8 Signs of Hypergrace Churches

Charisma Magazine recently published an article entitled “8 signs of hyper-grace churches.” 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 libelous 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.

But first, what is “hyper-grace”? Those who attack it rarely 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 – we are saved by grace and kept by grace
  • Mixed-grace – we are saved by grace but kept by law

With these distinctions in mind, we can now identify eight characteristics of hyper-grace churches:

1. They 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.

Spurgeon_No_Christ

2. They 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. They 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. They 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.

Blackboard_Grace_plus

5. They 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.

Blackboard_righteous

6. They 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. They 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. They 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.

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153 Comments on 8 Signs of Hypergrace Churches

  1. Great response, Paul, to the sad article in Charisma. I’ve been growing in grace for a while now since I came across Joseph Prince. I don’t care how many articles and cautions I may receive I ain’t ever going back to my old thinking of the past decades. What is the results of this teaching that I have been drinking in? My efforts are minimized, Jesus is exalted, I sin LESS, I KNOW God blesses me constantly, and I really understand for the first time how the gospel is good news. If this is error; if I am out of balance I will gladly live out of balance forever.

  2. The saddest part of this whole debate to me is that few are willing to admit there ARE excessive and errant teachings going around out there that I would dub universalism and inclusionism masquerading as the grace message, and giving the glorious message of grace a bad rap. So when those messages and messengers are criticized (and rightly so) as so called teachers of hyper-grace, the valid message and messengers of grace feel beat up on and defensive.

  3. Thanks for the comments everyone. Since there are some first-time commenters here (welcome!), this could be a good time for me to remind you of E2R’s comment policy.

    Comments with links are usually filtered out by WordPress’s spam filter – I never see them. So no advertising please. And comments longer than 250 words normally don’t get published – so no essays please. Thanks!

  4. Hello – This may be a bit off-topic, but I am wondering where people find churches which teach walking a grace-filled life, filled with the Spirit?…

    • Hi Janet, yours is an excellent question and one I get asked on a regular basis. I would prefer to limit these discussion threads to the posts being discussed. A far better place to put questions such as yours is on E2R’s Facebook page. I encourage you to put it out there and see if anyone can give you some suggestions. Thanks.

  5. Hope I’m not overextending my newcomer welcome- this article has unleashed a torrent in me lol. One more comment -sorry can’t help myself- Re: Being gracious to anti grace people: By Gods grace I have been contending for the grace message for over 35 years and so this suggestion doesn’t come from a novice. I know how easy it is to respond in ungrace to the ungracious legalists. This has empowered me to patience and kindness. We were shown grace by the mercy of divine revelation alone through the GIFT of faith- “what do you have that you did not receive?” says the apostle of grace. Unless Jesus opens the legalists blinded yes- they are victims of their own blindness. Let’s all “be merciful to those who doubt”

    • Yes Barry,
      There is nothing as repulsive as grace mixed with ungrace. The devil loves it. We can’t live with an us and them mentality – it has to be us for them. We were once (and still sometimes are) just like them. Praise God for His love and Grace that gives us the power to be like Him.
      Blessings.

  6. Does anyone know what is the new television station devoted to the view of grace that the article refers to? Thanks

  7. Michael Jenkins // February 8, 2014 at 10:47 am // Reply

    This is unbelievally good news, continue to spread the gospel!

  8. Ok, I googled Grace Television and Grace Television Network came up. Maybe I should have tried that first. 🙂 

  9. The whole book of Galatians is about how we don’t live by law after being saved, but by faith. We are sanctified by faith, by Holy Spirit, by God, in Jesus – Acts 26:18, Rom 15:16, 1 Cor 1:2, Jude 1, by Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:11), by God’s word (1 Tim 4:5), by Jesus (Heb 2:11), not by works. Jesus is our sanctification (1 Cor 1:30). Grace is so important, there are only 4 books in the NT that do NOT mention it – Matt, Mark, 1 John, 3 John.

    • Yes and his name means the Lord is salvation , not anything else. So in this name we can do all things.Not in any other name.Thanks Linda !!

  10. Nicole Cottrell // February 8, 2014 at 12:23 pm // Reply

    Happy to have found this blog and this post. My friends and I were discussing much of this today after a sad encounter with a woman who only wanted to shame people out of their sin.

    If I had to err on one side, I would always choose grace. Grace upon grace. Thank you for sharing such subtle, ninja-like, brilliance.

  11. An interesting word:

    “But in all these things we overwhelming conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, norangels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Paul of Tarsus

    The words “overwhelming conquer” in the Greek is “hypernikáō.” This Greek word is from the word “hypér” meaning beyond, and nikáō meaning conquer. This expresses that of “to exceedingly conquer,” being “more than” as “hyper conquer,” which is completely beyond just conquer and is over and beyond the common thought of being victorious.

    • Warren (South Carolina, USA) // May 31, 2016 at 2:04 am // Reply

      Kat Huff,
      “Overwhelming conquer”…. as JP points out we don’t fight for victory, we fight from victory.
      Warren (South Carolina, USA)

  12. How could you say the Love of GOD is conditional? And if that is true, can you tell me any of His condition u met before He sent his son to come and take the place of your condemnation?
    Like someone rightly say, any love that comes with condition is not love.
    For we to be living under the condition love of GOD, is a big insult to GOD. Man ve no strength to meet up the condition of GOD.
    If GOD’S love is conditioned, then that means we have not been saved by grace but by works (human effort ) and that made woul have made the bible the biggest lying book of all century, but i believe the bible is always truthful.

  13. Gal 3:1-6(NET) You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort? [to which the mixed-grace folks shout out a resounding YES!] Have you suffered so many things for nothing? — if indeed it was for nothing. Does God then give you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law or by your believing what you heard?

  14. It is really hard for me to grasp this. I know we are not kept in right standing with God through law-keeping. But if ‘law’ were to be defined as ‘God’s commands’ (not the old Judaic law of Moses), isn’t there a purpose for following these commands? It almost sounds like some would discount the law as being there only to show us our sin and the impossibility of keeping it perfectly. But God’s ways are good, and following them is beneficial. I am just trying to work these things out in my mind to a fuller point of clarity.

    • Hi Sande,

      God wants His will in every situation to be written on our hearts. A relationship of love with Him allows this to be a reality. A relationship of love with Him will automatically result in us loving others. This supercedes any commands. Commands are required when our desires were opposed to His.
      I hope this helps.
      Blessings.
      Lewis.

      • Lewis-you said, “This supercedes any commands. Commands are required when our desires were opposed to His.” REALLY????
        By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:2, 3 NASB)
        Seems the apostle John would differ with your assumption.

      • Hi Barry,
        How can His commands not be burdensome except that He has changed our hearts through an intimate loving relationship with God? So the keeping of any particular command apart from to love God is superceded by and contingent upon this relationship that He died to bring us into.
        Any outward manifestations are simply proof of the relationship rather than being necessary in and of themselves.
        Blessings.

