The high cost of free grace

The gospel of grace is not a philosophy to debate or a lifestyle to adopt. It is the power of God that saves those who receive it.

Grace is God blessing us for no other reason than he loves us. The good news reveals that the grace that sets us free is entirely free – there’s nothing to pay because Jesus paid it all. But buy into this message of grace and you will surely pay in other ways. You may experience rejection, hostility, and possibly persecution.

It’s normal to experience trouble as a result of talking about grace. This world can’t handle it. But what you may not appreciate is how much of that trouble comes from those who claim to know God. Look at how much trouble Jesus experienced at the hands of religious people.

Remember this: Servants don’t get better treatment than their masters. If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you. (John 15:20, MSG)

An example: on any given day I receive messages warning me to stop telling people about grace. This is normal. Tell people about the goodness of God, and you will get pushback, especially from religious bullies.

Dealing with nasty comments is a tiny cost for telling people the good news of God’s grace. Here are eight more serious ways that you may pay a price:

1. Preach grace and you will encounter intimidation

You will be told that you are confused and in error. You’re unbalanced. You don’t know the scriptures and the whole counsel of God. You’re too young. You’re a woman who should shut up. You haven’t been to Bible School. You don’t know how to parse Greek verbs. And how could you possibly know more than the man of God?

2. Preach grace and you will be condemned by those who don’t see it

You will be warned, scorned and rebuked. You will be hit with Jude 1:4 and told you are leading people to hell. Thinking they are doing the Lord’s work, leaders will name and shame you from their pulpits. Some of them will even write books and articles about you. You’ll be called a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a snake, a Jezebel, an instrument of Satan, an antichrist.

3. Preach grace and you will be rejected

Bet your life on grace and you will be shunned by those who are trusting in works. Since you represent a threat to their merit-based system, you will be labeled divisive – which is the religious equivalent of wearing a scarlet letter. You’ll be marginalized, ostracized and asked to leave. Although you will be enjoying the Lord’s acceptance, you’ll be rejected by people you care about.

4. Preach grace and it will cost you opportunities to minister

You’ll be kicked off the worship team, the preaching team, and the hospitality team. Having fallen into “heresy”, you’ll be asked to take time off to assess your position. People will promise to pray for you, as though you were lost and in need of saving. Fail to fall back the line and you’ll become radioactive. You’ll be discussed in private meetings and emails. Doors will close. Calls will not get returned.

5. Preach grace and it will cost your reputation

Jesus was slandered, Paul was slandered, and you’ll be slandered. (You’re in good company!) You’ll be labelled licentious, anti-law and a closet sinner. You’ll be dismissed as hyper-grace, as though that were a bad thing. Your words will be taken out of context and used against you. You’ll be stalked on social media. You’ll be hounded out of conversations and denominations. Your character will be assassinated by everyone from two-bit bloggers to theologians with more degrees than a thermometer.

6. Preach grace and it will cost you money

If you used to preach tithing as an obligation and now you don’t, your church’s income will likely go down. It shouldn’t, but it will. Stop telling people they have to buy protection or provision from God, and they might use their money for other things, like rent and groceries. You may have to rethink your finances. You might have to get a second job.

Interlude: There are no tiny violins playing here, and I didn’t write this to solicit sympathy. I wrote it so that you may enter the halls of God’s grace with eyes wide open. Jesus said those who followed him would experience trouble and for the 21st century believer, this is what trouble looks like. It could be worse. You could be living some place where they kill or imprison Christians.

I have heard hundreds, if not thousands of testimonies illuminating the different ways people pay for grace. The penalties I have listed come up again and again. In addition, here are two less common ways you may suffer for trusting in the radical grace of God.

7. Trust grace and you may have trouble trusting Christians

You may find it hard going to church because you are no longer able to tolerate toxic churchianity. You can no longer sing the faithless songs of longing or listen to messages that put price tags on the blessings Jesus paid for. Although you crave the family life that church should be known for, you’re turned off by the constant calls for more. Even with the purest of hearts, you’ll become wary and guarded.

For the sake of unity, you may decide to shine a light and lead by example. In other words, you’ll keep your mouth shut and not rock the boat. Even so, you may find yourself disconnected from the fellowship you once enjoyed. Conversations become superficial, and friendships task-based. You may feel like you’re on a different page because you are on a different page.

8. Trust grace and it may cost you your family

Grace has made many marriages and families stronger, but there are no guarantees. Sadly, a small proportion of marriages and families have been strained by this message. Truth is divisive. When some people receive it while others don’t, the result can be painful.

