8 Signs of Hypergrace Churches
Which churches are preaching the hypergrace message?
Charisma Magazine recently published an article entitled “8 signs of hyper-grace churches.” (Update: The article has been removed, but you can find it on the WayBack Machine.) Using words like “decline” and “distorted” and “sexually immoral” the article argued that churches built on the message of free grace are part of a dangerous trend that needs to be opposed and confronted.
What does a hyper-grace church look like?
According to that article’s author, a hyper-grace church is one where the pastor only preaches positive messages, doesn’t insist on tithes, and key members of the church are living in sin. Hyper-grace churches are also known for promoting immoral people into positions of leadership, and by refusing to engage in culture wars, they are effectively condoning abortion and the killing of babies.
Honestly, for spouting such nonsense it’s a wonder Charisma Magazine hasn’t been sued into bankruptcy! That they haven’t surely speaks to the good grace and patience of those they slander.
In the interests of balanced reporting, I thought I might offer eight more accurate signs of a hyper-grace church.
Eight signs of hypergrace churches
But first, what is hyper-grace? Those who attack it seldom say. The author of the above article makes no attempt to define it but acknowledges those who preach it place “strong emphasis on grace.” To this I respond, guilty as charged. Grace saves us, grace keeps us – it’s grace from start to finish! We preach the same radical, extreme, over-the-top grace the apostles preached.
So what’s the problem?
The problem, apparently, is we’re not preaching enough law. We’re antinomians with insufficient regard for the moral law of the Old Testament.
In the Charisma article, the word “grace” appears nine times but the word “law” appears thirty times, indicating a strong emphasis on the law.
The author writes, “The Law doesn’t save us, but it sanctifies us.” The grace of God gets us into the kingdom but it’s our observance of the Law – with a capital L – which keeps us there, or at least keeps us from upsetting a temperamental God who is intolerant of our sin.
Consequently, we may contrast the two perspectives as follows:
- Hyper-grace gospel – we are saved by grace and kept by grace
- Mixed-grace gospel – we are saved by grace but kept by law
With these distinctions in mind, we can identify eight characteristics of hyper-grace churches:
1. Hypergrace churches preach Jesus and nothing but Jesus
Hyper-grace churches agree with Spurgeon who said, “A sermon without Christ as its beginning, middle, and end is a mistake in conception and a crime in execution.” They understand that what this rule-obsessed world needs is not more rules but a revelation of the One who fulfilled the law on our behalf.
In a quest for holiness a mixed-grace church may preach a little law, a little self-help, or a little pop psychology, but it’s all just a flesh trip.
In contrast, a hyper-grace church preaches Christ alone. Whatever your need, whether it’s salvation or sanctification, your supply is found in the One who promises to meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Php 4:19).
You don’t need seven steps or fifteen keys or an intensive course of study. Your greatest need is for a revelation of Jesus Christ and what he has done on your behalf.
2. Hypergrace churches reveal a God who loves you like a Father
Hyper-grace churches understand that what an orphaned world most needs is a revelation of our heavenly Father who loves us and cares for us and desires for us to come home. They follow the lead of Jesus who spoke again and again of “Our Father in heaven” (Matt 6:9). They understand that everything good in life is built on the revelation that “My Father loves me more than I know,” and that this is the revelation that will change hearts and close abortion clinics and end culture wars.
A mixed-grace church, in contrast, seeks to balance this “teaching” with old covenant pictures of God as judge, jury, and executioner. They say, “Yes, he is a God of love but he is also a God of justice,” as though God were double-minded or that his justice could be understood apart from his love.
The best picture we have of God’s character is not found in a list of ancient laws handed down to a wandering tribe of ex-slaves. It is Jesus Christ.
“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known” (John 1:18).
3. Hypergrace churches esteem the words of Jesus
A common misperception is that hyper-grace churches disregard the teachings of Jesus. In truth, hyper-grace churches are the only ones taking Jesus seriously.
When Jesus is preaching law, we say that’s serious law, and when Jesus is revealing grace, we bow in breathless gratitude. We would not dare to re-interpret his words with qualifiers and caveats.
In contrast, those who preach a mixture of grace plus law dismiss the hard words of Jesus as hyperbole and exaggeration. “Jesus didn’t mean what he said about chopping off limbs or being perfect.” Like the Pharisees of old, a mixed-up church picks and chooses those commands which are to be followed while disregarding others as metaphorical and not to be taken seriously.
4. Hypergrace churches esteem the law and the purpose for which it is given
Hyper-grace churches are often accused of being opposed to the law when, in fact, they esteem the law and agree with Paul who said “the law is good if one uses it properly” (1 Tim 1:8). They understand that the “law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers … and those who oppose the glorious gospel of the blessed God” (1 Tim 1:9-11).
The law is for those who trust in themselves and their own righteousness rather than in Christ and his.
In contrast, a mixture church promotes the law as a guide and standard for righteous living. Under this perspective grace is reduced to little more than a lubricant for greasing the cogs of self-effort.
Ironically, those who live this way reveal their disregard for both law and grace – law, since they cannot keep it yet pretend to, and grace, since they would rather trust in their own efforts than in Christ’s finished work. Such a church is lukewarm. They are neither submitting to the cold and unbending demands of the law or the white-hot love of their Father.
5. Hypergrace churches understand that obedience is a fruit not a root
A mixed-grace church says you must obey God commands to prove your love but a hyper-grace church takes Jesus at his word: “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). They understand that obedience is not birthed out of fear but love.
Those who are resting in the unconditional love of their Father will trust him and do what he says without any conscious effort. They don’t need rules to tell them what to do for the Holy Spirit himself is their guide (John 16:13).
Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (John 15:9). The issue is not whether you will do what he says, but whether you will remain in the quiet place of trust, resting in his love.
If you don’t settle this in your heart you may run from your husband Mr. Grace back to your former husband Mr. Law (Rom 7:1-6). Someone who mixes law with grace is a spiritual adulterer. They’re cheating on Jesus. While they may appear to be religious on the outside, their hearts are full of unbelief.
6. Hypergrace churches empower people to overcome sin
If you sin, a hyper-grace church won’t throw stones or shame you. Instead they will point you to the living Grace of God who dealt with all your sins on the cross. They will say with the apostle John, “If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1).
Stumble and sin in a mixed-grace church and the message you get will be, “Look at what you did!” But a hyper-grace church will say, “Look at what Jesus did and what you can now do because of what he did!”
Mixed-grace churches are obsessed with sin – resisting it, fighting it, avoiding it. In contrast, hyper-grace churches are Son-focused, not sin-focused.
A mixed-grace church would have you turn from every sin until you’re a dizzy sinner. But a hyper-grace church will release the supernatural grace of God that empowers you to sin no more. They will do what Paul did with the sinning Corinthians and reveal your true identity in Christ. You are “sanctified in Christ Jesus… I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. In him you have been enriched in every way (and) he will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 1:2-8).
We are not changed by our resolve and determination. We are changed by beholding Jesus who lives within us.
7. Hypergrace churches promote security and trust
Hyper-grace churches promote faith and confidence by proclaiming the promises of Jesus: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them… no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:26-27). We don’t stand on our promises to him, but on his many good and great promises to us. Rest, be at peace, for it is God who keeps you firm to the end.
The One who holds the universe in his hand, can surely hold you!
But in mixed-grace churches, your standing is based on your promises to God rather than his promises to you. Let God down and you will need to make new promises and work harder to keep them. Where is the security in this? There is none. No guarantees are offered or even desired for a measure of uncertainty is essential for keeping the sheep in line and under control. This way lies misery and despair.
8. Hypergrace churches look like Jesus, smell like Jesus, walk like Jesus, and talk like Jesus
A hyper-grace church is attractive to sinners and unappealing to the self-righteous. It is a place where the prodigals come home and the zealots stay out. It is a family where the broken are made whole, the captives are freed, and all are loved.
A church that preaches grace the way the apostles did is heaven-on-earth and God’s best advertisement for the kingdom of his grace.
More articles on hypergrace.
Join the hypergrace revolution by becoming an Escape to Reality subscriber today:
Escape to Reality exists thanks to the generous support of our readers.
My thanks to DR Silva for supplying the Hyper Grace Church icon and Steve Hackman for providing constructive feedback on an earlier draft of this post.
Hmm…. Whatever many may say, I would admit I am from a grace church. Before I received Jesus, I knew the law. Simply because countries and religious used nearly same law context to govern people. But is all saved and received Holy Spirit? Hmmm….
Bible said it is only through Jesus’ that the world might be saved (John 3:16-21). What we can’t do Jesus did it for us. If one do not believe in Jesus and His finished work, one need to really think do they have sonship with Abba and Holy Spirit in them (especially those think they know it all)? If answer is no, hmm…. I would pray that one to repent (change of mind) and open their heart to Jesus. Once received Jesus as Lord and Savior, lives will be transformed. I happened to me. I am sure it will happened to all.
Jesus is our living water, I don’t go thirst anymore. I am full of life! His grace and mercy endures forever!
I recommend Joseph prince new book – the power of right believing.
Righteousness and self-righteousness which are you belonging to? Just like grace and law! (Romans 8:1-39)
Over the past couple of years my existing belief system has been challenged from its “moral/legal covenant interpretation of the gospel”. I always had a strong sense that
what I believed didn’t match what Christ taught. Trying to seek answers to
that confusion always met with resistance from the institutional church (mixed grace church).
Now by seeing scripture through the lens of Christ.. for me, makes all the
difference. Gods Grace is so complete, so covering and powerful that it
seems to me He is less interested in our failings and more interested in our
vocation which He has given to us. ie Knowing this sets us free so realize
we are made in His image (a God of Love not anger, not based on rules for acceptance) and we are then able to reflect that to others, announcing and demonstrating that His Kingdom is here,
through providing His grace, mercy, justice and compassion to a dark world, at
the edge of life and at the gates of peoples personal hells.
Hi I just came across your article. I just want to say that I’m grateful for the grace of God in saving me and sanctifying me apart from anything I do! I walk in confidence and freedom in the finish works of Christ on the cross, knowing that I’m completely forgiven and acceptable to God. I think in our dialogues (arguments!), we often go to extremes in portraying the other camp. While there are churches that are legalistic and those that are licentious, I believe there are a lot of churches that have the Gospel right. My concern for the hyper-gracers is that they accuse other churches of being legalistic when they actually are being obedient to the Word of God.
It is not legalistic to rebuke or to correct someone in your church so long as it is in the right spirit. It is not legalistic to tell someone when they are walking in sin to repent and seek God. If you saw you’re friend about to fall off a cliff would you not do everything in your power to warn and stop him? or would it be too legalistic and ungracious? It is gracious! 2 TIm 3:16-17.
My experience in hyper-grace churches is that they affirm what is written in the article which is in line with Biblical truth but their actions say otherwise. I had a mate who said that he could do what ever he wanted in life and God had no choice but to bless his decisions. Had people from that congregation say that they no longer need to repent from sins. I do feel that in light of hyper-grace preaching there is minimal emphasis on obedience to God (not for salvation but as a result of salvation) and the need for sanctification. The message I hear from hyper-grace churches is that obedience is easy in light of Christ. I just want to say that is true but it can also be very difficult at times.
I have a friends friend who is in a concentration camp in North Korea for trying to spread to Good News to those in NK. He has almost definitely been tortured and possibly killed. My friends don’t know what has happened to him. Please dont tell me that in those moments obedience to God is going to be easy. Often for the most faithful, obedience can be difficult.
