Does the Grace Gospel Make Us Lazy?
How to read 1 Corinthians 15:10
“Grace is a soft gospel for soft Christians,” say the critics. “Grace promotes passivity and laziness.”
I guess somebody forgot to tell Paul:
By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
This is not a Grammy speech. This is Paul giving us the secret to his success.
Paul was a tough-as-nails church planter. His ministry would shape the world for 2,000 years. How’d he do it?
“I didn’t make this happen,” said Paul. “God and I did it together.”
Grace doesn’t make people lazy; it makes them supernaturally fruitful. In contrast with the law that provides no aid to those who trust it, grace makes us soar.
A 300-year-old poem from John Bunyan expresses this perfectly:
Run, John, run, the law commands,
But gives us neither feet nor hands.
Far better news the gospel brings:
It bids us fly and gives us wings.
One of the best illustrations of how grace makes us fruitful comes from Tullian Tchividjian’s book One Way Love.
Tchividjian tells the story of two friends who applied for college. One was accepted but the other was deferred. In the subsequent months both friends took similar classes and had a similar workload. But the one who had been accepted into college branched out into a number of extracurricular activities. He started a band, got into rock-climbing, and set up a program for under-privileged kids.
The other friend also got involved in extra-curricular activities but he did so in the hope of impressing college acceptance boards.
At the end of the semester the student who had been deferred was exhausted while the student who had been accepted was full of energy. Free from the pressure to perform and the need to play it safe, the accepted student wrote papers about topics he was genuinely interested in and attained higher grades.
Tchividjian concludes that the fruit of assurance was not laziness but creativity, charity, and fun.
The unconditional love of God gives you wings. It inspires you to take risks and be generous with your life. When you are frolicking in the grace of God, work doesn’t feel like work. It feels like fun.
“Grace is irresponsible for it says we have no responsibility to do anything. We have a duty to serve the Lord.”
In the mouth of a mixed-grace preacher, words like responsibility and duty are the cattle-prods of performance-based Christianity. They convey a sense of obligation that leaves you debt-conscious rather than grace-conscious.
Jesus didn’t suffer and die to put you in his debt. He did it to show you how much he loves you.
The idea that you are obliged to repay him for his priceless sacrifice is ludicrous. What can you give him in consideration for his grace? There is nothing. The instant you give him anything, it ceases to be grace. Your only “duty” is to say, “Thank you, Jesus!”
In a mixed-grace environment you will feel the pressure to perform and live up to the expectations of others. But walk under grace and you find there is no pressure, only the freedom to be who God made you to be.
Manmade religion will tell you that you have a responsibility to deliver results for the Lord, but your only responsibility is to shine as a dearly-loved child of God.
More articles about grace and works.
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Great post. I also found that Grace has made me braver to try things that I wouldn’t have before. Under law I was afraid to try anything out of fear, now I feel anything is possible!
So true! I have to be honest. I was a fruitful Christian before I understood grace. However, most of my loving service to God was mixed with the requirment mentality. Now with an understanding of God’s grace and the New Covenant my life has become more fruitful than ever before. Why? Because I receive freely the love He has for me and it flows through me. Any type of “service” or “work” (praying, studying, sharing my faith, walking in purity) are all genuine responses to His lovingkindness. It is not from outward pressure to perform or earn His love and favor. Thank God for grace.
Beautiful as always Paul :-)…..can’t believe i’d already read this; just as refreshing the second time around.
Another precious article ! The only work in the kingdom of God that is legal is work that is motivated and accomplished by Christ in us and is thereby produced by grace alone. All works done in self will or self effort and that is motivated by fear, guilt or ambition is lawlessness in Gods sight.
At best on judgement day it will burn up (II Cor. 3) and at worst the conversation with Jesus will go really reallly badly like this: (Mtt 7:21-23).
Do you know what I love about reading your comments Paul? You paint a portrait full of vibrant colors and with hues that I hadn’t seen visible before. I know these are words that come from heaven because my soul energizes and tingles with joy.
Wow! Thanks M&M. I love colors!
ANOTHER HOME RUN PAUL, I have to “start a new”, in grace each day,be reminded of it everyday
Thank you, Paul, always an absolute joy and pleasure to read your posts. Gives me a smile on my face and a full heart to always know that God’s grace is so uncompromisingly generous :)… it does give me wings!
Do you ever wonder what the real issue is? Like what’s lacking? Why don’t people get it? It’s probably not the only thing but more and more I think people have a real problem with a gentle Jesus who was meek. They don’t understand that gentleness is not mild, it’s powerful, and so is humility. The idea that love could be the most powerful force in the universe is so foreign that a soft, sloppy gospel could never be powerful. And yet it’s this very gospel that is the power and is baring fruit all over the world. An all loving, all gentle, all soft Jesus is actually very powerful and yet that’s possibly the stumbling block – Him.
You have nailed it, Steve. It’s like the word we have for love doesn’t do love justice.
