Does the Hypergrace Gospel Promote Lawlessness?

A Response to Daniel Norris

Yet another article has come out in CharismaNews maligning the hypergrace gospel and those of us who preach it.

In it, Daniel Norris worries that preaching grace without the law leads to the sort of lawlessness that Jesus said “would abound in the last days” (Matt. 24:12). The implication is that those of us who preach this message are causing the love of many to grow cold.

As others have claimed, our heretical teachings may be responsible for a last day’s apostasy sends millions to hell.

The punchline of this latest article is that we should delight in the old covenant law and right the “tilting ship” of unbalanced grace.

Since I am one of those who preaches the “toxic theology” of hypergrace, and since I have long argued that the law has no relevance for the believer, permit me to respond to the accusations made in the article:

1. Preaching grace without law is unbalanced. Remember John 3:16!

John 3:16 is arguably the greatest sentence ever uttered and it ends like this: “…whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Notice the period at the end of that verse. It is the greatest period in the history of periods. That period tells us there are no price-tags attached to the grace of God.

The abundant and blessed life that Christ offers you has already been given and paid for at the cross. You can’t earn it, work for it, or reimburse him for it. All you can do is receive it by faith.

What does this have to do with law? Absolutely nothing. The word law is mentioned nowhere in this verse or chapter. If Jesus did not see fit to balance God’s grace with law, neither should we.

Spurgeon on mixture

2. God’s law shows us what a righteous life looks like

Yet the Apostle Paul said that “no one will be declared righteous by observing the law” (Rom 3:20). Keeping or “delighting” in the law in the hope of being righteous is a flesh trip.

Mr. Norris writes that “under grace, man was enabled to actually be righteous,” by which he means that grace is the grease that helps you keep the law. But the Apostle Paul tells us that righteousness is a free gift (Rom 1:17). Your observance of the law doesn’t come into it.

Mr. Norris continues: “You need to look into the perfect law of liberty and continue in it and do it” (see Jas 1:25). But the perfect law of liberty that James writes about is not the old covenant law, for that law makes no one free. Only Jesus makes you free. Jesus is the law perfected, and the “(living) word that can save you” (Jas 1:21).

The old covenant law is like a mirror. Look into it and you will only see your faults. James is basically saying, “Stop looking at yourself in the mirror of the law. Stop gazing at your imperfections, but focus on Christ and his sublime perfections.” We are not changed by looking at ourselves; we are changed by beholding Jesus!

Want a picture of the righteous life? Don’t look to the law, but look to Jesus who is our righteousness from God.


3. If we are under grace, why not invite your neighbor to sleep with your spouse?

Such a remark shows a profound misunderstanding of grace. Grace empowers us to say no to ungodliness (Tit 2:12).

Mr. Norris wonders what stops grace folk from stealing from Walmart? I can honestly say I have never thought about stealing from Walmart. But I can see why someone who “delights in the law” may have, since one of the functions of the law is to inflame sin (Rom 7:5).

Live under the law and you will become sin-conscious. You may not commit adultery or lie or steal, but you’ll think about those things because the law will be constantly telling you not to do them.

As Paul tells us in Romans 7, the law does not help you overcome sin. Rather, the law helps sin overcome you! The law reveals the problem so that we might see our need for Jesus.


4. The law is our tutor

According to the CharismaNews article, the old covenant was characterized by precepts while the new is all about principles. Grasp the principles behind the precepts you’ll produce the blessings. Be like David who meditated on the law all day long and you will be blessed.

How is this not a works-based message? How is this not an insult to Jesus in whom every blessing has already been given (Eph 1:3)?

You don’t need to produce anything. In fact, trying to produce fruit will only frustrate the purposes of God in your life making you barren and miserable.

The fruit that Christ desires to bear in you is not produced through practicing principles or keeping precepts. It grows naturally as we abide in him.

The law is not a tutor or teacher in the sense that we understand the word. It is a guardian who takes you to the real Teacher who is Jesus (Gal 3:24).

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would guide you into all truth (John 16:13). If the Spirit of Christ teaches you everything you need to know, what remains for the law to teach you?

5. Jesus revealed what the law, fulfilled within us, looks like

Jesus fulfilled the law by dying on the cross. Yet those who say we must follow Christ’s example never go where Christ went. They’ll tell you to die, but only metaphorically. They’ll tell you to do what Jesus said, but when it comes to the hard bits they’ll tell you he didn’t really mean it.

According to Tullian Tchividjian, the number one problem in the church today is not cheap grace but cheap law, namely, “the idea that God accepts anything less than the perfect righteousness of Jesus.”

I totally agree. It is Jesus who makes you righteous, holy, and eternally pleasing to God. Anything you might add to his perfect work only subtracts from it.

If we properly valued the law, we would properly value grace. As Tchividjian says, “A high view of the law produces a high view of grace. A low view of the law produces a low view of grace.”

6. The spiritual removal of the law from churches is a shame

Tell that to the Galatians. They fell from grace because they allowed a little law to come into their church and enslave them again. Paul said they were foolish for observing the law because “all who rely on the law are under a curse” (Gal 3:10).

Your choice is simple: trust grace and be blessed, or trust in your law-keeping efforts and be cursed.

Is there a place for the law in the church? If we define the church as the community of believers, the answer must be an emphatic no! As Paul tells us in Romans 7, living under the law is cheating on Jesus.