God’s grace is amazing – it is the best news in the world. His grace is 100% free, yet you may pay a price for it. This cost is never charged by the Lord; it is levied by those who don’t fully appreciate all that Jesus did for us.

I’ve listed eight ways you may pay for free grace. What did I miss? What price have you paid? I would especially love to hear from pastors and church leaders. Has the good news of grace cost you?  If so, feel free to share the brief version (2-5 sentences) of your story below.

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71 Comments on The high cost of free grace

  1. After I sensed God tell me He wanted me to lay down my leadership role in a small church and go after His promotion, I was cut off from the more intimate fellowship I had worked hard to attain and keep; with the meetings and planning, there went the quality time with those I loved and the supposed fulfillment. What caught me off-guard was that I was then instructed to be happy, to follow peace and joy, to laugh and smile more; I thought it was hard because it was at my very point of disillusionment with church fellows. I have been dismayed to discover the difficulty of God’s mission for me and how many years it has taken to even see the bigger picture of why God might have wanted me out of that situation. My accomplishment of the goal will be measured by how hard I can laugh at myself.

  2. Their issue is unbelief. They don’t believe in God’s power to change people so they rely on fear to try and scare people. When they hear God doesn’t punish people, it sounds to them like you’re giving people a license to sin. Their focus is external. God’s love and power create real change on the inside by His Spirit, not by man’s might.

    • While you are 100% correct, I’d be careful about the “us vs. them” mentality. Jesus is extended grace to them even as they have difficulty believing it. Peter denied Jesus 3 times WHILE JESUS WAS IN THE ACT OF REDEEMING HIM and, instead of writing him off because of his unbelief, Jesus came to meet Peter where he was. The asking of Peter 3 times whether he loved Jesus wasn’t for Jesus, it was Jesus proving to Peter (who is now wracked with doubt in his own faith) that he truly did love him.

      Shoot, even when the rich young ruler had a hard time wrapping his head around being born again, Jesus still “looked at him and loved him.” When other Christians respond to us with hostility, we respond to them with even more grace.

      • There is no us verses them here, I was “them”. Just stating truth to encourage those being persecuted and so some of “them” will hopefully believe. You have to hear truth before you can believe truth. Whether it’s hearing it from the Father or one of His kids.

  3. Adam Salaah! // July 18, 2019 at 2:47 am // Reply

    Beautiful! I felt #7 the most as I do not find the family portion in most churches

  4. Very sad but true! Why do many religious people want to believe in a harsh God? I think maybe it helps them in controlling others. I hate professional Christianity, and I can’t find it in the Bible!

    If you want another reason to be rejected, study conditional immortality. Tell people you think those who believe in eternal torment, might have got it wrong. I wrote off the likes of John Stott as Liberal heretics for rejecting the traditional view of hell, before even looking into the matter. How foolish! Now I have looked into it, I think they may well of got it right!

  5. Tony Johnson // July 18, 2019 at 2:59 am // Reply

    Paul, this is tough stuff. I’ve been on this journey of escaping to reality for about the last 6 years or so as a pastor. I am being renewed by the transforming of my mind from mixed grace to free grace- still learning so much. The propensity of some to build the straw man of hyper grace and burn it to the ground is disconcerting. While I am finding several close friends and co-laborers in Christ are very accepting and attracted to grace the long held practice of mixture is a powerful stronghold within the church.
    In attempts to reinvent, perhaps even unknowingly cloak, the gospel according to the judiazers many in denominational leadership are calling us to the “balance of responsibility” and grace. Even as I grow in grace in ever increasing measure I fear a restriction, a closing in of the walls.
    Thank you for the price you’ve paid for grace, for leading the charge as a freedom fighter, and thank you for working hard until Christ be fully formed in our hearts without limitation even to overflowing.

  6. Abidoye Damilare // July 18, 2019 at 3:09 am // Reply

    Thanks so much for this. I’ve gone through a whole lot of the cost above in the past 3-4 years all because of teaching the grace of God! Still going through some but the light is dawning on many who picked up weapons against me then more now. The Lord has been good!!!

  7. Jesus is grace personified. If we reject grace, especially HYPER GRACE, could we be rejecting the Savior? John 5:39-40 in the MSG says: “You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.”

    • Well picked Scripture Nizam, we ALL missed Him by reading about Him, instead of allowing Him to lead us into all Truth! The Good Shepherd – He always leads us “if we surrender to His knock”! Bless The Lord Jesus!