I agree with everything you said, Paul. But there is a (tiny) kernel of truth that grace can make you lazy. Lazy when it comes to continuing in dead works. If you (or your pastor or religion) has convinced you that God requires you to do any number of things to get His approval and blessing – when you “get” grace you may say to yourself that it is time to get off the treadmill and start doing things out of love rather than obligation. And this COULD cause you to do less of some things. Which is almost assuredly a good thing. But some people may not care for it.
Thanks, Bob. I think I’m that kind of lazy. I don’t feel like I do much, but spiritual things seem to happen around me a lot. It’s fun to watch.
It does say, that if you want the “blessing” of your asking to become reality, you must please Him by doing. “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and ‘do’ those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
Hope of Receiving can be a motivator.
Well, it says that the commandment is to believe in His name first and foremost. If you want to base your receiving on your ability to keep his commandments go ahead. But I am done basing my receiving on my performance. Because the vast majority of the time I find myself lacking, so my faith level is down. Since I found grace and rest my receiving has gone WAY up, not to mention my ability to keep those commandments. I am done trusting in myself.
Tom-I don’t read that the same way you do. You are assuming the verse is merely teaching that we receive from God BY keeping His commands and BY doing things that please Him-John is not implying a command that we should attempt to receive from God BY DOING as you assume You are reading that into it my friend because your reasoning and interpreting logic are steeped in the culture of performance orientation ( you must work and perform in order to receive) . The passage does not teach that we receive BY doing. The purpose of Johns statement must be discovered by the context- (verse 19). Pleasing God , obeying His commands and receiving what we ask are all evidence that we ARE OF THE TRUTH! It is because WE ARE OF THE TRUTH – that we are enabled by grace to please Him and keep,His commands and the benefit of receiving comes NOT from self imposed doing but from being OF THE TRUTH.
Your perspective is one of self effort doing in order to receive. Johns perspective is one of belonging to the truth and the natural spontaneous and effortless result of doing and receiving.
When you get a revelation of grace your entire performance orientation perspective and paradigm is turned on his head and the entire Bible becomes a series of facts and promises to celebrate not a series of conditions and demands.
Our work is to rest.
He does the rest. Phil. 2.13.
Paul, I really believe that critics of grace would totally be different if they were to experience grace for themselves. No longer would we have to try to talk them into receiving this inexpressible gift, or believing in life-changing grace, they would just “get it”.
To a grace lover all the “commandments” in Scripture are not drudgery but delight. We are not looking at the sacrifice required but the joy in knowing our Savior and being connected to His yoke, which is both easy and light.
I like to compare it to a move we are making in the next month. I have lived in Sequim, Wa. where it is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Hiking, biking, canoeing, anything you want to do. But I have to move to California, and the first day I went to visit they were having a huge flood, right in the middle of the worst drought in their history. Overnight there was an earthquake. I told my wife “we’ve been here 12 hours and we’ve been through a drought, a flood and an earthquake, wonder what’s next.”
So why are we moving? Two reasons: I will be home with my family a ton more. And we found a wonderful gospel preaching, grace loving church (Calvary Community Church in Brentwood, Ca.).
Does it seem like a drudgery to give up the Northwest? Absolutely not. All I can think of is being with my wife and kids so much more, and finally attending a church that preaches Jesus. I’m so excited I don’t know how to contain it. All I want to do is get there and I’ve already thought of 20 things our family is going to do with so much more time we’ll have together, and of 20 ways we can serve in this church that can’t stop talking about Jesus and the grace of the cross. Wow, I can’t wait!
Is it a sacrifice to leave? I don’t know, all I can think about is the joy of being with my family in a good church.
I think that’s what it’s like to experience God’s grace and the enabling it gives to serve and minister. Jesus felt that way too: “for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross…”
.you would think there are no other topics in the Bible. Yeah yeah Grace is good as are Love ,Mercy,etc., etc. give it a break and change topics already.Do you have any other words to share about???
What do you suggest?
And besides it would be impossible for you to write about anything else because there’s nothing to write about that would compare!
That’s like someone saying, “yeah yeah, I got a check for a billion dollars, so what? Can’t we talk about something else?”
Could that something else we talk about more than grace be Jesus? He is better to me than the riches of His grace we have in Him and better to my soul than the fullness of the treasures of our inheritance in Him. Jesus Himself is far more exhilerating and precious to speak of than the full sum of every spiritual gift and redemptive blessing we have in Him. How about we speak of Jesus more?
Well written Paul. There is no other topic.
Grace = Jesus.
The whole of the Bible is all about Jesus and all about Jesus is all about you!
The whole of the Bible is all about Grace and all about Grace is all about you!
I love love-talk.
Keep ’em coming Paul!
There’s no wisdom or power or life apart from Grace; which is Jesus; who is Love. Personally, I don’t want to hear anything else. Where else would I go?
There are two ways we as humans pursue God. There are two ways we read the Bible. To perspective on how we understand what is said in there. Through one way, we see many topics many subjects many discrepancies. Through this more common way we see topics and lists of things that we need to do or not do. Things that we need to study or not study. Through this way we are at the center of all that is to be done or do. Through the other way we see Jesus the author of faith, of grace, Of eternal life, of love, of joy, of peace, of kindness, of goodness and of everything else of any relevance. Jesus is that the center of this perspective. We see Jesus and what he’s done and how it applies to us. When we see Him, He is something that we can never, never, never ever tire of seeing or hearing. The knowledge of him and his gracious giving that is not connected to what we do or not do (Grace) produces joy and sensations, experiences that are mind blowing. A realm of possibilities that can only be explained by the supernatural. So please Paul, never ever change the topic!