      • Lewis- Now THAT is 100% true !
        But THAT is NOT what you said earlier! You said that Commands are ONLY for those who don’t want to love God.
        By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; (1 John 2:3, 4 NASB)

    • Sandy- I am not an official of this site, neither do my opinions necessarily reflect the opinions of this site ( although I certainly am in full agreement with this article ). Having said that I would like to make a few comments to your question of the relevance of obedience to God for His people: 1. As I have argued for many years -practical daily obedience to God and all,that involves (the ability to hear and discern his daily commands clearly, the willingness to obey, the motivation to obey, the power to obey and the grace to follow through without fear, guilt, condemnation or divine intimidation as a motive in obeying ) -ALL THAT biblical obedience implies- is a) purchased by the death of Jesus “who gave Himself to redeem us from every lawless deed” (Titus 2:14) b) is accomplished within us ENTIRELY BY GRACE ALONE- through the agency of divinely gifted faith in Jesus (Titus 2:9-11; Epg 2:8-9; Phil. 1:6; 2:12-13) and MOST SIGNIFICANTLY d) for the purpose of the glory and name of God alone.
      Not only that but -Obedience earns US nothing- our salvation, our favor with God is secured and maintained by the death of Jesus PLUS NOTHING. Obedience IS ENTIRELY FOR GOD ALONE- HIS GLORY ALONE! “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord G od, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. I am not doing this for your sake,” declares the Lord G od, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel!” (Ezekiel 36:22, 26, 27, 32 NASB)

      • Barry, I’m puzzled by your previous response to Lewis: Sande was asking about the relevance of the Mosaic Law in the New Covenant. Lewis nailed it when he said that a relationship of love with God will automatically result in us loving others. This is correct. The “commands” spoken of in 1 John 5: 2-3 are to believe in Jesus and love others. We already believe in Jesus and the reason why we love others is because of the love of God that has been “shed abroad in our hearts”. We love others because He first loved us. The “commands” referenced in the New Covenant are never about “thou shalt” or “thou shalt” — it’s always about, this is who we are; this is what our identity is. It is becoming what we already are in its fullness because we are fully aware of the radical soul surgery that was performed on us. The essence of the law is demand but the fruits of the Holy Spirit come through effortless, sometimes even unconscious enablement.

    • “Sola homo Gloria ” ( for mans glory and end alone) while never Verbalized -sadly is a real an invisible motive written across 99.9% of the modern church . Even churches experiencing the grace message reformation hold this motive in their hearts “grace is about ME.”
      This is the predominating stronghold which yet needs to be dismantled and replace with this Banner “SOLA DEO GLORIA” – I want to shout this from the pulpit of every grace based church – ” GRACE ISNT merely FOR YOU! ITS FOR GODS GLORY ALONE!!!!

      • Hey Barry, I think it’s ok and even important to stress His grace is for you. Your heavenly Father wants you to live in confidence that He is always with you and always for you. It really is all about Him, I absolutely agree. But true to His graceful, loving nature, He’s all about you.

      • LPJ- thanks for that blessing and encouragement !

      • Very interesting perspective, Barry. Thanks for sharing it with me. God bless!

      • Thank you for your gracious response, Barry. There is another concern that we should be aware of in grace circles. We can have a tendency to take this beautiful revelation of grace and bring it back to the old tree of right and wrong. I find when I’m really in tune with the Holy Spirit, my need to be right or the smartest guy in the room takes a back seat to, “What does this person need to receive Life?”. Maybe grace churches are telling people, “this beautiful grace of God is for you”, so they can receive Life. Blessings

        P.S. I’ll pass your kind words on to LPJ. haha 😉

      • Totally agree LJP- Grace causes us to speak the truth in love not in arrogance or manipulation. But grace also causes us to assign the best motive to what others are saying. Far more often than I care to admit I have discovered that when I assume the motives behind another’s words I am wrong. When I am thinking the least of their motives Jesus is usually speaking the best of them. Lord make me more gracious in assigning motives – as you are gracious.

    • hi sande, under the new covenant, all the laws and demands of the old covenant have been fulfilled perfectly in and by Christ. we, who are in Christ, live by the law of faith, the law of the Spirit who gives life, and the perfect law of liberty. these are all references to living by the Holy Spirit – Christ’s own Spirit. anything that sounds like a command under the new covenant is actually a promise… because when we live by the Spirit’s guidance we are actually living by Christ’s voice… and when we head His voice, we are following His ways…
      😉

      • Thanks, Jennie. Maybe if I keep meditating on insights like yours here, everything will come together in my mind and I’ll finally ‘get it.’ I feel like I need to learn to turn into a different frequency than the typical ‘edifying’ sermon I hear allows.

      • you are so very welcome! the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth – He knows your frequency! (i personally enjoy listening to creflo dollar and joseph prince) 😉

    • Hi Sande, I really like what Jennie said. Maybe this would also be helpful. Grace teachers and the anti-hyper-grace teachers 🙂 both want to see people living in victory over sin. The question is “How do we get there?”. If we try to achieve it by keeping the law, the burden is on us. If we look to Jesus, He has already fulfilled the law for us and His love will guide us into the victorious life. Blessings

      • Yes, LJP. Everyone’s comments have helped me explore a new aspect to this boundless grace. What you write here is helpful. When doctrinal points diverge, I like to try to find the common denominator. So here common denominator is pleasing God; but how do we get there? Your explanation resonates with me. I appreciate your taking the time to present it. Blessings.

      • In my limited experience with helping people gain a clear perspective as it relates to grace and how grace relates to keeping Gods commands I have witnessed a very common misconception: The misconception that one can follow Jesus by grace without Jesus issuing any commands or without knowing what those commands are or without meticulous obedience to those daily commands. Jesus said, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”(John 15:10 NASB) Clearly Jesus admitted that His following the Father involved His keeping the Fathers commands and that us following Jesus involves carrying out His commands. Obedience to divine commands IS NOT anti- grace. Obeying is essential to following orders. Love towards God is demonstrated in meticulously carrying out His on going wishes. We don’t decide what loving God looks like- loving God involves finding out what He wants to do each day and doing that. Saying that loving God merely what I want to do for Him in love is like me showing my wife I love her by buying her a new tool set. No -loving my wife involves finding out what SHE WANTS AND DESIRES AND DOING THAT ALONE FOR HER! Jesus said , ” just AS I loved the Father and obeyed Hid commands” clearly Jesus heart was absolutely pure and filled with love for His Father all of the time- yet he continually said, “Not what I want Father but what YOU WANT. ” as John said “Love for God is demonstrated by keeping His commands” Keeping divine commands is not anti-grace- it is is loving God ON HIS TERMS!

      • Why are you screaming at me, Barry? I think the description that you gave puts too much of the burden on you to get your obedience right. The chapter you quoted from uses the image of abiding in the vine; a much more natural process than meticulous obedience. When we are in Christ, God directs us by putting desires in our heart.   

        for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
        -Philippians 2:13

        How can we do something in love if God has not given us the desire to do it? If someone loves making apple pies for Jesus, we shouldn’t look down upon that. We may be judging Jesus, Himself, who gave them the desire to do it.

        “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
        -Hebrews 10:16,17

      • LPJ oops I mean lpj – you don’t like the idea of meticulous obedience ???
        Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. (John 5:19 NASB)
        “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (John 5:30
        for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish -the very works that I do-testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. (John 5:36 NASB)
        So Jesus said, “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. (John 8:28 NASB)
        For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. (John 12:49 NASB)
        Evidently Jesus doesn’t have the same problem with meticulous obedience that you have.
        Meticulous obedience is not burdensome to those who have learned the joy of trusting Jesus to do it in them.

      • LPJ – following Jesus is more than just living out of a new identity perception, a ore than living out of a new heart and it is more than merely living out an awareness of God’s unconditional love and grace for us. No One Had a clearer self perception and self awareness of God’s unconditional love towards Him than Jesus. No one would have had more reason to “just love God and do what He wanted ” than Jesus. Yet Jesus continually spoke of NOT doing His own will but rather setting aside His own will in order to the Fathers will. “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (John 5:30 NASB)For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (John 6:38 NASB) Clearly Jesus ( even though having a perfect loving heart in Himself ) laid aside His own will in order to flow the Father . “as the Father sent Me- so send I you ” (Jn 20:21)
        While A new heart and a complete awareness of Gods grace and unconditional is essential t as a foundation to following Jesus – their can be no following Jesus without “Not my will Jesus but yours be done”

      • I’m relieved to see your humorous side, Barry. 🙂 This makes it crystal clear for me, I hope you like it.

