How many of you have a real solid grasp on the grace of God? I certainly don’t, and to be truthful, I don’t think any of us really do. Over the past decade, a few charismatics and even more prophetic people have attempted to explain His grace to me, only to leave me more firm in my conviction that they really don’t know what they’re talking about. Their spiritual sounding phrases and “out-of-context” use of Scripture can’t prevent them from spiraling down the the drain of ego and self-deception.
I understand that “ego” and “self-deception” are some pretty strong words, but they are accurate. Most of these sheep are merely agreeing with the recent, trendy definition of God’s grace, which is basically a “Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card.” They may have SOME Scripture to back up their ideas, but usually their explanations consist of smooth christian slogans and portions of Scripture taken out of context (self-deception). After all, “you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14b) sounds biblical, right?
Well, it IS in the Word, but it’s only one piece of the definition. People who have no desire to obey the Father will, in their arrogance, cling tightly to these portions of scriptures, excluding all of the other surrounding Scriptures, naively assuming that they have the WHOLE picture (ego). If you disagree with them, they will tell you that you’re legalistic (another trendy non-biblical term) and are trying to live “under the Law.” The truth is, they have no respect for the commandments of God and are twisting Scripture to justify giving in to their own lusts.
Let’s see what God’s Word says about His grace
I could take up an entire post just to list out the definitions and explanations from “authoritative” sources as to what “grace” means, but to save time and space, I will give you the link to the Blue Letter Bible here. When I read all of the information from this source, I know that the New Testament word “grace” comes from the Greek word “charis” and means “favor,” and all of the Godly benefits derived from that favor. When you read other sources, the definitions are relatively the same. So, with this being our foundational definition of the word “grace,” what do we do with this knowledge?
Before I answer that question, let’s jump ahead to the goal of “grace.” What does grace teach us? In the little epistle of Titus, we can see what we are supposed to LEARN from God’s grace.
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, TEACHING US THAT, (a) denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, (b) we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, (c) looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (d) who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself [His] own special people, zealous for good works. (e) Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”
Grace teaches us something.
From reading Titus 2:11-15, God’s grace is supposed to teach us the following:
- Deny ungodliness and worldly lust – crucify the flesh.
- Live as an example of what it means to be righteous and holy. In other words, imitate Jesus.
- Love what He loves and hate what He hates.
- Look for and anticipate His return to set up His Kingdom. Seeking first His Kingdom should be our prime directive (Matthew 6:33).
- Recognize that He died for your purification so that you could be known as His people.
It’s OK to speak this message of exhortation and rebuke with authority! (OUCH! Most churchgoers hate that one!)
So do you learn these points when you hear a modern day grace sermon? Does hearing about grace create a burning desire to deny your flesh? If grace is being preached, why are our congregations becoming more and more tolerant of sin? If grace is being preached, why is the “church” becoming more and more like the world? Why do you think that is? It’s quite simple… God’s grace isn’t really being preached!
So, what does a grace sermon look like? That’s a very good question. To be truthful, I have never preached a grace sermon, so who am I to point fingers? Also a good question, but I would counter, what right does ANYONE have to define God’s grace by something other than the Bible?
Since grace is such a fundamental part of our salvation, we absolutely MUST have a thorough understanding of what grace is and how it works in the life of a believer. Over the course of this next year, I will be writing quite a few posts that will expound on what the Bible says about God’s grace. I’m a guy who likes to have things laid out for him … step-by-step, layer-by-layer … straight and to-the-point. Please pray that I will be able to communicate God’s grace to YOU in the same way. Stay tuned!
For further reading: The Truth About the Free Gift of Grace