Correction: … Two perspectives…
Okay ,I know I sound radical… but I really don’t think you can see Him and not be radically changed and radical about Him!
I suspect what ever you start out to talk about, it would always come back to grace.
The lazy man says ‘there is a lion in the road’ Prov 26.13. If we are motivated by fear we will be lazy. Now laziness often manifests itself as busyness since out of fear we respond with all kinds of idolatrous activity. If we are motivated by faith and love (which casts out fear) we will do God’s work.
Brian, I appreciate your thoughts on not being motivated by fear but by faith. But I just read this morning in 1 Corinthians 10 where Paul used the fact that 23,000 idolaters fell in the desert, many tempters of Christ were destroyed by serpents, and complainers were destroyed by the destroyer, all “as examples for us” and “for our admonition.” It seems that Paul is using fear of destruction as a motivator to avoid sexual immorality, temptation and complaining. What are your thoughts on this passage?
The “example ” and point that Paul wants his readers to see is NOT that they will be destroyed by the destroying angel etc. The example and point he is making is that he doesn’t want his readers to be sexually immoral, idolaters or grumblers. If I tell my children that Ted Bundy eventually became a serial rapist by looking at porn when he was a kid my point to my kids IS NOT that they will become serial rapists if they look at porn. My point is that I don’t want them looking at porn.
The fear of the Lord is clean, Psalm 19.9. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but it is not its end which is love. We need the fear of the Lord to keep us in check while we are imperfect in our love. Paul was practical as well as idealistic.
The fear of the Lord means “Worship” in the New Covenant, not fearing as being afraid.
That’s right Mike, its there for our learning. But the main point is about “Pleasing”. It say’s in verse 5 of that scripture, that ” God was not well pleased:…” So, how do we “please Him? 1 John 3:22. We also learn from Jesus example John 8:29.Then round it up with, 1 John 2:6, the way we should be.
There’s a lot of emphasis here about Pauls ministry of grace. But when I see Apostle Paul’s ministry I see real power of the Holy Spirit. I never hear anyone on this site speak of real supernatural moves of the Holy Spirit in their lives apart from experiencing feelings. I never have the impression that you know Jesus personally but only through what seems like academic interpretation. Where is the powerful move of God to show his support of hypergrace? People flocking to hypergrace is no proof that God is blessing it. Even today the conventional Gospel preachers of things like repentance, and escaping Hell and living holy lives are testifying to Gods supernatural involvement in the form of Jesus showing himself to many young & old telling them about how many Christians are in Hell for not living according to his word. Many pastors are in hell for preaching false doctrines. I know exactly what your answer will be and which scriptures you will use unfortunately, there is a pattern in your philosophy as there is in ours.
Zak, only you know what is working for you and what isn’t. Does the fear thing work for you? It didn’t for me. It didn’t make me sin less. It didn’t make me less judgmental. It didn’t make me quick to forgive. Grace did all those things. Grace makes me confident to receive from God because I know his love has nothing to do with my performance. I’ve removed the last obstacle (me) in getting my prayers answered because I’m never good enough to be blessed the way I want to be blessed. That’s why we have a new covenant because the old one failed. When you insist on living under it you are NEVER good enough. But I think you know that already.
I suspect that critics who accuse hyper grace teaching as encouraging laziness are afraid of losing the power to manipulate and control their prospects.So what are the critics advocating?Are they saying that they want to motivate through fear of punishment and condemnnation?
Fear is not always a negative thing. There is a good and healthy fear. You use it every day, even if you’re not aware of it. You don’t stick you’re hand in a flame from fear of getting burned. Same applies to a healthy fear of God so that your whole body and soul doesn’t end up in flames of an eternal kind.
Please tell me you don’t actually believe that these works of grace ARE NOT EVIDENCE of the true supernatural power of God and are not the authentic evidence of Gods activity among us: saved by grace, forgiven by grace , sanctified and perfected by grace, made to live a holy life by grace, made generous by grace, anointed and gifted and empowered by grace and bearing abundant fruit by grace.
Please tell me you don’t REALLY believe the self effort legalist crowd are producing more spiritual fruit that us who are recipients of His glorious grace!
Barry, this was beautiful. Well said.
Amazing!!!! I have noticed in my life that the more I fall into the arms of our Lords Love and Grace, the easier things get done. His Love and Grace is so beautiful! I often think about how blind I was trying to do things on my own, trying to get ahead in the Kingdom of God so to speak, what a waste of time! If the worlds way to improve and get ahead is striving and working hard, then Gods ways must be different, for He will always get the Glory! Thank you for this message Paul.
“about how many Christians are in Hell for not living according to his word.”
for the record:
“noun 1.a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings”
if christian = follower of Christ
And hell = hell
Are you saying that you believe there are believers of Christ in hell?