      • Sorry, just a small aside re reading about him. It seems that most songs we sing in church about God, Jesus & Holy Spirit are about them, and very few to them. Lots of ‘He’ words, but very few ‘You’ words I’ve noticed. Just thought to share 🤔

  8. Love it Paul! Keep on “gracing” it!

  9. Wow This is great!!! I’m already paying this price and I was worried about it, just a couple of weeks ago I was called False Prophet and a “brother” told me that God was gonna judge me this was his way of saying thanks for trying to help him understand something about Grace and a loving God . . . anyway, thank you for your encouragement !!! Keep up the good GRACE!!!!!!!

  10. Paul. Great artical. I was a pastor for several year. Got into the grace and love of God early when there were very few preaching the message. All you said I have been through. Today I rarely go into church. My relationship with my Pa pa is stronger today then ever with His grace. Thank you

  11. #7 really resonates with me. I miss church and community. But over several years every time I walked out of church I knew something was wrong, I just didn’t understand religion and grace at that point. Then the Christian friendships I once had became superficial, when I spoke of grace and God’s goodness it became awkward. So over time we drifted apart. Now I’m praying God takes me to a church full of His goodness and grace!
    I need these blog posts because sometimes it can get lonely believing in grace (though worth it, I wouldn’t go back!). Thanks Paul!

  12. I want to give a public commendation to the congregation at Cornerstone Church of Johnson City! My husband and I are so blessed to to be the lead Pastors there. We preach grace and our congregation loves us. The folks are the most loving and grace filled people anywhere! Sure, we have gotten opposition along the way, and lost some people. But for the most part, the congregation has latched on to the Good News and are living it out. Consequently, we are seeing miracles, and so many awesome things! Thank you Jesus!

  13. Jenny Beauchamp // July 18, 2019 at 6:51 am // Reply

    Thanks Paul, so good to know one is not alone on this road less traveled…..for now anyway!
    I’ve actually experienced being told to keep silent in church and go out and tell my husband what I feel the Lord wants the congregation to hear, then he can go in and speak for me and God! Hell no–I continued to minister to the confused brother and with time, he left that church and started another (a building was given to him), right after he had his grace awakening. I told him I was female in the flesh and if he wanted me to minister to him in the flesh, I’d bake him cookies. However, in the spirit there is no male/female, rich/poor, jew nor greek–and I can’t help it when the Holy Spirit in me wants to share (really, I use to wrangle to keep quiet). And, I’ve felt the rejection too, the sister’s response was “how can so many people in the church be so wrong about this”, and then I was known as the one passing on that grace message and those teaching tapes. That was back in 1993 and I often wonder the extent of those tapes and my words. I have not found a “grace only” church here in N. Kentucky. I did go to church 2 weekends ago, after a long break, and I lasted for about 10 minutes. The music was calling God down from above and may His spirit fall upon us…..and the sermon was the same. The entire 10 mins. was about behavior modification and nothing about what Jesus did. Since my grace revelation, I cannot even handle a mixture of law/grace, not the slightest. However, I do pray for these believers and I’ve seen God turn them. I always remember that I use to be in their camp and I thought I knew Jesus and His gospel….. Makes me excited to think “what else will God reveal in Christ Jesus”! Thanks again. Keep pressing on………..

  14. My wife and I were in and out of churches for years and no one EVER preached the Gospel and we know that they’re still not. When I have a window of opportunity, I try to talk to my family about it, but it’s like a foreign language to them. They sure do believe in church attendance every time the doors are open, singing, tithing, and I wish I could go where they preach the Gospel that paul preached. I’ve talked to my wife’s son in law and he don’t believe it. And he’s a part time preacher.
    It’s very real. I know they don’t like me. It will seperate families and turn your relatives against you. My phone doesn’t ring and my driveways empty. BUT I believe if they knew the truth of the Gospel, we would have plenty to talk about. Thanks, Paul!

  15. Terry Benischek // July 18, 2019 at 8:17 am // Reply

    Your insight into the points you posted are absolutely true. My husband, who is now deceased, and I spent over 40 years in a mixed message church. When we had kids, I basically had to re-preach the message in the car on the way home. My message was you can never improve upon what was done at Calvary and we come to Jesus as we are. I never believed the garbage about God being a vengeful (I’m gonna get you if you step out of line) God. I had a very loving relationship with my natural father and the lies we heard at church did not sit well. When my husband lay in the hospital before he passed away, I tuned into Joseph Prince and was absolutely amazed at what I heard. That was 7 years ago. My family and I have no “church home” and until about 4 years ago we were saddened because we could not find a church that was preaching the true Gospel. Then the Lord spoke to our hearts”…where two or more are gathered I am in the midst…” Just what we wanted to hear! We quit church hopping and since then we worship, take Communion, minister to neighbors or friends as the Lord puts them in our path, share the good things that the Lord is doing in our family with each other, I could go on and on but I just want to encourage all those who don’t have a “church home”, you do– it is in your own home where your family gathers. Ask Jesus and He will help you feel connected. Yes, persecution is mostly from the church people and it won’t let up. Self Righteousness is a very difficult trait to conquer — it requires humility beyond human ability. Bless you all as you continue in the precious Love of our Father and the Glorious Gift of His Son, our Lord Jesus who lives and reigns forevermore.