Im genuinely interested to know what you guys think.
Obedience in those moments should be easy but you’re right it could be difficult. I can’t confirm this but I have heard of someone that went to heaven and spoke with Stephen the first martyr. and they asked how he felt being stoned and he said God protected him. The only thing he was conscious of was the glory. and there are other stories too like John. I don’t know what he felt but I have heard how they tried to boil him in oil or something and my guess is he couldn’t feel it since God brought him through. In the scriptures you have Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo in the fiery furnace but it didn’t hurt them and Daniel in the lions den and the only ones that got hurt were the ones the king threw in after he brought Daniel out. Jesus himself said “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” . And “nothing can seperate us from His love, neither death nor life…” (see Rom 8). I can definitely face life like that.
Eric. Honestly a lot of persecution in this world is based on a flesh-trip. You have a duty to preach even if it kills you. This is not that far distinct from the way of the world. “Perform or die trying!” No thought that God can actually be trustworthy. I am not nullifying the Great Comission, I am promoting what Paul meant when he said, “Endure to the end and be saved.” He was a saying a dead preacher saves no one. You’re unconditionally loved but be smart. When the Holy Spirit says you’ll be safe, go. When He says wait, don’t be like Paul on another occasion and disobey.
To Eric, Anybody who would say that the message of grace, as preached by Joseph Prince, Creflo Dollar, and others is a license to sin does not understand the message as presented by the Apostle Paul. My wife and I were radically born again 45 plus years ago and have loved the church but I have to tell you the constant message of “OUR” responsibility to do and serve, including the legality of tithing has slowly killed some of the enthusiasm. God’s emphasis in these days of what I now consider the original message as introduced by Paul in Romans, ie; salvation by grace has rekindled the fire. Hebrews tells us that unless we understand the doctrine of righteousness you are a babe and cannot go to deeper issues. We thought we did but in honesty we had to back up and relearn that “No” action other than faith in the person of Jesus could make me righteous and that a person who understands this righteouness(received by Grace) will by nature act “right” and requires no one to demand it. Incidentally, my pastor would probably agree with much of what charisma mag
said but we stay because of grace. We will give him time to shuck the mixture. It took us some time. Thanks for your input and keep going for truth, God can bless that(by the way we love to tithe, but not to please any man, it’s just fun to see God work in it).
What you must know first is that sin has been dealt with; sin doesn’t exist! for the power of sin was the law, for where there was no law there was no sin. John said, behold the lamb of God who takes away the “sin” (definite article) of the WORLD. Christ did this so that you will have nothing to struggle with.
God wants you to keep your eyes on his LOVE rather… and as you do that you are totally transformed. God is full of love kindness meekness gentleness peace patience wisdom humility patience, self control and Righteous.. and he first DEMONSTRATED all this to u so that u can easily understand… and about how to have all this, he made it easy for u, because he knows its he himself who will work it all in you! He dwells inside you with his fullness!
Rebuking someone that they have sinned is totally off-Christ! Christ demonstrates love whiles trying to teach his children. When people are sick what they need is medicine.. not reminding them of what sickness they are suffering from. This is so easy to understand .. unless u refuse to take a look at Jesus again.
“for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
Romans 5:13 NASB
It’s not accurate to say that that where there is no law sin doesn’t exist . Where there is no law sin is not imputed (sin is not debited). If there was no sin – as you claim- there would be no death- but death still reigns even when there is no law.
If Grace teachers are teaching that obedience is not required under grace, they are false teachers.
And that’s called prejudice. Why don’t you take the time to find out what we are teaching before you condemn us?
Hyper-Grace is a poor term, in my experiences with the types of churches Mattera, Brown and others describe. What I’ve witnessed is more like “Cocky, self-indulgent, unrepentant Grace”; as if the Prodigal Son left again the day after the feast, and drops back by once a week when he needs a “Grace Fix” or wants to rub elbows with his Peeps. Those churches seem to ignore the clauses Jesus preached about accountability and growth (IF you love me THEN ……). To those, “progressive sanctification” is a four letter word, if I could use that extreme. Much like growing through adolescence, many pastors allow (and foster) a “Later” attitude, that turns out Christian equivalents of the current phenomenon of “Extended Adolescence” (happily mooching off the parent until 30 (or God in this context) until they “feel like” doing something about it). Let’s be clear. Grace is the only way, thank the Lord. No one is saved by meritorious works. Period. But once blessed and forgiven, we should act like we’ve received something of eternal value, (Pearl of Great Price) and with a gratitude that permeates our every day (Greatest Commandment–Love God with “ALL”… He becomes our priority, as…honestly…the best we can). Certainly, not perfectly, but with a priority that is the center of our lives, as Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:10 (that we should walk in them)…and not when we “feel like getting around too it” because we rationalize “He’s looking the other way” of “I’m saved”. That’s a recipe for human abuse and spiritual ruts. True Progress is all those other writers are basically saying, not perfection. But with an honest effort that returns the Love He has shown us, and on an honest pace that puts Him first. Peace.
Pete- you said, “they seem to forget about the words, “if you love me then..” Are you reallly trying to tell us and yourself that you can, do and have loved Jesus and that those you have stereotyped as hyper grace churches have not love Jesus? Are you really trying to convince us that while you accuse these “hyper grace” churches of remaining in spiritual adolescence by repeating the same sins over and over and coming back for more grace -that you yourself have not? That you yourself do not ever repeat the same sins over , that you yourself do not come back to God again and again for the grace of forgiveness -promising that you will never do that again in my to find your self repeating your “adolescent” sinning all over again?
Are you really trying to tell us that you only needed grace to get you in the door if salvation but since then you have not required grace but now you have been able to produce the fruit of the Spirit using your own will, COMMITTMENT and effort.
My friend you need to have a reality check. You need to remove the infamous plank from your own eye first.
Where is your live for Jesus? Where is the fruit of the Spirit in your own life? I’m guessing if I asked those nearest to you- who have to endure your constant criticisms and rejection that they are really feeling the fruit of love from you. I’m guessing you live in a constant state I joy and peace all the time. NOT!
Jesus is not the pearl of great price we are. Jesus gave up everything and bought us, he is the merchant that sold all he had and bought us. He bought us with his very life in blood. Isaiah the lord says come eat and drink and pay nothing. Gods grace is totally free it is received through faith. Faith is not a works in itself. If someone chooses to put their faith in Christ’s as Lord and believe in his resurrection they are saved.
While I know that someone out there might possibly abuse the biblical message of living by grace -turning it into a license for sin (just as they can abuse the message of being justified by grace – this is the extreme exception. In fact in almost 60 years in the Lords church I have not yet met a single person whose attitude is as you have described. The opposite has been the case – those who have embraced “hyper grace” hate and detest their sin, are sincerely grateful for being offered the Lords “hyper” grace and cringe at the very thought of ever offending the One who loved them and gave Himself for them so that they could personally experience His hyper grace.
Besides that how do you O man- know the motives of those you claim are “cocky and arrogant” about grace? Or have you placed yourself in God’s place – evaluating and judging the motives of men? Also beware of the infamous “plank in the eye”- Most times than not when we claim to see the hidden motives of men’s hearts and assign them with wicked motives it is our OWN HEART’S MOTIVES we are reading AND deflecting upon others . Ask me how I know this.
“Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.”
1 Corinthians 4:5
Scripture (Old and New Testaments) have a lot to say about God’s love, obedience, grace, forgiveness, repentance, judgment, false teachers, tickling ears, works, and freedom. It’s dangerous to allow a system of thinking that elevates some truth and denigrates other. Perhaps it’s best to stick close to God’s word (all of it), and to love and fear God for who he has revealed himself to be rather than rigidly adhere to a particular theology. Practically, letting each verse, book, theme, and biblical author present a facet of God might be healthier in the long run – especially when we stand before God and give account for our representation of him.
This is great, well at least 97% great
You write “Stumble and sin in a mixed-grace church and the message you get will be, “Look at what you did!” But a hyper-grace church will say, “Look at what he did and what you CAN NOW DO because of what he did!”
AND you write “A mixed-grace church would have you turn from every sin until you’re a dizzy sinner. But a hyper-grace church will release the supernatural grace of God that EMPOWERS you to sin NO MORE.
However a hyper grace church truly believes that Christlikeness is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit, since Jesus is the author AND perfecter of our faith. That is not antinomianism because it still upholds the values of the Law – it simply explains who is responsible for bringing about the change. It is in fact an mixed grace, indeed a Catholic, church, who says that we are infused by the power of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and can now sin no more by calling on that power.
Grace is not an infusion. The Protestant position was that grace was primarily a change in standing before God, a new imputation of Christ’s full but alien righteousness to us – without us lifting a finger
BUT YES the best approach is to “do what Paul did with the sinning Corinthians and reveal your true identity in Christ.” It is this new identity that we start to fill out in an apprehensive but increasingly excited way
Mmm thank you so much man of God
It’s ironic that a magazine called “Charisma”, meaning “gift of grace”, should be critical of what it sees as “too much” grace!
It’s doubly-ironic that Charisma comes with a price-tag! 🙂
Claude, you wrote:
“Something supernatural definitely happens when you KNOW that you have died (Gal 2:20, Col 3:1-3) and you definitely offer your body and soul as a living sacrifice (Ro 12:1) and you really mean it. It’s not anything I did but simply acknowledge that I’ve died and been resurrected with Him.”
YES! We who have accepted God’s grace are already dead — literally, I believe — but alive supernaturally through the same resurrection power that raised Jesus. When we shed all the flesh thoughts that we naturally carry, and see ourselves as we really are — as actually living by means of the resurrection (in Him we live and move and have our being) — we see ourselves as God sees us, we see our whole life as God sees it, the things that please Him and the things that don’t. Hating sin is not a matter of will — it cannot be accomplished through human effort (we, on some level, love and are drawn to our sin). Hating sin in oneself is a natural result of seeing ourselves as resurrected beings. I think one thing that complicates matter is man’s connotation of “hate.” In godly terms, I think it does NOT refer to any emotion, but to a recognition of “separateness.” That thing — that sin — is separate from me, not part of me, it has no hold on me. This is what I think it means to “hate” my sin — to simply acknowledge the FACT (not gin up some emotion or intellectual work) that it has no part of me because of who I *am* in Christ. It is grace that leads you to acknowledge and accept your freedom. Freedom is another way of saying you accept that you have been separated from (“hate”) your sin.
Profound revelation Molly.
Thanks & blessings.
Lewis, thank you so much, brother, for your word of encouragement.
Sorry, I am not figuring out how to reply to specific posts. But to Barry, who wrote: “Molly- No one can will,themselves into loving God enough to turn from sin. If anyone could turn from sin by simply loving God more then Jesus died for nothing. He would have simply stayed in heaven and said what you said, “My children all you need is more love for God.”
Agree wholeheartedly and, of course, this was not what I was intending to convey. It’s not willing oneself to love God “more” that brings freedom from sin. But, although it seems only semantics, it is love of God and understanding of his through-and-through grace that brings freedom from sin.
You cannot will yourself to love God “more” any more than you can will yourself to stop “xyz” sin. But, as Claude said, when you truly encounter God and acknowledge that you are alive at this moment by the same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead, loving God — what words can describe it? — it is not an act of will, but like a river, deep and peaceful, but powerful, running through you.
