christian.The true christian is the one who not only believes in Jesus,but obeys His commandments,wich is the true sighn,that he indeed believed in Christ.The Law keeps person of God to be righteous(normal),but not justified from his sins.What Paul meant about working salvation,is that people where trying to erase there sins by there works,but bible clearly says that only the blood of Christ can work salvation for us.Salvation from what,from Gods commandments?Ofcourse not,but from sins.So Gods commandments are still as reliable and required as it was in the times of old testament,but the blood of christ is what restores us back to God.And not only does Jesus forgive our sins,but He impowers us to OBEY His commandments.Jesus leads us to Law,and the Law leads us to Jesus.Jesus without the Law,and the Law without Jesus would mean death for us.Because if you say Jesus,but in every moment of your life be “darkness” to this world,how can the light of Jesus shine through you?But if His light does not shine through you then that would mean,that He wasnt in you from the beginning…So the law is like our food,but not the medicine from our deseases.

    • read galatians 2:16, 3:11 & 5:4…just for starters…

    • oh and Jesus is our food… He is the bread of life! when He was born, He was even laid in a manger…a place to put food in for “the sheep” 🙂

    • John Senior // February 24, 2013 at 5:29 am //

      vahagn … “So the law is like our food,but not the medicine from our deseases.”

      So, are you saying the Apostle Paul was wrong when, in 2 Corinthians 3 he declares that the foundation of the Law – explicitly the 10 commandments – are the ministry of Death and Condemnation. He also declares in Romans 8 that we are no longer subject to (meaning we don’t need to obey / follow) the Law of Sin and Death (which is described clearly in Romans 7 as being the Law). If there is no Law, then Sin is not imputed.

      I do NOT want to eat food that causes me death, so I won’t even touch the Law with a 10 foot pole. I would much rather live and be subject to the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.

      I find both Romans and Hebrews emphatic in the assertion that we, as believers, are no longer subject to or under the Law – ALL of it. We are DEAD to it.

    • the key point then is to know christ, not create a list of accomplishments for ourselves

  10. I so appreciate the respect and humility that was shown by Drs Ellis and Brown in their discussion.
    My one thought is that we can either be SON focussed it SIN focussed. The work on the cross is a finished one. Our sins have been removed, forgotten, cancelled and buried with Him and we ARE in this world as He IS.
    Seated at the right hand of the Father. If we constantly focus on our sin we will magnify its effects as it will be our focus. If we look at His Face and reflect on His Glory IN us, wont that be the produce displayed in our lives? It’s not about Paul, Dr Brown, Joseph Prince or John Crowder, it’s about JESUS in US!
    Thanks for your patience!

  11. Phillip Waite // February 23, 2013 at 1:37 am //

    I am dead to sin. I have a righteousness conscience. I feel free. Free from sin. That’s hyper grace. Thank you Jesus.

  12. I’ve written and re-written my response to all of this and I keep deleting it because I am lacking the cordiality of Paul & Michael. I grew up in legalism. I went to a legalistic college. I have lived the life of thanking and praising God for my salvation while working myself ragged to live the life expected of me. While from the pulpit and in my head, I was just doing what a Christian is supposed to do, my heart was troubled as to why it took so much to be “right with God”. Later when I asked questions and pointed out errors in what God says His love is versus what my older and “wiser” authorities said it was (of course based on the Bible and what they needed it to say to support their views), I became in their eyes “backslidden”…

    You know, serving God is great. Doing good works for Him is great. Doing it all with the realization that it is not required for a deeper love from Him or expected to maintain or prove our salvation, is truly understanding Jesus’ finished work and enjoying the freedom of being completely loved. When you have lived both sides and you’ve traveled the road of attempting worthiness, then come to understand true grace, nobody can convince you any differently. I see the difference. I feel the difference. I have been willing to view the new testament through the lens of Jesus and His finished work. Before, I viewed it through the eyes of legalism and was able to make it say what I needed it to say to support my legalistic views. I feel His love now in a way I never did before because of my pride in thinking I was making myself more desirable in His eyes. There’s nothing I did nor will ever do to make it any stronger. I have no “yeah, buts” Neither does grace. It is simple and difficult for our human minds to grasp, but it is truth.

    • Sallyann, thanks for sharing your excellent story. Unfortunately it exceeded the 250-word limit and I had to trim it. Do you know we have a page called Grace stories where you can tell your own story with no word limit? That would be an excellent place for you to put yours. Thanks again for taking the time.

      • I agree; that was an excellent story and I for one would love to read it in it’s entirety. Well written and heartfelt. Please consider submitting on that other page!

  13. This is truly a class act. Both Paul and Michael are carrying themselves in professional, Christ-honouring ways, and I’m glad to be part of this conversation.

    As a pastor since the mid-nineties, I likely would have preached and followed Dr. Brown’s teachings for many years, even though I had never heard of him until today. And I got tired. I left pastoring. I couldn’t live up to what I was preaching myself.I re-emerged a couple of years ago, and stumbled upon Paul’s message of grace. And I feel born again, again. I feel my message is so much healthier, and I struggle with sin less now. Kind of what Romans 6 says, actually. My whole emphasis is not on my flawed performance, but on Christ’s perfect performance.

    Anyone who thinks grace encourages sin does not understand biblical grace. Period. Read what Paul said in his article, “Is Grace a Licence to Sin?” And his “Open Letter to Hot-Blooded Young Men” is an amazing explanation of grace and sin.

    • Dear Pat Cook, Thank you for your testimony and confession of “not being able to do what you preached”. How refreshing! Please help me…I want to be a part of a local church in my small town, however since my Radical conversion last May, from works to trusting, I find it’s agony to sit under law preaching demanding me back to works to be holy. What is a girl to do? Pray for the pastor? Talk with him? (seems risky) Just leave? What do you suggest? Can you share anything that helped lead you to the Truth?

      • Gina,
        I also have the same experience 2 years back. I left that church even when I was there for over 10 years. I lost a lot of friends because they think I am now ‘something else’. Here what I did: 1. I talked to the Pastor and his wife. 2. I talked to the assistant pastor. Sadly, they would not listen. I ended up being part of the sermon. 😦 I realized that it was hard to share to someone when they are not ready. It was really painful. I do not wish that for anybody.

        So here is my unsolicited advice. Pray for your pastor. You may share to him (in love) some of the revelations that you have. You can lead your own Bible sharing group (don’t folks from your church). If we have the same Holy Spirit they will eventually see Grace.

  14. I would have to strongly side with Dr. Brown here. The rhetoric about “unmerited grace” etc is fundamentally confused, as it conflates merits with conditions. Continued faith no more “merits” eternal life than initial faith does. The idea that being in Christ makes us unconditionally righteous is quickly derailed by the Bible itself, which very clearly specifies that there are things that a saint could do that would cause them to fall to the point of perdition.

  15. I think the divide here is on the approach to sin that each “camp” takes to the issue of sin. One thinks the key is in a very intentional focus on not sinning. We go about building fences by seeking accountability partners and/or posting scripture verses to remind us not to sin, etc.. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t get to the root of the problem and doesn’t really give us victory over whatever the issue is. A fence just keeps things out…or in and while a fence may keep me from committing a particular sin, it doesn’t change my desire to commit that sin. Given the chance, we’d just do it again when the fence wasn’t around. All in all, this approach is an old covenant approach, which, as the Bible says, actually leads to more sin. The other problem is that it relies on self effort, rather than Christ’s power. This approach not only doesn’t change the heart, but actually leads to more and different sins as we try to figure out ways around the fence.

    The other camp says (and I would argue that Jesus, himself confirmed) that under the new covenant, the only real way to have victory over sin is by being Christ focused, and relying completely on him, the only one who has had complete victory over sin, to do the work in us.

