Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Understanding Grace: Does Radical Grace promote laziness?

18 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

 We've been in a series studying on understanding Grace. In continuing with this study, I am now endeavoring to answer the objections, the myths, and misconceptions concerning Radical Grace. Last time, I answered the biggest myth of Radical Grace, the misconception that Grace advocates loose and sinful living. 

 Today, I would like to overthrow another myth and misconception about Grace and the Finished Work of Christ. That is, the notion that this message of Radical or "hyper" Grace produces inactive and lazy Christians. Does telling God's people that Jesus finished the work and accomplished what He came to do create a mindset of lazy, fruitless believers?

 To answer this, we must first look at the heart or motive of the one asking. To the religious legalistic mind, it would appear we are preaching a "do nothing" gospel. To a rebellious, flesh ruled mind, it would appear the message is an excuse to remain unfruitful. Both of these concepts miss it. The truth is the message of Grace and the Finished Work is a message of rest. It is trusting in what Jesus did. 

Performance vs. Response

 Is this a "do nothing" gospel? It depends on how you define do nothing. We can do nothing to earn or achieve or merit God's love and acceptance. In this sense then this is a "do nothing" gospel. 

 If spending time in prayer, and reading is a means to get your "gold star", then you are in performance. If you feed the hungry, volunteer in your local church to be recognized then you are in performance. If you give in order to get or to receive accolades then you are in performance. Performance-based faith brings burn out and frustration over time.

 We spend time with Father God because of His great love for us. His love poured out upon our hearts causes a genuine response from His children. Having partaken of new life by receiving the free gift of righteousness, my heart now desires to bask in His presence. I read and study the Word of God in order to get to know Him more. I go to a local church because I enjoy fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ. 

 I trust you can note the distinction from performance and genuine response. We don't give our time and talent and finances in order to get God to do something for us. We genuinely respond to God's great love for us. We are deeply loved by our good Father, and this produces a reciprocal love in us. 

 Old Covenant mindsets think this way, when I move or do this or that first, then God will respond. A New Covenant mindset is different. Under the New, Christ moved once for all time. He paid the full price. He did it all. Now, we simply respond. In other words, God already moves and now we respond in faith to what Grace already provided. 

Is Grace than a message of "do nothing"? Yes and no. Yes, it is a do nothing to earn or achieve or merit His love and goodness and blessings. No, it is not inactive. From a heart of genuine response, we follow the Spirit's leading. We give and show mercy and love not in order to get anything but as an extension and overflow of His love within and upon us. 

Grace, the great safety net

 Does grace promote laziness? Apparently, Paul the Apostle of Grace didn't think so.
10 Today I am who I am because of God’s grace, and I have made sure that the grace He offered me has not been wasted. I have worked harder, longer, and smarter than all the rest; but I realize it is not me—it is God’s grace with me that has made the difference. 1 Corinthians 15:10
Paul, under the influence of God's amazing Grace, produced more fruit than he ever did under Law and performance. Why is this? In a performance-based faith, we are constantly striving to earn and achieve. Because we can never do enough, we can never see our full potential. 

 Without Grace, we fear failure and faltering. We fear we will miss God. We fear we will falter from God's set path and, therefore, will be bypassed for another. What if you could fall but get right back up? What if the safety net of Grace caught you and placed you right back on the exact spot you fell from, allowing you to advance further and further? 

 This is why Grace doesn't make us lazy. His Grace catches us and restores us when we fall. We can't lose or be defeated. Now that you have His Grace active inside of you what will you accomplish? His Grace propels us to victory. It advances us through any enemy and obstacle. Nothing can stop us. 

 Want to see that business succeed? Want to write that book? Want to be a better husband or father? Want to be a better wife and mother? Want to see promotion and success in your career? Allow His Grace upon you to do the work. His hand of favor will lead and guide you. Now you aren't in performance, you are operating in the Spirit directed activity that will produce results.

 In summation, God's over the top, Radical Grace doesn't produce lazy people. It is the force within that propels us to success and abundant fruitful lives. His hand of favor is opening doors and changing hearts and minds to promote and advance us as we follow His leading. It is His overwhelming love compelling us to make a difference in the World. This is Radical Grace.

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