Nee on Law

7. Oh for preachers to once again realize that God’s law is good!

A common complaint made against hypergrace preachers is that we think the law is bad. We are branded antinomians because we allegedly teach that God’s law is defective or inferior. This is a slanderous accusation.

In my book The Hyper-Grace Gospel I examined the teachings of 40 grace preachers and found none who had anything other than the highest regard for the law. Like Paul, we say the law is good for the purpose for which God gave it, and that purpose was to lead you to Christ who is the end, the fulfillment, the utter completion of the law for all who believe (Rom 10:4).

If you are resting in the grace of God, you have no need of the law. If you are secure in the gift of his righteousness, you have no need of the law. However, if you are confident of your own righteousness, you need the law (Rom 3:19)!


8. Grace makes the law more relevant

Such muddled thinking is behind much of the confusion in the church today. “You need both grace and law. Grace helps you keep the law. God gives us grace so that we might fulfill the law.”

This is a most dangerous teaching!

Buy into it and you’ll curse what God has blessed, you’ll fall from grace, and you’ll become lukewarm like a Laodicean and loveless like an Ephesian.

The CharismaNews article calls for you to balance that which cannot be balanced. It would have you mix the death-dealing demands of the law with the life-giving grace of God. It cannot be done.

I am confident that I speak for every hypergrace preacher when I say the call for balance is really a call for mixture.

As Jesus and the New Testament writers tell us again and again, you can live under grace or law but not both. You cannot be hot and cold. You will either walk after the old way of the flesh or the new way of the Spirit. You’ll either have faith in his law-keeping performance or your own.

Every hypergrace preacher would encourage you to put your faith in Jesus and his finished work. While those who disagree with us would have you meditate on the law “all day long,” we would encourage you to meditate on Jesus.

He who began a good work will finish what he started.


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89 Comments on Does the Hypergrace Gospel Promote Lawlessness?

  1. Colin Mills // September 9, 2014 at 11:11 pm //

    Thanks for the article it helps to settle some things for me. I wonder if you (or others) would like to help clarify some terminology on the term “law”. A quick scan of the memory cells and the concordance suggests there are at least three ways “law” is used in the New Testament. It is used of the OLD Covenant law and is referred to as “the law”, it is used more generally as “law” , Rom 7:8 ” … For apart from law , sin is dead”. Am I right to think that this usage is for any system of laws (rights and wrongs?) by which people would seek to establish a right standing with God. Anyone else want to add in here? It is also used as a general principle or truth eg Rom 8:2 “The Law of the Spirit of Life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Are there different greek words or specific tenses/clauses etc being used in the NT that result in translation using “the law” vs law? In Daniels article which meaning/s of the law do you think he was using? The Bible says we are not under law but in 1 Cor 9:21 and Gal 6:2 taks about the “law of Christ” and “Christs law”, so what is the law of Christ ( a general principle definition) I assume.
    Don’t you think that people get afraid and react to the grace message because they think that not being under the law means we are saying there is no longer any standard of right and wrong, possibly even therefore no sin. How would you answer the question therefore how do we (if we need to) establish right and wrong objectively?

    • Hi Colin, to me that’s an inferior question. It’s not a bad question, just an inferior one. It’s fruit off the wrong tree. Paul said all things are lawful, but not all things are expedient. A better question is, what leads to life and death? And one thing we all know that leads to death is spelling out rules that must be followed (2 Cor 3:9).

      To clarify, I think rules are excellent for governing traffic, crime, sport, young children, etc. But we were made for greater things. We are meant to walk in step with the Spirit, not the rules. To illustrate, if your marriage is defined by rules, it’ll be an inferior marriage. But if it is governed by love, it’ll be a superior one. Paul uses legal language when explaining this new life because he was often contrasting the new with the old.

      • Steven Saxophone Reed // September 13, 2014 at 1:19 pm //

        High Paul just looked on your link and I dont know what to think. This Guy Steve Hill obersly had a vision of some kind that’s for shore. I would like to know directly what you thought of the fission of what he saw. It was quit Scarry to read but if Christians could lose there salvation and get re saved then shortly Christ would have to die again? God most be saying something to this man about the many false teachings from prosperity gospel preachers. Sorry if I rambled on but if you could clear up what if God was really speaking through Steve Hill and how that affects us I would really aprtiate that thank you. Blessings.

      • Steve- Hebrews 9:24-26 clearly teaches that Jesus died and offered His blood one time for all sin or He would have had to suffer over and over again. Yes Jesus would have to die again if somehow a person could sin enough to overcome His first blood offering. Scripture hammers home the fact that His death was a one time deal.

  2. “whatever the law says it says to those under it”, Rom 3:19.
    But Christians are not under the law (Rom 8:2, Rom 10:4, Gal 3:25, Gal 5:18).

    So can Christians still be charged with “sin” (transgression of the law, 1John 3:4)?
    Answer: No.
    “Who shall lay ANYTHING (this includes sin) to the charge of God’s elect“, Rom 8:33

    So we see that Jesus truly set us free from sin (John 8:34-36, Rom 6:7).

    So who does the charge of sin (lawlessness, Matt 24:12) apply to?
    It applies to non believers whose righteousness will be judged under the law.

    But for Christians, our faith (believing on Jesus) is counted for righteousness, Rom 4:5.

    And as the law is not of faith (Gal 3:12), Christians therefore reject lukewarm doctrines that mix works of the law, with grace. You cannot mix works with grace, Rom 11:6.