    • Thanks Terry. I know a lot of people are going to be encouraged and inspired by your words.

    • Thank you Paul, your posts have been so encouraging and been a part of ‘my church’ for many years now. Number 7 is especially relevant to me.

      I stopped going to church. I could not sing words I did not believe in, or listen to sermons that left me feeling confused and sad. It is my great sadness that my precious children did not hear Free Grace, how I wish I had known about this Grace then, I would have taken them out for fun times and told them about their amazing Father God and how much they were loved…just because that’s the way it is with God!

      Terry I bless you for sharing this, am feeling so encouraged by it. It has been the same for me, am so thankful for a dear friend who is a free grace believer too, and we have fellowship together, but it is lovely to be reminded that where two or more are gathered He is in our midst. Thanking God for the Freedom ministers on the internet, and for believers who are willing to be honest and share their hearts.

      We become like the God we worship. I see a great number of people believing they are God’s beloved children, cherished, holy, righteous, blameless… qualified by God Himself! He has done it all. This Grace message will change the world.

  16. Berean Mind // July 18, 2019 at 9:05 am // Reply

    Thanks for a great article. Very encouraging to us after some 40 years in a high control religion. Coming out and accepting God’s Grace has and still does cost us dearly. But we now have the strength to carry on.

  17. One time I ministered in church and mentioned you shouldn’t pay tithe cos u are afraid of the locust or give cos u want God to double it rather, that our service should be out love and not doing business of profit and loss with God, after that I have been sidelined from ministering. But am not moved

  18. Number 7 is a definite for me…having been in the ministry since teenagers both my husband and I have found it tough to walk away from mixture. We love and miss the people yet we are thoroughly celebrating the freedom we have in Christ.
    Paul how did you explain this to your children? My kids are preteens and teens and they cannot understand why we are not doing conventional church anymore. How do you explain it to kids without placing a slur on the characters of those who have not got this revelation as yet. I feel very cautious about this as I do believe that even those who preach mixture ,their hearts too are intent on serving God like ours were until our eyes were unveiled.

    • That’s a tricky one, Stacy. I can remember when we were attending a church that had a solid Sunday School program for the kids. On the drive home I would ask the kids what they had been taught (eg: the 10 Commandments) and gently ask how that might affect their relationship with their heavenly Father. It was deeply distressing to hear that they were being taught mixture. I soon found myself in an untenable position: I could leave the kids in a place of confusion or I could undermine their teachers, which was hardly a good example for a teacher-dad to set! Since neither outcome was good, and since I was often driving home with tears anyway, we had to leave the church. Prior to that, I never thought I would be the sort of person who left a church.

      Maybe there are other parents who might have something to add here?

      • meganjohle // July 19, 2019 at 1:21 am //

        We had the same problem. We moved from a wonderful Grace church in California, HopeUC Inland Empire, to North Carolina because we felt called by God. It has been the blessed every step of the way; except for a church family. We started going to a large church where they loved Jesus but preached a mixture. My husband and I could take the good and leave the bad. However, my daughters aged out of the kids ministry and started attending adult sermons. Every Sunday we had to help them unlearn the sermon on the car ride home. We stopped going. Now we live stream our church from California every Sunday. I love giving my kids nothing but the simple Gospel but I NEVER thought I’d be without a local church family. Sometimes you leave the church not because you’re offended but because they’re offensive.
        The only solution is to start our own church. That’s what we’re going to do.
        We’re not sure how but someone has to. We’re not the only family that needs fellowship with other believers in an atmosphere of Grace. We’ve also taken care to foster the friendships we have with believers who love Jesus but have been taught to interpret the Bible through American church culture. Those relationships remind me that his people are the church, not a building.

      • Cecilia Villanobles Lim // July 25, 2019 at 12:53 pm //

        Believe me or not, I travelled far just to look for a grace driven church preaching, now I found one, praise the Lord, literally I travelled a few thousand miles

    • I’m biased towards the kids. Jesus seemed pretty harsh towards the religious leaders at times to protect His kids. He even straightened out His own disciples in defense of children. So my priority would be to ensure the kids are not being confused about the graceful, loving nature of their Heavenly Father. May God give you His peace and wisdom concerning this.