        Oranges are not made in factories. Good farmers grow healthy orange trees and the tree naturally produces oranges in season. Good pastors help people develop a healthy relationship with God by showing them His amazing grace and love. Their healthy relationship with God naturally produces good fruit.

        Before Jesus started talking about obedience He said, “without Me you can do nothing”. Which means, don’t run out of here and think you can do this by being meticulous about your obedience. I am the vine, abide in Me. When you abide in Me, this is the kind of fruit you will see – effortless obedience that you could never produce without Me.

      • LPJ- if I have given the impression that meticulous obedience is something we do I apologize. I was under the speaking under of the presupposition that Jesus continues The meticulous obedience he walked in IN US! ( not shouting just to emphasize those words. The Christian life is NOT what WE do for God . The Christian life of grace is what Jesus does for God to us, in us and through us.
        This is why Gods commands are never burdensome- because grace is JESUS doing it for us. This is why We never have to worry how high god sets the bar for living – Jesus never fails to reach that standard. When we want to lower the bar- it is always because we are still making the false assumption that it is us who must accomplish it. Once Jesus gives us the revelation that HE DOES IT ALL then we will never again feel offended or defensive when confronted with divine commands. Also I sincerely apologize if by some unintentional provocative communication on my part I somehow provoked you to resent me or my words my friend.

      • Peace 🙂

    • Hi, Sande. You wrote: “But if ‘law’ were to be defined as ‘God’s commands’ (not the old Judaic law of Moses), isn’t there a purpose for following these commands?”

      Think of it this way: Jesus said the *entire* law was summed up in two commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.

      One of the reasons man has always had problems with a tendency toward legalism is that legalism, at first, makes things easy. It’s easy to know if you’re “doing it right” — you just go down the list of do’s and don’ts and check things off! But then the trap is sprung, right!

      When Jesus talked about the “new” commandment he was giving us, it was “to love.” That’s it. Simple and complex, easy and hard. Because every day, in all kinds of situations, we have to discern and follow the path of loving God with everything in our being and loving our neighbors as ourselves. But, as we have talked about so much on this thread, to know God is to love Him — it is the relationship that leads us to love Him and it is love that leads us into (or back to) the relationship.

      Grace, I think, is one way to describe that love God has for us and the love we have for him because of the love he has for us. Living in grace is living in love with God. And, as Jesus said, on that “hangs all the laws and the prophets.”

      • These two great commandments are law. Recall that Jesus was asked “What is the greatest commandment in the law” (Matt 22:36). In other words, Jesus gave a law answer to a law question put to him by a law expert. Just because “Love the Lord your God” is simpler and nobler than all the other laws, doesn’t make it any less a law and we are not to have any relationship with the law.

        Commanding believers to keep this one grand law is the same as preaching the Ten Commandments. We are not under the law but under grace. Under grace, everything begins with the Father and is revealed to us through Jesus. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (Joh 15:9). We don’t love because it has been commanded of us. We love because He is love and He first loved us. Our love is, and always is, a response to his love.

      • Once I deposit my paycheck into my bank account I rarely or never bother even thinking about what happens to my money after that because that’s my bankers job. I entrust my money into his hands because I trust him when he tells me he is my banker. I don’t go around thinking about my money, worrying if my money will be available to me when I need. After I deposit it I do not obsess over it in any way. I leave that concern in the hands of my trustworthy banker. For 56 years now I have never once had to concern myself with my money once I have entrusted it into my bankers care.
        “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)
        Jesus is our righteousness and our sanctification!! Why in Gods name is everyone so obsessed over their sin, over their behavior, over their sanctification? Why is everyone so obsessed over their righteousness ?
        We need to get a life people and entrust our sin, our righteousness and our sanctification over to the trustworthy ONE!
        All this obsession with sin in the church is an insult to the One who promised to look after sin on out behalf. All this obsession with righteousness or unrighteousness is stealing our time, our lives and our enjoyment of God and each other ! It’s time to entrust our sin and our righteousness and our sanctification with the TRUSTWORTHY ONE and get on with living and loving Him and each other !

  15. Isn’t it weird how some folk will say they have received the GOOD news of the Grace gospel and its “glad tidings of great joy”, yet seem so suspicious of anyone actually enjoying how. MASSIVELY good and joyful it is? Like they want to dial down how good and freeing it is, in case people get carried away and let something ‘good’ make them act ‘bad’???? Just makes me wonder if people who have a problem with ‘hyper grace’ actually have a problem with joy – with people being too full of ‘the joy of their salvation’ – “Better shut all this ‘hyper grace’ down and take up a more sober walk of examining self and working on your level of obedience. Less of this leaping and jumping and praising God stuff!”. My question is : Why do some folk want to make Good News feel and taste and smell ……bad?! All I can say is, I’m done with joyless, do-it-yourself Christianity. Mr Grace has come and swept me off my feet – and Oh! is He hyper amazing!!!

    • There’s a pretty good song that has been around for a while called Amazing Grace. You may have heard of it. 😉 So we’re changing amazing to hyper now to make it sound like something new and dangerous. 🙂 Jesus has been amazing way before we were around, it just takes us a while to really accept it. Blessings

      • Thanks, Lewis. Something to chew on. Blessings to you.

      • Great Gilly LJP amazing , hyper, scandelous, ridiculous, crazy, awesome , unbelievable, undeserved, free. Call it what you will it is amazing !!!!

      • duane.michelle@sbcglobal.net // February 11, 2014 at 5:56 pm //

        The man who wrote that repented of his slave trading ways, imagine if he said amazing grace but still abused people in “grace” (slaving), he repented turned away from his sins, followed Jesus, learned from Him a new way, you will stumble, we all do, but we are restored and God will lead us from these defining and destroying sins to a new and transformed life. It can be over night and it can be a much longer change process, but you are a New Creation and will not be the same person ever again.

      • Amen Duane.michelle!! True faith and true grace always produces repentance- a change of mind that always leads to a change of behaviour! The entire “faith chapter” (Hebrew 11) repeats this over and over again “By faith they ( did this or that).” Nowhere does it say that “By faith they did nothing” .

  16. Ed– I totally agree with you brother.

  17. Someone once asked, ” What if in love you baked God apple pies everyday of your life and you got to heaven and found out He didn’t like apple pie?”
    Clearly the above scenario is what loving God on our terms is like. The ONLY way to know for sure HOW God wants to be loved each day is to listen to His commands from within In EACH SITUATION and doing THAT ONLY. That is what Jesus meant when he said, Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. (John 15:9, 10 NASB). Loving God on His terms is to hear Jesus voice commands in each situation AND OBEYING THAT ALONE.

  18. Brian Midmore // February 10, 2014 at 9:29 pm // Reply

    The issue I believe is this. How should a Christian fulfil the law? The answer is not by his own efforts by merely focusing on the law and trying to keep it. If you live according to the flesh you will die. But rather in the Spirits power ‘That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit. Those who criticise the ‘Hypergrace’ movement on the whole are not advocating that we should try to keep the law in our own efforts. But they do say that there is still a law to be kept by the Spirit’s power.

    • And the Spirit has an obligation to testify of Jesus and not of himself, this is the power of the Spirit, Grace every believers first love, the power that turned the man, many have forgotten their first love, that is why the law cannot be kept.

  19. are sinners/unbelievers more attracted to hyper grace churches? has any number crunching been done on this? are the new believers still attending these churches?

