8 Signs that a Church Doesn’t Get Grace

Danger graceless church_MEDA while ago I listed eight signs of hyper-grace churches. A hyper-grace church is one that is so focused on Jesus that it begins to look like Jesus, talk like Jesus, and smell like Jesus.

To highlight a positive it helps to accentuate the negative. So how do we get it wrong? What are the signs that a church is missing the grace of God?

Here are eight of them:

1. They are self-conscious

The message you hear is, “You must nail yourself to the cross every day.” So Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t good enough? “You have to cleanse yourself and make yourself holy.” You cannot succeed.

A focus on self and the things you must do to stay saved, get holy, and be blessed, is the number one sign you have missed the grace of God. Self says I will, but the gospel says He will.

Self cannot supply what God freely provides. We don’t need seven keys to success or fourteen steps to sanctification. We need a revelation of Jesus Christ and what he has done for us. Christ is our righteousness and holiness from God.

2. They’re not sure if God likes them

“Sure, he’s a God of love, but he’s also a God of justice. He sends earthquakes to punish cities. He takes away your children. He trains you with sickness and scourging, so don’t make him angry.” What awful lies! What fear and insecurity this graceless teaching has brought to those whom God loves.

See the cross! If God did not spare his own Son, what won’t he do to reveal his love to us? God is not mad at you, he’s mad about you!

3. They speak (and sing) the faithless language of longing

A sure sign that some have missed grace is they ask Jesus to do what he’s already done. “Oh Lord, come down.” He already did. “Have mercy on us.” Ditto. “Make us holy.” “Come and cleanse us.” “Bind the strong man.” Tick, tick, tick.

Or they beg God to do what he never would do. “Lord, don’t leave us.” He said he wouldn’t. “You give and take away.” No, he doesn’t.

The language of longing is the language of the old covenant. Good news: The wait is over. Christ has come! In him you are home. Everything you need for life and godliness has been provided. So change your tune and learn the new song of the new creation. It’s a song of praise and thanksgiving (Ps 34:1, Heb 13:15).

Blackboard old v new

4. They are sin-conscious

“I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” “Let’s examine ourselves for sin before worshipping.” “Confess your sins to remain in fellowship with the Lord.” What an insult to the Spirit of grace. If the Holy Spirit chooses to remember your sins no more (Heb 10:17), what business is it of yours to remind him?

An obsession with sin is a hallmark of the old covenant, but it has no place in the new. Behold the Lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world.

When you sin, a graceless church will shovel the shame. “Look at what you did.” They will reach for the stones instead of reaching for the only thing that can empower you to go and sin no more. Hint: it’s grace (Tit 2:11-12).

5. They are law-minded

“The law shows us how to please God.” No it doesn’t. “The law helps you overcome sin.” Actually, the law helps sin overcome you (Rom 7:9). “God gives us grace so that we might keep his commands.” No, God gives us grace because he loves us.

As Paul explains in Romans 7, running after the law is committing spiritual adultery. It’s cheating on Jesus. A church that mixes law with grace is lukewarm and nauseating to the Lord.

6. They think grace just is for sinners

“We are saved by grace, but kept by discipline.” Nope. It’s grace from start to finish (Heb 12:2). Grace is not one aspect of God that must be balanced against his other, less gracious aspects. Grace is everything. You are saved by grace and kept by grace. Grace is for everyone. Period. The end. Amen.

7. They treat people as resources

In a graceless church your value is determined by your behavior. Are you a hard worker? You’ll go far! Are you divorced? Forget about it.

In a graceless church visitors are valued as potential members, while members are valued as potential leaders. And because there are never enough people to fulfill the vision, everyone is busy, busy, busy. When activity replaces fellowship and friendships become task-based, when children are kept out of the way because they get in the way, real life has left the building.

8. They are insecure and anxious

A graceless church is an uncertain church. “Are you saved? Are you sure? Are you doing enough?” Instead of preaching the promises of Jesus, a graceless church promotes the promises of man. And since we can’t keep the promises we make, the result is failure and despair.