Absolutely! That is what I am saying.
Oh and Jimmi if I could give you a number of how many Christians are in hell, I would be a much greater man than I am, but I will give you an adjective term, and that is “Many”. That will be the Christians that didn’t forgive and lied and didn’t repent and so on.
wow, must be a bear never knowing
Zak, and that would be those that are lying. 1 John 4:20, “If a man say, I love God and hate and hates his brother, he is a liar,…” 1 John 3:10, “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever ‘does not righteousness’ is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother.” So, how many Christians are there in hell? None!
The problem about the so called making of lazy Christians does not lay in the “Grace” but in what many Christians do want to believe about the sanctification and about the allowance to enter the Kingdom of God.
Grace coming over all people does not mean that all people will enter the Kingdom of God, but also does not mean that once a person is saved he will be saved for ever. People should look carefully in the Bible and come to see that people have to continue to work at themselves and have to show works of faith, because otherwise their faith is dead.
dear Marcus –
What saith the Scriptures regarding your claims ?
1.Start by faith but continue by works?
For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “B UT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Romans 1:17 NASB)
Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up! (Galatians 3:2-4 MSG)
2. No eternal security for those who believe in Christ Jesus?
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. (Romans 8:29-31, 33-34 NASB)
yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach- if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (Colossians 1:22-23 NASB)
Who are we supposed to trust and believe? You or the Scriptures?
The fear most people have of a “faith alone” grace based gospel is rooted in their own lack of faith in Jesus ability to produce fruit in those who put all their trust in Him alone plus nothing of themselves. They deflect and transfer their own unbelief on to others- accusing them if not producing sufficient fruit.
The truth is the gospel of grace and the message of faith plus nothing is Gods ONLY means of producing abundant spiritual fruit of grace inspired good works.
Barry I wrote some replies yesterday, but they did not seem to have been published by the owner of this blog…
Hi Marcus, E2R welcomes short, focused comments that meet our posting criteria, but please post essays elsewhere. Thank you.
Marcus, I don’t get to say this very often but you have spoken the truth!
So Barry, are you living a holy life as you say?, do you sin at all? Considering that you said you are living a holy life.
Zac – I sure am enjoying the grace of Jesus to walk a holy life-sola Deo Gloria! For almost 40 years now Jesus has continually proved that He is well able (without my self will or self effort) to produce the fruit of the Spirit and cause me to walk in the good works that he predestined me to walk in before I even started this race .
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; (Philippians 3:12-15 NASB)
Zak, thank you for your response. It appears that you have a lot to boast about.
I would surely agree that living in the righteousness of Jesus, and having a soul that is swimming in the wonders of the Holy Spirit will produce fruit of forgiveness and truthfulness; but these are fruit of His imputed righteousness not my fleshly successes.
You choose to judge who goes to hell; have at it; but I find it interesting regarding the fruits (or fleshly virtues) that you referenced.
Though there are many more; lets use a few that our brother Paul, Apostle Paul, used: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.
I have read many of your posts and I’m am curious: do you see these fruits in your Writings?
Love? Forebearance? Gentleness? Peace? Joy?
Well Thanks Jimmi for reading my comments but you and I read the bible quite differently so arguing over scripture and what it implies is as good as you speaking to me in Chinese and me speaking to you in Croation. I don’t judge who goes to hell, Paul is also quite clear about who won’t inherit the kingdom of heaven. I believe that if Jesus himself came to you and told you that you have to repent and practice righteousness and turn from sin you wouldn’t believe him. Am I wrong in this assumption? Oh and what do you think that I am boasting about Jimmi? I maintain that I am saved by grace, so that none can boast! As much as people might think that I’m arrogant and boastful and what ever else, there is a method to my so called madness my friend.
Thank you for the response Zak, but you did not answer my question.
I based the boastful statement on your posts where you accuse everyone else of not being as righteous as you, maybe I read those statements wrong.
I will answer your question: you are dead wrong. I love my God and my Jesus, and My Holy Spirit. I never said that I did not believe in repentance, you did. I never said I did not believe in living righteously, I believe the fruit can on only produce righteousness, you did. I hate sin. I almost hated to answer this questions because I don’t want to feed your arrogance in the way you made your assumption. Though you probably will not see it :).
Please don’t misunderstand my caring as meaning that I respect your posts. I never covet the counsel of arrogant persons, nor boastful persons, nor people who don’t pass Paul’s test of “by their FRUIT you will know them”. To give credence to such counsel would be adulterous, and it has no worth when I have the direct console from the Holy Spirit.
You assumed that I was discussing your beliefs, I was asking you a question and I pose the question again: Do you believe that your posts exhibits the fruits of the spirit as found in the awesome book of Galatians? Kindness? love? forbearance? Peace? Joy? I really am curious.
M&M, once again you show your kindness. You saw Zak’s response and wanted to encourage me. Thank you, it was very impressive. and I totally agree with you. I was just wondering if Zak *thought* his posts exhibited these fruits. I really don’t know if he believes that or not.