  3. Paul, thanks for another great article. You are a blessing! I’m amazed at those who want to put the church back under the law, but then accuse those ministering grace of antinomianism. Yet, they really only want to keep part of the law (whichever parts they like), but they are willing to disregard the rest. According to Paul they align themselves with the curse of the law (Galatians 3:10) because they are not continuing to do all the law. Good luck on that job. If the Israelites with Moses couldn’t fulfill it, how can Gentiles who have never been under the law fulfill it? Impossible! Thank God for Jesus! He did it all. Everything that was needed He fulfilled. The moment we try to find righteousness (or anything else) by following the law, we have fallen from grace. Blessings to you.

  4. Marion Carter // September 10, 2014 at 1:23 am //

    The Word makes it plain, there are none so blind as those who will not see. Thank you sweet Father for your liberating, awesome Grace

  5. #3. Pow, right in the kisser. Wow I could of had a v-8. EurekAlert! It really hit me when I read this section. The ones most engaged in the balance debate actually believe that we like to sin. I actually hate it. If I have a selfish moment and do something really stupid I feel gross. The enemy lines up his firing squad and lets loose the tirade of lies and accusations. As Paul says: praise God for Jesus! Sin was attractive when I didn’t know His unmerritted favor for me and all I had were the rules said “thou shalt not.” I can honestly say I am free from any desire to sin. To willfully sin for me is to run away from Jesus. How horrible. He is amazing and I love Him so much. It took a good pickling in His love to get that understanding, but here I am. More time in a love bath for all my friends. If you say sin is attractive I have to ask you if you have met my Abba.

    • Chris Ross (@mytwitcross) // September 11, 2014 at 6:53 pm //

      This is exactly the type of mindset that comes from misleading teaching concerning Grace and law, a kind of spiritual goofiness, or rather carnal minded goofiness. By Mr. Ellis’s logic, he would have to stop preaching because “the Holy Spirit will teach you all things” (attach any equal meaning scriptural interpretation). And there are many other tests that every Christian can and should have at the ready. Just the enormity of the controversy is important, as usually there is a blade of truth and warning being covered over somewhere. One reference says that the word Grace is mentioned 277 times in the Word, and the word Law is mentioned 670 times, I wonder why???? And so understanding, and wisdom and the Anointing are essential before one should grab a microphone, or to have an unguarded ear. The Word also teaches that the Law is perfect and that it is Good, so be careful what you allow into your mind. “Free from the desire to sin” ??? really?? you would have to be a robot, no man is free from the desire to sin, even Jesus himself was tempted. Candy is easy, it takes effort to find treasure and protect it. Just a suggestion, learn and teach on developing good PERCEPTION. God bless and Peace.

      • I don’t know about spiritual goofiness but you seem to have trouble reading, or you are trying to mislead by omission. the word teaches very clearly that Jesus completed the law, implying that it was not perfect, but is now perfect in him.Are you deliberately trying to mislead or are you just ignorant of what the scriptures say.You are in a sense correct the word is the only person that could say the law was perfect and good, as he completes it, only him no other, but I doubt that was what you were saying.

      • You also seem to have a very poor understanding of the temptation Jesus faced, but that probably stems from not knowing him.Do you really think it was about his temptation, and not about us learning.Was the crucification was to show how tough and hard he was.

      • Chris,
        It is AMAZING what happens when you walk in the Finished Work of The Cross(Col 2:6)! Your desire to SIN begins to walk away. Sounds A LOT like Galatians 5:22-23 doesn’t it?

        Chris, You said – ““Free from the desire to sin” ??? really?? you would have to be a robot, no man is free from the desire to sin”

        When you look at scripture thru the Cross then this is not a shock given Paul’s words in Phillipians 2:13 – “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to DO OF HIS GOOD PLEASURE.” So, in other words, your desire to SIN is changed IF and ONLY IF you rest in the Finished Work of The Cross!!

      • By “spiritual goofiness”, do you mean Joy?

      • Chris,
        My guess is you are a balance guy. I like the candy reference. God made me for chocolate. I really like the stuff. The enemy wants me to subsitute rock candy for chocolate. Before I understood how awesome chocolate was I just avoided candy all toghether since “of course candy is bad for you.” The law says no candy. The law says no period. Jesus says yes! His yes and my amen! I like that. Jesus is our answer. He is our treasure. His kingdom is my candy store. I like chocolate, did I mention that?
        Yay Jesus!

  6. First of all, thank you Paul for your blog and email updates. I enjoy your writing a lot. And I appreciate you standing up for the ‘Hyper-grace Gospel’… I really suspect that there is something wrong with this traditional evangelistic model we have all grown up under.

    Daniel Norris writes, “Once the problem is fully identified, then and only then will man cry out, “What a wretched man I am!” (Rom. 7:24). How will a man ever find his Savior, unless he realizes he is in need of saving? Today sinners find it easy to sit in comfort within our churches never once feeling convicted for their sins. Is it grace to let a drowning man drown lest we offend him? Is it love to watch him sink below the surface hoping one day he might stumble upon the answer?”

    So Law is needed and must be preached over and over again every Sunday until we thoroughly pick out all those complacent sinners in the congregation and bring them to true repentance. Thunderous condemnation after condemnation each Sunday! Have you watched that R-rated movie? Have you glanced at bikini model on internet advertisement more than a second? REPENT! God is ready to throw you to hell for your sin of lust! And every Sunday, we have people streaming to the alter in tearful repentance and asking God to save them – again.