  20. I believe in this message of grace but I still fail in the “practice” of it. I grew up legalistic and my eyes have been opened to the real Gospel. I still struggle to live a holy life and am beginning to wonder if this message is just a repackaging of legalistic doctrine. Is it all just a semantics war a the end of the day? where am I failing in the day to day? how do I live this out so it becomes “walk in the spirit naturally?”

    • Hi Rad,
      I encourage you to check out some of the 400 posts in the archive – they will answer your questions. There are posts on walking in the spirit and how to live under grace and many more.

      • Brain the text you quoted in your comment doesn’t MERELY say that By the Spirit we keep THE LAW my friend. It SAYS , “that the RIGHTEOUS REQUIREMENT of the law may be fulfilled by the Spirit” some versions say, “That the RIGHTEOUSNESS of the law may be fulfilled by the Spirit. There is an ENORMOUS difference between keeping the Law and keeping the RIGHTEOUSNESS of the law. Clearly when we walk by the Spirit we produce the effortless and spontaneous FRUIT of the Spirit which is LOVE. LOVE as a fruit of the Spirit is not keeping letter of the Law- it is fulfilling the RIGHTEOUSNESS of the law. The law of Moses throughout the NT is NEVER to be a part of our saving relationship with God in Christ. These and many other statements in the NT declare the believers severed relationship the Law: We died to the Law, we are no longer married to the Law but are married to a new husband- to Christ. We are no longer under the supervision of the law. The law has been replaced . The law has been fading away since David’s prophesy and HAS NOW become obsolete . The law was a shadow until the reality came which is Christ. Christ is the end of the law. Clearly the law is to have NO PLACE I the believers life any more than a remarried widow is to return to her husband who has passed away. Yet believers DO KEEP THE RIGHTEOUSNESS of the law through the Spirit.

  21. duane.michelle@sbcglobal.net // February 11, 2014 at 5:45 pm // Reply

    Grace only, cross only, faith only, Bible only, Jesus alone, with out these there is no Gospel, but I have seen what the man in the article has spoken about, in the very fact that at the grace only church we went to I saw the father of my grand daughter, lead on the worship team and have a very questionable faith walk (he wasn’t married to my daughter) but he was one to call grace and no accountability, he was caught trading in child porn in the same town the church was in! I had protested to the pastor & elders that he did not belong on the worship team and needed much watching over to protect the sheep, it’s called discernment folks and needs to be practiced to guide the family of God, there are always imposters to be watched for.

  22. Brian Midmore // February 11, 2014 at 9:07 pm // Reply

    Hi Barry,
    You accept that Christians are commanded to love, which is of course the fulfilling of the Law. (Mark 12.30-31). It is difficult to maintain the idea that the law plays no part in the Christians life given Rom 3.31 ‘Do we make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary we establish the law.’ If the law plays no part, how do we know when we fail and sin as Christians? How did Paul know that the man in 1 Cor 5 should be disciplined except by the fact that he had broken and was breaking God’s Law concerning sexual morality? (Lev 18.8). God’s Law + flesh = sin and death, absolutely true! But God has commanded us to love and has given the Holy Spirit to achieve this goal. This is life from the dead. By this we establish the Law, not by the means of the Law but by the means of the Spirit.

    • Brain – consider this: We believers know when we have sinned, we know right from wrong, we are corrected, rebuked and trained NOT BY LAW but by Jesus. We are not trained, led, corrected , disciplined by the Law- We are NOW trained, led, corrected and disciplined BY JESUS ALONE APART FROM THE LAW. The sons of God were once tutored by the Law but NOW THAT JESUS IS IN THE HOUSE THE TUTOR HAS BEEN SET ASIDE PERMANENTLY! ( caps don’t mean I’m shouting) lol Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:24-26 NASB)

      • Brian Midmore // February 12, 2014 at 8:48 pm //

        But I agree entirely that we are not trained by the Law but by the Spirit. The issue is ‘to what end is the Spirit training us’. The end is love which is the fulfilment of the Law. The law is merely a description of what love is. So the Law as a means of salvation is entirely revoked but the Law nonetheless defines the goal of our salvation which is love. If the moral law is utterly revoked then on what basis is the man disciplined in 1 Cor 5.? For this man the Spirit’s training seems to have been ignored, and so apostolic disciplining is necessary. How does Paul know that the man needs disciplining except by God’s Law (Lev 18.8)?

      • I agree with you Brian on these points you are making here. But as I see the primary means the NT emphasis for the training and development of the conscience, for the training and development in the divine expectations for righteousness in thought and behavior is what Pail describes in Eph 4 as “the faith”. By that I believe he means is the complete body of knowledge as handed down from both the teachings of Jesus as well as the righteousness described in the Torah (OT).
        So while Paul would agree with using the Torah as means of instructing the conscience (see II Tim 3:16) he would never agree to using it as a replacement for the indwelling Christ; he would never agree with using the Torah to encourage any sort of self willed, self motivated or independent study and application APART from the direct, present and continual tutelage of the indwelling Jesus.

        To Paul trying to live by Law didn’t merely mean knowing it or storing it’s truth in the heart and trusting Jesus grace alone to apply it and lead the believer day by day.
        Rather to Paul living by Law meant self effort, self willed and self led attempts at application. A pint entirely lost in most Bible centred churches today. Also to Paul living by law meant applying the Torah with the anti gospel and anti grace MOTIVE of either SECURING OR MAINTAINING the favor and blessing of God.

      • Barry – some feedback – internet protocol does indeed mean that use of capitals = shouting, along with overuse of exclamation marks. Also mportantly, use of capitals makes it hard to skim read. As a avid reader of this blog, I usually skim read all the comments to see what others are saying and contributing to the discussion. Unfortunately, I gave up reading most of your comments after a while as filtering out the capitals took too long and impeded my skim reading efforts. sounds lazy i know, lol, but perhaps you could think about it if you continue to be a regular poster?

    • Brain- while the NT clearly declares that the sons of God are clearly NOT permitted to have any relationship with the Law in Christ and while ( Romans7, Galations, Hebrew8-9 clearly tell us we are dead to the Law, the Law is replaced by Christ and by the New Covenant, and that the law is now obsolete – this does not translate to “lawlessness” among the true sons of God. It translates to the effortless (on our part) and spontaneous keeping of the the righteous DEMANDS of the Law – through grace by the power of the I dwelling Spirit of Christ through the agency of divinely gifted faith – moment by moment

      • Brian Midmore // February 12, 2014 at 9:21 pm //

        But when this spontaneous obedience breaks down (as in the case of the man in 1 Cor 5) what do we do? If there is no longer any law by which discipline may procede we are utterly helpless to do anything about the situation. We can not say to the sinning person you are wrong to do what you are doing because of God’s Law because it is irrelevant to Christians. We might pray but what should we pray for. We don’t know for sure that the man is in wrong because the Law is irrelevant. In short how do we know right from wrong except by God’s law. But just knowing right from wrong is not enough to achieve the right. For this we need the Spirit.

    • Brain – I know you already agree with this but just. Y way of reminder -The death of Jesus NOT ONLY purchased and guaranteed forgiveness, acceptance and credited righteousness through gifted faith APART FROM THE LAW- But the death of Jesus ALSO purchased and guaranteed that we would be led, trained, disciplined , trained, empowered and caused to live a holy, disciplined and godly LIFESTYLE. This is THE REST OF THE GOOD NEWS RARELY PREACHED!!!! 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. (Titus 2:11-14 NASB) Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. (Ezekiel 36:26, 27 NASB)

      • Brian Midmore // February 12, 2014 at 9:05 pm //

        You say the death of Jesus causes us to live a godly lifestyle. But how is a godly lifestyle defined except by God’s Law. For example if I am sexually promiscuous I am not living a Godly lifestyle because I am breaking God’s Laws of morality. If we say that the Law no longer has any relevance how do I know if I am being Godly or not. How does anyone know what godliness is? I repeat , the law has no longer any relevance for achieving godliness, but it still has relevance for defining godliness.