Jimmy, your doctrine is right on. If you’ve ever seen through the glasses of a scripturist, you would know that you can’t change their opinion about what the Scripture says by arguing Scripture. Because they are seeing the Scriptures in their understanding and The Scripture says what it says. You cannot take away what the Scripture says. You could argue other scriptures to your blue in the face but you still have to come back to the Scripture saying what they say it says. Which means you will never convince Zac that he is wrong. Convincing anyone that they are right or wrong is simply another tactic under legalism. It’s always been about love honor respect and not about being right or wrong! And that’s what I had to see, you had to see or anyone else would have to see.
Zac, me, or you as we look at the overwhelming, mind changing, Love that God has bestowed on us as a gift through Jesus our minds can’t help but see the generosity and power of Jesus as demonstrated by what he did on the cross for us. As this truth begins to preempt any of our doctrinal understanding of the Scriptures is when we come into an understanding of real Grace. As our eyes become open to the Gospel of love as seen through Jesus is when we allow it, him, to rule and reign over any doctrine,knowledge that exalts itself against this truth, Him. Only then do we shift gears and see it as something he has done and something he produces in us versus something we can do for him and produce ourselves in us out of obedience to the Scriptures. Only when our eyes behold Jesus in this light can any of us subject the Scriptures to his preeminence and not be subjected to our understanding of the Scriptures.
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39-40 NIV)
Clearly Scriptures give enough indication people should still, after their baptism, do the works of faith otherwise they would run the chance not being able to enter the Kingdom of God.
This pastor claiming no works has to be done takes away also the job for himself, because than he is only useful to preside the prayers and does not have to do so much work for making sermons are warning his people in church, because there is nothing to frighten them because according to him they are all saved for ever. This also mean that when people disfellowship someone they would place themselves higher than Jesus and higher than God.
Ya the pastor who finally entrusts the saints to the grace of God is done spending all his time and energy on warning the people and “whipping the saints” – Maybe then he can finally have some time to get to know God and have some real and genuine relationship with God himself so that he actually has some personal knowledge of God to feed the people with. Maybe when the pastor comes back to knowing God Himself intimately through the grace of Jesus alone the pastor can teach the sheep that The purpose of grace and every other redemptive act of God is for this one main purpose and gaol – TO KNOW GOD AND MAKE HIM KNOWN THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. We have an epidemic of leadership who don’t KNOW GOD because they are too preoccupied with working FOR GOD and with whipping the saints into working FOR GOD!
Oh and Zak, I forgot to mention the fruit of “Kindness” in my question.
What makes you think I’m not kind Jimmi? Why do you think I’m here in the first place? Do you think I’m here for a fight? Just for the sake of upsetting you? Perception is a confusing mistress! Why am I not on a post where everyone agrees with me? because that would be much easier. I’m here because I care about your eternity. Regardless of what you believe I’m here because of the kind of love that matters, not just sweet words of bliss, which comes later.
oh, wow, you did answer, I saw this too late … thank you … you think you are being kind and loving. interesting, though admittedly, I kinda thought you would say that. anyway, thanks for stating your perception of yourself, it truly does sound like a confusing mistress..
My apologies for saying you did not answer.
ok guys,I think all who are truly born again,saved, what ever tag we use,the father will lead all of us into THE TRUTH. I have found over the years one of my foundation prays has always been, Lord dont let me be deceived,and I had enough sense that when I get confused, I pull over to the side of the road and wait for him. HE IS FAITHFULL. To many times ive made a ass out of myself,being hard headed….just saying the humble man is exalted.
Zac, I am so glad you’re here. I personally enjoy hearing the logic of your view of the Scriptures. You help me think through issues. Your comments reveal insight into the theological approach to why people think our efforts carry weight with God. The fact that you truly believe that you are evangelizing people for the kingdom is absolutely awesome! As you know there’s no better reason. If you read my previous comment, then you know I don’t believe that one can come into the presence and power of God by reasoning. This can only occur by letting our reason be infected with his presence and power through love. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.
Zak, thank you for your response. It appears that you have a lot to boast about.
I would surely agree that living in the righteousness of Jesus, and having a soul that is swimming in the wonders of the Holy Spirit will produce fruit of forgiveness and truthfulness; but ur us a fruit of His imputed righteousness not my fleshly successes.
You choose to judge who goes to hell; have at it; but I find it interesting regarding the fruits (or fleshly virtues) that you referenced.
Though there are many more; lets use a few that our brother Paul, Apostle Paul, used: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.
I have read many of your posts and I’m afraid I struggle to see any of these fruits in your Writings. Yes I give you faithfulness > you appear very faithful to what you believe. But kindness? Love? Forebearance? Gentleness? Peace? LOVE?
Maybe I misread your posts. Maybe from your side of the keyboard you think you are sharing these qualities. Even if you don’t agree with the writings here; these fruits are not conditional based on the audience.