A graceless church is attractive to the self-righteous but unappealing to sinners. It is a place the zealots call home but the prodigals avoid. It is a place where the sheep are fleeced and the poor are exploited. It stinks of self and it is a terrible advertisement for Jesus.

But here’s the good news: God loves graceless churches! He loves the mixed-up people inside them and the misguided leaders who run them. I know this because I was a misguided pastor and this list was my testimony. But God has given me a new and better testimony, a testimony of his grace.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, my friends. (Gal 6:18)

69 Comments on 8 Signs that a Church Doesn’t Get Grace

  1. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!!! Freedom!!! Jesus!

  2. Great post, this is my testimony too. This would have been helpful to me as I was beginning to find my way In grace. Even though I experienced all of these, it took me a while to decide I had to leave my church. Why do we insist on beholding our sin instead of beholding the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world?

    • I definitely feel you on this. Im still technically a member of a huge org. Church that is heavily Law based. I was with them for 25 plus years. Don’t get me wrong, I had alot of good memories, but at the end of the day, I still was relying on my doctrinal obedience to remain in good favor not only with God, but the Church as well. I made alot of friends, but I only been in touch with my immediate Pastor and only a couple of the members since my enlightenment of grace. I’ll be honest in that its not easy seeing them continue to go through their continuing works behavior and i have not discussed this with my pastor since he’s in his 80’s and I just do not feel it’s a good idea to spring all this on him as well as the other older saints in that local church. NOT because of fear, but when you are entrenched with a belief system for so long, I would think it’s spiritually dangerous to throw hot water on a frozen windshield. I just assume to see them in heaven and enjoy our eternal time together.

      • May we see the day when our old friends are set free from their bondage. Grace and peace, brother.

  3. Christopher Cherian // July 7, 2016 at 1:08 am // Reply

    I LLLLOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AMEN AND AGAIN I SAY AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Anita Sheridan // July 7, 2016 at 1:09 am // Reply

    Loved this. Grateful for your insight and teaching!

  5. Rick Lindsey // July 7, 2016 at 1:34 am // Reply

    Outstanding.

  6. I love this and it is actually the truth!

  7. Thank you for your insight. I appreciate your your explanations.

  8. Thank you so much, Paul! This is going to be printed out and read often, bookmarked and sent to others!! Amen and Amen!

  9. Point 6, If we are saved by grace and kept by grace, then what is faith for? we are saved by grace, true, but its ,actually through faith Ephesians 2:8.. Thats why Colossians 1:22,23 say’s; “… he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, ‘provided’ that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard,…”
    So, according to Paul of the Bible, it is the use of a bit of “discipline” !
    The NLT say’s it this way; “But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.”
    Faith is belief and belief is trust as Ephesians 1:13 tells clearly. What good is coming to faith if one does not continue in it.
    The only way any and all promise of God are received, is by Faith.

    • It’s not a choice between grace or faith.

      • We are saved by grace, through faith that we receive by hearing the truth (gospel). It doesn’t say we receive grace at that time, as grace is (was) there “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men…”. But faith, now there is something that only comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (truth), as in, “In him you also trusted ‘after’ you heard the word of truth…” Ephesians 1:13. We can not chose grace, as it was given to all the world John 3:16, but faith is the substance that hopes for that grace. Other wise, the whole world would be saved, and we know that’s not, nor ever will be, the case. The grace to save every one is certainly here.
        No, as you well said in point 3, “some have missed grace”. How? By lack of faith. Grace never went anywhere nor will it, its only we have not done Colossians 1:23. Continuing in the assurance (grace) we received by faith.