  23. Grace for credited righteousness, sanctification, acceptance and forgiveness PLUS grace to hear his voice, obey his commands and live a lifestyle of obedience and love EQUALS BIBLICAL GRACE. Every half truth grace is NOT BIBLICAL GRACE.

  24. “Adding to Jesus doesn’t improve on Jesus, it leaves Jesus”
    -Jeff Vanvonderen
    Yup ❤

  25. I agree with most of you say. There is only one thing. I don’t think you are describing hyper-grace and probably don’t need to associate with it in terms of being put in a box.

  26. Much of the debate and corresponding rancour between the so called “hyper grace” specialists and the so called “legalists” is rooted in a bogus westernized approach to the canon. I remember when my mom was in intensive care suffering from multi trauma injuries she received in a car accident. She had 12 specialists who would come in and give us detailed and meticulous reports of each of their findings- often arguing and disagreeing with each other because of their varying myopic specialized perspective. Not only that but when we ask, “Yes but how is mom.” They would shrug their shoulders and say, “Well the kidney is doing this.” Another would answer, “Well the brain is doing that.” And another, ” Well the nervous system is ….” And we would say, “But HOW IS MOM?”
    This would never happen in the ancient middle eastern mindset. To them the parts were irrelevant – it was ONLY THE WHOLE THAT MATTERED.
    A point ENTIRELY MISSED by modern westernized Bible readers – they have ignored this foundational wholistic paradigm and replaced it with the bogus fragmentation and specialization of PARTS – thereby descending into the unnecessary folly getting into disagreement with each other or arguing as Mark has argued.

  27. Sorry- I meant to say ” and arguing as Grady has argued.”

  28. The law does give us knowledge of good and evil. It makes sense that we need to know right and wrong so we can know if what we are doing is good or evil. Yet, even though it seems logical, our Father told us this tree would kill us. What is it that He knew? Where does this road lead us to? 

    As I examine myself with this knowledge of good and evil, I go after the big stuff first. After a little while, I find a few more things. So I take care of all of that and feel good for a while, but before long I find more stuff. I deal with that and then some of the old stuff pops up again. It is endless and futile because it’s all or nothing and I can never reach the required goal of perfection. Another problem is that I am in the judgement seat. In order to be a good judge, I need in depth knowledge of all that is good and all that is evil. This is what all of the world’s religions attempt to do, but since I don’t know all things, I am unable to judge effectively. This whole process requires putting trust in me; my knowledge, my ability to judge, my ability to do it. Where is Jesus in all of this? Inevitably, since I’m in the judgement seat now, I start going after every one else’s stuff too. Now everyone can see my self righteousness and they don’t want anything to do with my critical Jesus.

    This is not meant to condemn the way anyone else is trying to live out Christianity. This is a description of the way I did it for many years. The harder I tried to live this way, the more apparent it became that I could not. When I fully applied myself to it, I saw very clearly what He meant when He said, “you will surely die”. The good news is there is another tree.

    • On how God uses the Torah to instruct the conscience, correct the wayward and rebuke the rebellious sons:
      All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17 NASB)

    • LJP – Amen, eat of the Tree of Life and drink the living water that came from the Rock in the wilderness. Keeping my eyes on Jesus!

      • Amen, Deborah, look to Jesus! That’s exactly it, He has been showing me that over and over. 🙂 There is so much peace in knowing it’s not about me, it’s all about Him. Blessings 

  29. I do not believe it is hermeneutically accurate to assume that Paul was opposed to using the the Law to instruct and train the conscience in the grace based life. Paul himself admitted, “How would I know what coveting was unless the law had said, ‘Do not covet’?”
    Whenever Paul used the phrase “The Law” in the context of juxtaposing it in opposition to grace or to the gospel he was always referring to that phrase “The LAW” to mean self effort, self will, self application in the unbelieving motive of attempting to secure or maintain the blessings or favor of God by faith in self rather than by faith in Christ alone.
    We need to interpret Paul’s use of the phrase “the Law” within the context of what point he is making at the time. If you fail to define “Law” by this contextually distinguishing hermeneutic you will inevitably throw the baby out with the bath water .
    The Law is good in the life of grace under the new covenant IF YOU USE IT PROPERLY.

  30. Sorry Dear I’m a techno moron- thanks for the help

  31. “1. They preach Jesus and nothing but Jesus.”

    “Nothing” but Jesus? I’m curious if hyper-grace churches are Trinitarian. Do they know the Father and the Holy Spirit? Or do they commit the modalist heresy and understand God as Jesus who shows up in different “modes” (i.e., the Father and the Spirit) when needed?

    • Eric- no

      • Barry, is that a “no” to the first or second question, or both? If so what is their alternative, orthodox Trinitarian dogma? If so then they do not preach “Jesus and nothing but Jesus.”

      • Eric- I have never yet run across a church that preaches the message of grace as the complete and only gospel by which we are saved by faith from first to last and who teaches the absolute sufficiency of Jesus Christ plus nothing of self as the being anything but Trinitarian in their view oF God. (That the God of the Bible exists eternally in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit) . Have you?
        And if you haven’t why ask the question?
        Also in your question you used the words “they” referring to grace preaching churches?
        Are you saying your church doesn’t align with the 8 signs mentioned in the article?
        If YOUR church doesn’t align with this then you my friend attend a heretical church and need to find yourself a biblically Orthodox Church because the 8 signs mentioned in the article are all essential to an authentic apostolic and biblical faith.
        Your question seems to indicate these 8 biblical lay orthodox doctrines are somehow new or foreign to you ?????

      • Barry, absolutely. They’re called Oneness Pentecostals, or United Pentecostals. There are plenty of so-called grace churches that are non-Trinitarian in a strict Orthodox sense. By claiming to preach Jesus only you implicitly deny a full-orbed Orthodox practice of worshiping the Trinity. Explicitly you may be Trinitarian, but your “explicit” and “implicit” should not be at odds.

      • Barry, I should also mention that this line of yours: “the absolute sufficiency of Jesus Christ plus nothing of self…” may conform to classic Reformed/Calvinist theology, but it is not Orthodox. To claim that the believer is somehow excluded from being the bride of Christ is heterodox at its fullest. Have you ever met a wife who considered the entire marriage relationship to be that of the husband’s concern?

      • Yup I sure have! The biblical true churches marrraige to Jesus is all Jesus and nothing of self. I pity the person who thinks they have something to bring to the marriage convene at with Jesus except praise and thanksgiving. Jesus plus self = self without Jesus! Jesus grace plus nothing of self = biblical Christianity my friend.
        If you really believe your portion is essential to your salvation beyond believing the gospel then you my friend have fallen from grace, you have been cut off from the gospel. You need to read the Bible again. If Jesus isn’t all in all then He’s not in it at all.
        Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “C ursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “T he righteous man shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:3, 9-11 NASB)

    • well, Jesus is the express image of the Father and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. when you preach Jesus, the Father is being expressed and and the Spirit is revealing His truth… they’re kind of a package deal – since they are One. he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also 😉

      • Jennie, do you believe the Father and the Spirit are also God? If so, why not include them? Do you believe they are distinct Persons of the Trinity?

    • And what do you understand about the unity of the trinity are we included.

  32. Amen the message of grace frees and delivers us from sin, it doesn’t give a license to sin. I used to be addicted to pornography, and the message of grace is what set me free. For that I reason I really questioned the Charismatic article when it said grace preachers allow this type of sin in their churches. I think sexual immorality is more present in the mixture churches. That’s the type of message I used to listen to, and I think that’s why I used to struggle with the sin so much. It’s just like in Romans 7 when Paul said the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. The law is good for it’s purpose, but it will strengthen sin in your life if you live under it. Praise Jesus for His liberating grace.