      • The thread throughout is that Grace “separates us ‘out’ of the church structures” that we were all taught to believe was our only way to fellowship and worship and “family” ties as part of the Ekklesia? Its NOT! We have ALL been drawn by the Holy Spirit to believe and expect that “there HAS to be MORE” to our Christian walk. The pattern of the “church” today is completely opposite to what Jesus ordained! Its now a business – owning expensive property, with a massive staff complement and “works, works, works as the focus! Jesus spoke about this in Rev.3- 14-20 – the “church” requires His salve vs -18 – so that their eyes are open.

  19. Jacqueline Baker // July 18, 2019 at 10:35 am // Reply

    I too struggle with not finding a home church everytime i go i get a long list of should’s. or should not’s , my husband calls it getting should upon…anyway i do miss fellowship and community. 6 years ago we were in a grace message church it was alive and vibrant and amazing over 1500 at the time then the pastor was beaten down and left (we left too) now its bearly at 500 people. and all messages are law. zero grace. thank you Paul for your blog and books they are fresh water.

  20. Marion Carter // July 18, 2019 at 1:05 pm // Reply

    Thankyou Paul for your enduring patience and determination in sharing the Gospel of Grace. Thanks for your hard work in study. No. 7 resounds with us, the songs, the teaching, the superficiality. But ours is a small congregation and I am a worship leader or whatever you wanna call it. So the songs are full of grace when it’s my turn. And I trust that the words in those songs are slowly chipping away at the mind sets. Fortunetly there are some good new covenant worship song writers out there. Just this last Sunday I found and played a song by Aeron Brown called He’s in a good mood. Treat yourself and have a listen. Also Lauren Daigles song, You say is lovely and affirming.
    For me, it makes me angry that people think they can do a better job than Jesus did by their good behaviour in order for them to be blessed, forgiven, going to heaven. Laughable! And it makes me angry that the pious poison is spread around to innocent believers who don’t know any better and keeps them under condemnation and a yoke of slavery. I was under that for 18 years, looking back – what torment, what control, what pride.

  21. What a wonderful article. My husband and I were leaders in a Charismatic Movement for about fifteen years. When we were reborn again into the revelation of grace we were the victims of slander and gossip. Pulpit thuggery for months, we were called orphans in this world and I was labeled Jezebel and my husband Ahab. A formal shunning was implemented and people in our small town who were church members crossed over the road, turned their backs on us physically and folded their arms if we approached them. Our children stopped being invited out. We were obviously removed from all areas of ministry, told we had issues with authority and when the apostolic team arrived to seal the deal it was stated in the AGM that we were divisive. The founder and apostolic grandpa of the movement wrote us a letter in which we were instructed to publically repent or he would use his “authority to go before the Father and action our removal from the living body of Christ.” After the PTSD we suffered, the loss of hundreds of friends and people we knew , I wish to categorically declare that given the opportunity we will do it all again because when all is said and done My Jesus is enough.

    • My goodness, Justine. I can’t tell you what emotions this stirs in me – sadness mostly, and anger, and gratitude that you have come through it. “Pulpit thuggery” – what a phrase! Thank God you did not get your true identity from those who rejected you. Thank God, that Jesus is enough – as you said.

    • Oh my gosh- unbelievable what religion does to quench the love and grace of God!! I’m soooo sorry you suffered this- we are pastors too- I know how it hurts- we lost two thirds of our church- and yes- I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat!!! The freedom and joy now are beyond wonderful!!!!

  22. Michael Paterson // July 18, 2019 at 10:50 pm // Reply

    Good to know we’re not alone suffering for the gospel of grace in these ways, but we must remember we were once like those struggling to believe it.

    The strength we have is there through God revealing His gospel of grace to us in a revelatory way and we therefore can’t criticise those yet to receive the revelation.

    Praying for them is the only way to help them because they have closed their eyes and ears to it, and only God in His mercy can open them enough for them to at least glimps the glory of grace and convert them to receivers of the abundance of His grace.

  23. Everything you listed here is true.
    This article doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm in preaching grace. Rather it edified me and increased my resolve.
    Thanks Bro Ellis.