I think the criticism of laziness is due largely to the “making a god of the local church”,and when these critics dont see people “involved”,doing work or serving at and for the local church,they wrongly judge others as apathetic or lazy….as if that is the measure or standard of one being spiritual or serving the Lord. Some of us who have been touched by grace,are not busy doing “church work”,but are very active as Christs ambassadors doing Church work,using our particular gifts to benefit the One Body of Christ. Certainly there is nothing wrong with serving and working for a local church,but the only reason for the existence of ANY local church,is the building up of the One Body.For the most part our lives are lived away from a church building,and for some of us the local churches have kind of pushed us away with ministry by manipulation and coercion,and a lot of law-based false obligations and duties.
Hi jimmi, look I know that you would identify with me more if I spoke to you in a loving way, but sometimes love is not always as clearly defined as sweet sounding and uplifting words of encouragement. From my perspective I need to challenge you in a way that will cause you to think about the possibility that I might have some truth to tell. Although its pointless for me to rely on my own logical arguments to convince you that the Jesus I know is not in full agreement with the Jesus you know, because that’s essentially what this site is all about. I do pray that my message will have the backing of the Holy Spirit. Yes I do pray for everyone on this site. So I’m not half as bad as you or others might think but I am approaching this in a way that I know will have the desired effect. And if people hate me, so be it. I know what my motivation is. If you and M&M met me in person, you would see that I’m no where near as arrogant as my choice of words might suggest.
Zac- when I mentioned that Jesus enabled me to live a holy life for 40 years I should have mentioned that I never once in all those 40 years trusted in that holy life to either secure or maintain my salvation or my favor with God. That is precisely where your perception of Jesus and salvation is in error my friend.
How much holiness or obedience or purity or good works was enough to secure your salvation ? I know you will answer “No amount was enough to save me- I was saved and made right with God by the death and righteousness of Jesus alone!” IN THE SAME WAY no amount Holiness, obedience or good works CAN KEEP YOU saved or can keep you right with God! I know you will agree that the NT authors would clearly agree with this. Our security, divine acceptance, approval and every divine blessing comes by believing in Jesus PLUS NOTHING! Holiness and obedience secure NOTHING before God. Holiness and obedience is FOR GODS GLORY ALONE and not FOR US.
Ok Barry, but I asked that question about the living a holy life for a reason. But fair enough if you’re not willing to elaborate. I asked that question to find out what you think a holy life is and why you mention it as a manifestation of evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit? And my question is no way an indication of what I believe so please don’t draw a conclusion as to my underlying thought process. So how do you define a holy life then Barry?
In short -Holiness is a life of love. Practically I would define living a holy life as living a life that is lived in alignment with the will of God in thought, attitude, motive, word and deed.. Holiness is not a cookie cutter life of conformity to anyone else’s life but is unique to each individual. Most important holiness is Jesus living His life in each of His people uniquely.
When I say I have lived a holy life – this is what I am saying – Jesus has consistently lived His life out in me- by His grace alone and not by my own self will, self improvement or self effort- rather by simply trusting Him to do it.
Dear Zac – isn’t it the truth that you yourself don’t trust God, instead you trust in yourself and you are trying to deflect your own failure to trust God onto those who do trust Him?
You don’t trust His promise to keep you secure in His salvation- instead you trust yourself for this.
You don’t trust His promise to make you and keep you holy by His grace alone and instead you trust in yourself for this.
You don’t trust God to cause you to walk in His will for your life by His grace alone and instead you trust in yourself for this.
How is that working for you?
Good luck! You will need luck because as long as you continue to trust yourself you are disqualifying yourself from the grace of God.
Since you refuse to trust God- and instead trust yourself for all these things -please don try to dissuade others from trusting him. God will hold you accountable for undermining the faith of others my friend.
M&M thanks for your comments. I know you. You remind me of someone I really like. I would portray you and I in an analogy of two defense Attorney’s, and like in real life when they are defending the defendant charged with a crime, they will defend that man with all of their ability to prove him not guilty even though the only one who knows the real truth is the defendant himself. Likewise we are in a courtroom of the spiritual kind both defending the truth that we testify to, but at least we agree on one thing, that Jesus is the truth, the way and the life.
Enough of hijacking Paul’s tread here (Paul, you are very tolerant 🙂 ).
so last comment ( I hope).
I want to address two questions you asked:
a) “Why am I not on a post where everyone agrees with me? ”
Egad …. a blog full of Zak’s!! 🙂
” Why do you think I’m here in the first place?”
You think you are here to teach and rescue. I believe you are here to be taught and rescued. Keep reading and praying my friend. I believe that is exactly why you are here.
Beautifully said Barry, looks like I got it wrong and perceived that you believed some thing to the contrary. Thanks for denying my reply Paul, sincerely in this case.
Grace empowered me for action……What the law could not do been weak in the flesh……the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ did……
I see one problem with the hypergrace bunch. It is this, there are two boxes. One box contains those who believe and accept hypergrace, the other box contains those who believe in works. Every comment I have heard/read (on this post and others) that would speak against hypergrace is contradicted with accusations of believing only in works.
The other thing I have noticed is that faith is so rarely mentioned that I wonder what you really do believe. We are saved by GRACE through FAITH, but faith without WORKS is dead. True salvation will have a perfect balance of God’s Word.
