Whose Grace message are you listening to?

Posted: September 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

Since I started preaching / writing / blogging about grace, I have been accused of many things and called by many not so nice names. I have been told what I am preaching is going to cause people to go out and live in sin because I preach ‘Irresistible Grace’. Irresistible grace means that it doesn’t matter what a believer does or how moral they live since the grace that saved them is NOT based on their right doing or lack thereof. We all know the famous question in Romans: “Should we sin more so grace could increase?” (Rom 6:1). Grace means favour. Where sin abounds, Divine Favour abounds MUCH more. In other words, the more you sin, the more grace there is to save you. To those people it sounded like Paul was saying favour from God is linked to sin instead of righteousness. If grace is linked to sin, should we keep on sinning to increase the favour of God in our lives? What was Paul’s answer? “God forbid.” Why then would they ask this? Well, who would be easier for you to forgive: Your kid who stole $10 to by himself some ice cream, or the stranger who sodomized and molested him behind the ice cream shop? It would seem that you would need much more grace to forgive the stranger (the pedophile) then your son (the thief). But to God there is no difference. Sin is wrong, no matter how ‘big’ or ‘small’ but His grace covers a multitude of sins. His grace is bigger than the biggest sin. That is why there is salvation for every person who wants it.

Now when you preach salvation by grace and not by works, there are actually 2 components to works. Good works and bad works. You are saved by grace, not because the amount of good works you did outweighed the amount of bad works you did. Both good and bad works were taken out of the salvation equation. It is easy to believe God doesn’t look at our good deeds, but instead looks at Jesus’ obedience on our behalf. It is not so easy to believe that God doesn’t regard our bad works or sins either. And if He doesn’t look at our sins, do we then have a license to do whatever we want? A license to sin? Only people who think of grace in a religious mindset will come to that conclusion. The religious mindset is this: If my good works outweigh the bad ones, the bad works get canceled. Believing in grace is not something good you do to outweigh the bad things in your life. If you think of grace in that way, you unfortunately have not heard what Grace has to say. If the voice of grace you listen to tells you it is ok to sin, then the grace you are listening to is the grace of the world, not the Grace of God. The world will tell you sin is ok. “You have favour to do whatever you want, be your own person, make your own choices, feel whatever you want to feel, experience whatever you desire.” The anti-grace of the world is not the opposite of the true grace of God, it’s only a pseudo-grace, a wolf in sheep’s clothing if you will. Like rat poison which is 99% good rat food and 1% poison, worldly grace is 99% good. It’s that 1% of deception that steals, kills and destroys. What is the difference between worldly grace and God’s Grace? For me the biggest difference is Independence vs. Dependence. Worldly grace gives you favour to become independent, to be in charge of your own life. Because you are in charge you can do whatever you want. You can even decide what is good and what is evil. God’s Grace on the other hand is an abandonment of independence and the pursuit of dependence upon Him, to let Him decide what is good for you, to make decisions for you, to let Him take charge of your life, to let Him be your Lord.

When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were embracing worldly grace. You eat of that same tree whenever you say, “I will decide what is good and what is evil.” If you decide adultery is not evil, you will be able to do it and not have any issues because you decided it was good. Divorce and broken homes therefore become part of life. It is born out of what the world has decided is not evil. I heard an advertisement for a “Divorce Expo” today. The world apparently thinks divorce is so good, it needs to be celebrated and promoted. The world will always promote and celebrate sin and independence. So when any person teaches you it is ok to sin, they are not teaching you God’s grace, they are telling you to eat of the tree of good and evil. “Do whatever you want, you will be like God.” God in His infinite wisdom and ability to see the beginning and the end knows exactly what the consequences of all actions are. He also knows better than any other being what is good and what is evil. If we trust Him to make decisions for us, we will never have to go down the path that leads to destruction. When God says, “That is evil, have nothing to do with it” it is not because He will love us more if we obey them, but because He knows if we do mingle with evil, we are in danger of being destroyed. Because of His love for you, He doesn’t want you to be destroyed. You don’t put a fence around a swimming pool because you think swimming is evil, you do it so your kids don’t drown. If they go there by themselves, independent of you, chances are good they might drown. But when they go there under your supervision, with dependence on you, they can enjoy it without worry because you are there.

So which grace are you listening too? It is easy to check. If you are in sin, you are listening to worldly grace. If you are struggling with sin, trying to stop but never succeeding, you are also listening to worldly grace. (You are failing because you are trying to stop by yourself, independent of God.) If you are struggling less and less with sin and seeing victory, freedom and restoration, you are listening to God’s grace.  God grace says this: “Sin is not something you have to overcome. My Son overcame it already. Trust Him and be dependent on Him, follow in His Way and you will live in His victory.” Worldly grace says this: “Sin is something you need to overcome. You have to get out of sin and stay out of sin before God will favour you. You have to get the victory, you have to find a way yourself. But if you don’t want to get out, that is ok too. Follow your way. Your way is right if you decide it is.”

Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. (NIV)

If the grace you are listening to is not teaching or empowering you to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, you are not listening to the grace that brings salvation. If the grace you are listening to is not producing eagerness to do what is good, it is not God’s grace you are listening too. If this is you and you think you have been deceived by worldly grace, just turn and listen to what God’s Grace has to say. There is no condemnation, just turn and listen. You will hear, “Come, all you who are burdened and heavy laden. Come, and I will give you rest.” Independence of God is a very heavy burden. So heavy, you will never reach your destination carrying it. Let go. Surrender. Ask God to help you. Become dependent on Him.

James 4:6-7 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (NIV)

You can’t be humble and independent of God at the same time. Giving up your independence is the first step toward humility. The moment you give it up (yes, you have to give it up. God doesn’t take it away.) you become humble. Since you are humble, God no longer resists you and instead you receive grace and favour. When you resist the devil, the worldly passions or the sin in your life through independence, they will not flee from you. But when you submit to God, give up your independence and depend on Him for your strength, they will flee from you. There is no grace to commit sin. You do not have favour with God to sin. You have favour to get out of sin. The grace that makes it ok to sin, is not God’s Grace. God’s grace is irresistible. When you listen to it, you will not be able to resist changing from glory to glory.

“Jesus, I give up my independence entirely. I want to live dependent on You alone. You know far better what is good for me. I don’t want to be the judge of good and evil.  I am pleased and happy with what you decide is good and what is not. Be my Lord and show me where I need to surrender my independence, for it is there where I am still not under your Lordship. I reject the grace of this world that tells me to do what I want. I accept your grace by faith that shows me what you want for me, through me and with me. Thank you for destroying the power of sin and setting me free to live in you. Thank You for Your saving grace that teaches me to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions. In Jesus Name, sin (name your sin), I say to you NO! Worldly passions, NO! Ungodliness, NO! I choose to give up my independence and to die to self. I am dead to what I want. I am now alive to what God wants. Godly passions: Yes! Holiness: Yes! Righteousness: Yes! Freedom: Yes! Peace: Yes! Joy: Yes! Yes Yes YES and AMEN!”

Thank You Jesus!



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