    • So good Kevin! And yet people under law after reading this would still accuse us of preaching a license of sin?

  16. when God looks at us He loves what He sees… because He sees us as we truly are- perfectly cleansed and made righteous in His Beloved Son! we cant always see in ourselves what He sees, but trusting His perspective enables us to be who He says we are…
    Abram didn’t see himself as a father of many nations… but God did- and even changed his name to Abraham… reminding him when anyone called his name. Gideon didn’t see himself as a mighty warrior… but God did- and led him to the place where he became one.

    our sinful and faithless actions do grieve God… but that doesn’t change the way He sees us. when my kids make wrong choices, it grieves me, but it doesn’t change the way i see them… its the opposite actually- its because i see them not choosing to be who i know they really are that breaks my heart- and i’m enabled to have compassion for them and love them regardless of their actions…
    God knows us better than we know ourselves… He sees our ending from our beginning… it’s His perspective that’s the true reality… we’re limited by an earthly perspective- and yet, we have the mind of Christ which enables us to understand things the way God sees them… the question is, do you want to believe God’s perspective or not?

    i’m sure Mary never saw herself as the mother of the Messiah… but God did- and she believed Him. 😉

  17. In 2009 the Lord delivered me from a pornography addiction by opening up to me Rom. 6 & 7, showing me I was living under the law and trusting in my own ability to overcome sin. I haven’t fallen into the stuff since. I encountered so much power that it blew away the notion that “the finished work is so basic and obvious it couldn’t be the source of my struggle–after all, I totally agree with it!” In truth, I wasn’t truly resting in it. Praise God for His grace.

    This experience caused me to step back, reexamine and be open.

    That said, I haven’t been able to agree with *everything* I hear from the mouthpieces for Christ’s grace. Here are two main things:

    1) God doesn’t convict of sin.
    2) God is only pleased with what He sees.

    Hebrews 12 says that God rebukes and chastises those He loves, the context being discipline. A rebuke is verbal. Chastisement is disciplinary action. This is the New Covenant.

    Can’t it be that rebukes and disciplines from God post-new birth have nothing to do with justification, but are simply parental and relational?

    Isn’t it a sign of wholeness for a child to be able to hear a rebuke from a parent and still feel loved?

    To me, such things don’t need to comprimise our trust that we accepted and loved apart from works–saved through faith in Christ alone.

    Aren’t we rebuked and chastised *because* we are loved?

  18. Wow, the fact that there are so many comments here reveals that this is a huge issue. I can’t help but jump in. As someone who thought I understood the word and taught the word for years, I can honestly say that I thought I knew grace but had a serious mixture. I have been liberated by the pure gospel (which is synonymous with grace according to Paul in Galatians 1). It has felt as if I have been born again again. I have in no way seen sin as “less of a big deal”. I have just seen grace and love as a much bigger deal than before.

    I ask an honest question: why did the apostles and Jesus give far more warnings to those preaching hyper-legalism than to those preaching a “hyper-grace”? (Dr. Brown, I’m not accusing you of preaching hyper-legalism). Furthermore, was not Paul accussed of preaching hyper-grace? (see Romans 3:8, 5:20-6:2)

  19. Carol beard // February 23, 2013 at 4:32 am //

    Paul I will tell you simply what Jesus says about people who misinterpret scripture: “The reason you go astray is because you are both ignorant of both the Old Testament and the power of God”. Mr. Brown is 100% right and even though you use many words…you have not proven your case. You keep slipping in your own definitions of the meanings of the scriptures you use. The Word is clear…
    1. “If you love Me, you will obey My commands”. What would be the point if no matter what we do, all God sees is Jesus?
    2. “Be holy, for I am holy”. The “Be” word here is an action word. It does not say, ‘because I’m holy, you are holy.’
    3. “Those who persevere till the end shall be saved.” Why say this? Why continue to persevere if what you say is true Paul?
    4. In the book of Revelation, why would the churches have the potential of suffering punishment if it is as you say? Yes when Jesus said; “It is finished”, He was talking about doing what God had put Him on the earth to do. To die for the sins of man so that we may now have a clean slate to start over with the power of the Holy Spirit and the “empowerment grace, to quit sinning. Paul what you miss, is the quit sinning part. You are very much in error about this.
    5. Why would Jesus say; “Now quit sinning or something worse will happen to you.”?
    Why did He say; “Go and sin no more.”? He didn’t say ‘Go and sin less, I got the rest.’ Hey that rhymed haha.

    Unfortunately, I am a victim of this false gospel that Paul (the writer of this article) teaches. Because of this false teaching I have 4 brothers and a father who all claim to be Christians who are in the middle of fornication with women they are not married to. In fact they live with them out of wedlock. They all say the same things Paul does. This is their defense for their sin! They always say; “God is a God of love”. All He sees is Jesus in me. So deceived 😦 as you are Paul, I say sadly. And you will have to pay the price for this false doctrine you preach. God has already judged it in His Word. He warned us about teachers who preach this message.

    Please people study your bibles like your lives depended on it (which it does), asking the Holy Spirit to lead you in all truth. I don’t even take my word for it. Remember God will always love you, and He will still be loving you as you burn in hell for an eternity…because you did not turn from your sins and turn to God, which we all agree can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit, but it must be done! THIS WAS THE MESSAGE JESUS PREACHED!

    Sorry so blunt, got no more time to play around. “How long will you waver between two opinions”. Write the book Michael.

    • I don’t believe ever reading Dr Ellis saying it was ok to continue sinning because “all God sees is Jesus in me”. If he did, please indicate which of his posts mentioned this.

      Selective hearing is not the fault of the preacher, whether he preaches Grace or Law.

    • Carol, I freely agree there are some who so misunderstand grace that they take it as a license for sin and I am sorry that you are personally suffering as a result. I am sure you will also agree that there are many who use God’s law as stones for inflicting harm on others too. Both grace and law have been horribly abused throughout the ages as the Bible well illustrates.

      With regards to the abuse of grace, the Corinthians come to mind. Some of them went crazy with grace even to the point of reprehensible sexual sin. Did Paul respond by changing his message? No. He preached grace more than ever – read Corinthians and you will see a clear pattern of establishing identity (it starts in the second verse of 1 Corinthians) before addressing behavior (in the middle chapters). A law-preacher would just focus on the behavior. He would seek change through external behavior modification using carrots and sticks. He would probably see short term success depending on the effectiveness of his carrots and sticks but ultimately there would be no lasting change since the heart has been left untouched.

      Your brothers’ behavior changes nothing about the goodness of God. He really does love them. Don’t take my word for them – see Romans 5:8. Am I saying God is happy with their sin? Of course not! They are grieving the Holy Spirit! They are destroying their marriages! They don’t know the first thing about grace. If I was to speak to them I would not validate their awful behavior. Who would do such a thing? But neither would I change the gospel. The correct response to abuse is not non-use but proper use. If you want to know what I would say to them, read this.

    • I agree. We choose to wear the armour to fight the fight of faith we are at war.

    • “Be holy, for I am holy” How to do this? Can you tell me? Can you be holy by doing right? If you can please tell me the formula.

