The High Cost of Free Grace
The gospel of grace is not a philosophy to debate or a lifestyle to adopt. Grace 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 pay in other ways. You may experience rejection, hostility, and possibly persecution.
Talk about grace and you’ll experience trouble.
Some people can’t handle grace. 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. I regularly hear that I am sending people to hell because I refuse to put price tags on 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 small price for telling people the good news of God’s grace. Here are eight more serious ways that you may pay:
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. 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 again and again 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 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 toe 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 may go down. It shouldn’t, but it might.
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 grace of God.
7. Trust grace and you may have trouble trusting Christians
You may find it hard going to church because you can no longer tolerate toxic churchianity. You can’t sing the faithless songs of longing or listen to messages that put price tags on 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.
Yet 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, some 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. It is heart-breaking.
I’ve listed eight ways you may pay for free grace. What did I miss? What price have you paid?
I would love to hear from you, especially if you are a pastor or church leader. Has the good news of free grace cost you? If so, feel free to share the brief version (4-5 sentences) of your story below.
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I was in a Baptist church where the new pastor was trying to teach the full grace message. I remember praying “Lord if I’ve missed something along the way in church, show me”. I as harmoniously as I could questioned my friend and pastor privately and eventually felt led to leave the church. In the time following , inbetween churches I started waking up with Galatians 2:20 echoing in my mind. The Lord opened my eyes to many truths including the realities of grace and my identity in Christ. It was like being born again…again.
Paul you can go back to my comment history years ago and see my challenging you on numerous points.
The thing I sought to discredit I now support so strongly you can’t be around me and not hear it from me. I know God’s heart is for unity and love in the Body, this is part of the revelation I got from grace, how much He loves me is how much He loves all my bros and sisters in Christ.
The cost for me is the challenge to sit there while misunderstandings about grace are so accepted. Where people with genuinely pure hearts are in one breathe recognizing the love of Christ and in the next putting themselves back under the law. But my desire is to refresh the brethren like Philemon, and so I pray that we all here would take the revelation we have been given and love well where we’re at.
hello Paul! I really commend this good works, God bless you
please I really need assistance! I forgot the password to the pastors lounge, so can I recover it , please help
The easiest way is to resubscribe.
The only thing missing is that the question in itself is not grace. Sharing the price we pay in any light… gives zero grace to those persecuting us. I would just add a short paragraph on loving and giving grace to those who cost us the most.
Almost two third of the congregation ran away when I turned to the free grace gospel. And now you know what? Some of them teamed up to evangelize whoever they can reach of our congregation from what they call a satanic Church that does not observe God’s law!
Ouch. I’ll bet that hurts. I pray that they will get a revelation of grace and end their animosity.
My first girlfriend and I broke up in 1994, about a year after graduating high school, due to my Grace awakening. She thought I was involved in a cult or somehow turning Calvinistic. Both far from the truth. It was during this time I fell into a deep depression and it didn’t help matters that she and her youth pastor tried to bring me into an intervention. All because I realized the true intention of 1 John 1:9, and was beginning to understand my freedom in Christ.
I can absolutely identify with not tolerating toxic churchianity, and haven’t been able to attend much because there’s just too much religiosity from the pulpit. If there were Grace based “churches” to attend around where we live, we’d be there in a heartbeat, but for now it’s wonderful to have the tech we have to Livestream services or listen to broadcasts.
I am a pastor, and I have certainly paid a price for the message of grace. I leaned the message of grace after becoming a pastor and had to change my messages out of conviction. I lost several church members from a small church. I lost friends and was certainly ridiculed and slandered. The things Paul said in this article are absolutely true. I would not and cannot change my message though. It is the truth. I have definitely had times of despair and felt like giving up, but God and his grace keeps me going.
I feel your pain, Russ. Preaching grace can be a lonely business, but you are not alone. Be blessed.
Thank you, Sir Paul Ellis, is true what you said. Those who don’t preach about Grace, prove that they don’t know or don’t believe Jesus. Then they read for nothing, sin in the New Covenant is to not believe Jesus. This is also proof that they are not born again, filled with the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, the Holy Spirit enjoys and confirms the Word of Jesus, would be visible the fruit of the spirit, joy, peace, confidence and kindness. That’s why people run away from church, i think these pastors will not “survive” if they don’t preach grace, will be alone soon in the church..if people whould know gospel of Jesus, of grace, many would not face emotional and physical troubles and would be healthy and confident, by restauration trough grace of our Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, Praise the Lord! Thank you again for your teachings, God bless you!