    • Gilly Stott // April 10, 2014 at 11:26 am // Reply

      That’s a fantastic testimony, Nate! Thank you for being willing to share so openly about Grace coming to your rescue when rules and trying to obey them (law and self-effort) made you become more bound, not less. Grace really does liberate. WOO HOO! Let’s celebrate!!!

    • Nate, thank you so much for your testimony — wisdom earned through pain. On this point, I will never forget a story a pastor of mine from long ago told. He had been counseling a person for quite a while on the matter of sexual sin. The person said, “I just can’t get the victory . . . ” etc. etc. My pastor finally said, “Here’s the problem. You don’t hate your sin. You still love it.” Dagger straight to the heart! I thought, wow, here is exactly the problem we have in a situation like this.

      My pastor went on to explain: “You don’t have God’s perspective on your sin. God hates what you’re doing, because it brings death. But you don’t hate what you’re doing, although you do want to stop because, intellectually, you think it’s a problem for whatever reason. You can come here week after week and say you want to stop, but the only way you are going to stop is if you love God more than you love that sin. In fact, only if you love God so much, and are so informed by His point-of-view, that you view that sin the same way he does — as bringing nothing but death and heartache. Right now you don’t really agree with God’s view of what you’re doing. You’re focused on how hard it is to give up what *you want to do* rather than on how much — because of God’s bountiful grace — you want to be a loving and respectful child of God.”

      To me, this is an example of what you are talking about, Nate: attempts to simply obey the rules had only made things worse for this person — what was needed was an understanding of the *relationship* with God and the effect of sin on that.

      Most people, if they truly love someone, and they become truly understanding that their conduct is hurting that someone — especially someone who is incredibly gracious and generous to them, stop. They just stop. This is how the focus on grace, rather than outward compliance, frees a person from the pull of sinful behavior.

      • Amen that’s a lot of wisdom from your pastor. Many of us who struggle with sin do not realize how much God hates our sin. When we sin, we demonstrate that God’s grace and love is not enough to satisfy us. We insult the cross and grace of God when we choose sin over Him, and it breaks His heart.

        The problem I had is that I was so focused on avoiding sin that I did not realize this. The Christian life is not about avoiding sin, it’s about growing in our relationship with Christ. When we forget about this, it just becomes another religion and there is no victory over sin. We desperately need the grace of God!

      • Nate, you have given me some more good words to help me communicate this truth of grace: it’s not about a focus on avoiding sin. Seems to me that so often, unless we become conscious of how we are “talking to ourselves,” we don’t even realize that we are focusing on avoiding sin — on trying to “do it right,” this thing called Christianity. In Christ, freedom really is synonymous with VICTORY! And freedom comes from the fact that we are immersed in Grace — we just have to open our eyes “underwater,” as it were!

      • Molly- I have discovered that we can’t hate our sin without Gods grace giving us that hatred of sin as a gift. Repentance is a gift and the willingness to hate sin is also a gift. Sin is far too powerful within us and we are far too impotent in our own will and strength to hate it.
        “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. “(Philippians 2:13 NASB)
        Not only that but whenever we attempt to obey God or attempt to hate sin from self will and self effort we do so not because we hate the sin but because we hate the consequences of the sin. The same is true whenever we attempt to repent of sin out of fear of punishment, shame, guilt or obligation. While with enough will power we may be able to outwardly avoid sin we always end up being defeated by the tenth commandment ( Do not covet) . Coveting is doing one thing but wishing we could do another. This is the sin that busted Paul (See Romans 7). His strength of will enabled him to outwardly obey every commandment ( see Phil 3:6) but he discovered he was powerless to avoid wanting to sin and he knew he was powerless to hate his sin. No man can hate sin my dear! Unless Jesus by His grace moves him from within to hate it.
        We should never attempt to hate sin in our own strength. That will only lead us to obsess over it and thereby want it all the more.

      • Barry, this is exactly in accordance with what I was trying to say. Although the pastor diagnosed the problem as “not hating your sin,” the solution — according to him, me, and, I believe you — was not to try really, really hard to hate the sin. But, rather, to see how the lack of hating one’s sin was, among other things, a failure to acknowledge the grace that would lead to hating one’s sin.

        I think this is one of your best posts on this thread, Barry. I love how this discussion is helping so many of us reach a better and better understanding of how to articulate this marvelous truth that we experience in ways that others can get.

  33. I don’t like stuff like this – ” moral living is a fruit not a root”. It’s too much sweet tea and only serves to confuse people. Grace cannot be separated from holiness. You cannot come to the Father without the Son; however you still have to obey. It’s really that simple. Please stop with all the sweet tea- we are all rotting away from the sugar.

    • Jen- is holiness not sweet to you? If holiness is not sweet tea to you then you are tipping your hand. You are proving that you don’t really love holiness for its own sweetness but that holiness to you is distasteful and something you don’t really enjoy or love but something you MUST DO . This also tells a lot about your beliefs. You are declaring that you believe you can secure and maintain the favor and blessings of God by your holiness rather than by what the Bible teaches- that we are saved, blessed and favored because of what Jesus did!!
      If you are trusting your holiness ( the holiness that to your own admitted taste isn’t sweet) then you are trusting in sinking sand.
      But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “L et him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:30, 31 NASB)

      • That is not what I said. You cannot come to the Father without the Son. However, you still have to obey. This is not a difficult concept. You do not obey to be “saved”, you obey because God said to and you are not God. Period.

        If you have a problem with that, then your problem is with the God you claim to serve because that is what He said- not I.

        So, with love I say your issue is not with me- here is who you should direct your issues to:

        “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates of the city”. Revelation 22:14

        “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

        “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

      • Jen- You stated the message of grace was too much sweet tea. You yourself juxtaposed the “sweet tea” of grace which we preach ( your description not mine) in contrast to obedience and holiness. Now you juxtapose the doctrine of grace with obedience to His commandments. You assume we grace people don’t love his commandments. This is another enormous assumption on your part don’t you think? We grace people who know that we do not secure the favor of God by obedience to His commandments but by the grace of Jesus alone love and keep his commandments nonetheless because His grace motivates us to love them and keep them. To us grace people Gods commandments are just more sweet tea. We do not obey His commandments because we HAVE TO but because we love to and because we love Him by Hid grace alone and not by our own self will or self effort. I hope that sets the record straight.

    • … Oh. This is a spoof post.. right!

    • And our claim of holiness is discredited and an abomination if it does not keep all the law it the brings our Fathers name shame.

    • maybe a simple question to ask is this: are you trusting Jesus to live His holy life through you? …or are you living your life trying to please Him with holy behavior?

    • “Hold fast that which is good.” Our background taught us it was the root and we lived that way so there’s no confusion. I don’t want my works burned up when I stand before Christ. I want to hear well done. so if I’m going to be “moral” I pray it’s with the right heart. If I stood before Christ and He gave me the choice to approve of my works or burn them up I’d burn them up myself. Knowing his heart there’s no way I’d let them fly. Hope that helps to clarify.

  34. The elder brother in the parable of the prodigal has a lot in common with you Jen- he did all the right things with a fearful and self centred motive. “I have slaved for you all these years” -but by his own admission he only did these things in order to secure his part in the inheritance. His real motive came through loud and clear. He didn’t love the father any more than the younger son. If it wasn’t for the threat of losing the inheritance he would never have done all the right things. The elder brothers motive for obedience and holiness was losing his “salvation ” and “failing to gain the inheritance “.
    His heart was even more wicked than the younger son who lived like a pagan. Even though the elder son maintained outward obedience and personal “holiness” it wasn’t sweet tea to him either.