I can’t speak for Claude, but I can say that his comments, to me, said the exact opposite of your quote above — and that is what I responded to. In my view, he was trying to do more to will himself to stop his particular sin, yet it was only when he acknowledged that God had already, finally, unequivocally separated him from that sin that he was able to stop. (Again, not speaking for Claude – just my take.)
Thank you Molly for your comment, you wrote:
“Hating sin is not a matter of will — it cannot be accomplished through human effort (we, on some level, love and are drawn to our sin). Hating sin in oneself is a natural result of seeing ourselves as resurrected beings.”
Yes , you put it in different words, beautiful! Yes, hating sin is a natural effect of KNOWING THE FATHER. We compensate in the flesh what we ignore in spirit, His Fatherhood and our Sonship. Shadows loose their grip when you live in the Light.
Just another thought: when you live from the outside in, the light casts a shadow. When you live from the inside out, you become the light.
Molly, just another thought about “hating sin”. The way I get it now it’s that it’s not even about “hating sin”. I understand how the Word tells us that He will not remember our sins any more. We are seated in heavenly places with Him, our spirits already live in heaven. The most Alive part of our selves, our spirit has absolutely nothing to do with sin. Sin? What’s that? Just a bad idea, I guess. The issue of sin has been dealt once and for all.
Hating sin still has that notion of Knowledge of Good and Evil which is cursed. God has MADE something new in us (Ro 8:2) where the law of Life in Christ Jesus has made us free and sin has become a pure nonsense. That’s the God kind quality of Life in Christ, the SINGLE EYE vision where we’re just FULL OF LIGHT.
God intends nothing less for us.
Please explain to me how Grace Preachers teach training up in righteousness and living lives pleasing to God? People have bruised and seared consciences and need input and I believe need teachers and mentors to direct them deeper into the ways of God. Yes I understand grace powers it all but how do Grace people talk about sanctification and growing in the sanctification aspects of the Christian walk. In other words how is sanctification explained and assisted with (I expect it to be different to justification)?
On a separate front: I think that many of the issues in the debate between “hyper grace” and “the others” is related to use of words. E.g. odious words to the hyper grace people are “moral living“ but it actually means the same as “ living lives pleasing to God”. Yes I know we are already justified and saved and delighted in yet we can lose our joy and peace and all the good stuff by living contrary to God’s ways.
I don’t find “moral living” to be at all odious. I rather like it in fact and wish there was more of it. What I would say, though, is moral living is a fruit not a root. Walking in the spirit (living by faith in Christ) leads inevitably to moral living just as surely as planting seeds leads to harvests. How do we train people up in righteousness? See point 1 above, or Philemon 1:6.
Hi Paul I loved your books. I have to say I do have concerns about leaders that I have seen pastor and that seem to just say everything is ok we can live as we please. I went to a Grace church that were Preaching Drunk Grace and people were seeing it as a Belly flop licence to live how they wanted. I don’t want to attack Grace as I believe it is Jesus However I have seen with my own eyes how churches go out of control and people are living a dangerous Life style by just shaking up. Is this really bringing God glory. Preach Jesus AKA Grace 100percent and I do believe that the majority of Christians want to live lives that bring God Glory Amen. My opinion we need more preachers like Joseph Prince who make it clear what Christ went through. That’s what will makes the difference.
Turning the true grace of Gods into licentiousness is nothing new. It was in the early church that preached the gospel of grace and we should not be surprised that it will be in the contemporary churches that preach the gospel of grace.
This abuse of grace was odious and contemptuous to the early apostles and turning the grace of God into a license to indulge the flesh should remain contemptible in our day.
But that never stopped the apostolic fathers of the early church from continuing to preach, promote and defend the message of the grace of Christ.
The gospel of grace is Gods only means and power for salvation, for holy living and for enjoying the Presence and activity of the Holy Spirit among us (Gal 3:8).
A knee jerk response of rejecting the gospel to return to a message of mixture, self effort or self imposed religion is never an acceptable response to the abuses of the grace of God.
Hello Steven, reading you I got this: if it’s only the law that keeps people in check and as soon as freedom comes they go nuts, then they’re better off sinning and going to the end of themselves, realize that they’re dead and come to discover true grace, goodness, love from their Father, discover His unconditionnal acceptance and forgiveness. People will always end up doing what is in their heart. If it’s only the law keeping them from sinning it gives them a false sense of righteousness, which is self-righteousness, which doesn’t make them closer to God though they look good. These will surely use “grace” as a license to sin. Church is not a group of people kept in check by a good preacher. Church is individual sons and daughters of God who KNOW the Father, get together in Papa’s Love, and do what they want because what they want is what He wants, because He lives His life through them.
What would you do if you’d be allowed to do anything and nobody’s looking?
What you do when no one’s looking is who you are!
Thank you Father so so much for freedom in Christ!
Sorry, I have to rectifiy!
What you do when no one’s looking is what is in your heart!
Not who you are… YOU ARE A SON OF GOD! – NO CONDEMNATION!
Good catch Claude!
And maybe it’s biblical to add this- What we would do when no one is looking would depend upon what Jesus grace in us motivated and empowered us to do.
Sons of God or not a man can only do what has been given him from heaven. We are what we are and we do what we do by the grace of God alone.Given the right set of circumstances all of us would do exactly what the worst of us would do. At least after 58 years of self discovery that’s what I know to be true of myself anyway.
Yes, thanks Barry, I’ve also got 60 years of self discovery.
Jesus came in my life in 73. All through the years, given the right circumstances I’ve done a lot of wrong things. Though it’s funny, now you make me think about it, I never believed I was using grace as a license to sin though, but I was really sin conscious. I honestly thought I was too weak, some things I just couldn’t get the victory over, I made a lot of wrong choices, I didn’t have enough love and decication, I, I, I… me, myself and I just didn’t KNOW we were dead (Gal 2:20)
4 years ago God’s Grace (a Person) jerked me, yanked me out of this sorry state of ignorance, revealed so much more of Who He is in me and who I am in Him.
That’s why I have a hard time conceiving that anyone, who truly had an encounter with God could use this freedom and consciously willingly revell in sin and the works of darkness.
I can understand that some think they’re Christians and never having met nor known God could see in grace an occasion to do what has been in their hearts all the while and gratify the flesh. But anyone who has truly KNOWN God cannot,
[1Jo 3:9 KJV] Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
When our lives don’t seem to align with this Word, a little time spent in intimacy with the Father will easily solve the issue.
A great testimony brother! I have discovered the second best way to avoid Jesus grace, help, power and my in my life is through indulging my fleshly desires and lusts and then hiding in shame and rejection.But I have discovered that the greatest and best way of avoiding Jesus grace, help, power and love in my life is by trying to avoid sin and trying to keep from indulging my fleshly desires through my own self effort and then priding myself in my self righteousness and sense of entitlement .
I have discovered this second way is the most effective way to avoid Jesus in my life.
hi Claude, me story is similar, I was even saved in the same year, I see after all these years he was always there, I had a major problem with rejection, feeling if i stepped out of line that was it,the people I was with,were grace based,I was ignorant,and didn’t see my freedom,the rejection problem was of course in link with the sin consciousness, thank God for grace.
As I see it as long as someone is even asking the question and worried about grace being abused they are revealing that they still are placing at least some confidence in themselves as opposed to placing all their confidence in Jesus. If I say I have total confidence in my bank but I withhold even a small fraction of my money from that bank ( just in case they might abuse my money) I prove by my action that I still lack confidence in my bank.
No one who has totally abandoned the Egypt of self effort and performance orientated living and who trusts Jesus grace looks back, by worrying if grace will be abused.
Like wise as a preacher of the grace of Christ if I have not been accused of preaching lawlessness I have not yet preached grace as I ought to have!
All authentic biblical grace teaching brings the charge of antinomianism. The apostle Paul was accused of it- should we escape such accusations? I think not!
Claude, love your comments on this thread. You wrote:
“That’s why I have a hard time conceiving that anyone, who truly had an encounter with God could use this freedom and consciously willingly revell in sin and the works of darkness.
I can understand that some think they’re Christians and never having met nor known God could see in grace an occasion to do what has been in their hearts all the while and gratify the flesh. But anyone who has truly KNOWN God cannot,”
Agree. But people can be expert deniers and willingly give themselves over to delusions — even big ones, such as, “God doesn’t really care if I do this sinful act.” True, believers rarely consciously or willingly revel in their sin, but, as you said, they can live in a state of sin-consciousness, yet have a difficult time breaking free. Why?
Because, as I said in a post below, to put it bluntly (much more so than most Christians would ever state to themselves), they don’t actually — to use human terms — have enough empathy for God’s point-of-view, his *heart,* on their behavior. They are ignoring the pain they are causing *Him* by the response they are dishing back at him in return for his grace, mercy, and generosity.
Those who truly know God, love Him. Those who love Him would never want to treat Him and His gift of grace like dirt. But it happens, because sometimes a person is deluded by sin — yet the believer, out of truly loving God because of His grace, will wake up and turn from their sin. This is not accomplished by doubling-down on trying to force personal compliance. It is accomplished because love of Jesus makes it impossible to keep going against him.
Molly- No one can will,themselves into loving God enough to turn from sin. If anyone could turn from sin by simply loving God more then Jesus died for nothing. He would have simply stayed in heaven and said what you said, “My children all you need is more love for God.” To love God is the essence of the Law that we cannot keep because sin living within us is far too powerful and we are impotent against the power that causes us not to love God enough to turn from our sin that hurts Him and others whom we sin against. That is the essence of what sin is- a lack of love for God and fellow man. This is the power of sin in us- it is the power that keeps us from loving God and fellow man.
A desire to love God is not a sign of grace at work in a persons life. Paul was still under Law and without grace when he testified that he hated sin, willed to not sin and desired to avoid sin (see Romans 7: 15-20) Hating sin and wanting to love God and others is the testimony of a man under Law not the testimony of a man under grace. Law merely makes us hate sin but only the grace of Jesus within us enables us to live above sins power . Hating sin is not spiritual -it’s the testimony of a fleshly and carnal man still living in self effort .
Mark, santification if u look at it, is an understanding of who you are in Christ, when u know that you are reborn in your spirit and you are perfect and holy, “that” is the real you. As such, it is your nature to do holy things, living holy. You don’t do holy things to become holy, but as you are already holy, you naturally do holy things. It sounds to be a philosophy and a play of words, but u have to first believe in the word of God that tells you what Jesus has done, and then u see it.
Thanks Molly for your comments.
To be completely honest, since 4 years now that I’m having this experience of the grace of God, I’ve done a few things that i consider really selfish and self gratifying that in my eyes are sins. I’ve caught myself judging other people, which is not love which is sin, I’ve shouted at my wife, gotten into angry fits with some members of my family. Yet there is this incredible consciousness in my heart of my righteousness, that I have become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, this peaceful and joyful assurance that these things are not my identity any longer, this awareness of the Presence of God, of that resurrection power that touched me where I live in this awareness that none of the things I’ve done wrong have any power to interrupt the flow of His love. I’ve acknowledged and confessed to people but not to God, I just thank Him for the cross.
I’ve also wandered at this gracious and continual flow of Spirit and blessedness and why it just won’t stop and why when I talk about it with other Christians they have this “oh yeah, good for you…” but don’t seem to have much reference in their personal experience.
