Over the years I’ve noticed that the “pure” message of grace has upset some Christians. They always have the same scriptures to point to, that in their view, makes it “out of balance”. People have labeled it “extreme,” “hyper,” “sloppy” and many other names. I understand where people are coming from because I, too, use to see things the same way as they do. I do not consider those who disagree with me any less of a believer than I am, but I do realize that they are still not understanding the power within the message of grace and its ability to change a person at the heart level.
At the heart level is where we all live. Proverbs says, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” Understanding grace (the gospel) is the only thing powerful enough to change our hearts. Sure, law- performance based Christianity, motivated out of fear, for a season can get people to “live right.” However, it has no ability to change someone’s desire at the heart level to really want change. Paul says that the law is the strength of sin, not grace. (See 1 Cor. 15:56) The more we put people under a performance based Christianity the more people will have a desire for the things that are outside of our new nature in Christ. Is the message of grace (the gospel) extreme? You bet it is! If grace is not extreme then it isn’t grace. Is it powerful to change the heart of an individual? Only when we accept how extreme it really is and teach and preach it purely. But, boy is that hard for many ministers, pastors and Christians to do. They believe that people will “live how they want to” if they take the law and fear away from the message. I have a news flash, people are already living how they want to. They are just not telling others about it. What if we trust grace enough to do a work in someone’s heart to the point they have new desires?
Look at what the writer of Hebrews tells us about this very truth of new desires and how they change within us. “For if the first Covenant (Old Covenant) had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. (New Covenant) Because finding fault with them (Israel because they could not keep the Old Covenant) He (God) says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, “Know the Lord, for all shall know Me, from the least of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their lawless sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:7-12)
There is a lot to break down in the above scripture, so let me make this as simple as I can.
- The writer speaks of two covenants. The Old and the New. God was not pleased with the Old Covenant because mankind could not keep it by meeting God’s perfect righteous standard.
- God promises a second covenant, a New one that will do away with the Old. This one would be different than the one he made with Israel when He brought them out of slavery in Egypt.
- The second covenant would be based on God’s mercy and grace, not on man’s ability to keep it.
- This second Covenant would make God our God and us His people. It is personal not legalist and rigid.
- In this second Covenant, we will not need other to teach us what to do or not to do, because in our hearts we will know.
Remember, I began by mentioning that grace changes the heart’s desire. The writer of Hebrews lays it out in the above scripture. Look at Hebrews 8: 10 “I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts….” The word “law” in this scripture can be confusing. It is not referring to the Old Covenant law or some New Covenant set of rules to have right-standing with God. This word “law” means, “desire”. Remember in this same context of scripture the writer also says, “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” When we come into the understanding of God’s grace, His desires for our lives are written on our hearts and minds. His desires become our desires because only grace has the power to change a person’s heart.
Fearing the message of grace being misleading is simply not trusting the work God does in a person’s heart when they hear the gospel and of His goodness and receive it.
Nowhere in scripture are we warned of teaching too much grace but the opposite is true. Paul and other writers constantly warned of legalistic, performance based teaching that kept people working in order to gain and keep God’s acceptance, instead of resting in His grace. I think we have the real issue twisted. It’s not because too much grace teaching leads people the wrong direction. It’s the law added to grace that destroys the work of God to bring transformation to a person’s life. We reign in life because of the ABUNDANCE OF GRACE and the gift of righteousness. (See Romans 5:17)
Changing how the World Views God,
Are you looking for a Gospel of grace church that preaches the finished work of Jesus? Do you enjoy ministries like Joseph Prince, Andrew Wommack and Lynn Hiles? If so, Reveal Church might be the perfect fit for you. Come join us Sunday mornings at 10 am. We meet at Copper Stone Executive Business Center at 3632 Land O Lakes Blvd. Land O Lakes, FL. 34639. Children’s church is provided for all ages. Pastor Brian has been ministering the gospel of grace message since 1999, with powerful truths that will continue to empower you to walk out God’s best for your life as you stay at a place of rest in Christ. Come be a part of this powerful start up gospel of grace church and help us reach the Tampa Bay area with the message of the finished work of Christ. We look forward to seeing you this Sunday!