DonaldN – so are you advocating that the gospel of Jesus Christ involves a mixture of grace and works? If Paul or Peter or John or Luther were explaining the gospel to someone and encouraging them to put their faith on Jesus in order to be saved and they responded as you have by saying , “There are two groups out there. Those who believe one is saved by works and the other group who believe one is saved by grace alone brought faith . I believe both are wrong and that one is saved by a combination of faith and works .”
What do you think these apostles would say to that person? Would they not soundly and thoroughly rebuke such a man based idea? Would they not explain to such a person that one is saved ONLY when they are willing to believe in Jesus grace alone plus nothing? Would they not warn such a person that the gospel reveals the righteousness of God THAT IS BY FAITH ALONE FROM START TO FINISH?
While you are correct in saying that Faith that doesn’t produce fruit/ works is not faith but a false “said” faith. That doesn’t mean anyone is saved by the fruit/works of faith . That is where you are wrong- and where you have departed from the true the gospel. Your human reasoning has added to the simple gospel of the Bible which is by faith from start to finish.
Donald, in my previous answer to your comment. I labeled your statement as being uneducated. I am sure you are educated and well balanced in your view of the scripture. I’m sure you’ve had many conversations with people over the years and been able to see balance to their unbalance doctrinal stance. Although I never went so far as to make the accusation that you did, my well balanced and scriptually acute mind questioned the intent of my wife as I heard her relay the gospel without tenets of behavior attached. Upon investigation, I could see it was simply the Gospel. I really didn’t see why everybody was all excited. I began to realize what was keeping me from seeing their excitement. I was attaching different elements to the Gospel. Once I let go of that and began to just let the pure gospel wash through my mind. I saw it or should I say I saw Jesus in the goodness of the father as I had never seen them both before. Once you taste and see this goodness, there is no going back!. Not only is it totally found in Scripture, it is the central focus of the message! Believe it or not there is such a thing as spiritual blindness to the pureness of the Gospel. You can read about it throughout the New Testament. However 2 Corinthians 3 and 4 have some details. As I mentioned in my previous comment having been saved for 35 years, I never saw myself as spiritually blind until…. I could see!
You mentioned faith. Most people think of faith as the intellectual assent to a set of facts or beliefs. Granit it, faith entails this, but When you read how Jesus speaks of faith, you see a power at work that defies all that is natural. In Hebrews 11 we get a description of faith that draws our attention to the goodness of God as being foundational to faith. God’s good character is what gives our faith the power to Lean on. The good faith and credit of our father is what gives the gospel its credibility and power. When we lean on, trust in and cling to Jesus and his finished work on the cross, Not trusting in our good works to gain anything from God but standing firm on Jesus’ work, he empowers us and gives us the right to become children of God. For those of us that were already saved, that message set us free from having to perform for our father, who has already qualified and accepted us in Jesus. The focus is on Jesus and not on our works or lack there of, (sin). When we focus on on Jesus and his benefits of the cross he empowers us To walk in the fruit of the Spirit. When we focus in on behavior the power of sin in our life increases. I know you probably need scripture to back up everything I just said. However you’re also probably well-versed in the Scriptures and know everything I said is true. Put the emphasis on Jesus and not on anything that has to do with us and you will experience power! That is, The resurrection power that is so actively at work in us.
Interesting; “One box contains those who believe and accept hypergrace, the other box contains those who believe in works”. Actually it kinda sounds like you have check boxes as well, “the hypergrace bunch”… But let’s move on.
“with accusations of believing only in works”: You might want to read through the posts on this site some more; there are many discussions on a mixed grace/works religion. So we have grace.. Works/grace … Works. Other than total unbelief of course, could you enlighten this “hypergrace bunch” as to the other option that might be being overlooked? Or ar you confusing works that are “fruits of the spirit” verses “being justified by our works”? Are you thinking that the “hypergrace bunch” don’t believe that trusting in Jesus produces good works? Yikes, if you believe that, you might want to do some research on your own instead of listening to others. But, If you believe the “hypergrace bunch” do not believe in a work that justifies man, I think that would be pretty accurate.
“The other thing I have noticed is that faith is so rarely mentioned that I wonder what you really do believe”
Do I have some exciting news for you!!!! Go to the top of any page on this website and there is a search entry. Type in “faith” and you will find lots of blogs and discussions on “faith”. Now, you may not agree with all of it (or any of it 🙂 ) but it will help you with the “I wonder what you really do believe part” anyway. I hope that is helpful.
“We are saved by GRACE through FAITH, but faith without WORKS is dead” Amen!! Preach it brother!! Isn’t this a magnificent truth??!!!
Rephrasing what I said in my first comment. Anyone who speaks against the hypergrace doctrine is immediately accused of believing in performance based salvation. I in no way said that is what I believe, but if you would all read your own comments, you all accused me of this.
This was my whole point. You put anyone who would dare to speak negatively into the box of works salvation.
You would all be amazed to know that I am a believer in HYPERGRACE!!! It is the way it is promoted that makes me disagree with the overall doctrine.
Anyone of you please clarify specifically what I said that makes you think I advocated performance based salvation.