Something supernatural definitely happens when you KNOW that you have died (Gal 2:20, Col 3:1-3) and you definitely offer your body and soul as a living sacrifice (Ro 12:1) and you really mean it. It’s not anything I did but simply acknowledge that I’ve died and been resurrected with Him.
I really really wanted to die to my old life and live in Him. He wants it too, MORE THAN US.
hi claude, something that helped me,along the way was a teaching by jesse duplantis,he was saying “what can you do to a dead man?”..anything you want he’s dead.kick him, stab him, etc,it helped,it made me realizeI was dead and seek my id in christ
Amen Claude- the cross and our death with Jesus on that cross is central to any progress in the life of faith and grace. The New Testament writers never got over the cross and the objective fact of their own death on it. They obsessed over the cross. Every sermon and every exhortation and very letter was centred on the cross and the believers identification with their own death on the cross. The ONLY freedom we have from the Law is our own death on the cross. The ONLY freedom we have from sin within us is our own death on the cross. The only access to the resurrection life of God within us is our own death in the cross. The impotence, carnality and self effort religion that is pandemic in the modern church is a direct result of bypassing the foundation of the cross. Everyone wants victory, power and resurrection life but no one wants to consider themselves dead to sin, dead to the Law and dead to self centred living. Everyone seeks personal empowerment and self fulfillment but no one seeks to consider themselves crucified to the world and the world to them. I am refreshed that you have resolved to know the cross in your own life.
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2 NASB)
Molly, so much more I wanted to say but the 250 limit, blessings!
Albert Soo wrote: “… is an understanding of who you are in Christ, when u know that you are reborn in your spirit and you are perfect and holy, “that” is the real you. As such, it is your nature to do holy things, living holy. You don’t do holy things to become holy, but as you are already holy, you naturally do holy things. It sounds to be a philosophy and a play of words, but u have to first believe in the word of God that tells you what Jesus has done, and then u see it.”
One reason I decided to participate in this thread is that I want to keep trying to find the best way for me to communicate what you said above — because, yes, it does seem to be like nothing but a play on words at times, when, in fact, it is the actual freedom-giving truth of the gospel!
As Claude said, once transformed by Christ into new creations, we are living life supernaturally, not naturally. We have a different “power source” than we were plugged into B.C. This supernatural situation of course is mysterious, especially to the world, but even to those who love God, it can seem like a — well, just weird — if your context for understanding life is only physical (natural, without the supernatural).
There’s an internet meme that says: I’m not a human being having a spiritual experience. I’m a spiritual being having a human experience.
Of course, that’s a man-made meme, but like so many things man comes up with, it holds a kernel of truth. I view myself everyday for the long-term, not for this short human (physical) life. That supernatural perspective leads me to acknowledge that I am separate — because God has unequivocally separated me — from, to put it shortly, sin.
Earl and Barry, I’m going through our conversations and, as I haven’t done it, I want to acknowledge your graceful replies and thank you, Bless you Brothers!
Molly too, thanks for the loving comments!
Molly, you’re quoting me a lot… wow! It’s just that experiencing God lately definitely leaves a “great impression” to say the least, ha! 😀
You say: “God has unequivocally separated me — from, to put it shortly, sin.”
Yes, HE HAS DONE IT no more link to sin, and it’s irrevocable. So why insult Him by continually remind Him and ourselves? – Just a thought.
This is bold faith but I love it!
“How shall we who died to sin still live in it? “(Romans 6:2 NASB)
Indeed why even bother discussing what we have objectively died to.
Dead alcoholics don’t talk about the addiction they had to alcohol while they lived.
Or do they????
I still see Paul often discussing sin in the lives of those he is addressing in his letters- . This we cannot deny. I would challenge us to specifically read Paul’s (inspired by God) letters again and take note of how many times Paul addresses and discusses the present sins of justified saints.
Barry, yesterday night I had an argument with my wife. Words came out of my mouth I shouldn’t have said. Stopped, felt bad… Holy Spirit doesn’t come with the law, just tells me how loved and forgiven I am… Peaceful feeling… “there’s nothing wrong with me… there is nothing wrong with my wife”… Thankfulness… I got up and went to pray with her… Perfect peace…
Yes Paul had issues with sin in the Early Church as all spiritual leaders with baby Christians who haven’t matured into intimacy with Abba Father:
[1Co 3:1-3 KJV] 1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [even] as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able [to bear it], neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
In 1Co5 Paul shows very severe measures to be applied to unrepentant perverse persons acting in a way that could leaven the whole lump.
Though his earnest prayers in Eph 1 and 3 are for us to grow in the knowledge of God.
We all walk as mere men at times but Holy Spirit is comforting us and teaching us to walk as mature Christians, Christ conscious sons of God
I like that Claude. Good word bro! I have discovered that whatever it is that drives me toward unlove (the power of sin)before I sin is the very same power that drives me towards running away from God in shame, fear , worldly remorse and sorrow after I indulge in unlove (sin). The flesh loves those negative and godless responses to sinning as much as the flesh loves to sin. As long as flesh can remain in control it is happy to get super religious after it sins (shame, guilt, fear, worldly repentance, remorse, sorrow and self effort resolve never to do it again… Ad Nauseum !) I have discovered there are 4 ways to avoid Jesus in my life : 1. Self indulgence 2. Self righteousness 3. Self flagellation and self condemnation and 4. Self effort resolve never to do it again.
And round and round I go! It’s all just more Christless religious flesh.
I meant to add this: the flesh loves anything but to accept its own death on the cross with Jesus.
Lord I need your grace to give myself a proper burial and to get on with my new life in You -having been crucified to sin, to the law, to the world and I to them. Grant me the sense to quit with my obsession over myself. In the mean time thanks that Your grace is sufficient for me. Amen!
Mark Steenhoff- you asked how grace based believer emphasize and teach sanctification-
And you mentioned that you expected grace as it relates to justification to be DIFFERENT than grace as it relates to sanctification. The Bible clearly teaches the MEANS of sanctification IS EXACTLY THE SAME as it is for justification. We are justified by FAITH (trusting God to justify us through the person and work of Jesus) AND we are sanctified by FAITH ( trusting God to sanctify us through the person and work of Jesus).
“Just as you received Christ SO CONTINUE IN HIM” Col 2 and “by faith from first to last” Rom 1:17 and “After beginning by faith are you now trying to complete the race by human effort?” Gal 3:1-5 And “And you shall name his name Jesus (The Lord our Salvation) for He shall save His people from their sins ( plural)”
Yeah Barry, just to anwer your “great testimony” article, I heard Andrew Wommack say: “Sin will kill you and if you indulge in it you’re stupid! But God loves you stupid!”
To complete the above posts, I’d like to share this, it’s from John G. Lake. He’s saying it so much better than me and in <250 words:
Childhoods End ~ John G. Lake
"My Lord is not dead! But I'll tell you, dear hearts, we have been satisfied to live in Christ in our babyhood, to perpetuate our babyhood, and to go on shouting like a lot of babies, instead of entering into the secrets of the heart of Jesus Christ by the grace of God and claiming from Heaven the divine flames of God upon our souls. When that takes place, then we shall stand amazed at the action of God in our own and others' lives."
As Paul admonished, too many — and many of them unwittingly — keep on eating “milk” (soft, easy food), not “meat.” Also: who eats only milk? Babies! When we grow up in the Lord, we not only begin to eat meat, we begin to feed ourselves — we no longer depend on someone else to spoonfeed us spiritual knowledge. We fill ourselves with the pursuit of God’s truth.
(So, okay, I found if I actually check my email, there’s a reply button with the comment. Sorry for former bumbling around. My bad.)
Molly- great comments very thought provoking and encouraging!
I have discovered that among the “self effort/mixture” crowd they seem to erroneously define the “milk” of the word as sola fide, sola gratia and sola SCRIPTERA . This they also erroneously define the “meat” of the word as departing from these into performance and experience orientation and man made teachings.
The biblical reality is the opposite – the “meat of the word” is the gospel of grace through faith alone and the infantile milk of the word is performance and experience orientation .
Those who claim to secure and maintain Gods favor and blessings by performance orientation are in reality the infantile , the babes stuck on milk and the unspiritual and carnally minded ones.
Isaiah’s word has become fulfilled today, “Woe to those who call good bad and bad good. Woe to those who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter”
Mark also consider this: Every part of our salvation ( justification, forgiveness, acceptance, sanctification ) IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR SALVATION. Therefore EVERY PART of our salvation must be effected and accomplished BY JESUS ALONE plus nothing of our own self effort, self will or self motivation.
Jesus alone accomplishes our salvation from start to finish- from regeneration and justification to causing us to live a holy life in sanctification. Sanctification is not what we do for God – it is what JESUS DOES TO US, IN US AND THROUGH US for God.
The means of this Jesus for us and in us salvation is GRACE ALONE through the agency of gifted faith.
Sanctification is accomplished on the the cross, once and for all. I know we all want to “do” something so here is what you do: Believe (John 6:28-29). That is the work of God. Believe that He did it all. That’s your job. It is so deep yet so simple that it seems hard at first. But it is the secret to real victory and fruit.
Larry- that is only part of the truth- while static sanctification is accomplished on the cross experiential sanctification which is equally emphasized by the New Testament writers is accomplished by the grace of Jesus alone working within His people in their everyday lives as they trust entirely in Him who lives within them.
Static sanctification accomplished by the cross:But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, (1 Corinthians 1:30 NASB)
Experiential sanctification of our behaviour accomplished by Jesus active grace: Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. (1 Thessalonians 5:24 NASB)
Your statement is only half true my friend
Wow that is quite a leap, to add words like, “static” and “experiential” to sanctification. It reminds me of adding the word “positionally” to holy to describe our holiness. I wonder if the early believers used these terms. Perhaps you have a point here. I don’t want to be divisive. My hope is that the good news stays just that, and that we are able to rest in the sanctification He has provided.
Larry – great comments – very thoughtful! I’m curious as to why you assume experiential sanctification ( sorry if that phrase offends- as I am merely using it loosely to describe the everyday holy lifestyle that grace produces ) – why is this “experiential sanctification” NOT GOOD NEWS TO YOU?? Especially considering this holy lifestyle has been purchased by Jesus blood AND that it is wrought in us by trusting in Jesus active grace alone????For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11-15 NASB)
Why is personal experiential behavioural holiness not good news news in your estimation??? This is the BEST NEWS RARELY TOLD!!
Larry-Another puzzling question I have for you is – why do you assume that trusting Jesus grace alone to produce a lifestyle of holiness (experiential and behavioural sanctification) – why do you assume it undermines the rest we have in our credited sanctification???? Perhaps your comment reveals your own experience more than it reflects biblical reality???
Experiential sanctification ( again sorry if that phrase offends) as taught in the Bible IS EVERY BIT AS MUCH A PART of the glorious “rest” as we have in our credited sanctification . BOTH DIMENSIONS of biblical sanctification are freely wrought in us by grace through the gift of divinely imparted faith in Jesus.
Your view of grace is far too limited my friend.
I’m not sure Larry’s coming back. So I’ll try and answer for him although I don’t know if this is what he’d say. The gospel is simple and yes we’re not neglecting behavior or saying it’s not good news. However if your background was religious then simply saying all you need to do is believe takes alot of weight off. We know the Lord takes care of our behavior in us and through us but He gets all the credit and in the end we’ll lay down our crowns. It’s kinda like some preachers talk about how the Teacher (the Holy Spirit) took over and they just watched. So the good news is we just believe. Then we look at Jesus while the Spirit transforms us (II Cor 3 I think).