    • Tom Howard – It is interesting, folks of all stripes are often reticent to answer questions when clearly by the symbol used, the person asking is not using punctuation simply for it’s own sake.
      You provided an equally interesting point when showing the implicit scriptural language which uses a caveat (stipulation/condition) to the issue of personal responsibility of “what does faith really look like” to God?
      There are so many verses that state “caveat” (i.e. Matt 7: 21-23 or James 2:14-26) yet, we as a people will not see it as something to be attended to. All the verses that point to the words “if you…” are so often not understood [Prov 1, 2, 3, 4]. Discipleship & one-anothering; our time is not easily offered today – as was once with the first true Followers of our Master who were esteemed by outsiders in Jerusalem, but none of those same would go closer than their words of esteem. Yes, God sustains our faith (trust) in Him through Grace, but that Grace is not our responsibility – it’s His__ Without faith, Grace is alone only Grace, never appropriated.

      Thanks for your post

      • Yes, one must appropriate it, procure it, by faith. We chose grace (consisting in and of salvation) through faith. Hebrews 4:2, ” For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with ‘faith’ in them that heard it.”

    • Charles Brady // July 7, 2016 at 11:12 am // Reply

      Right on

    • Yes Faith – but not Faith in ourselves, faith in Him – the work is finished

      • I was not saying have “Faith in ourselves, …” but faith in Him. True, “ the work is finished”. I was just responding to Paul saying; “It’s not a choice between grace or faith.”. Don’t know what he means, but faith is not grace and grace is not faith, but one must use faith to have access into this grace in which we stand”, that God has provided. (Romans 5:2). If one does not ‘both’ use faith and continue in faith and “not be moved away”, there will be no holy , and blameless and above reproach presentation in His sight. (Colossians 1:22,23).

    • I believe if we look at His grace faith comes, but if we look at our faith, it flies away. Even our faith is from Him. Peace & grace to you brother!🙂

    • Faith’s only function is to receive what grace offers. —JOHN STOTT

    • Good thought, my only question would “or what?” I God saved me am I now responsible to “keep” the faith? What if Paul was actually saying “remember what Christ has done!” Or you might try to take up the mantle of works (flesh) again. Gal 5:1

  10. Holly Meadows // July 7, 2016 at 4:21 am // Reply

    This is very helpful information. Thank you!
    I really appreciate the hope and assurance you gave us in the last paragraph. It surprised me, but it shouldn’t have after all that is His glorious victorious grace!

  11. You have succinctly given 8 of the 9 reasons I don’t go to church. I haven’t been able to do that. Thank you.

    • Hey Bart, I understand where you’re coming from. But…. every church has issues and not being a part of any Christian church community is a bigger issue than any of the 8 issues listed in this post. God would not have his people floating out in the world without a church family, pray for HIm to guide you to the church you should be a part of and go there. God bless man.

      • I understand that you are coming at this with good intentions. There is no command or directive in the NT to go to church, especially since the concept of church in the 1st century is nothing like the church today. Using one verse from Hebrews does not a doctrine make. The OT commands to Israel concerning community, worship, sacrifice, etc. were fulfilled in Christ. And when the curtain was torn asunder, I love that word ‘asunder’, in the temple we now have individual, personal access the Father and the Throne. I do not need a church to keep me closer to God.
        In my post I said that this article gave 8 of the 9 reasons I don’t go to church. Number 9 is actually the biggest reason. Pastoral abuse. From three different pastors in two different churches. One of them was an assistant pastor, and when confronted by others for his abusive actions agreed to meet and apologize. The lead pastor said he would attend but did not. I know he was in the building, he just chickened out.
        The other two were from the Calvary Chapel system and what they did to me and my family is the biggest wound in our lives. And my wife and I have lost two children at birth. Those pastors have never contacted us, even though they were required to repent and seek forgiveness from all the others they abused at that church. Today both are still pastors and one is even in a big leadership position at one of the biggest Calvary Chapels in the nation.
        I cannot walk into any church now without constantly looking over my shoulder, wondering who’s watching and listening to me. Church became a great source of anxiety and panic.
        I am content with where I am at. I am not anti-church, and I have told God that when its time for me to go to church, He will show me where.