  20. joe vasquez // February 23, 2013 at 5:09 am //

    I’m in the middle of this works -vs- grace (flesh vs Spirit) partition in my personal life and I’ve listened, I’ve read, I’ve meditated and have heard from both sides in regards to “holy living” and “walking uprightly” with my ending up in frustration a large part of the time. Until yesterday when I came across Paul the Apostle’s letter to the Galatians, in the second chapter describing to the church his admonition of Peter he states that “…I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel…”(Galatians 2:14) He goes on to give a clear distinction between what is “walking uprightly in truth” and what is not. I encourage the reading of the entire chapter. If there is anyone who can measure out a man’s worth according to his deeds it’s Paul, in this regard he states, “if any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh. I more,…”(Phil.3:4) Then he goes on to list his “works” from lineage to position to education to zeal “blameless”. The sum of all these things? Paul testifies, “as dung”. Why? That he may when Christ and be found in Him not having his own righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ. (Philippians 3) I encourage the reading of this ch. as well. I believe as you read the chapter’s mentioned you too will recieve the relief I did. As Paul, I say,”…BUT BY THE GRACE of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain” (1 Co. 15:10) Thank you for allowing me to share.

  21. I had to step back a minute and think about this.I think its important to see that we are spiritually bankrupt without the holy spirit, and how we get from point A,to point B will always be a floating question where does are part come in? I will say this in the last few years it has been very important to me to know how saved I was,because without being secure in the depth of Gods grace,theres always that nagging question were will I screw up……like I said before, when I wasnt sure on this.One day the Lord said to me {JUMP UP HERE TO ME,and I said, jump,I can hardly walk,and he said WHILE I GUESS I WILL HAVE TO COME DOWN TO YOU.

  22. To some degree, it seems we would rather proclaim “error” than accept paradox.

  23. Paul – you are such a great man of grace and truth… like someone else I know.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this 🙂

  24. Rich Focarile // February 23, 2013 at 5:58 am //

    It is the love of God that brings us to repentance. Every time we judge our righteousness by being good we look right into the face of THE LAW. Grace and the Law are like oil and water. When you shake it all seems to mix but when it settles you see they haven’t. Bless you for taking the time to give the message that the Holy Spirit is ringing out in these last days

    • Rich…the Bible says it is the KNOWLEDGE of TRUTH which brings us to repentance…not love. Yes…Jesus loves us and died for us. But the Bible says “For you shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” If I am stopped by a cop and he says “Did you know your tail light is out?” and I say “No…I didn’t.”…then it takes TRUTH (my tail light is out) to bring me to the knowledge of my situation. I cannot see the tail light as I drive..but the officer could. That is how we are as sinners. We cannot see that we have a sin problem until the Holy Spirit reveals it to us (conviction). We need the TRUTH revealed to us….as God calls us to Him through Jesus. Jesus loves everyone…but that love does not ewuate to salvation. He will (and does) love those who reject Him and also those who receive Him…EQUALLY. We need REVEALED TRUTH to be able to CHOOSE God. Remember: He said “Choose ye this day whom you will serve.” I must be given the choices which then ALLOWS me to choose.

  25. Paul and Michael. Such a healthy conversation you had here. Grace filtered. 🙂

  26. The issues brought up in this post are very significant to me. My life has been racially changed by grace. I came into Christianity as a top-notched student who could ‘play the game’ and I ended up turning it into pure religious ritual. Meaningless. I would pray because I thought I had to or attend church because it looked good. But it was never enough for me to feel accepted. Shame controlled my walk with God.

    Then I started reading the bible. I was intrigued when Paul tells us we have peace with God in Romans. Where was my peace? Or in Galatians when he asks them what happened to their joy? Where was my joy? It’s all about the fruit. I can’t find peace and joy and the likes when I think I have to perform. I’ve try to do this all my life to win people’s approval. God’s love has to be different. The Psalmists seem to think so to. His love is better than life!

    Since grace entered my life, I can now say I have a relationship with Christ, not a religion. I have more peace and joy, as He teaches me to rest. We really can’t enjoy His fruit until we rest. I read somewhere about how branches don’t work to produce fruit. They ‘rest’ in the tree and the fruit comes natural. Now I’m sold out to God’s will for my life. All because of grace.

    I believe that people are intimidated by hyper-grace because it requires real faith – clinging to Him to finish the work instead of relying on themselves.


  28. Carol, I highly recommend you look into the Scriptures you quoted. Here are some things to think about. I must say to be careful not to assume someone is 100% right and the other wrong but to take a balanced look at scripture.

    1. Why do we love Jesus? Because He first loved us. This love empowers obedience. I work for my boss, but that won’t make me love my boss. I love Jesus and love the privillege of serving Him.
    2. Eph 4:24 says our new man was created in holiness, righteousness, and truth. We can now be holy in our actions because God made us holy.
    3. The greek word for saved here is used for many things in scripture besides saved from hell. Why would Paul the Apostle say we are saved by grace through faith and not we are saved by perseverance?
    4. In Revelation, he who overcomes is the one who holds faith in Christ according to one of John’s other books (see 1John 5:4,5).
    5. This comes from John 5. If you read this scripture, you will see that Jesus first says “See, you ARE healed…” then the quit sinning part. There is a very good argument that the sin in question was unbelief.

    I’m very sorry that people in your life use grace as an excuse to sin, but I would say that these people don’t know the grace of God because of what Titus 2 says: Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness. You are absolutely right that we are to stop sinning in action, but only Christ can change the nature of a man.

    • Thank you John for such a gently reply to hurting Carol. The panic of the “obedience/law-keeper” side is due to behavior changes they SEE in former (holy looking)christians. When a christian gets revelation of Radical Grace and true identity (I AM Righteous-because of Christ) acts of sin cannot change WHO I AM. That believer begins to understand their identity and what the cross truly provided. One may “suddenly” appear to start sinning where they previously didn’t. What we didn’t realize was religion didn’t really address the heart desires. New believers are taught to cut out all that “defiles” to be holy. What happens is behavior modification when I am around “holy” people. I fear their judgement or disapproval. Behavior modification hinders true transformation. When Radical Grace exploded in my life last year, I quit modifying my behavior. Guilt had held my behavior in check, but didn’t change lustful desires. An outsider peering into my life,could easily “accuse” me of more sinning since hyper-grace. Only the knowledge of unconditional acceptance and love will transform me and any sinful habits. These desire weren’t new, they were just hidden/suppressed before. Now, I can freely admit,my need for Christ’s work in me, not self effort and behavior modification, but REAL transformation of my desires.

      • Sure Gina. We are on the same page as far as the behavior mod equaling holiness stuff. All of the do-it-yourself righteousness stems from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Just because we write the name ‘Jesus’ on a piece of its fruit, it does not make it less deadly.

    • I think there are two things that are important to keep in mind when discussing anything pertaining to the Bible…well, I’m sure there are many more, but these come to mind immediately. First, we need to consider (between each individual and God) what is the purpose of the Bible is in our relationship with him and with each other? What of listening to the Spirit as he speaks and leads? Do we even hear him; do we even listen for him anymore, or do we just go out in search of a Bible verse to support what we believe? I don’t think the Bible was given to us to argue and debate over. All in all, this debate has been pretty respectful, but I still see a lot of “the Bible says this” and verses thrown about by both sides; but my heart tells me that this isn’t what the Bible was given to us for. It must grieve God to see us fighting over the Bible like wild dogs over a piece of meat. Before you respond; stop and listen to what the Spirit says. We’re too quick to quote and don’t spend enough time listening.

      If one still feels the need to debate; the second thing to consider is context and intent. So much of what is tossed about in discussion…debate…argument (even this one) could be avoided if people understood the broader narrative of the Bible. A person can make the Bible say anything they want it to. Clearly, since people on both sides of this debate are quoting specific verses that seem to successfully support their case. Many, though, don’t have a good understanding of the broader narrative and historical context of the verses they use. I’m not being critical of any one person, or side; just challenging people to consider whether they even know what they’re talking about before the lift a text out to prove their point. You may have a good argument, but is winning the argument even the point? What is the Spirit saying to you? Are you even listening?