  35. We who know that we are not saved, accepted or blessed because of our personal obedience and holiness but by Jesus obedience and holiness alone are not obedient and holy because we HAVE TO but because we love to! Obedience and holiness to us grace people is nothing but SWEET TEA!

  36. I’ve read several of the posts here after reading the article and can relate to many. Not sure many would find my church or my sharing of the gospel very far away from the thoughts posted. The concerns I have are regarding those away from this blog, that want to abandon scripture looking for “truth and freedom” because of the HUGE amount of Grace that has saved all people regardless of their acceptance. The lean on a misconception of God’s Grace, which is nothing more or less than Jesus. They seem more focused on Grace than the cross, than Christ Himself that provides Grace. There may be some differences in points but to allow division between those that share Christ and Christ alone for salvation will allow souls to never give ear to the Good News that Jesus SAVES! Grace is costly. Like Christ I will give up myself and follow.

    • Address your concerns and refer those people to this blog.

    • For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. (John 1:16, 17 NASB)
      Grace cannot be separated from the Person of Jesus Christ any more than deity can be separated from Him.
      People who speak of grace as a kind of impersonal saving force or speak of grace as a kind of theological concept are sadly in error. Biblical grace can no more be over emphasized than Jesus Himself can be over emphasized. This I believe is the root error behind those who attack so called “hyper grace” . To make my point let me put it this way- They fail to realize that grace in the Bible is not an IT but a PERSON!

      • Barry, as we believe grace is part of Jesus isn’t righteousness, holiness, obedience submission, the fruit of the Spirit, etc… What I see in many lives is the message of grace alone and the abandoning of scriptural truths. Grace is as boundless and hyped up beyond anything we can imagine. Accepting Christ gives us His grace and all His other attributes.

  37. If you must add anything to Grace stop at Faith.
    Grace & peace.

  38. MaryAnn Waltz // April 19, 2014 at 3:58 am // Reply

    Mr. Ellis – In a pure curiosity I have been researching ‘hypergrace.’ I only heard the term for the first time recently. I am a believer, and must say I clearly and enthusiastically say “Amen!” to 99.9% of your article! Well written! Thank you for helping us understand the debate more clearly.

    My only moment of trepidation in reading your article was when you said “a list of ancient laws handed down to a wandering tribe of ex-slaves.” It sounds extremely derogatory, and irreverent to God and the Jewish people. I thought everything else was well stated without personal slant, etc., except for that.

    Again, thank you!

  39. So once I accept Jesus it doesn’t matter what I do anymore because I’m totally fogiven?

    • Of course it matters what you do. If you sow to the flesh you’ll reap destruction. Sin hurts people. But what sin can’t do is make God unforgive you or unlove you or unadopt you.

      • So any scripture that speaks of falling away or not remaining in His love is being misinterpreted.

      • Hi Kevin,
        If I may be so bold, to continue Paul’s last statement; sin can’t cause God to unadopt you BUT what it will do if you indulge it enough is to damage your relationship so much that you CHOOSE to abandon God – becoming apostate. Don’t allow it!
        Grace et peace.

    • Yes you are totally forgiven – you can’t make God love you less.
      You can however harm how YOU relate to Him.
      Despite how our poor decision grieves Him and subjects us to more attacks from the devil He gives us the choice.

    • 1 Peter 1:23
      23 Being born again, NOT of CORRUPTIBLE seed, but of INCORRUPTIBLE , by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

  40. I turned on the Christian radio today, and heard a message preached in which the pastor was quoting a Scripture (Psalms?) that said “God does not hear the unpenitent”. He then went on to say that when we “cherish our sin”, God doesn’t hear us. I wonder what grace would say to this? I think when we are in sin, it’s not that God refuses to hear us, but that we are not communicating with him(?). Could someone comment on this and help me out? Does this verse refer to those who have rejected the Gospel of Grace? I am still learning about Grace after coming out of a legalistic upbringing, so I often visit this site to learn from…thank you for a good resource!

    • I’m sure others will have much better answers than me on this but let me give my two cents worth.
      God doesn’t answer prayer on the basis of our name, our performance or our behavior. If he did then he would not have commanded us to pray in Jesus name but in out own name. God hears and answers us on the basis if Jesus plus nothing of ourselves.
      Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. (John 16:24, 26, 27 NASB)
      Having said that God is a perfect parent and would never give us something we ask for that isn’t in our best interest just as no loving parent would answer a request of their children that in answering would harm them in any way.
      But to say that God only answers prayers of the repentant is bogus and has no foundation in the new covenant unless it is in our very best interest in the moment to with hold answering a prayer request momentarily . To claim one must repent to earn answered prayer is just more performance orientated legalism .
      If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:11 NASB)

    • I think you have it right: it’s not that God refuses to listen to us, it’s that we are hindering our communication with him when we “love” our sin… I believe this is one aspect of what the Bible is talking about when it says you cannot serve two masters; rather, you must love one and hate the other. Sin is not our master, yet at the same time, we can — on some level (though not actually) — allow it to master us by not acknowledging that God has made us dead to sin and alive in Him! It doesn’t actually master us, of course, but if we act like it does — what’s the practical difference, in terms of how we live?

      This is also seen in what it means to be “unrepentant.” This goes beyond the stumbles and falls we all continue to make — grace leads us to live in a state of aware repentance, taking care of things as soon as we realize we’ve veered from not pleasing God. Yet some people persist in sin consciously, deliberately, even over and against the loving warnings of brothers and sisters in Christ. Such a person is not repenting and not living in a state of repentance. He is cherishing his sin (no matter how much he wails he wants to be rid of it — for whatever reason). God is faithful to forgive us our sins if we confess them — but, practically speaking, the person living in a mindset of repentance is continually and naturally righting his course, so some sort of formal confession — it just usually doesn’t get to the point where that is needed.

    • When we communicate with God in truth of the position we are in , by Grace , he always hears us. But when we like the preacher you refer to communicate through our perceived righteousness by repentance God does not hear us.If you cherish your sin you don’t know God, to say that believers cherish their sin shows his error, believers don’t cherish their sin , they cherish God who covers their sin and this covering by its power changes them.He sees so many people unable to change by his ministry of the law that this cherishing sin is the loophole he uses so that he can escape.

      • gracegirl // April 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm //

        WOW. That makes sense. I do cherish God, because I could not have been made holy or righteous by anything I did even while I tried. Thank You Jesus for making a way.

      • bingo Chris, I have always said,god loves honesty, for so long and even now I try to do it myself,we are no surprise to him.

      • Chris,
        “Covering” of our sin was old covenant. In Christ (New Covenant) God has obliterated our sin.
        Blessings,
        Warren (South Carolina, USA)

      • Dave (York, PA) // June 1, 2016 at 11:28 am //

        Agreed, Warren. The blood of Christ cleanses us of all sin. His blood isn’t a cloaking device. I mean, if you are covered with dirt, would you just put on some clean clothes to hide it? No, you shower the dirt off. And that’s what God does with sin, showing us that it was never something that he gave us and is not part of us.

  41. I’m curious about this hyper grace church is this another form of religion or under born again christian church?

    • No it is simply the best expression we can currently understand of who God, who we are and how he wants to relate with us.
      May your eyes be opened so that you may know this.

  42. Hyper grace pastor around the corner from here, just fell off a cliff in the Himalayas last week. Verses that have phrases like “go down alive into pit” are about evil people. How come ‘grace’ did not save this preacher who used his position to fulfill his personal ambitions to climb mountains and fleece his flock to afford it?