    • Hey, Bart! I was saved at Calvary Chapel the first night I attended there. So as a newbie , I thought they were right about everything. But , I went through a hell-like experience on earth because they preach a mixed message of grace and works. Of course, they will dispute that–but you and I aren’t the only ones that have negative experiences with them. They are right on many issues , but it wasn’t until God directed me to Paul’s site that I truly understood why I was always in such spiritual turmoil. Chuck Smith said that if you live by the Spirit, you will not sin. Believing him, and because I still sinned after coming to Christ, I began to doubt my salvation –thinking I never had it or had lost it. Around 2009, God started showing me through Scripture aha! moments about grace. But it was on October 24th 2015 that I felt like I had been born again again after landing on the Escape to Reality site.
      Like you, I don’t attend a local church now. To my knowledge there aren’t any grace preaching churches where I now live. I do watch Andy Stanley services. I think he has a grasp on grace , but I continue to feast on Paul’s site. Can’t get enough : )

      • Don, I understand completely where you are coming from. My path to a fuller understanding of grace was a bit longer. I guess because I had put so much of my identity in what I had learned through the CC system it was hard to let go. We tried a CC again about two years ago and it just never felt right. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I realized what my frustration (and my wife’s too, when we discussed this) with church was. Every time I left church I felt like I had not done enough that week. I didn’t give enough, pray enough, study the Word enough, serve enough, evangelize enough, you name it. You work hard all week, do your best to be a good husband and father, pay the bills, mow the yard, all the things it takes to be married and have a family; and then you get to church on Sunday looking for a hour or so of community with God’s people and hopefully some words of encouragement from the pastor only to be told I hadn’t done enough.
        And this isn’t just with CC. Most evangelical churches preach the same thing.
        I have a good friend in Bellingham, WA that planted a church call Bread and Wine Fellowship. Jim McNeely opened my eyes to grace. He has published a couple of books on grace and has a blog you may enjoy: thereforenow.com
        Peach to you

      • Warren (South Carolina, USA) // August 24, 2016 at 11:39 am //

        Donbeeson, have you checked out the cyber church at Impact Ministries (Jim Richards)? I haven’t yet but I am impressed with Jim Richards and Andrew Wommack. Very good handles on grace as our beloved Saint Paul.
        Blessings,
        Warren (South Carolina, USA)

  12. I just ran a quick diagnostic of the church I attend and I realise that it falls short on so many of these things. The leadership seems fixated on doing and serving and the worship team has a mixed message. I am often very frustrated mostly because they are lovely wonderful people.

  13. Wow, #7 was our modus operandi for years and that last sentence was the exact progression! Jesus open our eyes to the bewitching,

  14. Great post, Paul. You really covered all the bases. Point 4 about examining oneself for sin was something regularly encouraged in one of my previous churches. Just before communion, we had to solemnly bow our heads and “examine” ourselves to determine if we were “worthy” to partake of the sacraments. I knew I wasn’t and most of the time thought it was probably best for me to sit it out rather than provoke God to wrath by taking my unholy presence to the communion line. I felt like my sin was oozing out of my pores and was probably evident to everyone, anyway. Who did I think I was kidding? Also, when growing up Catholic, the priest would actually bypass one of my Mom’s girlfriends, Yolanda, while her hands were outstretched to receive the wafer. So humiliating for her! Mom explained that it was because of Yolanda’s male roommate, with whom the priest believed she was living in sin. Very distressing because Yolanda was like an aunt to me, and here the church was just heaping all this shame.

  15. Ashley Geyser // July 7, 2016 at 5:42 pm // Reply

    Awesome. I will definately spread the Good News and it will start in our fellowship.