  29. (bump)

    Anyone have thoughts about my Hebrews 12 comment above? Rebukes and chastisements from God are a sign of sonship and done by Him with the intention of love.

    So while I’m a huge fan of the new Life that comes from living under grace and not the Law, I wonder if it is going to far to say that rebukes (or conviction from the Spirit, or whatever you want to call it) are unbiblical, or put your justification and sonship into question somehow. Don’t they confirm it?

    Or am I missing something in that people here do believe God rebukes and chastises His beloved children?


    • Hi Dustin, I have thoughts but (a) I’m swamped with comments this morning and (b) half the people asking questions on this thread aren’t looking for answers but stones with which to clobber people with, so I’m a bit averse to getting drawn in to things. Hopefully someone else will respond.

      • Fair enough. 🙂 One of my biggest desires as grace has become a central focus in the church is discussion from love instead of anger and judgmentalism. That said, it’s a difficult subject because so much hangs on it, so I understand the passion. God, give us grace to come to a true knowledge of Your Son, in His name. Amen!

    • Dustin I found this from JP: If Jesus has paid for our punishment, why does God still chasten us?

      When reading about the Lord’s chastening in Hebrews 12, it is important to understand that the book of Hebrews was written in Greek, and “chastening” is the Greek word paideuō, which means “to train children, to cause one to learn, or to be instructed or taught”. Hence, the Lord’s chastening is to be seen in the context of our heavenly Father teaching or disciplining His children.

      Now, we know we have a good heavenly Father who loves us very much (John 3:16). Jesus Himself shows how good our heavenly Father is when He asked in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” So, if earthly fathers do not teach or discipline their children with sickness, disease and poverty, then all the more, our heavenly Father will never teach us by punishing us with bad things.

      So how does God chasten, or train, His children? Hebrews 12:9–10 (KJV) explains, “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.”

      These two verses make a comparison between “fathers of our flesh”, or our earthly fathers, and “Father of spirits”, our heavenly Father. “Fathers of our flesh” discipline our flesh, while “Father of spirits” disciplines us in our spirits, through His word. This means that as you read the Bible, or as you listen to God’s Word being preached, you are being trained, being taught by the Lord.

      The writer of Hebrews goes on to say that when God disciplines us, we know that we are sons, not illegitimate, that we are loved, and that we will live and profit (Hebrews 12:8–10). Chastening of the Lord, then, does not refer to God causing accidents or illness to happen to us, for if God disciplines you with death, sickness and disease, how will you “live” and where is the “profit”?

      • Felix,

        Thanks for the response. 🙂 Yea, I’m not into the idea that God harms us. I’m more concerned about the idea that He doesn’t rebuke/convict/point out wrong things in us at all. I agree that it is fatherly without a tone of condemnation or “putting down”.

        Maybe it’s an issue of semantics with Joseph Prince because though he says the Spirit does not convict of sin, he opens his book “Destined to Reign” with God rebuking him for mixing law and grace in preaching. I think Pastor Prince has a powerful revelation on power over sin, but I’m not sure why he says the Spirit doesn’t convict people of sin, unless it’s just semantics for him.

        Does the Spirit, ever, in a fatherly, non-condemning way point out a lack of Christlikeness in us without at all encouraging us to earn something by trying to overcome it?

        It seems so. It seem that Hebrews 12 says that that is a sign of sonship and being loved. A son is disciplined, and there is a basis for it: something they did that wasn’t right.


      • dustin, my experience has been that the Spirit reminds me of who i am in Christ…. he doesnt point out what i did wrong, but His reminder causes me to realize that my action didnt line up with who i am… He didnt convict me of doing wrong – i convicted myself. most kids seem to remember a lesson when they are the ones who come up with the answer 😉

      • thewordandprayer // February 24, 2013 at 5:44 am //

        Jennie, thanks for the thoughts. 🙂

        While it’s true that a child can often remember right and wrong it seems to be because in the past the parent pointed it out either before or after they did it wrong. Moreover Hebrews 12 says God rebukes (verbal) every son He receives, from love, discipline being a sign of acceptance. Thoughts?

      • you are right…we learned what was right and wrong from the law… who USED to be our schoolmaster… but now we live by faith (gal 3:24-25)

        i think its a matter of discovering what discipline actually is… and without going into greek word meanings, we can still look into the bible for a great description. Jesus taught His… DISCIPLes! clearly, He rebuked them at times…without condemning them. i really think looking at the way Jesus trained, taught and rebuked His disciples is the best example we have for the way God disciplines us… because if we have seen Him – we have seen the Father! (john 14:9) and we are His “discipline-iples” too! 😀

      • thewordandprayer // February 24, 2013 at 5:47 pm //

        Jennie, thanks. 🙂

        Even Joseph Prince (who I think has a powerful revelation about freedom from sin) was corrected by the Lord at the beginning of his book “Destined to Reign” for mixing law with grace. Prince’s sin didn’t occur to him. God showed it to him.

        My point is that saying flat out that God would never use His voice to correct us on the basis of sin, or wrong doing or missing the mark isn’t faithful to scripture or experience. But I do think many people have been burned by a religious spirit who condemns and guilts. And that is false.

        I like Joseph Prince and living under grace has changed me DRAMATICALLY. But saying that God never corrects us I think confuses people and turns people away who might otherwise receive. And that hurts and concerns me–because God lovingly correcting us is so clearly in scripture that saying He doesn’t may make someone seem not credible.


      • i dont think JP says God doesn’t correct us… he says the Holy Spirit doesn’t convict believers of sin. if the new covenant promise says “their sins and their lawless deeds i will remember no more” (heb 8:12), then that means that the Holy Spirit doesn’t re-member -or “re-connect” – your sins to you either! your sins where dis-connected from you when Jesus took them. He went into death with them and rose up without them… so where did they go? Jesus took the punishment for our conviction – the verdict was guilty… and our perfectly Just God doesn’t convict us of sins that were already paid for…

      • thewordandprayer // February 25, 2013 at 9:11 am //

        Jennie, thank you for taking time to respond 🙂

        Amen! The Lord’s correction is not about convicting us of legal guilt before Him. He has forgotten our sins forever.

        A lot of people, however, use the phrase “convict of sin” in a very positive sense. They are thinking of fatherly correction like you speak of, not legal accusation that implies or states legal rejection and disowning a child, which brings me to my purpose and concerns in my comments:

        1) When people who need revelation of grace hear grace teachers say “God does not convict of sin” they hear them say, “God doesn’t ever correct, guide or teach us when we are in error.” And so they may unnecessarily write grace preachers off as erroneous when they deseprately need the revelation they have.

        2) Also, when people with concern about grace teaching state “Saying God doesn’t convict of sin is error,” people in the grace camp can be quick to charge them with “They are mixing law and grace!” when in truth it’s a confusion of the defintion of terms, and so an unncessary schism occurs.

        Does this make sense? It’s very common in disagreements for people to be in conflict because they misunderstood what someone said. That’s why it’s good to be slow to anger, slow to judge.

        I see an unnecessary battle line that is happening because of confusion over terms and it hurts my heart because people are in desperate need of grace.

      • yes, i understand what you are saying. 😉
        believers who are just now hearing about unmixed grace will probably have a hard time understanding that there is a difference between correction and conviction… until they have a personal revelation that they were completely and perfectly forgiven of their entire lifetime of sins through Christ’s complete, perfect and finished work on the cross… that legally, it would be unjust for God to convict them of things that He already passed judgement on in Jesus… the ultimate expression of God’s love for the world!
        in grace – no longer being under the law – we understand the blessed necessity of living in and by the Spirit… even being able to comprehend the gospel of Grace itself is His working in us! and so we must also trust that the Spirit – Who is also in our brothers and sisters – will reveal the Truth to them. 🙂 living by faith is so opposite of how the world understands and defines things, so we should be compassionate, understanding and patient – because we lived that way once too. 🙂

      • thewordandprayer // February 26, 2013 at 3:00 pm //

        Thanks for the conversation Jennie. God richly bless you with more and more revelation of His grace! You are a blessing.