DonaldN- what folk are reacting to is where your confidence and faith is placed for Christian living and they are also reacting to your false belief that our relationship with God and the Christian life is about what WE do and initiate as opposed what we TRUST GOD to do and initiate in us, for us and through us. You assume they are reacting about what you believe about doing or not doing . It is you who are not hearing or listening my friend. While you claim you are a believer in grace your words reveal what you really believe in- namely- that WE are responsible for producing the works and fruit. What everyone is trying to tell you is that in the gospel and the New Covenant GOD takes FULL RESPONSIBILITY for producing any fruit or works He desires to produce in us- by His hyper grace alone plus nothing of OUR OWN willpower, motivation or efforts. You are barking up the wrong tree my friend. If you have a problem with the amount of fruit you are seeing in the hyper grace camp then TAKE IT UP WITH GOD! Since you are taking it up with US – you are tipping your hand in what you really believe about grace.
Intersting Donald. You raise a very interesting point; one that needs considered. I actually asked you for clarification a number of times, for example;: “ther than total unbelief of course, could you enlighten this “hypergrace bunch” as to the other option that might be being overlooked? ”
Let’s look at why people might have responded as they did (right or wrong:
“the hypergrace bunch.” This refers to a group of people who believe in a Christ focused gospel rather than works focused belief. By the way you stated it; some might infer that you don’t agree with this “bunch” :), no problem; my identity is in my Father, no group nor man.
“accusations of believing only in works.” (addressed in my reply, and again here requesting clarification). Here you brought in the “works” statement.
Then you cap it off with a verse that is dear to the hearts of many here; in light of your earlier, this seemed to infer that this bunch separate works from grace.
(Btw: we don’t all, necessarily agree with each other’s posts all the time (I tend to appreciate the kinder posts most) ; and though Paul Ellis allows me to post, I have no idea what he thinks of my posts; nor whether he agrees with them; though he should!! 🙂 )
Maybe this will help you, and others, understand why some are misunderstanding your point. In one sense, You really have us at a disadvantage; you know the views of many on here by their blogs; I (we) are totally confused regarding what you belief (again: Please clarify, don’t be shy 🙂 ).
A vast majority of this group came out of a works/grace based religion and have spent years (decades) in that teaching so maybe we are misinterpreting you. Please help us understand your view on grace and works. Maybe with that information we can see the errors of our ways (well…. Some of us maybe:) ) if it is well founded.
DonaldN – James 2 “Faith without works is dead” must be first interpreted and applied within the context James wrote it and within the context of who James was addressing .
James is a very niegbourhood centred and evangelistic letter to those within his immediate evangelistic ministry calling which was primarily Jewish, was primary a group who had witnessed the ministry of Jesus and subsequently the ministry of Peter and the 11 other Jewish apostles, who had “believed” with a sort of “I saw the miracles therefore I give intellectual ascent to Jesus but I have no intention of changing my attitudes , values or the way I treat people kind of ‘belief'”
These Jewish people’s so called “faith in God” had little or no real effect on their lifestyles or relationships. Their “belief” in God had effected no change in Their critical and abusive speech patterns; their evil prejudices and judgements of their neighbourd remained unchecked; their argumentative, pugalistic and strife filled selfish ambition was left untouched and their fiercely independent life plans remained tightly guarded -all this while claiming to “believe in God.” This was the context of James indictment and statement , “faith without works is dead”.
You on the other hand-without any factual evidence or personal intimate knowledge of iet her our lives or our attitudes and motives- you have recklessly misapplied Jame’s statement to us within the hyper grace camp accusing us of the same charges James charged his readers with- a man who lived within the same community and had intimate knowledge of his readers lives and attitudes.
This is not only a gross misapplication of James on your part but is a complete and total demonstration of arrogance on your part to have made such unfounded and unfair indictments against us in the hyper grace “camp” (your stereotypical word).
Perhaps you should have read a little further in James and have taken note of this statement, Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. (James 4:11 NASB)
Regarding your interpretation of James 2; in context, I, too, have come to interpret those amazing verses as a warning of not acting on the truth they (we) had heard (so you say you believe? Even the demons believe); just believing something (i.e.God is Love) without acting on it (i.e. Living in His Love) is a dead belief.
I just wanted you to know that I appreciated the insights you just presented on the recipients on James’ letter, it was very helpful. Thank you for mentioning that background information.
All this law preaching in the modern church seems to blur the differences between different religions. I have seen people in many non Christian religions that are extremely moral. I’m glad for that as it makes the world a better place. But without Christ all our works are as dead as we are. “He who has the Son has life”.
My personal experience and my understanding of others over the years leads me to believe that it is the law in its various oppressive forms that leads to laziness and the lack of any desire to live a full life. It is grace which gives abundance of life and that includes blessing others in many many ways.
P.S. Have you heard of a singer called Godfrey Birtill. He has a song called “Living in the unforced rhythms of grace” which really hits the spot. I think it’s taken from the Message or the Mirror bible. He has many other awesome songs too. Give him a listen.
Simply said: without works of faith a Christian is no better than any other person who does good works, and he is fooling himself, ignoring the many words of Scriptures which indicates we have to keep to the Will of God.
Interesting grace is given freely