  16. Concise, but thorough. Cuts to the heart of the matter. One of your best.

  17. Thanks am learning

  18. Wow! Extremely well articulated! What a great synopsis on Graceless ministry. I have seen many ministries online and their focus is always on “preaching the truth”, which is nicely coded euphemism for preach hard on sin, and how people better get right, and quit that sinning. So many focus on the commitment level of the people and how much they miss it and forfeit reminding God’s people of their true identity in Christ.
    It’s Jesus plus nothing, His Grace that sees us through from beginning to end!

  19. I didn’t like this posting, it was too negative. I know that you said to show the positive you sometimes need accentuate the negative, but this was too negative.

  20. Fabulous!!!! Powerful!!! Thank you for staying TRUE to the Real Gospel!!!

    When I started reading your posts about 2 years ago, I was in a church like this. I was tired and worn out (more in my mind and soul) from the graceless behavior and treatment of the church. I finally got courageous and LEFT! I’m now at a church that shows a lot more grace. It’s not an abounding grace church, but it’s 100% better than where I was going!!

  21. eliroks2016 // July 8, 2016 at 5:51 am // Reply

    Thanks Paul many of my Christian friends need to hear the truth of God’s amazing grace!

  22. I agree with corwinschol. This sounds like “We’ve got it right over here, look at “them” they have it so wrong and let me list all the ways so you can spot those folks.” In each numbered item when you say “they” those are your brothers and sisters, you realize that right? There’s a way to do what you’re trying to do that is not so offensive to your own.

    • One way to perceive if you personally are operating under law instead of grace is to become offended by what you read…grace acknowledges what a person says understanding that person may be wrong (but you don’t have to agree with it). BTW, Paul is not wrong in this case and sometimes people must see how angry they get at receiving strong words in order to perceive how incorrect their thinking is. Jesus did that when talking to the “brood of vipers”.

      • Adriaan Hattingh // July 8, 2016 at 9:46 am //

        My thoughts exactly. I’ve been following E2R for a while now, have read through most of the archives and have not once had the impression that the motive is about us and them. Rather about proclaiming truth about the Gospel and Grace.
        If you find this post so offensive I’m sure you feel the same way about Matthew 23?
        Being PC and “loving”, not offending anyone thereby negating Truth does not do anybody any favour.

  23. Tope Oloniniyi // July 8, 2016 at 11:11 pm // Reply

    I feel an explosion here. This is awesome. As usual. Thanks Paul.

  24. Paul, this is one of those posts that had me laugh-crying with giddy joy. You totally nailed the whole “highlighting a positive by accentuating the negative” thing because all I saw in reading was Jesus, our faithful true King. Thank you so much for the dose of encouragement!

  25. Michael Ciaccio // July 9, 2016 at 6:28 am // Reply

    Thank you so much for these words of wisdom and for including the statement that we love graceless churches and the people in them. It took us over 23 years to find a church that preaches the Gospel of Grace, but we still love those folks we’ve met and befriended at many churches along our journey.

    • That’s awesome Michael, I truly mean that!!
      Congratulations on finding one!!
      Cherish it and support it, It’s a rare find!!

      Jimmi

  26. It seems to be difficult for us humans to receive grace – we are happier doing, earning, scoring a goal, being marked with an A or a B – Grace doesnt do that – we are all equal – you cant earn it

  27. I do have to wonder which is the better choice as I raise my children: that they be in a mixed covenant church or no church at all. We haven’t been able to find a new covenant church up to this point and are so protective of the message our kids are hearing that we have just not been attending. I recognize the value of the church and what God intended it to be for us and us for it, but is it worth the cost of our children growing up hearing graceless doctrine?

    • That is a tough question, Hannah. In our city the grace churches are small and not resourced to provide children’s programs, while the churches that have great programs tend to put price tags on the love of God. We tend to swing between two activities; (1) take the kids to church and have them do their own thing during a service that is way over their heads, and (2) do church at home with a child-focused songs and Bible teaching. Neither is ideal, but at least we have a choice. Many towns don’t have grace churches. I’ve been searching for some good kid-focused grace-based programs online or on TV but so far have come up with zilch.