Brother Barry , you have pointed out noteworthy points. And i am in debt. Some aspects i may not understand in full nor begin to appreciate due to my limited spectrum on grace and it’s not yet been revealed on a personal level by the Holy Spirit. A static and experiential grace, in short is all about Jesus right? I might understand it differently today but as the Lord leads, i believe more and more is being revealed to those who seeks after Him.. 😉 So to all reading, thought it sometimes seem beyond understanding, take heart for the heart of the matter is and will always be Jesus.
I think we are on the same page brother Joshua. We are all in a journey of ever increasing understanding and confidence in the gospel of the grace of God. While the gospel is something we must choose to stand in from start to finish for our complete salvation from start to finish and while we must choose to be completely content in the gospel alone and the complete sufficiency of Christ on out behalf from start to finish- our appreciation and depth of revelation into the gospel of grace expands progressively.
We make joyful discoveries progressively as we stand in this simple gospel of grace that it alone is the perfect for everything that ails us, the armor and panoply that protects us, the power that uplifts us and the hope that sustains us .
Jesus plus nothing equals everything we need for life, health, peace, godliness both now and forever.
Mark I wanted to add to your comment that we lose our joy and peace by living contrary to Gods ways. Although this may be true if in disobedience I personally do not believe it to be so. If it was then a new Christian with all his rubbish would not have that joy. I believe it is simply that we lose it when our focus is on us, or our sin on wrong patterns of thinking instead of the finished work of the cross and Jesus himself. In fact The Gospel!
Amen Donna! Only faith in the gospel is the source of our continual joy before God- we place not one ioda of of confidence in our performance and our continual sense of blessing dies the moment we place any confidence in our performance. Oh the blessedness of never standing in anything but he gospel alone. I have been a believer for over 35 years and my fullness of joy is as great today as it was the day I discovered I was forgiven and blessed forever apart from my performance. From faith to faith or “faith plus nothing from start to finish”
grace is about knowing more about what jesus did isnt that growing/?
My observation has been that the ‘other’ churches have often blurred the lines between justification and sanctification. The way they preach is as if our sanctification (good works) is required for our justification (salvation). That is very bad! My critique of the hypergrace message is that they have swung the pendulum so hard the other way that they have erred the other way. The way they preach is as if our justification (salvation) is our sanctification sanctification (good works) and therefore since I am justified there is no need of volition (will and discipline) on my part in order to live righteously. That is also bad too.
The Bible tells us that we are completely and assuredly saved (justification) but that we are to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” + “make every effort to confirm our calling and election” (sanctification). Another thing is that the blood of Christ has made us completely holy apart from our works Col 1:22 (justification) but that our holiness is being completed in this life by the way we live our lives 2 Corinth 7:1 (Sanctification).
Conclusion; I think we can all agree on this point – We are completely saved by grace thru faith by the finished work of Christ and as a result are saved, justified and holy. Therefore, we must do everything we can to live out our lives in complete obedience and holiness powered by the grace of God for the glory of God.
Don’t agree , you are in two minds how can you be powered by the Holy spirit ,and do everything you can, is the Holy spirit reliant on your work or your submission.
Hi Chris, Thanks for your reply. I see where you’re coming from and I would have to say that a few months ago I would completely have agreed with you. I do understand your point of view and respect that. A few months ago I would have gone as far to say that there the work of the HS and our efforts are in complete contradiction with each other. But I have come to realise that the HS empowers us to work and do the will of God and to do everything we can for God. Didn’t the apostle Paul work hard as a result of the grace of God and the power of the HS?
I think we can agree that the HS does not force anyone to do anything. Even when we align with God’s will and are empowered by the HS there is volition on our part to want to obey the HS. We still have to choose to follow the will of God because God won’t force it onto us. Is choosing to do the will of God effort on our part? is choosing to follow the will of God contrary to the grace of God and the power of the HS? Im sure we all would say no. There is volition and submission on our part and this is the part we have to play in our sanctification (although we are not ultimately the author of our sanctification).
“In the gospel a righteousness of Gif is revealed which is by faith from first to last. Just as it is written: “The just shall live by faith” Rom 1,16-17
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Galatians 3:3 NASB)
We are justified by trusting Jesus alone. (as you agree)
But we are sanctified by trusting Jesus alone as well ( as you seem to have missed).
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; (Ephesians 2:8 NASB)
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, (Titus 2:11, 12 NASB)
We are saved by Jesus grace alone (as you agree)
We are also sanctified and taught to live a holy life by Jesus grace alone as we’ll (as you seem to have missed)
For finding fault with them, He says, “B ehold, days are coming, says the Lord, W hen I will effect a new covenant W ith the house of I srael and with the house of J udah; “F or this is the covenant that I will make with the house of I srael A fter those days, says the Lord : I will put M y laws into their minds, A nd I will write them on their hearts. A nd I will be their G od, A nd they shall be M y people. “A nd they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, A nd everyone his brother, saying, ‘K now the Lord,’ F or all will know M e, F rom the least to the greatest of them. (Hebrews 8:8, 10, 11 NASB)
You also seem to have missed the fct the the New Covenant guarantees that Gods people no longer need to be reminded, cajoled, threatened and chastised into obeying God. Grace from within replaces all that.
Hi Barry. I appreciate that you have taken time to reply to my post. I would say I don’t disagree with anything you have said. I completely agree that our sanctification is a result of Jesus alone 1 Cor 15:1-2. Although on this point is where you may disagree with me – I dont believe effort on our part is in opposition to the grace of God in regards to our sanctification. My point is I dont think I can grow in maturity in Christ if I just sit on the couch. I dont think I can grow in my relationship with God without prayer and reading the Bible. I believe there is effort on our part to do these things under the power of the Holy Spirit under the banner of grace. 2 corith 7:1 says “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body a and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” I believe we have a part to play under the power of the HS and grace to “bring holiness to completion” not for our salvation but for our sanctification. Dont get me wrong. I do agree with you Barry that our sanctification is by the grace of God. Although, I dont know if you disagree with me on this point – that effort on our part (i.e. praying, reading my Bible, preaching the Gospel to others) for our sanctification is not opposed to the grace of God.
I would like to graciously disagree on your last point though about not being chastised to obey God. Hebrews 12:5-9 (NIV) says that anyone that is not chastens/disciplined by God is not a legitimate son or daughter of God.
5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.
p.s. my intentions are not to create tension or arguments with you. Im genuinely interested on your perspective on these matters 🙂 sorry for the long post also!
Thanks Eric- I feel your sincerity and kind response. Asuming I am hearing you accurately -I believe you are making a common evangelical assumption which I believe does not stand up to biblical reality.
The problems I have with selecting a few token devotional excercises like the ones you mentioned is the means of dispensing Gods grace to walk in obedience. The fact is that everything involved in walking in ibedience is essential to walking in obedience- not merely as you claim- a few devotional excercises and a little willingness and initiative in our part or some divine discipline from time to time. The gospel is not a partnership agreement between us and God whereby we do accomplish certain religious devotional acts and God does His part in out salvation and sanctification. This notion has no foundation in biblical reality.
the New Covenant guaranteed by Jesus blood and the biblical gospel promises that Jesus grace works everything and every part of our sanctification. By faith from first to last. You can do no thing without Me. Jesus is the life- not merely some if the life. If we can accomplish any part of it then we are not saved by grace. Then it is a gospel of mixture. No we start by the Spirit and we end end by the Spirit- and everything in between in by the Spirit. What do we have that we do not recieve?
Hi Barry. Thanks again for replying. I think I’m starting to grasp your position on sanctification and I think we do differ slightly. I think one point we can agree on is that God is the author, sustainer and perfecter of our sanctification from beginning to end. One point we may differ is that I believe we should follow God wherever he leads us and that may mean that we need to be obedient to Him to whatever he may be calling us. I do believe in our sanctification we have a role to play, not as partners with God but that God leads and we follow. Kind of like a horse and cart. The horse (God) will move forward and go where it will and the cart will follow. I do want to state my position again that I do not believe that our role in following God/obedience to God is opposed to the work of the Spirit/grace.
I do think that there is much biblical support for this idea that God leads and we follow. Galatians, which is one of my most loved books which talks about freedom from the Law, says in 5:25 (ESV):
“If we live by the SPIRIT, let US also keep IN STEP with the Spirit.” We live by the leading and power of the Spirit (horse) and we (cart) also walk in obedience/keep in step with the Spirit.
Rom 8:13 (ESV) “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the SPIRIT YOU put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Once again, how I read this is that we are led and powered by the Spirit but we have a role and a responsibility to respond to the Spirit leading us to put to death the deeds of the body.
I think we may have to agree to disagree on this small point. I pray that God will give me and us all humble hearts so that God will bring us to a greater knowledge of Him every day. As it is written “He gives grace to the humble”. Blessings to you!
Eric- following Jesus by grace- I’m totally with you on that bro! I have come to define following this way: discerning the present heart of Jesus love from within ourselves and doing that alone- all by grace. Hearing and discerning his present heart in each situation by grace alone and then being motivated and empowered and led to follow through with that which is discerned by grace alone. None of this is compelled by selfish ambition, fear or guilt. I like the way Paul describes following Jesus :for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13 NASB)and our success in this effects our credited righteousness in the slightest.
One more comment that I believe bears worthy mention is the failure of many modern evangelicals to place the cross as the starting point as well as the continuing point of their self identity perception and perspective. “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3, 4 NASB)
If we fail to remain rooted in the objective fact of our own death with Christ we also fail to realize that everything beyond the point of our spiritual baptism at regeneration is objectively “no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20)
This unbelieving self identity perception is the root of virtually all self effort and self willed attempts at impersonating Jesus in Christian living.
The cross was central to all authentic apostolic preaching- not merely evangelistic preaching- but it was central to every discipleship teaching and exhortation as well. The cross in modern preaching sadly has been relegated to evangelistic preaching only or to a one time a year Easter favorite. The results of this crossless preaching are evident everywhere- self effort living is pandemic among evangelicals- and the resulting universal impotence, carnality and lukewarm assemblies is the fruit.
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2 NASB)
As much as I have enjoyed our discussions and learned a lot from everyone else’s perspective on this matter, I think this will be my last post because I believe we could really go back and forth until Jesus comes back. Dont get me wrong though, I think its great that we can talk about these things with each other as brothers and sisters rather than being argumentative. Barry, I just want to say I completely agree with your last post. We dont preach Jesus, the cross, grace, salvation nearly enough! In fact my testimony is that I was saved out of a legalistic mindset where I felt I had to do enough for God to save me. I am walking in freedom now and that is why Im passionate about Christ and the grace he afforded to me on the cross for my salvation and sanctification.
Just to clarify, when I have talked about obedience and doing things in my previous posts, I do not mean self-willed action for salvation/sanctification. I know there is nothing we can do to add to our salvation/sanctification but as a result we do have to follow in step with God where he leads us – whether that is in morality, missions, ministry ect. I believe that obedience to God is mutually exclusive to self-willed action for salvation and sanctification. In fact, I believe they are opposed to each other. Both look similar from the outside, both require volition but the former comes from a transformed heart while the latter from fear. That is why I believe I can still be under grace and obedient to the will and work of God and not have them cancel each other out. It is my joy to wholeheartedly serve the Lord and serve others because of this grace I have.
Grace and blessings to you all.