    • Jared Westendorp // July 20, 2019 at 6:43 am // Reply

      Maybe being misunderstood is one of the hardest parts about it for me. Of course I was all excited to tell others at church about how we have identity in ChristI. No one really grabbed on though; in the elder council or the small group or the one on one conversations. Sigh.. I had to let people be and let the opportunities come to me to talk about the revelation. Eventually and In timely fashion I resigned from all the volunteer positions I had so I could get out of the system. It was bewildering and grievous for others because I was so involved but since only a few came to talk to me about it that made it harder to just trust God that this was right. Convincing others isn’t my job though I learned. As it was pointed out to me that I could be wanting to do that just to make myself feel right about my choices. I do visit once in awhile because my wife and children still go but as you know the “longing lyrics” and “double minded” preaching are not pleasing anymore. so nowadays I find it easier to focus on loving people in the workforce and my family. Grace and peace to all my Brothers and Sisters out there.

  24. Thanks to all my fellow saints for your gracious comments and concerns. I know all the trials, tests, outright lies spoken against us, the shunnings are all inspired by the accuser of the brethren and are meant to discourage and break us. All praise to our Lord Jesus that He is using all the negative experiences to strengthen and comfort us. When Jesus is all we have, we suddenly realize that He is all we need.

  25. Sarah Fraser // July 19, 2019 at 3:46 am // Reply

    Secretary of Pentecostal church (and lead ppl to Christ regularly)while husband is singer songwriter of original songs of Grace, both shunned then asked to leave. Husband not receiving any invites nor calls back to play his music anywhere as word has spread about us. It would be great for support from the body for his gift but none. However since we are in God’s will, we can trust the Lord for his plan!

  26. JOHN KANINA JOHN // July 19, 2019 at 5:56 am // Reply

    well put brother Paul.There have been times I’ve wondered why…. Glad to know that there are others going through similar experiences.

    • SweeHeng Chee // July 19, 2019 at 7:39 pm // Reply

      Thank you, Paul, for a great write-up to encourage us in the true faith, free from religiosity. Also thank you for the many brothers and sisters who share your difficult journeys. I am experiencing the same which i may share in another reply later.

      For now, i want to bring up this verse from Galatians 1:9,
      “As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

      This verse is a great encouragement for us to stay focus on the free grace of God, and has endorsement from the Lord, as what the book of Galatians is basically saying. So, for us, under grace freely in Christ, comforting.

      Paul, on the other hand, my question is: Since we in Christ are unpunishable and never cursed, what about the majority of Christians and Pastors, preaching a mixed gospel, often unintentional. Or even, we ourselves could be guilty because of incomplete understanding. Would they/us be cursed or the message is cursed? I would think the message of mixture is cursed rather than the person preaching it because of the heart of God.

      But what are your thoughts when scripture says the person is cursed here, so contrary to what the good heart of God that we know?

      • We curse ourselves when we put on the yoke of DIY religion. Jesus can’t give us the heavy yoke, but we can sure give it to ourselves and those we lead. I know I did and the results were painful.

  27. As pastors, we were staggered with the freedom and truth we discovered in the grace of God- and the joy of being IN Jesus- it cost us two thirds of our church. We were slandered heavily- and took many pay cuts. It doesn’t matter. We have a wonderful small church of people who love each other and sweet community. After years of passionately pursuing “intimacy with Jesus” we found we have it more than we could ever imagine with all our striving and “fasted” life. We are joyful people who know the joyful sound of freedom and the magnificent New Covenant in His blood and life!!!

  28. Thank you, thank you for this and for everyone sharing your experiences. #7 hits the nail on the head. I have been without a church home for a few years and I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me. A friend asked me the other day what church I was attending, and I answered, “none really. I’m like a church lady with issues now.” Truth is I just can’t stomach the mixed up messages and the sexist practices that suppress women and their spiritual gifts. Like you said, Paul, I never thought I would be the type to leave a church. But here I am feeling alone in the wilderness. Except, I’m not, you are all here with me 😁.

    • George Hans // July 22, 2019 at 11:40 am // Reply

      I have not been attending church for months now, actually I have not been comfortable with the teaching/preaching which sounds more of works or a mix of works and grace to me. Please can you advise me on what to do to keep growing in grace. Thanks and shalom.

  29. This is great! It’s refreshing and reassuring to see this list. I REALLY connect to number 7 and I don’t like it. It’s taking a toll. God strengthens us
    ❤️ I love you my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ

  30. When I felt led to leave my denomination in 2012 it took me a full six months to be obedient, but I was already feeling the disconnect there so that made it easier. Since then I have a started a few small groups with people who also want to more authenticity in their faith. I’m content now to just let the Lord be light to whoever is standing in front of me, and I find plenty of opportunities for that, and his love towards me and in turn, through me to others validates that this is his path ! I could not fabricate that kind of acceptance while still in the “otherness” (us vs them) of an organized system.