      • Thanks for your response. My husband has been so good at holding my feet to the grace fire when I would just go back to church so I feel like I’m doing the “right thing” by my children. Religion is sneaky! We have been doing the at home church as much as anything.

    • Hannah, as a 60+ aged mother/grandmother, can I tell you about my experience re mixed covenant churches? I religiously took our three children to church every Sunday, in their younger years it was to a mainline church, and in their teens it was a pentecostal one. But now, I so regret taking my children to church at all! Sin consciousness and behaviour modification were hot topics each week, and serving God with ALL your heart, prove it!.. was strongly encouraged. Over zealous Pastors and youth group leaders took advantage of sensitive young hearts, and I know they meant well, but they damaged some of the young folk. I did not know about radical grace then, and do not blame the leaders, they did what they thought was right and good. Unfortunately it caused some serious harm to both myself, ..why did I take them there?!… and our children. I believe Father will heal us and trust Him, but think it would have been better to spend the time having fun as a family, and …children grow so quickly, enjoy them, tell them they have a great God….and about His amazing grace, and how He big loves them no matter what. For what it’s worth…blessings.

      • Thank you for that, Leanne.

      • Thank you for sharing. As a husband and father of three little ones I struggle with how to raise my children and lead my family. First I don’t see a clear paradigm for husband led families. I’ve heard for years husbands are responsible for the spiritual health of their families and i don’t know where this comes from in scripture. what does it mean to be the head? What if my wife isn’t much into church or worship lately? do I practically drag her to church with our kids? do I go without her? do I prod and prod and prod until I figure out why so I can ‘fix’ her? Do I just enjoy family time and give her what she’s asking for? The thought of her going to a church reluctantly only to hear a mixed-covenant message makes me wonder if not going at all is the better choice. But then she’d feel disconnected and have fellowship with other believers even less.

      • Thank you so much for this thoughtful response, Leanne. It brings tears to my eyes because I get it. I grew up in that kind of church and am still, after years of grace, allowing Holy Spirit to dig up roots of religion. It’s simply difficult to walk forward in raising my children out of church, never having seen the end result of a Godly family who has done that. But that’s what faith is, right? Trusting what I cannot see.🙂

  28. I’m surprised how many churches really don’t get grace or only kinda get it in part. I just moved to a new city with tons of churches but have only noticed one that seems to be preaching radical grace.

    Has it always been like this or are churches becoming more religious?

  29. Thank you for sharing Paul. These comments are thought provoking as well. About 3.5 years ago my family and I started attending a church that was only 2 years old. I related to the pastor and as a new church they were explaining everything about why the did what they did as a church and why they believed what they believed. At the time I was asking myself about everything in life including church world “is that the Biblical model? why do we do it that way” so this was very appealing to me. Over time I heard a few messages I actually disagreed on doctrinally about topics that were very important to me and eventually heard some messages I thought were dangerous to preach. But I know the pastor loves Jesus as well as the staff so I decided to trust Jesus’ faithfulness instead of leave.

    I heard a statement from Todd White and Dan Mohler the past few years that has stuck with me. “If you think your church is too dark and not loving enough, then you should realize it shouldn’t be…because you’re there!” I realized I needed to stop going to church to get fed by others and instead go to church to worship with others and to love others and shine brightly. I don’t need a good message anymore to feel good and feel right with God. If the pastor hits the nail on the head, awesome. If he or someone else misses the mark it won’t change who I am. I’m there to love others well. Now I look forward to the people more than the preaching. It has freed me from the stress of trying to find the right church.

    I wish we were more about grace than how dead we are (I mean were) in our sins. I recognize parts of your list in our church. But I will strive until called otherwise, to help insert grace as I go about my walk with them and hope that the light inside me will shine brightly letting other lights turn on too. Then combined we will light up a whole city and region.