Sorry I just also wanted to add one other point as well. I don’t believe that grace from within is our only teacher to teach us how to live righteously. God graciously provides us with teachers all around us.
Parents – Eph 6:4
Church Leaders – Eph 4:11-12
All of Scripture – 2 Tim 3:16-17 (strictly Paul was talking about the Old Testament since the new testament had not yet been formed at the time of 2 Tim..But I would also include New Testament as ‘all Scripture’ as well)
People who mentor and disciple – Matt 28:19-20
God’s discipline – Hebrews 12:4-12
Trials and difficult times – James 1:2-4
Older people with experience – Titus 2:3-5
I praise God for his grace, for my parents, for church leaders, for the Bible, for mentors, for difficult experiences which have trained me up to a knowledge and obedience (though not perfect) to God! These are new covenant ideas as they are direct quotes from the new testament/epistles and from the apostles themselves.
Eric- teachers and all gifted folk in the church are the manifestation of Jesus grace- Christ in His people. In the Bible it’s not grace plus gifted people to help,us- it’s grace plus nothing. Grace comes to us in a multitude of ways but it’s all Jesus grace plus nothing that produces our salvation from start to finish:
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10 NASB)
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; (Ephesians 4:7, 11, 12 NASB)
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NASB)
Jesus plus nothing = everything
Hi Eric, I hope Barry and Chris still intend to respond. This is a topic that seems to keep coming up and I would love to hear more of their insights.
I believe we can grow in Christ by sitting on the couch. We become more like Jesus by beholding Him and the couch can be a good a place to behold His goodness (2 Cor 3:18). If you are talking about walking out the Christian life, I think there is some truth to what you said, but we will only be fruitful if we’re abiding in Jesus. One great way to tell that we have crossed over into self effort is if we become annoyed about others “not doing enough”.
Amen to that LPJ- the Christian life as presented by the New Testament is not what we do for God. From start to finish the Christian life is what God does for us, in us and through us through the indwelling Messiah through faith which itself is a gift of God alone and not of ourselves. Only Jesus can live the Christian life by His grace alone from within us- Any attempt to live the Christian life ourselves is a usurpation of God in our lives. There are a multitude of sincere believers who do not grasp this and the result is a multitude of Jesus impersonators. I know you and I pretty much agree on this next point so I write it not for you but for others reading these comments.I believe sanctification is also almost universally misunderstood in our self effort pervaded modern church culture.Sanctification in the Bible is not becoming better and better persons nor is it living a better and better life. biblical sanctification is trusting Jesus to live more and more of His life for, in and through His people -” so that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:28 NASB)
But as you mentioned earlier LPJ-I don’t think anyone can over emphasis the fullness, completeness and perfect divine righteousness that is gifted to us- Any personal holiness in our lifestyle that Jesus accomplishes in us adds nothing to this perfected divine righteousness and is for Gods glory alone and the benefit of those around us. The more obedience Jesus accomplishes in our lives the more of His love those around us enjoy through our lives. We personally gain nothing by our obedience or growth in experiential holiness nor do we lose anything if we do not grow in love for others.
I cannot speak for the motives of others but in past when I was concerned and zealous over personal obedience it was almost always because I failed to see the perfection, completeness and sufficiency of my credited righteousness, credited holiness and credited blamelessness. I suspect the same motive in those who are always asking the question, “Yes I believe in grace BUT what about behaviour?” If I know I have billions in my bank account why would I worry if I will have a few hundred dollars to pay my groceries- unless I don’t believe I have billions!
Hi Eric it is important to understand what Gods discipline and rebuke is directed at , one good example is his rebuke to Peter.Get behind me Satan. It may be that Gods rebuke and discipline is directed at our work and not lack of it.The old testament bears evidence of this when people acted even with the right action but without Gods instruction they were disciplined.Yes we may have many people from who we can learn but we have one teacher. And all these lessons from others are accepted or rejected by filtering them through this teacher and the HS who testifies of him.It seems that the greatest revelation of Jesus happens in isolation, maybe without contamination by others, in the desert, or on a island.the first few sentences of Jude explain to me the order and source of the work in my life. I will just add that I appreciate your attitude and motivation.
Thank you for your awesome responses, gentlemen.
Great post! Thank you Paul for your diligence in preaching the Good News! You have played a huge role in helping to shape my message which was once was very mixed up… I enjoy your posts and your books, keep up the great work of sharing Papa’s heart with His children!
It’s all by grace…it is the Gospel of grace that sets us free…
Your eight points describing a hyper-grace church is characteristic of the church I now attend. Your other eight unfortunately describe the church that I left. The leadership were well-meaning people who love God but when the mention of grace came up it was like they “turned off their brains”. A good friend of mine from my former church (who is also a pastor) thought I was from another planet when I told her that the reason that I appreciated the church I now attend was because Jesus was preached every Sunday (“Jesus….every sermon?” she asked incredulously). Thank God for His grace….
I’m probably going to be flooded with questions like this: What is the name of Diana’s new church? And how close is it to where I live? Haha! Thank the Lord you have found a good church. May there be many millions more like it!
This is the most precise, to the point and beautiful exposition on grace versus mixture I have ever read. In a nut shell it says it all. God Bless you brother. -TB
I LOVE YOU Paul…..hahhahahahahahaha….Glory to Jesus!
my new pastor told me that when they started preaching the good news of grace in their very legalistic church he thought they might lose 20% of their congregation… instead, it was 80% that left (and not all of them peacefully either)! is this a higher than normal statistic? they were pretty darn legalistic… my new pastor has been my neighbor for 9 years…
5,000 left Jesus in one day, not counting the women and children, so don’t be surprise, they will come back at much greater speed, when the world hears the real good news
actually, my reply was in response to the last few words of paul’s post – that “a hyper-grace church is attractive to sinners and unappealing to the self-righteous.” the people that left were hearing sermons twice a week about the good news of grace – but they walked away from it… i’m guessing because they were too zealous in their own self-righteousness to see their need for Christ’s perfect righteousness.
last i checked jesus didnt spend much time with the self rightous pharesees. instead with sinners.
Thank you for this encouraging message!! Jesus is soooo good!!
I think you spelled it out perfectly Paul! Perhaps a follow-up post on how do we respond to those that are against the “hyper-grace” message in a loving and graceful way would be beneficial? I love the clarity that you have when showing what is really going on when the Law is pushed on people. Praise God!
Paul you just reminded me my early days as a E2R reader. After reading your post, I felt this soothing touch all over me, especially when I blow it. It calms my nerves and strengthens me. Thanks a lot Paul and go more uncut on the gospel of grace
This is the “Glad Tidings” and “Good News” of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your four years of proclaiming the truth in love. I have been “hyper” about Jesus and His finished work for seven years now.
Great article Paul!! Keep on, keepin’ on, bro!!
The Gospel is Grace and Grace is the Gospel.
Once again, you’ve came out with an excellent post. Thanks.
Paul had enough sense about sin and notice it is written in the present tense. He is not speaking about his new nature, rather the old one , which keeps on sinning and why we need daily doses of repentance, the Blood and the Cross.
1 Timothy 1:15 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
“A mixed-grace church would have you turn from every sin until you’re a dizzy sinner.” Heh. Great line.
Thank you Father for your GRACE!! Thank you Paul for this blog E2R. Happy Birthday! I think that I discovered your blog about 2 years ago when I was trying to understand God’s Grace and what it really is. Twentysome years as a born again Christian and all my life in the church and I still did not know what it was. The church sure has done a good job in keeping a secret or at least keeping us very confused. I was somewhat relieved that I was not the only one. I felt like an idiot but my sadness is there for all those out there who have grown to hate the church and Jesus because of how the Gospel has be skewed and how God has been misrepresented. But I am also so excited about how the truth is coming out. Truth always wins!
Thank you, Nancy.
thanks Paul, just got done telling someone I didnt want to go around the mountain on this subject any more, we disagree OK…………not to mention the old ” when was the last time you robbed a bank,or killed someone”? you havent? gee neither have I, I wonder WHY?.same old song.
ps: sorry Im ok now.
I’ve stopped robbing banks too. 🙂
Having been on both sides of this one, I can say this post accurately describes the differences. As I read this excellent post a few things came to mind.
1.) It’s important to remember the term Hyper-Grace is man made and used to attach man’s ideas to truths he does not agree with or understand. The Bible calls it the gospel of grace and the only gospel.
2.) Those who oppose grace commonly refer to an example of someone who uses grace as an excuse to sin, but Romans 6:14 tells us if you are under grace you will not be dominated by sin.
3.) Grace by definition is unearned, unmerited favor, so grace that is not free is not grace at all.
4.) Most importantly, grace is much more than a topic of discussion. Grace is Jesus. Every concept of Christianity and the Bible has to be filtered through grace and love because that is who Jesus is.
I totally agree LJP. Following your point #3 I would add that love, by definition, is unconditional, or it’s not love.
Sadly, these truths are not well-known. So I will continue to speak of unconditional love and free grace until the adjectives become unnecessary. I long for the day when the grammar nazis hammer me every time I use a redundant phrase like “unconditional love.” At present the only hammering I get comes from those who say “God’s love is not unconditional.”
Amen! I love what you’re doing. Grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Grammar Nazis, any relation to the soup Nazi?
Great post and good reply LJP.
God’s love is ABSOLUTELY conditional – The conditional is that you WANT the priceless love He so graciously offers.
Thanks Lewis 🙂
your right ljp,I have thought about that several times, the only thing I can think of that it is close to it is [super abound.]
I like super abound. 🙂
This is the best comparison I have read. I will print this article and hand to all my friends and colleagues. Grace Grace
Can i reblog this sir?
Go for it.
I really appreciate your time, efforts, skill taken to wright such an article. Your gracious attitude is apparent towards those of “mix-grace” (form whom I was once numbered among) your kindness sets your rebuttal apart, the words you wright rings in the heart as you simply elevating Grace and Jesus. A life of blinding well intentioned efforts or even thankful-labor making repayment for His grace is exhausting. Resting is the freedom of Grace is un-comforting to a lot of us in the beginning. As the first saints themselves wrestled with mixing law and grace, I have found it my natural inclination to gravitate towards self effort and law as though it’s part of my nature rather than culture conditioning. I now cherish the Apostle Paul’s simple words, “may grace and peace be with you”, this rebuttal echoes the same towards the nay-sayers of the gospel of Grace. Paul we stand with you and pray that Grace may increase with the authors opposing the message of Grace and Christ Alone, thank you for being a clear gracious voice. Many are listening.
Thank you, Mark.
Thanks for this post Paul, I have been attending one of these “hyper-grace” churches for a year now and have not witnessed ANY of the 8 negative signs mentioned by Charisma.
I think perhaps what Charisma has been witnessing is the fallout of many Christians who have simply been let out of their prison after being taught a legal understanding of sin, salvation and God. If God has been perceived as a Judge then sin is simply breaking rules. So the grace message becomes more like a ticket out of prison. It’s proof that there was not a healthy relationship with God to begin with. When this kind of Christian becomes free from the law there is a tendency to sin because sin has always been viewed as simply a legal infraction. “Nothing personal.”
However, if the believer comes to see sin as a relational barrier with their heavenly Papa the grace message fosters a beautiful bonding towards God’s heart that restrains sin like never before. It’s the difference between getting away with something behind the Judge’s back and hurting your precious Father who you now know loves you to the stars. Also if you are taught your true identity as a true son of God made in His image you will know sin is at the heart “missing the mark” of your true sonship not missing the mark of God’s moral code.