  31. Lindsey Waldrop // July 21, 2019 at 3:12 am // Reply

    Thanks Paul. I’m sorry, it sounds like you’ve experienced a lot of pain from religious people. My husband and I are in a mixed law /grace church along with our 3 boys. We are starting to really understand grace and have passed it a long to as many people who will listen. We even sat down with the Pastor 2 times. We have been questioned for missing church and allowing our son to be on a travel ball baseball team. We were told we should have asked our Pastors thought before deciding to do it, as we will miss some Sundays services because of it. We feel that the church is the people of Jesus Christ, the bride! Not a meeting. Our pastor agreed but still seems to value Sunday morning church attendance above a lot of other things. We felt very judged. But we still stand by our decision.

    Thankfully most of my family has been very open minded to the free grace message! (The true gospel!) so I haven’t lost any family, and the ones that disagree still love us, so yay! But I’m not sure how much longer we can sit under a Pastor who believes in tithing, works, and you can lose your salvation due to habitual sin. It’s just not good news.

    We shall see how much longer we last.

    Blessings to you Paul!

    • Peter vanzyl // July 21, 2019 at 8:00 pm // Reply

      Get out Quickly, dont waste any more precious time imbibing a “law mixture spiritual diet”. Your Salvation was/is/and always will be from Jesus, not your leadership! He alone leads you into “all Truth” – not a mixture! Be Blessed as you move under “His Wings” for shelter!

  32. Law and Grace do not mix, just as Oil and Water do not either. Amen yet those going through the Law, Continue to find out this truth of Oil and Water, Physical analogies bring in Spiritual realities. Thanks for the message Paul, been there too. And it is okay, Father knows best, as you know this too

  33. Wow I thought it was only me struggling with all this you mentioned..It´s hard for me because I was too involved at church activities, now they look at me as the lost sheep, and I´m sad because I noticed that my “friends” weren´t true friends, they were using me to serve here and serve there and serve everywhere, there is no true love, that is sad. I love my church but it´s hard for me to attend because of the kind of message, and I don´t want to go for obligation, I want to go because I want to grow in grace and the knowlege of the Lord…but we don´t receive that kind of message at church..and there is not a grace preaching church here in my city, what can I do?

  34. Hi Paul,
    First time putting a comment after 3 yrs looking at your every post with joy. No 7 resonance very loudly in me after my heart was open to God loving GRACE. When the church hail Job as a person .we can follow in understanding suffering I keep going back to your articles on Job n even told my elder about my thoughts but to my surprise I was strongly refuted for thinking that way .

  35. Jenny L Beauchamp // July 23, 2019 at 7:51 am // Reply

    Thanks Michael, I agree. Saints remember where you came from…..we were where they are at.
    All that we have is because Jesus called us into it and revealed it to us and in us. He has revealed Himself and it was because we, each one, went to Him in a very personal and private way. No hearsay testimony when it comes to His Grace, His Life in us manifested to the world!
    We are sheep who can go in and out of that pasture called “church”. As you feel strong in faith, go and allow Him (your Rest) speak and pray and love through you! And when you need a break from being beaten and rejected, take one. Stay in your own lane. You know your comfort zone— you and Christ. If just one hears you and goes to our Lord and asks Jesus for him/herself, Jesus will open his/her eyes. We know this. I am blessed! Even though I was in church growing up, I wasn’t born again until I was 31 and I only walked with man for about 3 1/2 years. Thank you God! I kept hearing Jesus telling me to go outside the camp (church) and get off the roller coaster ride of the mixture of law and grace. I met Him there. Each one of us has to have a personal relationship with Him and no one can give that except Him. Reading the scriptures ourselves and asking the Holy Spirit to teach us (you alone) is so important! And if one cannot read the scriptures, just speak to Him, as He is the scriptures and so much more! He is faithful and true to meet us with fish, when we ask for fish! He wants to continually feed us and give us rest! This is what the pastors should be doing—feeding and giving rest! All in Jesus. Blessings to everyone, you have been counted worthy of His sufferings! You are not alone and may the love of Christ Jesus burst from within you to this dark world, over and over!

  36. Tony Johnson // July 24, 2019 at 10:06 am // Reply

    Paul,
    Your work on E2R is life giving and mind renewing. You mention here in the comments that you have been a pastor, and you have left a church for your children’s sake and the sting of your own weekly tears on the trip home. You also thought you would never be the person who would leave a church. Many on this post alone comment on the fact they once attended church, but no longer do. I have seen this in the simple church movement as well. Still others lead churches proclaiming the gospel of grace, but some at a high price.
    As has been rightly stated, we are the church, but my question is about our practice of gathering together on Sunday mornings in church buildings and all that traditional church encompasses. Many still see it as a place to go when they have spiritual questions.
    So, what advice might you have for all of us pastors who are consuming your posts on the transforming power of free grace and leading churches full of people most of whom were raised on and still have a taste for the mixed message?