    • Your decision to, “help insert grace as I go about my walk with them”, is a good one. As this is what Church is. It is a place were we, as the body of Christ, become sanctified and grow in grace. You are there by divine appointment, placed in that part of the body for this reason, “Till we all come in the unity of the “faith”, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” Ephesians 4:13.
      Contrary to some oppion, this faith, the key element of grace, as shown in this verse; “By whom also we have ‘access by faith’ into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” Romans 5:2. As we are saved by grace, through faith.
      Thus knowing it part and parcel of the “whole council of God” in which to consider, when speaking of the church which ‘’exist’’ by said , faith.
      Guess what I am saying is, that if a church has faith, look for the “accessed” grace!

  30. I am trying not to make this too long! I can relate to a few of them. NYC has had the Gospel of grace for close to 40 years so some of it I only hear second hand from others who have been though it. But the ones I can relate to are-
    “They treat people as resources” and
    “They are insecure and anxious” thee are people I love still caught up in that and even think I backslid because I love Joseph Prince.
    So I am grateful to have a revelation of grace and not proud to have it but grateful because I know it comes by revelation!

  31. I don’t know what they believe at my church, but I’ve only been going there for 29 years.

  32. I’m pretty sure James said to confess your sins to one another so you can be healed 🤔 Also we are being renewed … It’s not just Gods Grace and that’s it – he is transforming us daily, the renewing of our minds etc. You say we have grace yes we have Grace coz we all deserve to go to hell !!! grace comes through faith and the working of faith brings about good works. Faith without works is dead. You might have Gods Grace but you can still be dead in your faith coz we are not meant to sit around do nothing with the grace we have been given !! What I’m trying to say is I have no confidence in my flesh because I know by the Grace of God he had ordained me as it says in Ephesians and did not leave me dead in my sin. Now I am alive to Christ through faith the evidence of my conversion is works. your either being renewed by the Holy Spirit or you ain’t. When you sin it’s the law that reminds you of Christ it brings you back to him because it tells me I’ve broken it and there is nothing I can do to redeem myself. Christ is my only hope of salvation. Christ is my only hope of love. Christ is my only hope of mercy. Christ is my only hope of anything …

    • Then what you’re saying is that we are still required to do stuff to keep our salvation alive. Like good ‘Christian’ stuff. Which means God’s grace is nullified COZ as you put it we still have to work for our salvation.

  33. Paul, as I continue to think and pray about the difference between the hyper-grace movement and the legalistic side of Christianity, I find myself returning to your blog. This one raises a ton of questions, but I will spare you listing out all of them. However, one that I did want to ask is this: Are you aware that this list comes across as condemning law? For example, your first point: “They are self-conscious” can be interpreted as a command: “Don’t be self-conscious.” So if I am breaking this law and falling into a state of being self-conscious, then I am not pleasing God because I am not appropriating his grace properly into my thinking (I am being graceless)…

    As someone who believes in the “third use of the law,” I feel targeted and condemned by your article and by the laws you have set forth. But isn’t this exactly the position that the HG movement is trying to fight against?… I apologize for commenting again. I do not want to be a troll or whatever. And I won’t say any more unless invited. I truly appreciate all of your thoughtful work and passion for grace in Christ.

    • Haha – there is no condemnation in Christ or here on E2R. These are not laws you must keep to please the Lord. “All things are lawful,” so you are free to be self-conscious or sin-conscious or anxious if you wish. However, I don’t recommend it. I exhort you to fix your eyes on Christ instead of yourself. I encourage you to be more conscious of his righteousness than your sin.

      As for the third use of the law (“it teaches us what is pleasing to God”), I strongly reject this as a subtle form of bondage. The scriptures declare that faith pleases the Lord and the law is not of faith (Gal 3:12). Studying the law is no replacement for a living relationship with Jesus. Walk by faith rather than sight.

      Have the freedom to comment as much as you like – I encourage you to do so! But please note that I generally don’t get to reply to most comments and long comments usually don’t get published. Be blessed.

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