So it’s not hyper-grace that is the problem but when it is taught within a religious mindset of a legal salvation.
A relationship of love is the true motivator and love needs no laws!
Wow, Kate. Well said!!
So, practically speaking, how does a “hyper-grace” church deal with someone in the church that consistently doesn’t do what they should? Even something as simple as an usher not showing up 20 minutes before service like they are asked to do. Any accountability?
i would have to say,the difference is, do you WANT to be a usher,or do you HAVE to be a usher,if being a usher is not your thing, then do something else, how ever growth produced grace usually produces a desire to be a servant, so you look forward to doing, being what is needed.I have seen over the years though,.. there are people who are just not ushers.
what I meant to say is growth produced BY grace.
I think Grace is the relationship you have with God, it is perfect, and he love you. This is all in the spirit. But in the world, we need to relate to man, and as such, u don’t show up to work consistently, you get fired. But God loves you the same employed or not employed. So your good living does not affect ur relationship to God, but it does impact your living with man. In the same way, u turn up to the airport, 2 seconds later than the gate closing time, you aren’t going to fly, but God loves you the same. The lack of accountability will have its consequences on earth, but this does not change the way the father loves you. So on your usher case, turn up late every time, he aren’t going to be the usher.
Albert Soo- your comments seem to indicate you make the assumption that biblical grace only guarantees Gods unconditional love and that “accountability” ( your word) is required to cause believers to do the right thing. Your view of grace is far too limited My friend. The Bible declares in Titus 2:9-11 “The GRACE OF GOD teaches us to say no to ungodliness and evil desires ” clearly Gods grace in Christ isn’t just to forgive, accept, and bring His favor, love and blessing upon His people. Grace and only grace causes His people to do the right thing and to live responsibly in this present age.
Phil : re your question regarding the person who consistently does the wrong thing- first see my comment response to Albert Sooo- Second – the person who consistently does the wrong thing is either uninformed and untaught to trust entirely in Jesus grace within him to motivate and empower him and he is still in self effort and self motivation mode OR HE IS NOT TRULY SAVED yet.
Grace never fails! Here is some good biblical equations: Jesus plus self = self; Jesus plus self effort =self effort; Jesus plus anything = nothing but Jesus grace plus nothing = EVERYTHING.
Barry, thanks for the reply. But you didn’t answer my question. What do you practically do with the usher that continually shows up late? The best I can get from your comment is tell them they are not saved. Please help.
Phil- sorry for brevity in my previous answer-
Diagnosis is critical to the cure.
A person who is consistently unfaithful in word and deed is so because they lack the true knowledge of “the faith”.
No one can consistently live in a way that is consistent with what they BELIEVE about Jesus and His gospel or grace . Your unfaithful usher friend is either not yet instructed or not yet believing in the biblical doctrines of grace. He needs to be instructed that he can expect and trust Jesus to motivate and empower him to be a faithful usher. If he is unfaithful It is is because he is still assuming he must remain faithfull by his own self effort, his own attempts at faithfulness and his own will power and self discipline.
In short he is still ushering by Law and not by Jesus grace.
I you want church members to be be faithful – preach the gospel of Jesus grace alone plus nothing . If you want a bunch of lukewarm uncommitted church workers preach Jesus grace plus self effort!
Try it – it works! I have never has so many joyful zealous faithful church members preaching Jesus grace plus nothing equals everything!
Paul, once again thank you for shining the light on this as you have throughout the “hyper-grace” accusations. If I might be so bold, I would like to shed some light on where these accusations are coming from.
It may seem that “Charisma” magazine is out there talking about stuff in the “Charismatic” church. Hence the name, right? But as I understand it, it is actually a publication put out by the Assemblies of God church. Even though I am grateful for having grown up in that denomination, I now understand that they have been deceived in a sense by the “saved today, lost tomorrow” type gospel that came to the church, largely in part, through the influence of Charles Finney in the 1800s. Also, the men who speak so strongly against emphasizing grace strongly come from a discipleship style which strongly emphasizes Charles Finney’s type of repentance (of course I cannot speak for all of them).
John, I assure you that Charisma is not being published by the Assemblies of God.
Beautifully, expressively and most important- truthfully written!
Keep contending for the faith that was once for all handed down to the apostles through our Lord Jesus Christ- the true gospel of grace!
Do not give way to the “dogs”!
Outstanding article Paul. Thank you so much. I pastor one of those alleged “hyper-grace” churches and I have never been more convinced that we are flowing in the vein of the Holy Spirit and what He is saying to the Church! (I find it ironic that Charisma and others have never written articles against “hyper-holiness”, even though it has caused far more damage to the church and produced an identity crisis in many believers…that Holy Spirit is now unraveling with the True Gospel.)
“Consequently, we may contrast the two perspectives as follows:
◾Hyper-grace – we are saved by grace and kept by grace
◾Mixed-grace – we are saved by grace but kept by law”
Amen, well said. Give me hyper-grace then! 🙂 I liken it to real grace vs, “foolish Galatian” grace. We’re finally getting it and walking in the freedom (from sin and legalism) that Christ paid for. Blessings to you, sir.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank You! Congratulations on four years of glorifying the King of kings and Lord of lords. You and Joseph Prince changed my life. Without these teachings I would have never known the love of God. The truth will make you free indeed. God bless you and your ministry richly.
Awesomeness……Thank you Paul….you are so appreciated!!!!! :-}
Paul, I don’t know you, but thank you for such a piercing, clear response to the Charisma magazine piece. With your permission, I would like to repost your piece on my blog. Please let me know.
You don’t need to ask for permission to reblog a post (but thanks for asking). Other sharing options are listed here.
Awesome sauce!!!! Thanks Paul, you rock. I’ll echo the comments above testifying to not seeing any of the (ridiculous) “signs” that the Charisma article proclaims in our local “Hyper Grace” church, while being witness to the signs that you describe Paul. Almost seems like the Charisma author is describing churches that mix law/grace, since the churches I’ve encountered that show those “signs” (prosperity gospel, self-help, sin scandals among leadership) certainly do not teach “Hyper Grace”…
Sure hope this article is read far and wide. 🙂
Like a breath of fresh air, is the truth of grace to me. 🙂 Thank you Paul.
Thank you Paul. I love reading your articles. Grace and Peace to you.
Thank you for this article. One of my teachers has been preaching and teaching on Grace for several months. What he said recently is that “Grace” was taught but not fully. Jesus is Grace, He is Love and so much more. When we only hear the Word from someone else and not read to understand for ourselves, we miss what God has to reveal to us individually. I learned this many, many years ago and He pushed me into school where He taught me through revelation of Holy Spirit. Grace is more than many who believe the Law will ever grasp fully. Just think, can any of us truly live by all of the 637 Laws of the Bible? God knows better. He knows we couldn’t and knows we can. If we could, then there would be no need for Jesus to have come to Earth, suffered, bled and died. There is so much more here and now is the time for folk to get where they can get it, and know Jesus beyond the cliches and pet verses……….He is Love, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Justification, Mercy, Apostle, Priest and Mediator just to name a few. When any of us have a real personal relationship with Jesus, we learn at various stages, any one of these titles and so much more……
Hey Bro Paul Ellis, I love this and Keep bringing the love and Jesus Centred messages and blogs, especially this part of pacific nations especially in New Zealand , we need it so as you bro, we have been taught so wrong, people are moving away from churches, not because they sinned more, but because they were sincere in their hearts , These blogs are so encouraging and for people who don’t like it , I can only say, Grace (Jesus) has changed my life to an extent that I enjoy the life which Jesus died to gave me. Bless you my brother in Christ.
Hi Paul, thanks for the very good response to Charisma Mag’s article. Can I ask, when was the first time you heard the term “hyper-grace”? Do you know the terms origins. THANKS
That’s a really good question, Damon. Maybe others reading this may care to contribute on the origin of the term hyper-grace. (No need to mention Romans 5:20 or 6:1. We get it.) I think the term has been bouncing around for several years and may have originally be associated with universalism. It may not have been until Michael Brown’s article last year that it became more clearly associated with what I would call the gospel of grace.
But others may have more insight. Any etymologists out there?
When the Charisma article came out last year, I was so furious. I felt the author created a caricature of something that existed only in his mind, a straw man that had no counterpart in the real world.
I am so thankful for Paul’s work, this article, and the work of D. R. Silva, among others. Brother D. R. rightly points out that according to the scripture grace is hyper! “The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded [ὑπερπερισσεύω hyperperisseuō] all the more…” Romans 5:20
Thanks so much for your website and your books!
Thanks so much! It’s funny, 6 months ago I agreed more with Charisma, but now after a 6 month wilderness, God has shown me over and over how simple and true the grace message is!
You reference the charge of antinomianism. Can you elaborate more on what that is, why the grace message is accused of it, and why that is not what the grace message is?
I am encouraged by your comment GraceSeeker. I think many of us here have made a similar transition. Antinomianism literally meants “against the law.” The charge is that those who preach radical or hyper-grace do so at the expense of the law. We are implicitly against the law. As I say in the post above, nothing could be further from the truth. We have the highest regard for the law and the purpose for which it is given. More here and here and especially here.
The real law-abusers are those who honor it with their lips while keeping only some of the commands.
I agree with everything you’ve said, Paul, I just don’t care for the term Hyper-grace. I gather the point is that in our contemporary church environment the only way to arrive at the real Gospel of Grace is to give it the name Hyper-grace.
I believe that people that preach against Grace in any form are lukewarm. They are not even hot for the law. But I still believe the more we preach Grace It puts them into a position to ask themselves are they in Faith? Jesus or Moses?
Paul Ellis . Can you please provide a link to the ‘Hypergrace’ article you are referring to on the Charisma News web site .Thanks
It’s in the first line of the post above.
I am a long time believer. However, it is only recently that I discovered 2Co 5:16: “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” (NKJV.) To the extent I focus on the outward appearance of things and not the spirit I will be to some extent in deception, or particularly in some form of a mixture of law and grace.
Appreciate your reply Hucklejohn- I have discovered that most objections of the biblical teaching on grace is that people often view grace as some kind of “it” – a position, an impersonal force, a ruleor an influence.
Grace is a PERSON! Jesus Christ and His Spirit of Grace. Grace is Jesus plus nothing . Grace is the Life of Jesus manifested in His people. No one speaks of “Hyper Jesus” or “Hyper Spirit of Grace”
Jesus is never accused of being anti Law. Jesus is never accused of promoting immorality or ungodliness. Jesus IN US is grace and grace is Jesus in us IS GRACE!
Hi Paul, thank God for raising up godly men like you who will declare the GRACE of God and be fearless about it. You wear the whole armor of God very well I just wanted to say that Paul the apostle said that Moses had glory which faded away but we have this glory of God which does not fade away at all. Now aren’t we totally the ultimate Bride of Christ. Thank God for lavishing His love upon us and doing so abundantly (multiplied.) nonstop.