    All in all, we are encouraged not to be in faith but under condemnation, in guilt, in contrition for our sins, in broken-hearted repentance. EVERY SUNDAY. But daggonnit, by Wednesday, I am watching worldly TV and movies again. Perhaps that is why the Wednesday evening services began? Because there was a need?

  7. what an excellent response! it amazes me how the truth can be expressed over and over again… and yet each time i hear it, my heart leaps with joy as if it were a totally new and profound revelation of grace! 🙂

    • ps. one of the things i noted in mr norris’ article was his several references to the psalms where david is expressing his passion for the laws of God: “my soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times”, “blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands”, “i meditate on your law all day long. your commands make me wiser” there is nothing wrong with david’s desire and passion for the law – because the law was what God had given them to relate to Himself… but when Jesus came, He revealed Himself in person… where david expresses his passion and longing to meditate on, delight in, and know God’s laws, we express our longing and passion to meditate on, delight in, and know Christ! 🙂

  8. Be like David who never had the completed work of Jesus. Return to the Old Covenant that David lived under. Act as if the cross never happened so you can live as David lived.  

    No, thank you, I don’t believe I will. After tasting the life Jesus gives, I have no desire to return to a diet of death.

    The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
    -1 Corinthians 15:56

  9. well said,we need to hear it over and over,since we seem to fall backwards naturally…. “Indeed the safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” ……….the screwtape letters

  10. Terry Bennett // September 10, 2014 at 3:00 am //

    Love it, love it, love it! Super post. May all of God’s blessings rest on you and your family, Amen. TB

  11. Paul wrote : You can’t earn it, work for it, or reimburse him for it. All you can do is receive it by faith.
    Gary:Whose faith? Your faith? Or the faith of Christ planted in you whereby you cried Abba Father?

  12. Isn’t it a fascinating truth Paul? I mean, until Mr Norris mentioned (and you quoted) the concern of stealing from a Walmart store, the idea never crossed my mind either… until now. (I’m not an authority, but during a lecture, I was once taught that the mind cannot think in the negative; It has to think an event, then think to negate the event; i.e. don’t burn yourself on the stove, requires picturing the event, then saying no to it). “love your brother” verses “don’t hate your brother”.

    So if Mr. Norris believes the message of the sermon on the mount as literal, then he would understand that to even considering performing a sin, is as bad as actually acting on it, so, I guess his example pushed me further away from purity, because instead of pointing me to Jesus’ righteousness (which does not require a negation), my mind pictured the act of breaking said law. Thus, by his definition, he put me under more law than I was under this morning before reading about his teaching. (Which by the way, he can’t, I am freed from the law).

    When Mr. Norris uses such a disgusting visual of me inviting my neighbor to sleep with my wife; this is repulsive. Never crossed my mind, but now one more potential thought of the flesh is now in my head. I’m hoping my wife never sees that statement. I would not want to subject her to such a thought.

    I’m not saying that I have never had repulsive thoughts in the flesh, but ever since I have chosen to believe what Jesus said, and rest in His righteousness, I have truly found that the ‘lies of the flesh’ lessen, and the ‘fruits of righteousness’ increases.

    I love it in that place (living in His righteousness). I’m 61 years old, and I exceeding praise my Lord that I finally found the truth of being Christ-focused, rather than sin-focused before I died. I don’t want the thoughts of offering my wife to my neighbors (what a disgusting flesh is), I want the thoughts of loving her more because He loves me so!!

    Thank you for the teaching,

  13. “Mr. Norris wonders what stops grace folk from stealing from Walmart? I can honestly say I have never thought about stealing from Walmart.”

    I literally had no idea people viewed “hyper-grace” this way. Definitely an eye-opener.

    Two options: 1. Be preoccupied with your behavior (avoiding sin and doing good) or 2. Be preoccupied with the Creator and His love for you. As a new father myself, I would be devastated if my relationship with my son revolved around me interacting with a puppet who always tried to put on a good show because he thought I might not love him otherwise. Give me genuine love over a rehearsed act.

    • Amen! Preach it, brother! Congrats on the new blessing! 🙂

    • I praise God for His grace toward me and how he saved me from sin apart from any works of my own. Why would I want to jump back in water from which I was saved from drowning. I don’t steal from Wal-Mart because it is wrong, I don’t want to, the products belong to the company, etc. Instead of stealing, I work so I can eat and give to others in need. The question Mr. Norris should ask is “Why do people steal from Wal-Mart?” It is because they’ve not received the grace of God and His gift of righteousness.

    • I don’t have a Walmart over here;0)
      That’s one I can tick off my lust 😄

  14. If the law were effective, there would be no fat Christians! It is not that we don’t know what makes us fat, it is that we do not have the power in the law to live by what we know!

  15. GRACE reveals your heart !Why someone thinks were giving people a license to sin by preaching GRACE is beyond me . This license to sin stuff is very weak , according to church standards everyone of us is still sinning regularly, it’s just the matter of degree . Some are simply doing it more than others , (it’s true) even the author of the article is doing it also , even though he probably won’t admit it .this is why we need GRACE , and those who think there not sinning are probably the worst , and are certainly full of pride the original sin . Worry is sin , gossip is sin , lusting in your heart is sin , what’s not of faith is sin , knowing to do good and not doing it is sin , not witnessing is sin. Don’t worry about people abusing GRACE because we ALL are . Including the author . If we weren’t abusing it , we wouldn’t need it . It’s a shame that the church is so powerless, it does not understand redemption or salvation, if the church really understood GRACE they wouldn’t accept teachings that make them perform laws that were nailed to the cross ! There afraid people will become to free ! They call it balance , I call it control , fear and pollution .the same Pharisees that blocked the people when JESUS preached are still at it today ! This stuff he’s putting out is what keeps the people from the full power that’s in the GOSPEL !