    Disgusting extremes that God never intended are being judged. Repent before it’s too late.

    • If you love the law and serve a God who kills men that interpret the Bible differently than you, these verses probably mean very much to you –  Matthew 7:2, Luke 6:37, Romans 2:1, James 4:12

    • momzilla76 // July 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm // Reply

      and I suppose that no non-grace preacher ever fleeced his flock for fleshly gain either. People sin no matter what doctrine, theology or denomination they are from.
      The only damnable grace abuse is counting the blood of Christ a imperfect thing that cannot save without your own efforts at holiness being added to it.

    • All I hear here is the same voice that told Jesus to jump, you go and jump my friend.

  43. Truthseeker // July 30, 2014 at 1:19 am // Reply

    I am currently attending a grace-based church…..I can’t say hyper-grace, because it doesn’t 100% correspond to the 8 signs of either of the articles (Charisma or this one)…..however, they do preach grace and only grace. I do agree to someone’s post that sometimes they are so GRACE-driven that they forget about JESUS……I know that Jesus = Grace, but I guess if you are NOT in a community like this you won’t really understand what I mean. They don’t preach Jesus, they preach grace. Sometimes I feel like the concept of grace is an idol…..they focus so much on ‘understanding grace’ that there is hardly any reference to Jesus and relationship/intimacy with the God of Grace….difficult to explain. Anyway, I don’t want to go into that point. What I really would like to hear from you guys, is the following. Recently it was said that because of the cross, after the cross we are the righteousness of Christ (I agree with this), and therefore every person born after the cross is born with the full godliness inside of them, in other words we were all born with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit within us. I really struggle to agree with this. Can you shed some light please?

    • This is the teaching of inclusionism, which borrows from the language of grace, but is not the gospel that Jesus revealed or Paul preached. Some make a big noise about it on social media platforms, but don’t be fooled – it is a dangerous deception.

      • Truthseeker // July 30, 2014 at 8:33 pm //

        Thank you SO much..I had a suspicion that it was perhaps linked to universalism….I really do appreciate the response. I just couldn’t find peace in my heart about what they were saying. They used scripture like Genesis 6:3 to back up what they say….where it says that the Spirit of God will not abide with us forever because the days of man is 120….in other words God’s Spirit is abiding in us from birth until we die..?? For most part, though, they ‘disqualify’ the Old Testament because it is before the cross. Even Jesus’ teachings doesn’t really count, because it is before the cross. We love the people of the church and we felt that God placed us there, but it seems like our minds are more and more being polluted….we are now praying about finding another church. Thank you very much for your input!

  44. A little over a year ago I left a church becuz I felt somethiing was wrong. What I discovered in the months following is that although it was a biblical church, it was a biblically legal new testament church. The biggest evidence was the lack of peace or joy in the lives of the people. Since then I found my way (thru your books and some others) to idscover true free grace. So I just want to say I am eating up such blogs as this and can testify, though I was once blind, yet now I see! Thanks!

  45. Anything compared to the Law can be called “hyper-grace”! It all depends on how much Law you want!

  46. great post….. I’m blessed by your post…. more power to you Paul… 🙂

  47. Why is an awakening needed in America? Christians are to live dead to sin.
    Romans 6, Live for Jesus 2 Cor 5:15, Crucify the flesh Gal 5:24, Live holy
    because their bodies belong to Jesus. 1 Cor 6 Need to be prepared to be
    martyred. Why? Jesus will deny those who deny him. Matthew 10, 2 Timothy 2
    Good if grace churches demand obedience under grace. The “once saved ” heresy
    most “Grace churches” promote is an itching ears teaching. 2 Timothy 4
    Evangelical leaders have been negligent to make disciples and to disciple Catholics
    out of their Catholic religion. Negligent American leaders have created the apostasy
    of modern young Evangelicals.

    Most modern Evangelicals under the age of 45 lack simple obedience under grace
    and cannot prove they are saved. Why? They look and act just like the world.

    • Dale brother,
      Paul’s preaching better than you’re listening.
      Only God’s grace changes hearts not our will-power.
      Blessings.

    • Dale- how is that working for you? . I’m guessing the people close to you really feel and know God loves them and that every encounter with you really makes them want to get to know your him better.

    • God is very explicit regarding what a life that is worthy of calling oneself a Christian looks like:
      “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,” (Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭1-2‬ NASB)
      Worldliness is being disobedient to the above exhortation. You cannot be obedient to the above exhortation while you continue to level the accusations, demands and threats that you have indulged in in your comments above. Where is humility, gentleness, patience and tolerance in love in that?

  48. J.D. Philips // March 16, 2015 at 5:18 pm // Reply

    Great article….thank you!

    Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But…grace…, (‭Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭20‬ NKJV) { THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW WAS TO INCREASE SIN}

    …the strength of sin is the law. (‭I Corinthians‬ ‭15‬:‭56‬ NKJV) { THE POWER BEHIND SIN IS THE LAW. THE LAW BOOSTS UP THE SIN IN US}

    But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, {the law} was… which glory was passing away, (‭II Corinthians‬ ‭3‬:‭7‬ NKJV) { THE LAW IS THE MINISTRY OF DEATH FOR ANYONE ESPECIALLY THE CHILD OF GOD}

    But their minds…. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (‭II Corinthians‬ ‭3‬:‭14-16‬ NKJV) { THE OLD TESTAMENT BECOMES A VEIL TO PREVENT ONE FROM SEEING CHRIST JESUS AND HIS FULNESS AND WHAT HE DID FOR US AND ONLY THE HOLY SPIRIT CAN TAKE THE VEIL AWAY IF ONE DESIRES TO UNVEIL CHRIST AND SEE HIM}

    For CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW for righteousness to everyone who believes. (‭Romans‬ ‭10‬:‭4‬ NKJV)

    For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (‭Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭14‬ NKJV) { SIN GETS ITS DOMINION POWER FROM LAW AND LOOSES ITS DOMINION POWER WHEN IT FACES GRACE}

    For the grace of God,… teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, (‭Titus‬ ‭2‬:‭11-12‬ NKJV)

    Grace doesn’t teach us to sin but empowers us and teaches to have the knowledge of the finished work of God through Christ Jesus and let Christ live through us rather than us living for God ( Gal.2:20). The law on the other hand, in itself may be holy but it was never meant to produce holiness but to produce more power to sin and produce the ministry of death in us, and on top of that it is a veil to not see Christ and His finished work. Please read the above Scriptures slowly and in the context and pray earnestly that the Holy Spirit will open the eyes.

  49. I led the “deliverance ministry” of a mega-church for years. 1000’s participated my Bible study and the conferences I led – the goal being freedom. I took verses like “..do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage,” and made it all about demons and sin! Never once did I mention ANYTHING about law and grace and being set free from the deadly rule-keeping system to be right with God. It was a mixed up MESS! I potentially put 10,000 or more people in further bondage with the nonsense I taught. And here’s the ironic thing: the church I was involved in had all the fruit of what Joseph Mattera described in his article! My experience is that a mixed gospel produces licentiousness, leadership with hidden sin, passivity, lack of depth in biblical teaching, and great motivational speeches. 4 steps to a better you. 7 steps to the presence of God. etc. I bought into it hook, line, sinker. But then – HALLELUJAH! – I crashed and burned, and in my heap of ashes, my eyes were opened to the Gospel. I came up out of the rubble with the revelation that God saw me as perfect, holy, and blameless! I finally knew what actually happened at the cross. A few years have passed since then. Alot of changes. A whole new ministry. Now I see people being truly set free, loving the scriptures, loving Jesus, loving people, and hating sin. That’s the fruit of hypergrace!!!

  50. I love this,

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