The Charisma Magazine article, “8 Signs of Hyper-Grace Churches,” is a response to the growing numbers of Christians who are abandoning the rigid law-bound message that has been dished up by many churches and religious publications for too many years. The message of law and judgment is losing its grip on the hearts and minds of sensitive believers and the message of love and grace is on the rise; especially among evangelicals and Pentecostals. For an example of the desperation in the camp of the ‘old religious guard,’ consider the alarm in the opening words of the Charisma article: “… churches built on the message of “free grace” are part of a “dangerous trend” that needs to be opposed and confronted.” One of the pejorative terms employed against the grace messages “Hyper-Grace.” They often use that term as if it were something Christians should avoid lest they forget all the rules, regulations and bylaws of the church. I contend that Hyper-Grace is a good thing and is scriptural, too. Consider the following:
Grace is not only Hyper but it is Super hyper – Romans 5:20-21 reads – “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Greek word used for “abounded” in context of grace abounding is hyperperisseuō, there are two root words that are used for this word, the first word is Hyper, which is originally where we got the word hyper from. Not only that, the second part of the word expresses abounding or hyper is perisseuō which by definition means – to hyper/abound beyond measure, to hyper/abound exceedingly, to overflow and enjoy abundantly ~ Simon Wilson
What makes you think that the article is in response to, as you say, the growing
‘numbers of Christians who are abandoning the rigid law-bound message that has been dished up by many churches and religious publications for too many years?” Could it have anything to do with the growing number of churches springing up who give a false message of grace? Just curious.
Doug- you have got my curiosity stirred. In 250 words or less (the limit asked by this website) what would you consider to be the true message of grace?
Your blog makes many good observations. I lived under the legalism of a church that spoke much of “Grace” for more than 10 years. Yet this distinction between law and grace is fundamentally flawed, because there was grace even in the law. The law is our “teacher” or “tutor” (Gr, paidagogos) to bring us to Christ. Martin Luther taught about the false dichotomy between law and grace, suggesting instead that we distinguish between LAW and GOSPEL.
Those who are unconcerned about their sin or even unaware of their sin, living in denial or rebellion, need to have LAW applied in order to drive them to Christ. However, those troubled or burdened by their sin, finding themselves unable to control their propensity to sin, should be given the GOSPEL, the “Good News” of Christ’s atoning sacrifice of himself and the gift of the Holy Spirit to believers. As Paul so strongly emphasized to the Galatians, we are both SAVED and SANCTIFIED by the Grace of God, expressed in Christ and mediated by the Holy Spirit…
Kent K – re your comments about careless and indifferent Christians needing Law to “tutor” them into the brokenness of grace. This is not what the Bible teaches. The Law says Paul, “WAS a tutor ( past tense) to lead us to Christ” Read Gal 4:1-11 for yourself my friend. Clearly Paul is PROHIBITING ANY RELATIONSHIP WHATSOEVER TO THE LAW AMONG THOSE WHO HAVE NOW COME TO CHRIST.
The Law led us to Christ- THATS ALL The Law CAN DO AND THE ONLY PLACE IT HAS- Once the Law has fulfilled its purpose – bringing us to Christ – it is finished with, it is obsolete, it is abolished FOR THE BELIEVER.
Consider also this: Is Jesus Christ not able to motivate and empower carefulness , reverence for God? Does god need to re estate the weak And powerless Law to bring his redeemed people into line in their attitudes????
What the Law is powerless to do – JESUS CHRIST CAN AND WILL DO my friend.
You have more confidence in law and self effort than you do in Jesus grace. Where is your faith in Jesus my friend?
“Those who walk in the Spirit intentionally fulfill the law accidentally” Michael Eaton
Excellent line/theology, Rob, reminding me of Augustine’s “Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.”
If it were not for hyper grace I would not be the ressurected son I am. I did not find grace in the church. God had to take me out of the church to change me. So in my experience , and I have visited many churches, they are for the good people out there , for the people like me I think Jesus meets them on his terms HYPER GRACE. I appreciate your grace extended to other pastors Paul and must commend you on an awesome post.
Thanks so much for this and the many other articles you do Paul. Myself and some friends are really excited about the freedom we are finding in grace!!! I think people have been taught hyper-fear. Red flags go up when they smell freedom.
Just for fun, It’s like that episode of Star Trek with the drill thralls that wore disciplinary collars that would light up when they are disobedient, causing extreme pain.
Kirk – “You know we are saved by Grace and kept by Grace.”
Shana – “Grace? I do not think your words are allowed.” She brings her hands to the glowing red collar on her neck, choking and gasping begging forgiveness for speaking of grace.
Great comparison. Any excuse to get Star Trek into the discussion is highly appreciated! Have you seen this post?
ok………..KIRK OR PICARD?
I’ve thought and prayed about this issue a lot, not so much regarding church — where grace indeed should always abound — but in Christian and secular colleges/universities where I’ve taught since the early 90s. Professors, instructors, teachers, and administrators are tasked constantly with discerning between laying down the “law” (re rules, required readings, tests, behavior, etc.) and extending “grace” (re grading, attendance, participation, behavior, etc.). Any thoughts on that challenge? I can only imagine how this topic also fits for parents, coaches, managers, and other authority figures who balance or don’t balance grace and rules in the home, on the field, in the workplace — and beyond. I believe we need to be careful of the all-too-common either-or fallacy; with that in mind, the line I like the most in the article is “Hyper-grace churches are often accused of being opposed to the law when, in fact, they esteem the law and agree with Paul who said “the law is good if one uses it properly” (1 Tim 1:8).” Amen — “properly.” Help us, Holy Spirit!
Hi Geoff, this is something I’ve thought about a lot too since I am a father and a retired college professor. There are many situations in life where the law serves a useful purpose. For instance, I give my son zero grace when it comes to playing on the driveway. When grading papers I am also likely to be rule-focused. But the way to frame the question is not “Law vs grace” but “Life vs death.” I want my son to live and since he’s too young to evaluate complex situations involving reversing cars, then one simple rule can save his life. Conversely, if a student tells me they missed an exam because of some injustice, illness, or what have you, then I would be quick to administer grace.
But as you say, the church is different. The law is for children but God desires us to be mature sons and daughters and in a healthy home, grace reigns.
You contrast “grace” with “law” or “grace” with “works” but the Bible nowhere does that (it was Martin Luther who introduced that idea): Paul (as in Paul, the author of Romans) contrasts “faith” (not “grace”) with both “law” and “works”. Paul’s argument in Romans is, in part, that law was itself a gift of God’s grace, as everything is. May we not now discipline our children and others in grace. Discipline will never save or sancify us or our choldren and never could but it may be a practical help if it is done in grace. There can be a gracious disciplining (of myself and ohters) in love. Surely, none of us has reached perfection; we all have some maturing to do!
Romans 11:6 “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
Thank you, Paul, especially for “…the question is not ‘Law vs grace’ but ‘Life vs death.’” I will definitely keep that line in mind/heart. With respect…
That is precicly it it is life verses death, and when speaking into the body it should be the same we should not be tolerant of death.
brilliant reflections on this point thanks Geoff and Paul. As a manager in a Christian non-for-profit with staff of 35, this grace thinking is where the daily rubber meets the road for me. Paul, your “life versus death” thought helps me understand, through a grace framework, the need for structure and rules (and their enforcement from time to time) in an organization while still applying grace/jesus in any one situation where clearly an individual needs permission to deviate from the expected organizational norm. I love systems, guidelines, boundaries and clarity because without them, organisational chaos (death) would eventually ensue. The ‘fun’ part in my job is feeling I have to sometimes justify my decision to colleagues who aren’t so hot on the application of grace when say I allow extra sick or bereavement leave to an employee. Now I have a new question to ask myself. ‘will this decision bring life or death to this person, and/or to our organisation?’
Geoff- re: how does grace apply in schools , family etc ?-very thoughtful questions indeed!
This is what The Lord has taught me regarding the application of grace in every situation-
I have learned to define grace as it relates to everyday living as “discerning and following Jesus present heart of love from within me in each situation ”
Grace is NOT living by principles, guidelines, programs or administrative systems (neither in the church, the home , the institutions or the market place)-
What you are asking then is “what principles or guidlimes do we use to apply grace?”
Your question reveals you still don’t grasp that grace is Jesus present heart from within-
So all you need to know in applying grace is this : “what is Jesus presently revealing he wants in THIS SITUATION? Then just do it by faith ! That’s GRACE!
Thanks, Barry, especially for “’what is Jesus presently revealing he wants in THIS SITUATION?'” — which challenges me to be more prayerful and Spirit-led in the classroom.
Great stuff Barry!
We must have such an abiding relationship with Christ that we share his heart and live in moment by moment awareness of his will in every situation – this IS possible and what we should be aspiring to. Failure to realise and DESIRE this and therefore to function without God is why people have created the pejorative hyper grace term. It is the very essence of sin.
Thanks Lewis ! Re: discerning Jesus present heart of love within -I have discovered that the more I choose to be fully satisfied in Jesus credited righteousness alone and the more I rest in His sufficiency on my behalf THE BETTER I AM ABLE TO HEAR HIS VOICE AND DISCERN HIS PRESENT HEART OF LOVE IN EACH SITUATION.
As long as I am tuned into self instead of Jesus my ability to hear His voice in the moment is dulled. “Law came through Moses ( very little ability to hear Gods voice) but grace AND TRUTH CAME THROUGH Jesus” I can hear Jesus speak His truth clearly under grace.
He is Sooo very real to me now under grace- Sooo very near under grace and His inner voice is Sooo very clear under grace. O how marvellous is His grace!!!
i dont agree that having principles, boundaries and administrative systems in a workplace or institution is somehow not living by grace (if indeed that it what you were saying). however, i like yr question “what is Jesus revealing he wants in this situation?” usually, i suspect the answer will still be ‘to ensure organisational compliance so that we can satisfy external stakeholders, meet reporting requirements and ensure our workplace has integrity and is a safe place to work, thus being able to secure the next round of funding in order to carry on being Jesus to the vulnerable we work with”. I will, at least, stop to ask the question now though, LOL 🙂
This is great stuff! 🙂 Thank you Paul and Geoff for sharing your thoughts in this area. I believe the genuine concern that you both show toward those you influence will keep you in God’s wisdom. With your motive being for the best interest and growth of the students, your actions toward them are the same as you would treat your own child. That motive of love will naturally fulfill the law. We just have to stay in God’s love so we have love to give. Blessings
LJP- you said “we just have to stay in Gods love ” and that we “need the motive of love”
This is exactly what the Law was all about- “stay in love” and ” have the motive of love”. The Bible says , ” he who loves has fulfilled the Law” Sin is nothing more or less than UNLOVE. Herein is THE KICKER! We DON’T love. We DO NOT have the motive of love. We DONT AND CANNOT stay in God’s love. That is precisely why we need to be redeemed and saved and delivered BY JESUS ALONE. If any of us COULD stay in God’s love and IF any of us COULD maintain the motive of love- THEN-CHRIST DIED FOR NOTHING!
JESUS grace alone can keep us in the love of God. Jesus grace alone can gift us with the motive of love.
This is also the reason why we treat people who do not grasp grace with patience. Because UNTIL JESUS GIFTS THEM WITH FAITH IN HIS GRACE they are hooped!
I was trying to keep it brief, Bro. Did you want me to say all of that? Haha 😉 I was drawing from “abide in My love” and “we love because He loved us”.
Excellent post! Problem with Charisma and its authors is they try and divide the Law into moral and ceremonial. The Word never divided it up in this manner! The other failure of Law is it only shows us lists of do’s and don’ts. It demands from us it never supplies us. Lastly the law says don’t cheat on your wife. It never commands me to love her! Grace on the other hand working within changes me to simply love my wife! Then I won’t cheat but I will also love her more and more! Grace works law fails!