  16. Brian Midmore // September 10, 2014 at 5:14 am //

    Why does Paul quote the 5th commandment in Eph 6.2 ?

    • Brian, before I got distracted with the Charisma News article yesterday, I actually wrote a post on that very scripture. It’s called “How should we read the commands of the New Testament?” and will appear here in a couple of weeks.

      • See, I’m still in Romans 4/5; since I haven’t yet understood it 100% (though I’ve experienced some of the benefits of it in the times I’ve glimpsed it) I’m not moving forward to Romans 5/6 where it does (admittedly) say “present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness.” I’ve already experienced many blessings from holding to Romans 4/5 (albeit imperfectly) and I know when the time comes God will make Romans 4/5 make sense with 5/6.

  17. Romans 10:10 Let’s us know that when we believe in our hearts we are believing unto righteousness so believing does require that. The law was for Jews but that which is abomination still stands. Because we love Christ and wha he did on the cross we will be concern how to lease him witht he life that we live.

  18. humbleheart72 // September 10, 2014 at 6:12 am //

    Excellent! 🙂

  19. I never get tired of hearing the Good News! Thanks for your encouraging words and remaining unshakable in the midst of persecution. This website has inspired me more than you know. It has brought clarity to many of the ‘tough’ questions ppl ask in attempts to perpetuate mixture or even those who genuinely know truth but can’t articulate it. So in short, I greatly appreciate you!

  20. Great word. You are such a powerful defender of the Gospel of grace. I always love reading your arguments for God’s grace. Your words help me keep my thinking straight.

  21. I went and read Daniel’s article. In that article Daniel says; Jesus is grace who came to reveal the truth. Right there is the problem!. If you see “Truth” as a set of principles , then you will read the word to find those set of principles to live by and find law attractive. By doing that you have just set yourself up for a massive failure and frustration. However, If you see ‘Truth’ as a person who is Jesus, then you will read the word to find the person and enjoy Him.
    Jesus came to reveal the truth which is Himself! Jesus did not say that He has come to tell us the truth rather He said He is the Truth.

    I understand Daniels concern and I think he is genuine. But his solution to address those concerns are not right.

    Once again thanks Paul E for shining the light!

  22. You know I’m still wondering where they get this lawless promotion crapola! They are literally choosing to ignore all the evidence specified by Paul Ellis here. Not only that, they – in their deludedness actually think the promoting and teaching the law was keeping their churches full of pristine behaving (*lying*) people [remember, italics were added by the translator for clarity, it can be removed when reading]. And this model behavior is produced all in the will power of the individuals in their congregations, right?!

    Remember what Sherlock Holmes partner Dr. Watson used to say back in the day – Poppycock Holmes!

    PS. If this last day’s apostasy sends millions to hell because we believe in the Grace of God, then why are most of us revived, refreshed, renewed in our walk with the Lord, loving Him even more because it made us understand more just what Jesus did for us. And why are the other guys the ones who always seem to know who’s going to hell and preaching theology that has hell more full than heaven. Truth be told, I act the exact same way that I did before grace as I did after my initial learning. Maybe some of these obviously more doctrinally knowledgeable individuals need to stop thinking about congregations as 5 year olds and think of them as the men and women that they truly are.

  23. Timely article in dealing with a very untimely article in Charisma. I can understand some people’s reservations of the unknown. Those who are concerned that letting go of the Law will produces wickedness. This is why we teach the truth of God’s Word and reveal from the Word the truth of His grace. That we are completely free from the Law and totally forgiven (past,present and future sins), and made a entirely new creation in Him. We have His righteousness, not our own. We have a loving relationship with God not rigid rules and laws and a performance based faith.
    This article from Charisma though seems to have a different agenda. To me and, it is my own opinion, the majority of these get back under Law messages that are being proclaimed are coming from fearful leaders. What are they fearful of? Fearful they will lose the power, influence and control over the congregants of their ministries. They fear they will lose their financial status when folk won’t be terrified into giving.
    Paul plainly taught we are not under Law but grace. Why is this so hard for some to grasp…?

  24. There is no such thing as HYPER GRACE. Humans, in their fallen state, still have no clue as to how awesome the UNDESERVED, UNEARNED FAVOR OF GOD, truly is,

    That’s the problem with many believers today…always trying to bring the Lord’s wonderful, GIFTS which WE DO NOT WORK FOR, down to a human level where we can throw our $0.02 or contribution into Jesus’ incredible and loving finished work for us.

    It is all Christ. Mot us. We did nothing right. Jesus did it all right. In fact, according to what the Lord says in the Bible…our OWN righteousness is equivalent to dirty, sanitary napkins that women use. Let that sink in for you phony LAW KEEPERS, that think the Lord is impressed with what you do or don’t do.

