-extracts by Michael Brown.
The biblical message of grace is wonderful, glorious and life-transforming. We can’t live without it for one second of our lives. But there is a message being preached today in the name of a new grace reformation, mixing powerful truth with dangerous error. I call it hyper-grace.
One of the foundational doctrines of the hyper-grace message
is that God does not see the sins of his children, since we have
already been made righteous by the blood of Jesus and since
all of our sins, past, present and future, have already been forgiven.
That means that the Holy Spirit never convicts believers of sin,
that believers never need to confess their sins to God, and that
believers never need to repent of their sins, since God sees
them as perfect in his sight.
It is easy to see how such teaching can be dangerous, especially
to a believer being tempted to compromise.
… if the Lord doesn’t see our sins, why did James write that if
a believer who was sick had also sinned, God would forgive him
when he healed him (see James 5:14-15)? And if he doesn’t see
our sins, why did the Lord discipline believers in Corinth because
of their sins (see 1 Cor. 11:27-32)? (And pay careful attention to
1 Corinthians 11:32, “When we are judged by the Lord, we are
being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.”)
If Jesus doesn’t see our sins, why did he say to the church in
Ephesus, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first
love” (Rev. 2:4, NIV)? And why did he says this to the church in
Sardis? “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive,
but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about
to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my
God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard;
obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a
thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” (Rev. 3:1-3)
If the Lord always “sees us as holy and righteous” and always
“loves what He sees,” why did he rebuke the believers in Laodicea,
telling them that they were “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked”
(Rev. 3:17)? Why didn’t he say, “I see you as beautifully clothed,
healthy, and rich?”
It is because God loves us that he rebukes us (not condemns us)
and it is because sin is so destructive that he calls us to turn from
it. This is the goodness of God, and this is what grace does, as
Paul wrote in Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that brings
salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to
ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled,
upright and godly lives in this present age.”
How tragic it is today when God’s people mistake the voice of
His correcting love for the condemning voice of Satan, and how
sad it is when they resist the purifying work of the Spirit,
claiming that there’s nothing to purify since God no longer sees
Paul wrote, “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us
purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit,
perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Cor. 7:1).
What a beautiful, lofty calling. Don’t let anyone steal it from you.
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