      • aww… and the same to you too brother!
        thanks for for helping me as well! 😉

    • Hi Dustin, you might want to check out this article from a friend of mine. It has helped me a whole lot with the topic of discipline.

    • As a mom I think I can explain, a little anyway. I have two ways to let my kids I disapprove of their behavior and would like them to stop or change it. One is to come down like a hammer, yell and tell them they are lousy kids for acting like that.(not nice or fun) That is like the modern Christian’s view of God’s rebuke.
      The other way is to say in my best shocked voice “Why are you doing that? I don’t think your sister feels very loved right now. You are normally so nice this isn’t like you at all.” One style gets the kid to look upward and want to live up to the encouragement. The other view just causes stinkin’ thinking about himself and his behavior and twists their view of the person rebuking.
      I have experienced the encouraging rebuke as a mental nudge “You don’t have to be like this any more.” It works so much better than the overwhelming guilt I used to lay on myself when I caught myself in the same old sin, again.
      I guess some of us automatically think of spankings, yelling and harsh disapproval when we think of parental chastisement. I’m not there yet but you can get your point across without being harsh.
      So how does this all fit into God doesn’t see our sin thing? The Holy Spirit is in us right now going through whatever sin we are committing with us and while our sin is covered by Jesus blood He is fully capable of reminding us in the present that our behavior doesn’t match up with that of the King’s children.
      Don’t know if that made any sense.

      • thewordandprayer // February 24, 2013 at 5:46 am //

        Colleen, thanks 🙂 I think you are suggesting the spirit behind it is the issue. I totally agree. I think what a lot of people call conviction is demonic accusation and thus can’t build up.

    • John Senior // February 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm //

      There is a problem with the current translations of Hebrews 12, especially the verses (v 5-6) that say that God will chastise us and scourge us.
      v5 and you have forgotten the exhortation that speaks fully to you as with sons,
      ‘My son, be not despising chastening of the Lord, nor be faint, being reproved by Him,
      v6 for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives.

      This taken from Proverbs 3:11-12, which reads “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction, for whom the Lord loves he corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights”.

      In the Greek NT the word translated “scourge” is elsewhere used to describe what the soldiers did to Jesus when they flogged Him. Do you really think God would do that to His children – I call this child abuse. The word “paideuo” (from which we get “pediatrician”) used in Hebrews 12:5 and translated as “chastise” should be translated “child training” (Young’s G3809 “to train up a child”).

      Somehow, the original Hebrew has been mangled when translated to the Greek and reused in Hebrews 12. The Septuagint (Greek) version of the Old Testament makes Proverbs 3:11-12 look like the verses in Hebrews 12. It would appear that there is a strong case for stating that the writer of the letter to the Hebrews wrote the original in Hebrew (no surprise!) and a scribe used the Septuagint to translate verse 5-6, leading to the appearance of the expression “and He scourges every son whom He receives”, rather than the correct text “as a father the son in whom he delights”, being found in Hebrews 12.6

      • thewordandprayer // February 24, 2013 at 5:42 am //

        Thanks for the thoughts. I’m focusing on the rebuke part though. I’m not trying to suggest God disciplines with sicknesses etc.

        I’m really questioning the teaching that the Spirit never convicts of sin because Hebrews 12 clearly says that God rebuking is done from love and a sign you are a son (for what son has no discipline?)

        I may be wrong but I feel some get the sense that a rebuke from God puts into question justification and sonship. Hebrews 12 clearly states it’s a sign of sonship.


    • Can you please provide us with a verse that says that the Holy Spirit convicts those in Christ of sin? I was recently challenged (by something I read) and realized that the conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit is confined to those NOT in Christ (the world). The Holy Spirit convicts those in Christ of their righteousness in Him! (See John 16:8-11, in context to see who/how the Holy Spirit convicts.)

      • Hi JGIG and Dustin, I have just written a post entitled Conviction vs Correction that was inspired by your absolutely valid concerns Dustin, about the “unnecessary schism”. I need some time to polish it but I hope to post it later in the week.

      • thewordandprayer // February 26, 2013 at 2:59 pm //

        Paul, glad to hear it and looking forward to reading it 🙂

        JGIG – I don’t think God reminds us of our sins in the legal sense. But He does correct us as a loving Father, which some people call “conviction of sin” and so confusion can result over terms and varied definitions.


  31. Oh boy…it’s really hard to let go of all the righteousness that makes you feel more “worthy” of grace and the comfort and qualifications that make you a thriving Christian testimony. You can make the Bible say what you want it to say, but you can’t change true grace. Who you were to God the day you accepted Him and who you are today are the same. All of the good works between are irrelevant to his love and approval. Nobody is saying “Sin all ya want! God loves ya! Go for it! Partay!!!!!” The ones who have experienced real grace in their life are excited and at peace and want to share with the challengers the wonder they can experience in God’s love. If you want to exhaust yourself on a journey to right-with-Godness, go for it. The good works done by those who understand grace means nothing to them but a means of praise and adoration, not duty. The ones doing nothing for God are no more or less loved. Don’t redefine your definition of grace because of what we say. You’re smart enough to study. Do it with no preconceived notions, then enjoy what He shows you. Do you feel the need to “clean it up” for God to hear your prayers? If so, you might need to re-evaluate.

  32. Wow! Paul we wanted all to know about your blog but not like this.Reading the replies I can see the many misconceptions people have about “Hyper Grace”

  33. myjourneytobecomingacpa // February 23, 2013 at 9:22 am //

    Dr Brown,
    I’m sure you are a scholar unlike me. Neither am I a good debater. But I can tell u my experience. I have long struggled with multiple sins. I disliked grace preachers because I thought if I listened to them I might continue in sin freely without feeling bad. I wanted the “guilt” to keep me in line. Whenever I messed up i would listen to a hyper holiness preacher – my favorite was David Wilkerson so I could feel bad and miserable and come back to God. There is so much I can say about my vicious cycle of sin, ‘repentance’, sin, ‘repentance’. One day I told God with a broken heart and tears flowing down that I quit trying to live this hard Christian life. Then a scripture that I’ve memorized & confessed many times came to my mind – “For sin shall not have dominion over you because you are under grace and not under law”. I felt led by God to go to Andrew Wommack’s website (I wouldn’t have listened to this guy back in the day) and read his commentary on Rom 6. That was the start of my habits breaking free without any effort. I focused for the next few months only listening to God’s unconditional love and grace. Today I’m free from much of the destructive habits. I’m still renewing my mind and let God expose me to the reality of who I am in Christ and His love for me.

    • Regardless of your subjective experience, the objective truth of scripture is that one cannot be saved if he rejects faith in Christ, therefore hyper-grace’s message of unconditional righteousness is in error.

      • Like many who attack the grace camp, you are attacking a fiction. No one here is preaching unconditional or universal righteousness. Righteousness is a gift to be received by faith (Rom 1:17, 5:17). You folks who gleefully stamp “ERROR” over claims no one is making may want to consider using that stamp on your own prejudices and ignorance.

      • At some point, experience does come into play. If the main fruit we’re seeing is failure and frustration, there’s an issue with the tree (I know from experience 🙂 ). You pointed out earlier “love one another” is a New Testament commandment. Are you seeing a lot of success in that area? The “hyper grace” truth that is shared here is referred to in the Bible as an abundance of grace (Rom 5:17). Receiving that abundance of grace happens to be the only way we are capable of demonstrating Christ-like love. Eating from the tree of right and wrong only produces symptoms of death. Jesus is the only way to life. He IS enough and we experience that when we put our trust in Him rather than our knowledge of Him.