    If WE could actually keep the 10 Commandments perfectly, Jesus wouldn’t have to come as the FINAL representative of the human race. Embrace the undeserved Favor of God and Jesus’ Gift of Righteousness. Stop trying to add to His perfect work. Your work, like mine, is absolute garbage. Or as dirty as a tampon…chew on that self righteous people…

  25. Always good to hear your defense, Paul, of grace vs. law. After months of reading your blog and your books, today I stepped up and challenged a cartoon that I saw on FB of a guy saying “I can’t take it anymore, I feel confined, I’m going over,” as he jumps over a fence with the words “God commands” written on it, and his friend saying “that’s not a fence.” The next frame shows the guy falling off a cliff, and his friend finishes “it’s a boundary.” with this caption: He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, But he who is careless of his ways will die.” – Proverbs 19:16

    I commented, in short, that this was a picture of religion, not grace.That God is not interested in us following rules, but interested in having a loving relationship with us. The author responded to me with a strong warning about not using grace as a license to sin.

    And so it begins, I thought. It seems I’m doing something right in spreading the good news of grace when I get a warning about using grace as an excuse to be free to sin. Then in your blog above, you quote D. Martyn Lloyd-Williams about a good test of gospel preaching. It feels good to have passed that test today.

    You are a good teacher, Paul, God bless you.

    • And so it begins. 🙂 Well done, Geraldine. I know you won’t let anyone put that old yoke of rule-keeping on you. Blessings!

      • BTW, i just looked at the Charisma web site for the first time. Ugh! is about all I have to say. It’s just a lot of fear mongering religious hogwash that rarely points to Jesus. It mostly just highlights the sins of the world, not the savior of the world.

  26. Larry Gracilla // September 10, 2014 at 5:28 pm //

    Wow. Thank you for defending the truth. Being a rookie in the gospel of grace, I sense in my spirit that God gives you this words as a reminder so that the Church of Jesus Christ will remain pure and without wrinkle. Going back to the law is really foolishness I was there for almost 16 years. I’ve pastor a church for 12 years using the ‘rod of law’ and its only when I received the pure gospel of grace the I have experience real freedom. What i have received from the Lord is what will I give, preach and teach….

  27. Oh, Amen Paul,

    You’ve said it well again.

    I am always amazed at the impossibility of the arguments of those against Grace or those in favour of mixing Grace and the law. Kent Hovind once had a video titled: “100 reasons why evolution is Stupid”. Well, I want to say: sticking with the law is stupid! Why work for perfect favour and each and every good and perfect Gift when you can just receive instead?

    u r blessed!

  28. I just saw that particular article. I don’t even bother reading them. When I first received the revelation of God’s grace, this good news brought me out of the misery of trying to live the Christian life under the law.

    Those Charisma articles actually brought confusion to me about grace. They indeed watered down my understanding of grace. I didn’t realise that I had moved away from grace and was beginning to come under condemnation again.

    It was one of your articles actually that began to remind me about the truth of God’s grace. I distinctly remember experiencing joy after reading it which was an indication that the article was true. It’s effect produced the fruit of joy in me.

  29. It is inescapable. Moses brought the Law to Israel, whereas, Paul brought Christ to Gentiles. The Covenant of Law never is presented to Gentiles but instead the Gentile’s ears – far removed geographically from Judaism – only hear from Paul’s mouth all the affairs of Christ’s law of love, of our own insufficiency, of His all sufficiency, of a New Creation. In short, Asia and other far-off places never heard a word of those 633 (or some number) commands in Moses. Why on earth would Paul present far off Gentile peoples with an expired covenant given only to Israel? Scripture is unmistakable – the Law is one-thing, that is, all 633 (some #) are one-law and to offend in one (eating pork, not sacrificing lambs, ad infinitum) is to offend in all. In our thinking it seems impossible to present the meta-narrative of God and Man without diving into Moses, only, we are mistaken. Moses is today Non-Covenant. Christ is today the Living-Covenant. Now, the OT does enter the discussion – in that it speaks of Christ. Christ tells us this of the OT and in the OT we begin to unearth the landscape of Man’s fragmentation and of Man’s redemption, the story of our great Emancipator is, with the OT, brought more into focus. However, this clinging to an unquestionably expired covenant of not eating pork looking for some sort of bizarre convolution of either Means or Ends rather than clinging to the unquestionably great Emancipator as the totality of The Means and as the totality of The Ends is intellectual absurdity, self-idolatry, and spiritual bankruptcy.

  30. I believe the lowest common denominator for me is the world has always been a place of rules,regulations,laws,borders etc.So its hard for them to believe that anything or anybody can be free its “NO FREE LUNCH” or that the depth of Gods grace could be that deep,as freeing as grace has been to me,I still fall back into that mind set,and need to hear grace everyday,like J Prince says,you can hear 10 teachings on grace and 1 on law and fall back,it seems like its 3 steps forward and 2 steps back

  31. If your only reason for not inviting your neighbors over to sleep with your wife is because the law says not to, you might have bigger issues!

  32. Very good article. I was always taught in church that we had to try to obey the law, and grace covered us where we fell short. What a mixed up philosophy. I always wondered what was meant in the gospels about not putting old wine into new wineskins. Now I realize it is telling us we can’t mix the old covenant law with new covenant grace. Jesus has done it all. We are holy and righteous because of Him and we can’t do anything to earn it or pay Him back for it. Jesus told us in the new covenant to love God and love others. When we do that, there won’t be a question about us doing whatever we please. I’m thankful for the law that showed me I can’t do it, but even more thankful to our Father for providing the free gift of grace and freedom from the law.

  33. Another eye – opening post! I might also point out that Daniel seems to have been mentored by men from the same group as some of the others who speak against hyper grace. If you trace back their influence, you will come to men who took the Charles Finney model of repentance and revival and ran with it.