    • Great question, Tony. It is one that Camilla and I often discuss, as in, “If we were to lead a church again, what would we do differently?” Based on my personal experience, I have written a little about how not to do church and I also have some ideas on how to do church better. I think you may find the discussion threads under those articles quite thought-provoking.

      • homwardbound // July 25, 2019 at 1:56 am //

        There is a book I read a long time ago called “So you don’t want to go to Church anymore”
        Quite enlightening I thought in my process of being trained new in love to all, not a few.
        Thank you

      • Tony Johnson // July 27, 2019 at 9:38 am //

        Lots of very good things to take to heart, and put into practice. Thank you, Paul. And thank you to the E2R community. It’s good to be a part of such a big diverse family. Blessings on Your Heads!

  37. Thanks Mr Paul,you are a blessing to us big bro.Like in our church,my pastor preaches grace but still he God does evil and also claims God disciplines believer even to the point of death.And uses church bullies to shut up they that believe otherwise.So please give some advice.

  38. Hello Pastor, even clapping of hands as encouragement to a fellow Christian is an insult, sad to say, nowadays, sincerity has its cost, telling others to put on Christ, is something so profound that they can’t admit that it is that easy to rejoice and enjoy the grace of God, to the extent I have to be careful of my actions and select my choice of words for not to offend others of my excessive expression of God’s grace in my way of life.

  39. stanleykivuva64 // July 26, 2019 at 12:21 am // Reply

    What a wonderful word for me today……this was meant for me today…… Thanknyou Jesus…

  40. John W Reed // August 4, 2019 at 2:49 am // Reply

    Can I get an amen?! So true. What I have seen in the many years trusting in Grace, preaching Grace is two extreme voices railing. I preach Grace, that Jesus is enough, and the minister in the meeting rose up and claimed “prophetically” that you can in fact lose your salvation, that any teaching contrariwise is false! This was less prophetic and more pathetic. Preaching Grace and some accuse you’re proclaiming sin is ok, that rebellion is ok, that you’re saying it doesn’t matter how you live, not realizing you’re preaching the solution to sin, selfishness, slothfulness, and rebellion.
    The other voice railing I have seen is just a soul who through hurt, bitterness or rebellion, jumped from the ditch of religion, tradition, burdensome works, and performance based faith into the other ditch of error, lasciviousness, and isolation.
    Grace is the answer to all the questions and that answer is Jesus!

  41. As a person who didn’t find Jesus, but who was found by Jesus some where in a ditch in Latvia, I just want to tell you, that what you are doing is a good thing. Bible is about Grace. And grace helps people to be better people in everyday life dealing with they sinful nature. Jesus died with weight of my sins on his shoulders too.. and knowing that, thinking about that.. it just doesn’t make me want to put more weight on his shoulders tomorrow. I don’t want to hurt him more than I already do. Grace is the expression of Fathers love to His children. Isn’t it? Do children grow into monsters in families where they are loved by they fathers?.. So, what you are preaching – it really helps to those who listen.
    And for those who think that there’s something more than grace needed, there’s this nice joke: “Here, you can have my Bible for free. It will be 20$.” 🙂

  42. Yes! I got asked to leave my church of over 20 years…said I would cause division. And I was a board member and Sunday School teacher…AND had brought treats the Sunday I was asked to leave. Hee!! But I couldn’t have been happier to leave bc that place was stone cold boring and confusing! Thank You Jesus!!!

  43. Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your piece. God brought to pass His work of grace to me when I got disallusioned with my church of 22 years back in 2009. Since I took ownership of the Faith with Jesus through personal scripture revelation, a grace teacher and discovered freedom in Christ, I have found it difficult to settle in another church (though I have not stopped searching for one) over the next 10 years. To date I have not found a church where I can clearly see that my life In Jesus is truly valued. When we align to God’s grace it does not fit religious systems of men doing things for Christ. We cannot do anything for Christ though we can submit to what He wants to do through us. This is the essence God’s grace inspiring us to move, work and speak about Him. I don’t want to be a solo Christian yet I continue to trust that God will lead me to a Godly community where the focus is we are His children saved to do good works prepared in advance. Rather tban focusing on sin the community focuses on Jesus living, working, serving from a place of heavenly Rest.

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