      • myjourneytobecomingacpa // February 24, 2013 at 10:18 pm //

        J.C. Thibodaux, those preachers that I listen to haven’t said that. In fact they would agree with you on the importance of faith. Most of these preachers would be considered ‘hyper-grace’ by many on those who have yet to understand the riches of God’s grace. All I can say is I’ve tried mixture. it doesn’t work. I’ve tried pure grace (without buts, ifs) and it worked for me.

      • Paul, I was implying unconditional righteousness for those who have believed in the past, not strictly unconditional. As with your treatment of scripture, you’ve taken my statement out of context.

        Jim M, the issue with the tree is more likely a legalistic spirit, not conditional security. Oversimplification often leads to faulty conclusions. Yes, I love other Christians; what kind of question is that? “Abundant grace” isn’t a concept of grace that promotes unbiblical ideas. And no, we show Christ’s love by demonstrating agape love to others, not just receiving grace. I’m not sure what you mean by the idea of trusting knowledge. Are you confusing me for a Gnostic?

        myjourneytobecomingacpa, God Himself gives the “ifs,” it would be unwise to ignore Him.

      • JC, please realize this not about trying to win an argument with you, but I would like for you to see the other side of this. Most people here are trying to say, “please listen, I’ve been on both sides of this and this side really works”. On the grace side I’ve found that it’s not all about me (my ability to obey commands or my perfect knowledge of what is right and wrong), but all about Jesus. The focus shifts from all I must do, to receiving all He has done for me (yes, it’s that simple). He came and fulfilled all of the law because He is the only One who could (doesn’t that give Him all the glory?). The issue of sin no longer exists, because He doesn’t even remember (what sin?). How can He point out what He doesn’t remember (Heb 8:12, 10:17)? It is finished means He completed the work and He’s really good at what He does. All of this is not a license to sin, but the only way to defeat it. My love for Him and love for others can only exist until I have received His Agape love for me (1 John 4:19). Which is a love that loves regardless of the response of the other; an unconditional love. Do you hold yourself to that standard of loving others, but argue that God does not love in that way? 

      • Paul, I’ve read on and discussed this issue for years. I already understand your side of the issue quite well.

        The issue of sin does still exist. If it didn’t, then the rest of the NT would have been silent on it where Christians are concerned. It clearly is not (1 John 2:1, 1 Cor 10:13-14, 2 Tim 2:22, and many others). If what you’re saying is true, then such statements should not appear.

        Besides the passages listed above, there is plenty of emphasis on our following God as well (2 Peter 1:5-8, 2 Cor 13:5, Titus 2:1-8, 1 Cor 16:13-14). It’s not just one big homily of “God did it all, so relax.”

        “It is finished” means that the offering for people’s sin has been made, and the way to God is now opened. It doesn’t imply that there’s no race left to run, and no end left to endure to.

        I hold that God loves all men, even the wicked, but cannot and will not forgive their sins without abiding faith in Christ. It is only by being in Christ that we can forgive, and only by being in Christ that we receive forgiveness. God does not forgive unconditionally: the basis of our forgiving is that God has forgiven us, we are debtors to God; but God doesn’t require forgiveness, and owes forgiveness to no one.

      • J.C. Thibodaux wrote, “Regardless of your subjective experience, the objective truth of scripture is that one cannot be saved if he rejects faith in Christ, therefore hyper-grace’s message of unconditional righteousness is in error.”

        Testimonies that point to the Truths of the Gospel are not ‘subjective experiences’, they testify to the Truths in the Scriptures. And the second part of your statement sets up a strawman. ‘Hyper-Grace’, or more accurately, the Gospel (Good News) of Grace clearly involves the faith of the believer.

        My background is in Aviation (customer service side, not technical side), but I know a lot of aircraft mechanics =o). Here’s the thing: Aircraft mechanics are very familiar with the Law of Gravity. But what they build and maintain is the means to overcome the Law of Gravity, resulting in Flight. Is their focus on the Law of Gravity or on the Law of Aerodynamics? Likewise, Grace overcomes Law and sin much like the Law of Aerodynamics overcomes the Law of Gravity. As long as you abide by faith in the aircraft, >>>which operates based on the Law of Aerodynamics<<<, the Law of Gravity is of no concern.

      • Haha, that was me, not Paul. 😉 You’re right, it’s not at all silent on sin because people have such a hard time believing the Good News is that good. Could you please explain what God meant when He said “I will remember your sins no more”.

        Your statement “God did it all, so relax” is a pretty good summary of God’s description of His New Covenant in Hebrews 10:16, 17.

        Grace is so much more than a topic, grace is the very nature of our God. If we miss it on grace, we miss who God really is. When I see Jesus, I see grace.

        You may have the last word. God bless you! 🙂

      • Jim, sorry for the mix-up. No, the scriptures don’t warn us to flee sin and pursue holiness just because we have a hard time believing the gospel. Why would the Bible discourage us from believing the gospel and foster error?

        God doesn’t hold sins against those who are in Christ, the catch is that one has to remain in Christ. An overly simplistic “do-nothing” view of the gospel can only work if one ignores major portions of the NT. Whether you and Luther like it or not, faith without works is still dead.

    • JGIG,

      I’m experienced enough to know that “second conversion” style testimonies are often rooted in error and emotionalism. The problem with hyper-grace is that, objectively speaking, it’s not the truth of the gospel, and conflicts with the warnings that scripture gives to believers against falling into condemnation.

      And no, I was not setting up a strawman, I was talking about rejection of faith after initially believing. I clarified above that such a conclusion is taking my statement out of context. Hyper grace teaches that subsequent rejection of faith doesn’t put one in danger.

      • faith is a gift (eph 2:8)… essentially, our like preciouse faith (2pet 1:1) is the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself. when we first receive the gift of faith (by the Spirit) and act upon it, we are born again (in and by the Spirit)… God the Holy Spirit did that – He joined Himself to us… and “what God has joined together, let no man seperate!” (matt 19:6) God’s gifts are irrevocable (rom 11:29).
        by your word usage, i’m under the impression that you believe faith is something we have to maintain by our own power… but faith is not something we strive to have… its Somebody we have already been blessed with that empowers us to “walk out” our new life by! 😉

  34. …and they all lived gracefully ever after?

  35. Christopher // February 23, 2013 at 11:18 am //

    I think someone should leave a comment and a link at the CharismaNews website to this page that Paul had responded to Dr Brown’s article. Readers would be interested to see the discussion here. Mm?

  36. Wow! All Im reading here is people getting set free left and right from bondage, addiction, and stronghold by beliving this Hyper Grace Message including myself. The Bible Calls it “Abundant Grace.” If you want freedom like you never had before. If you want the love of Jesus to flood your life like never before. If you want a relationship with God like you never had before we welcome you to come into this abundant grace!!