    This is where the modern day “saved today, lost tomorrow” theology comes from. Just as they knock the modern grace preachers, Finney likewise rejected the teachings of all the reformers that came just before his era.

    Not wanting to bad mouth these guys, it’s just important to know that most of the accusations against grace are coming from a specific group/ school of thought.

  34. Pennee Rowland // September 11, 2014 at 5:54 am //

    I once heard Joseph Prince say, “sin is not a verb, but a noun.” I think those of us who were once living under “sin consciousness” were often dissecting ours and others “sins.” Judging ourselves and others. But when you come to know the truth of Galations and Romans, and really begin to see yourself and maintain a “righteousness consciousness,” you no longer look at sin as a verb, or an action. In Adam we were made sinners, in Christ we were made righteous. Sin really isn’t the issue, but it is very evident to me that when our brethren start talking about sin as verbs (adultery, fornication, stealing, lying, cheating, pride etc. etc.) you know where they have laid their foundation, in their own works; which is law and not grace. It just makes me more sympathetic and empathetic for them and all I can do is “put on love,” for them and pray. Thanks for always speaking the truth.

  35. To sin is to let your sin condemn you, to live is to let Jesus free you.

  36. John Gibson // September 11, 2014 at 6:45 am //

    Good word Paul. I totally agree with all your points. Grace is a stumbling block to our human nature. As humans we want to achieve and compete and be better than our neighbor, or “good enough”. Paul the apostle counts his achievement as a liability because it would hinder him from accepting a free gift.
    Hyper grace preachers hold the law in much higher regard than law or “balanced” preachers. The balanced preachers hold to a form of cheap law like you described. The hyper grace preachers hold the law in such high esteem, they know that we can’t keep it.

  37. I would say to all law preachers, there is only one sin left , to reject the Grace of God, so stop sinning, you are like dogs returning to your vomit, you make me sick, turn from your wicked ways, turn to Grace, turn to Jesus, leave your pride.

  38. Great Word!

    The reason why King David was so enamored with the Law is because he had a little “understanding” of WHO it pointed to!

    Luke 24:44 – “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, CONCERNING ME.”

    A person who does not filter EVERYTHING in the bible thru the Finished Work of The Cross will struggle to see this and always revert to Law(Self Performance of Some Kind).

    • I would argue that David knew exactly who the law pointed to and he met him, David was a hyper grace preacher, in one place he says ‘the wicked walk on every side when the vilest of men are exhalted ‘ the words have been butchered in many translations. Only when viewed from the grace side of the fence will you meet King David.

  39. Wow I am so encouraged reading all these responses on here. It strengthens my faith but more importantly, just encourages me so greatly knowing that I made the right choice to listening to Pastor Joseph prince exclusively.

  40. One verse of scripture that SHOULD eliminate any mindset of using Law in the Life of a believer.

    Galatians 5:18 – “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye ARE NOT under the law.”

    Either we believe this or we don’t.

  41. I was a bit shocked that Charisma is still grinding this axe. And the example the author uses is silly. Any pastor should recognize what’s going on with the young man. I am done with Charisma. I really think their ship has sailed on a direction I am not interested in. Everything has its season, but grace remains. Oh well, maybe their article was good in that Paul was again there to point them to the truth. Thanks to Paul for using his gift of wordsmith!

    • The people at Charisma are strange people. I’ve noticed over the past few years, that they rail on any preacher that preaches about receiving blessings from the Lord, through their faith in the finished work of Christ. They also have a real ugly habit of slamming any preacher, as a ‘prosperity preacher’, who reinforces through scripture, how the Lord cares about our every day needs and how He wants to give us tangible blessings. But His way. Which is by seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, not our own righteousness. There is nothing gracious about that magazine. In fact, its a bit comical that they take issue with finances and blessings, as if their magazine is funded by faith as opposed by finances. I believe these are the kind of ‘hypocrites’ that Jesus spoke of in the Bible. Prosperity is no good for me and you, but its good for Charisma? If the Lord had a problem with prosperity then why bless Abraham, Isaac & Jacob so much? Why make Solomon the wealthiest man in human history? And Solomon lived under the Old Covenant…

  42. Hi guys im really excited about this grace message and im all for it 100percent that we must completely abolish the law the 613 laws including the 10 commandments.

    But paul cites the law in ephesians 6:2 where he says honour your father and mother and this is the commandment with a promise it shall be well with you and you shall live lonh on the earth? But i believe all of us a children to som degree old or young . Why does he cite this commandment and yet we are under grace and as a gentile we have nothing to do with the law. The verse is just not sitting well with me because i mean isnt it appearing to give sin conscious and trying to perform it will make the devil pounce on you heaping you with condemnation .

    Please somebody explain this to me i want to enjoy grace as a young adult ..i

    • Hi Mildred, I have a post on Ephesians 2 coming out soon. It’s called “How do we read the commands of the New Testament.” You won’t want to miss it.

    • Hi Mildred,actually many of the commandments are re-stated in the teachings of grace,but rather than them being a command to do and be blessed or fail and be cursed….they are beseechings to us as those who are already blessed beyond measure.Even though we are not under the 10 commandments,believers should honour their mother and father…not to earn blessing and avoid cursing,but as befitting one who has been blessed with all spiritual blessings.Paul is certainly not imposing the law on us,but is merely stating that the law also said to honour mother and father and this would resonate with some who opposed him as a “law hater”.Hope this is a help.

