Wednesday, March 6, 2013
CONFRONTING THE ERROR of HYPER-GRACE
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.
One hyper-grace teacher wrote this: "When God looks at me,
He doesn´t see me through the blood of Christ, He sees me-
cleansed! Likewise, He sees us as holy and righteous. He sees
us, and He loves what He sees!"
Really? Always? 24-7? God always loves what he sees when he
looks at his people?
Yes, he loves us, but does he always love what he sees?
Did Jesus love what he saw when he rebuked five out of seven
congregations in Asia Minor in Revelation 2-3? Did Paul, writing
on behalf of the Lord, love what he saw when he warned the
Galatians that they had fallen from grace and become trapped in
legalism? Did James, also writing as a servant of the Lord, love
what he saw when he rebuked his readers for being "friends of
the world" and "adulterers and adulteresses"?
And 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)
Does it sound like the Lord was thrilled with what he saw in
Ephesus and Sardis?
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?"
If he was so happy with what he saw in Laodicea, why did he
threaten to spit the congregation out of his mouth (see Rev. 3:16)?
And if believers never need to repent of their sins, why did Jesus
say, "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest,
and repent" (Rev. 3:19)? And how interesting it is that the same
Greek word used in John 16:8-where Jesus says that the Holy
Spirit will convict the world of its sins-is the word used by the
Lord in Revelation 3:19 (translated there as "rebuke"; and note
Rev. 3:22: this is the Spirit speaking!).
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
Has He justified us by the blood of Jesus? Absolutely. Has He
has set apart as holy to Himself? Without a doubt. Has He called
us to be His sons and daughters, all by His love and grace? Yes
He has. And it is because of these things that 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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