  37. I finally went and read Brown’s article linked in the topic post. He also seems to have issue with what some grace teachers say in that God does not see our sins. I think he misinterprets what those in the grace movement are suggesting. Of course He(God) sees our sins. How could He not! The problem is according to Romans 4:8 God does not or will not impute sin to the Righteous…the Believer. If Christ became sin for the believer and we sin but God has to judge or discipline us then did Christ die for nothing? Referencing Galatians obviously.
    Also it would behoove him to study the old covenant sacrifices and how they were shadows of the coming Messiah. A similar thing happened with those sacrifices as well. The blood of bulls and goats took on the sins of the Hebrews. In a similar fashion the Hebrews sins were covered, as in God did not see their sin either, but under the old it was only for a year.
    At the Cross however Jesus took on the sins of the world forever. Not to cover them up but He became sin for us.
    I think I alluded to it earlier but this goes back to original sin nature(a noun) vs actively sinning(a verb). As Wommack suggests rather than calling it sinning for a believer perhaps it’s better to call it “missing the mark”. After all hasn’t it been shown, over and over, that no one can live by God’s Laws perfectly? Was that not the reason Christ came to begin with? To free us from the curse of the Law! Since we couldn’t do it ourselves, by Grace He did it for us.
    It is a shame Brown uses the term “Hyper” for something he does not understand fully. I am reminded how the teaching of Paul was also received by many in they didn’t understand either.
    Perhaps this dialog will help open many eyes to more of the gospel truths.

    • Dr. Brown apparently understands it quite well: God doesn’t impute sin to the righteous, but only those who believe are righteous, for righteousness is by faith. The unfortunate error of hyper-grace says that nothing -not even wholesale rejection of faith in Christ- will make a believer unrighteous, which is unscriptural, since it’s impossible to please God without faith (Heb 11:6). There is no scriptural support for such a hyper-grace dogma, but very clear teaching that those who endure to the end shall be saved.

  38. Joseph Benton Sy // February 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm //

    Hi. I really don’t like debating over this. But I think it boils down to what people will see as the effect of your adherence to whatever you think is right. If we’re reading the same Bible but interpreting it the same way, doesn’t that just tell us that we don’t look at ourselves but on what God is telling us, albeit individually? I mean if you are for ‘hyper-grace’, isn’t it a healthy expectation that you would ‘go and sin no more’ because of what Jesus has done? What’s disheartening is that I have seen other people believe in this and have actually made it an excuse to sin. Cussing, disobedience, not submitting to authority and even not following road rules! That’s wrong at some point. If we really profess that we are His then aren’t we supposed to live ‘not of this world?’. (Romans 12:2). I’m not blaming Mr. Ellis on this, but I think what’s important is that we know who we are Christ and then live accordingly.

    • i think that when some people realize they aren’t under law they swing their flesh pendulum in the totally opposite direction… if you take away the speed limit there are people who are going to react to that by driving recklessly… but i think the reason for this is because they haven’t had a revelation of God’s love for them… people who choose to drive recklessly don’t care about themselves or others – otherwise they would understand that their behavior is hazardous. we can only truly love and care for others when we have experienced true love…God’s love… and being able to appreciate everything Jesus went through for us to be perfectly forgiven and made righteous. i’m thinking there is a big possibility that these “grace abusers” believe that God’s love = “no laws”… kinda like a kid that says “if you love me you would let me do whatever i want.” the purpose for dying to the old way of the law was so that we could live in the new way by the Holy Spirit…but a person who reacts to grace this way is still acting like an independent rebel…

  39. Charles Indonesia // February 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm //

    I believe both sides, who believe in Grace and who don’t believe in Grace, still saved already, for we all believe in Jesus and His Deity (unless you don’t believe in Him). The differences is just the way to live life. Under Grace we live with no condemnation, no fear of sin, and in His love forever. Vice versa, who dont believe is His finished perfect work (Grace) will have to confess their sins everytime, to work for God’s blessings and acceptance, and to look older than they are. 😀

    Thats it. All we in Grace want is for those who are still lost to live the way we live, in Grace, no more striving, no more toiling, hard labor ceased, under His shower of Grace abundantly, and many more blessings from God that was promised to Abraham that now is ours.
    Its your choice my friends, pick one and live it fully. I hope you pick Grace. Amen.

    • Christopher // February 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm //

      Doesn’t Heb 10:29 tell us that living under the law is an insult to Christ? “How much worse punishment, do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace?”
      I don’t think living under law or the lifestyle that legalists live should be condoned.

  40. There’s no extreme grace, greasy grace, sloppy grace, hyper grace, etc. There is only grace. Those terms are added by people whose fear of deception is stronger than their understanding and experience of God’s love.

    Great article Paul! As for the comments, you have the patience of Job! And the message of Paul! 🙂

  41. nthabiseng modise // February 23, 2013 at 5:18 pm //

    Great article. Thank u!

  42. Paul I agree with you that we are forgiven pat present future heb 10 knocks a home run on this point… The whole chapter is about comparing The covenants and When we look at the fact in the Old, your sins were not taken away, they were cover by blood of bulls and goats and Your sins were not forgiven once for all due to, you had to offer up year by year a sacrifice.

    lets get into this part

    what does make perfect mean? well we are forgiven Once for all and we have The righteous of Christ in us, because he is in us we are made perfect, our sins like in Jeremiah 31 when he says and there sins I shall remember no more.

    This is not license to sin, some people say that it is but it has a different effect on me Because God show me how much he loves me and makes me WANT to live for him.

    Now in heb 10 sinning willing, this is not talking about Christians going bad or back sliding, it about People that heard The truth but they reject The sacrifice of Jesus, calling his blood common no better then bulls and goats and in insulting the spirit of grace.

    example The temple stood for about 20 more years after Jesus left and stood offering up sacrifices in The temple, they did not believe and that is The sin of heb 10 The sin of unbelief, also in heb 3.

  43. The controversy of the gospel of grace is not over the first part of this verse but over the second part.

    – For He made Him(Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us,
    – that we might become the righteousness of God in Him(Christ) (II Corinthians 5:21 NKJV)

  44. Titus 2:11-12 says Grace is a person called Jesus. 🙂 Thus Hyper Grace maybe also called Hyper Jesus. Does this mean there is such thing as ‘too much Jesus’? Or such thing as ‘relying in Jesus too much’?

    As I read the comments, I realized this
    #1 those in Hyper-Grace and other side agrees that God hates sin.
    #2 both sides also agrees that Christians are not sinners because of Jesus (Grace)
    #3 both sides maintain that a Christian should not remain sinning and must live a holy life.

    What both sides did not agree on ‘how to live a holy life’?
    Those in non-Hyper Grace camp says “obedience is the answer”
    Hyper-Grace would say, “Jesus is the answer”.

    • That’s a very good summary, Joseph. There are those who trust in their own obedience – their own acts of repentance, confession, standard-keeping – and those who simply say “Christ is my life” (Col 3:4, Gal 2:20).

  45. Paul firstly I would like to say that this website has blessed my socks off since I was led here. Here’s my two cents. Jesus always loved the unlovely, those whom society had rejected. He drove the self-righteous crowd crazy with who he broke bread with. He transformed these people with the awesome power of his Grace and for once in their lives they felt real love. Not a fickle human love, but divine love. Agape love. Unconditional and received through faith in who he was. He gave them rivers of living water from their innermost being. Having experienced this myself I can tell you they didn’t come from anything I had done, but when the Holy Spirit revealed that my salvation was absolutely nothing to do with me.
    Jesus has transformed my life because I know I am loved. Any fruit we bear draws from this source. Nobody is advocating deliberate sin, we need to stay clean so he can use us more effectively to further his kingdom, we need to remember however that the source of our love is his love and Grace for us.

    It’s the Glory of HIS creation and the Glory of HIS salvation. Why do we law as always try and make it about us.

    As a footnote remember that knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. I’d like to write a book myself called ‘hyper-theology’. How religion bores and condemns people out of the doors.

    Blessings to Paul and Michael, nice to see grown men disagreeing but with total respect for each other.

