My thoughts regarding the warning from some big boys about teaching that has been labelled as ‘hyper-grace’ and is therefore leading people into a lifestyle of sin and license to sin.
Perhaps using the words Hyper-grace/super-grace isn’t so wise. We can’t hype up grace, it has already been hyped to the max by Jesus, we can’t have anything other than Super Grace! The enormity of the Grace of God is the point, the amazing, overwhelming nature of Grace, the unmerited gift of God, the Great Redeemer rescuing a fallen humanity whilst they were still sinners. Grace is Jesus and Grace is our message, we are the carriers of the Good News of the Gospel, that man has been reconciled to God in Jesus.
If we teach about behaviour and how not to sin we are teaching law not grace, it can be prettied up with words such as balance and obedience but it is still teaching to focus on our behaviour rather than to focus on Jesus. If we teach someone how big the Jesus event was, who they are in Christ and how they are holy, pure and fully acceptable to God all the time, then we will teach them freedom from sin, not freedom to sin. Romans 6 is so clear – with so much grace and no law does that mean we can just go on and sin? Paul’s response is emphatic – By no means! Why would you live there any longer. (The Message) If we teach people that their old man is dead, crucified with Christ, buried and gone means we don’t have to teach people how to control a corpse. Nobody tells us to go and dig up a dead body and make sure it is still dead or to keep killing something that is dead already. We could just remind people how dead that old man is and how alive in Christ they are. Perhaps the church is setting the standard for the culture around us more than we thought and that is why the media, in particular films and popular TV series, are currently so obsessed with zombies! Let’s not keep any zombies in the barn!
By warning people that grace is ‘not that big or you can’t take grace that far’ it is trying to keep a division between those ‘outside’ and those ‘inside’. I only see an inclusive God, Jesus died for all, he died for the world, the world has been reconciled to God. I only see a Grace that is big enough to fit everyone in. I just don’t think you can take Grace too far. So does that make me nicer than God? I would let more ‘in’ but God in his holiness and justice has to keep a few out? Nonsense! His justice has been fully satisfied in Christ, there is now no payment left for sin, Jesus has wiped our slate clean, he has declared us innocent. It was not my confession that made me holy, it is Jesus. If my ‘anything’ could make me holy, Jesus’s death on the cross would not have been necessary, Jesus’s sacrifice is what settled my debt and in doing so made me holy and I can therefore boldly approach the throne room. I cannot possibly have more grace for someone than God has! The only difference I see is those who believe what Jesus has done and can enjoy living in that freedom and those that don’t believe it or don’t know it, they are yet to hear the Good News of the fullness of Grace and God’s love and affection for them.
If we know how to love others, such as our children beyond their behaviour, to love them unconditionally, where do we think we get that ability from? We know how to love because we were loved first. We know how to love because we are made in the image of God. Any teaching that says God’s love is less than we can imagine needs to be seriously reconsidered.
We are on a journey of discovery, grace really is bigger and wider and deeper than we all thought and I’m sure there’s more to discover!