      • Yes daryl i think what youre saying is exactly right .but you get people that argue this verse saying we under the law because he cites i wish people would just stop throwing people into confusion because of such scriptures.

    • We are the law this is why Paul says this and many other things, we will be changed when we see him as he is and he is the completion of the law, the perfection of the law.We can bank this and see that we are already in grace and mercy, the law perfected. Between God and fallen man there must be grace and mercy, anything else would be arrogance or an attempt to climb to Gods level on our own merit, but we will be like him one day and I can only begin to imagine what this relationship will be like.This will not give you a complete answer to your question, but it may be a good starting point.

  43. Gilly Stott // September 12, 2014 at 6:51 am //

    I really like your “blackboard summary” of Law and Grace, Paul.
    The law: “Be righteous”,
    The verdict: “No-one is righteous”
    The gospel: Jesus is our righteousness”.
    Brilliant!. I have a feeling i’ll be using that a fair bit in the future (if that’s okay with you) to sum up the Law vs Grace message in a concise way. And one that i can remember without too much difficulty!! Thanks so much.

  44. Paul, This was an outstanding post. It was so loaded that I want to re-read it and type out lots of notes in my MacJournal and then make a chart showing Mr. Norris’ points and his scripture references and then your response to each point and your scripture references. This post will be so beneficial to me in the future!

  45. Gilly Stott // September 13, 2014 at 10:42 am //

    Thanks so much for pointing me to the Grace Graphics, Paul. How did I miss those until now?! Had a good chuckle over quite a few ……many a true word said in jest, hey?

  46. Great post Paul! I also enjoy reading everyone’s comments. I can identify with the words of the blind man that Jesus healed, “….I was blind, but now I see.” I spent my younger years in an orphanage. I was taught God hated sin, and wasn’t pleased with anyone that did it. It was put into my young mind that God was mostly against me, just for living. I grew up with self hatred. As a young adult I asked The Lord to accept me, and with His help I would please Him. I struggled for 30 years, never feeling completely acceptable. Over seven years ago grace broke through my broken, striving heart. I was delivered from the orphan spirit, and now live in grace, love, and acceptance.

  47. In respect of the futility of keeping the law I am reminded of a story about a trainee Buddist monk(wrong religion I know!)who was instructed by his abbot to ascend a mountain and think of absolutely nothing for two days!!After the two days he returned and complained to his abbot that it was impossible to empty his mind and think of absolutely nothing for two days!”Very well” said the abbot ”Return to the mountain and I want you to think constantly without ceasing for two days!”Guess what! The novice returned complaining that he couldn’t think of anything at all!!So it seems that even practitioners of other religions understand the futility of trying to keep to the rules!!

    • A man who is taken “captive” to “the Law of Sin in the flesh” cannot fulfill a Holy Law [Ro 7:7-24] (in fact, the Law will arouse the sinful passions dormant in his sinful flesh); but a man who has been “set free” from “the Law of Sin in the flesh” both can and does “fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law” [Ro 1:16-18, 2:13-15, 25-29, 3:21,31, 7:25-8:4].
      I think understanding it this way–unsaved men are slaves of sin, thus unable to fulfill a holy decree as a means of serving/satisfying/pleasing a holy God–is one of best (if not the best) ways of understanding it.
      Demanding a slave of sin to produce righteousness is like demanding Taco Bell produce a pizza for you to pick up at the window: neither the slave of sin or the Taco Bell has the “resources” to fulfill the demand.

  48. Righteousness can, will, and must be a proof we are in Grace [Ro 3:31, 7:24-8:4]; but never can it be that we will become acceptable to God (or enter Grace) by our own merit/self-produced righteousness [Pp 3:9].
    Grace produces a righteousness–free of charge–that is utterly impossible for man to achieve while operating under his own powers.

    Those who trust in Grace do not say, “I don’t agree with righteousness;” rather, “It is because of the very fact that I agree with righteousness, but recognize that righteousness is not something I was ever equipped to produce on my own, that I reject Demands-to-finally-become-acceptable-to-God-after-doing-them-in-the-future (knowing those demands depend on weak flesh [Ro 8:2])–and opt to embrace the ‘abundance of Grace and the gift of righteousness’ (knowing that this righteousness does not depend on weak flesh, but is an operation/work of GOD for GOD’s own glory) [Ro 5].”…

  49. The fear I have is that we attach strings to the gift, and disqualify ourselves thereby.
    We lose out, and become (at least on some level) false witnesses of God when we ignore the Good News God has testified is true.
    Is it really “Good News” if there are still threats? The only churches Jesus “threatened” [Rv 2,3] were those who were not abiding in the Word (termed “Good News”); but with the Philadelphians, Jesus had no issue.
    Because they “kept the Word of [His] patience.”
    Therefore, it is evident that we must do what ever it takes for us to remain in faith (“fight the fight of faith, lay hold on the [gift]”) [1 Ti 6:12]–remain in faith in the Good News, and not be moved either by the distractions of the world or by any of these other “persuasions (Gospels) which are not come from Him Who calls” [Gal 5:8].

  50. Just listening to a beautiful worship song. Our God saves by Paul Baloche.
    Our God saves. Call upon our saviour and fall on your grace.
    Here the joyful sound of our offering and as we bow down we will rise with you on your wings and the world will see that it is you who saves.

    We don’t have wings, we can’t fly on our own, we can’t save ourselves. All we can do is fall on his grace.

    Our God saves we can’t save our selves.

    This song brings me home to the truth. Jesus

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