  46. I read Brown’s original article and feel that much of his focus rests on whether God “sees our sins”. To me this seems like a trivial point to get hung up on, since the New Covenant (cut in the precious blood of our Savior, Jesus), clearly states that God will remember our sins No More(“No More” is a strong DOUBLE NEGATIVE which means never ever, not in ANY way, By NO Means!)! (Thank you Jesus!)Grace is not about getting a “free pass”. Grace is God’s unearned Favor that took All our sins, and by All I mean ALL, and punished them once and for ALL in Jesus. Grace is not free, its priceless, and thats why it was given as a gift, because if it were for sale, we could never afford it! My sins didn’t go unpunished, God saw them and imputed them to my sinless Savior. And in the same way Jesus became MY sin (2 Cor 5:21) I now am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! God sees His Son’s perfect and finished work, and if we keep our eyes on Jesus, beholding begets becoming (2Cor 3:18)! Thank you Paul, your writings on this blog are an “unmixed” drink for my thirsty soul! Keep renewing our mind towards God’s Grace(Brown may call it “Hyper”, John Newton called it AMAZING) either way, it’s a sweet sound that saved a wretch like me!

    • Christopher // February 24, 2013 at 8:14 am //

      Thank you Bec. You bring tears to my eyes because its true, grace is priceless. You’ve described it so beautifully and that truly honors Jesus.

  47. Thank you Paul for bringing us the true gospel… THE GOSPEL of GRACE

  48. Pop Quiz: Which is the true answer:
    A. Living in the balance of Grace & Faith
    B. Living in the balance of Grace & Law
    c. Living in the balance of Law & Faith
    Short answer: A
    C is the way the Jews & old covenant live
    B is the way religious people live
    A is what the New Covenant teaches
    I hope before Dr. Brown writes his book he does thorough research. I would suggest for him to start going through all of Andrew Wommacks site. http://www.awmi.net Start with the message “Living in the balance of Grace & Faith” That was a life changer for me and that is the real issue. pleople who claim we are “hyper grace” are refering to those who are off balance in grace only etc. which can lead to the feared errors. BUT if we live by Grace THRU Faith we remain in balance and safe (I think Eph 2-8,9 is prob the most important Scripture – By Grace are we saved(healed, delivered, prospered) thru Faith) Responding to God in Faith is the “work/command” that is required(.) One last thing. When we keep our eyes & focus on Jesus we won’t sin or want to sin. The sin lies in taking our eyes off of Him, not in what we do during that time. Our focus should not be on sin, but on Jesus. BTW the Holy Spirit convicts us of righteousness not sin big difference. The last thing we need when we blow it is a God who says “I told you so, You wretch” Rather a God who says “Son I love you, you are not this failure, you are My righteousness, you are FREE :)”

  49. The point I’m trying to make in my posts on Hebrews 12 is this:

    It seems the idea that God would convict of sin would compromise the teaching of Son-consciousness. Conviction seems to imply we need to be sin-conscious, and we all know how that leads us into self-focus and lack of victory and intimacy. I hate that.

    But I think the idea that conviction of sin EQUALS sin-consciousness is the work of the enemy. What I feel a lot of people are struggling against IS NOT the idea that conviction comes from God, but believing a condemning voice IS of God.

    Why do I belabor it?

    1) Hebrews 12 clearly states it (God rebukes those He loves and rebuke is a sign of sonship, not the questioning of it), and many other passages imply it. I’m not interested in making people sin-conscious. I’m interested in exposing false conviction from the enemy.

    2) I feel like Joseph Prince has a major revelation on victory over sin. But I feel his teaching on conviction isn’t accurate (unless I have missed something) and so turns people off to the powerful message he has. And I don’t want that to happen.

    • Good points you make about Hebrews 12. Yes, the Holy Spirit will show us where we are sinning, but sin is really pride and unbelief at its core. Our Father is faithful to teach and reprove us.

      • thewordandprayer // February 24, 2013 at 5:38 pm //

        Neil, thanks for the comment. I agree. Sin happens because we aren’t resting in the finished work. Gal 3 – the Spirit by Whom we reflect His nature came through simple faith.

        Glory to God!

    • John Senior // February 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm //

      Nowhere in Hebrews 12 is the word “rebuke” used. In fact the ONLy word that could possibly be taken this way is, as I said before is the word “paideia” – to child train or tutor. Notably the KJV uses the word “discipline” but even this is too strong a meaning for “paideia”. The whole passage in Hebrews 12 is about how God lovingly and gently child trains or tutors us in His ways. There is no sense of punishment in the world’s sense – as v 10 says He child trains us “for our profit”, in order to bring about “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” – which is a gift from God that we receive, based NOT on what we do, but on what we believe.

      • thewordandprayer // February 24, 2013 at 5:36 pm //

        John thank you 🙂

        Yeah I’m totally for that, it not being about punishment but fathering and love. What I’m talking about is that God, even gently, will point out areas where we have sin, but it is no longer a matter of justification or acceptance.

        Even Pastor Prince’s book opens with the Lord speaking to his heart about mixing grace and law.

        So it seems unhelpful to say God never convicts of sin. That’s the point I’m talking about.

        It seems more helpful to say that He does do it in one way, but not another, namely to guilt and encourage works-righteousness.


  50. Hi, so I’m a little confused. I get that we’re “saved by Grace through faith” and that Christ died for “all are sins” but I’m having a hard time understanding the repentance part. I’ve been reading the “Gospel in 10 words” as recommended by a friend I and think it’s pretty awesome so far. I was saved and grew up under “fire & brimstone” teaching. I now attend a “Grace” driven church which I really love but lately I’ve been struggling with the topic of repentance. Are we commanded or supposed to repent everyday of our sins? It just seems wrong for me not to ask the Lord for forgiveness. Also I listen to Christian rap as well as other christian genres and hear a lot about “Dying to self.” I remember reading somewhere in the “Gospel in 10 words” book were it addressed the this topic of “Dying daily” It said “You do not need to die daily and “We were crucified once; we need never be crucified again.” I still have trouble understanding this and to learn that the topic of “Dying daily” is not biblical, where did this topic come from and why is everyone stressing it?


    • Christopher // February 24, 2013 at 6:52 pm //

      I think the repentance meant the change of life, from living in unbelief, in works in order to earn God’s favor and self reliance – to faith and dependence on Jesus. I read a book somewhere that the English word ‘repent’ is derived from Latin where re means to go back, and pent means top, as in penthouse. The Greek noun metanoia literally means, ‘a change of mind.’ It is better understood realising oneself as being seated with Christ in heavenly places and being sons and daughters of God. That means that we realise that we have set apart through Christ and not like the world which wallows in the pits of sin and unbelief. The faith part is believing what the Words says, even when it doesn’t make human sense – our righteousness is in Christ.

      • Yes, and if we understand that repent, ‘metanoia’ actually means to have a change of mind, we can understand Romans 12:1-2 so much better!

        Will we repent again in our walks? Yes! But does that mean to turn away from sin (which is really just works driven by Law or behavior modification), or seek for forgiveness again (even though ALL of our sins were forgiven at the Cross) or does that mean letting God remake, >>>renew<<< our what? Our minds – the birthplace of sin (see Matthew 5) — which leads us to change our minds – repent – about our sins AND who we are in Christ – and then our actions (living works, Fruits of the Spirit) follow that RENEWALL!

        / Yay God! /

    • Hi J.P., the phrase “dying daily” is derived from a statement Paul made in 1Cor.15 where he was commenting on how he faced physical death for the sake of the gospel. He was not talking about dying to his “old man” which he deems dead in many other scriptures. He was defending the fact that we will have resurrected bodies when it is all said and done. For more info on the dying to self thing, you might want to check this out: http://siggit81.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/dont-have-a-cow-part-6-dying-to-self/

    • Thanks for the feedback guys. @John Long- I appreciate the link bro. Definitely cleared up the confusion I had.

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