Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Understanding Grace: Is Radical Grace "the great end times deception"?
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18
As truth is revealed to the Body of Christ, hearts are opened and thinking changes. Traditions of old are brushed aside as the Word of God becomes clearer. Error loses its hold on the minds of God's people. It is truly a time of joyous celebration.
Even as many are being set free, opposition will arise finding fault and bringing forth accusations. As this understanding of God's amazing grace is spreading so also is the resistance to this truth. One accusation some choose to assail towards the teachers of this gospel of grace is that we are promoting deception.
There is a legitimate concern and warning in the Word of God concerning deception and erroneous teaching.
2 Timothy 4:3
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24
It is clear then. God has in fact warned us of end time deceptions. What though is the criteria that makes up a false teacher or false teaching? Sadly, that depends completely upon who you ask. That is to say, if man is the source of what is true or false.
Some ministers would say if you believe in praying in other tongues or ministering healing to the sick you are a false teacher. Others would say if you teach once you are saved, truly born again from your spirit, you are always saved, then you are a false teacher urging others to freely sin. Who is correct?
If we allow the Word of God to be our source of final truth and accept what it says then many of these debates will cease. Is radical grace an unScriptural teaching? Is grace a "satanic sedative" putting people asleep in their sins and poor choices? Is "hyper" grace in reality just cheap grace?
To honestly answer this we must then see what the opposite of radical grace equates to. Does the Bible teach in the New Covenant that we are under the Law? Does it teach our ability to keep the Law and commandments perfectly is what our salvation and relationship with God is rooted in? Is there ever condemnation to the believer? Are we expected to strive and work harder in order to achieve some level of spirituality or acceptance with the Father?
What about our forgiveness? Is forgiveness in an installment plan? Are we to confess each and every fault or error we find we have committed in order to receive forgiveness? What about the ones we don't recall? Is holiness a place we arrive at based on how well we perform? To the opposition of grace the answer is yes to these questions.
Does the Word of God actually teach that forgiveness is in installments? Does the Word teach we must confess in order to be forgiven? That performance is the root of our salvation and relationship with God? That we are still under a portion of the Law? The answer from God's Word is a clear, exclaiming negative!
What action or deed could you do just perfectly, or do enough of to become righteous? The Word stated our righteousness was as filthy rags. In the Old Covenant, everything was based on our performance. In this New Covenant, everything is rooted in what Christ has done. Therefore grace is not an end time deception.
The real deception is those opposing grace. Grace is not teaching that any choice or action a person partakes in is acceptable and right. Grace teaches us how to live in peace and love and in relationship with God, not rules and Laws and traditions.
This may be misunderstood by some or abused by others. The truth is God does still speak to His Church, His kids. This doesn't mean something spooky or goofy either. This doesn't mean what someone hears in their heart has the same weight of Scripture. The Bible refers to a still small voice or an impression or a peace. Again, this is not hearing voices, neither is it looking for some experience.
With that understanding I have heard ministers say the Lord awoke me and spoke this to me or that. The words they say are not from grace but from a performance and striving based relationship. In other words they claim God said "you need to work hard to achieve." "You need some condemnation in your life." "The Law is still relevant." How would you respond to someone saying God told them these things brother?
This may shock you but I would agree with them that God in fact did speak to them. Are you denouncing grace then brother? Of course not. I had a time of prayer and the Lord showed me something from the life and ministry of Jesus. This will shed some light to all of this.
When Jesus, the Word made flesh, walked among us what did He teach on many occasions? He at times pointed to a loving Father that had abundant life to give. Other occasions He taught an impossible life in God. Be perfect as God is perfect. What was He doing?
The answer is who was He addressing? When Jesus encountered the sinners and down and outs He gave them amazing grace. When He encountered the religious leaders He gave them perfection. Why He was endeavoring to bring Israel and those who knew the Lord through Law and end to themselves. He proved that the standard was absolute perfection. No one can achieve that status. This is why we need grace.
When God is speaking to some of these ministers who oppose grace, He is doing the same. He is speaking to their hearts an absolute perfect standard to bring them to an end of their efforts and works. Sadly, they don't recognize it sometimes and try and make this the gospel message.
God is gracious and merciful and overflowing with love. He wants all to receive this beautiful gospel of grace. Is grace an end time deception? No, it is the end time harvest reaching to all the World with an open invitation to receive the free gift of righteousness and acceptance with God. Let's not fight it or oppose but promote it!