Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Understanding Grace: Does Radical Grace teach there is no longer any place for correction?

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 have been in a series of study as of late concerning God's amazing Grace. Recently we began dismantling the myths often associated with Radical Grace. Up to now we have allayed the myths that Radical Grace advocates sin, makes folk lazy and purposeless. That Radical Grace is merely Universalism in disguise. 

 This week I want to quell yet another myth associated with Radical Grace. The myth that Radical Grace doesn't believe in correction. That hearing and receiving the message of Radical Grace means all choices and actions should be celebrated and acceptable. 

Grace brings correction when first received

 The first area of correction Grace brings is to get us to the place where we are resting and trusting in Christ alone. Grace will bring instruction to us in our times of study and hearing the Word and times alone with Him in prayer. It gently reminds us of who we are.  It will help us lay aside the weights of religion and tradition and bring to our awareness our true identity in Christ.

 This may come as a surprise, but many who are performance minded who claim they love correction in reality only love adherence to their traditions. Correction to them is simply a reminder to keep all their traditions. Radical Grace, on the other hand, understands correction as instruction or a reminder for the Believer in Christ to understand their perfect righteousness in Him. This Grace will bring instruction that the performance path is not the right way. Grace brings this correction so we will rest in His right standing and Finished Work.

 Does Radical Grace mean then we can never miss it or be rebellious to our Father's plans or purposes?

 Any time information is presented to us we will inevitably draw conclusions. Drawing the right conclusions from the right information is how we steer clear from error. Unfortunately, we are all capable of missing it and sometimes we can draw the wrong conclusions. 

 The foolish are those who merely heard a concept of Radical Grace. They heard some information and drew the wrong conclusions. The Word of God in various places continually admonishes us to avoid foolishness. Now God still loves the foolish minded with an eternal love. He just desires them to come the knowledge of the truth.

 In reality, foolishness is simply ignorance or immaturity in action. Some then have heard a partial message of Radical Grace and concluded that they can never miss God. That it is an impossibility to rebel against His plan for their life. Is this accurate? Is this the message of Radical Grace?

 Certainly not. The first "commandment" or "tenet" of the "satanic bible" is to do whatever thou wilt. Does that even remotely sound like Grace or love? Of course not. Grace is gracious and loving. Grace is not the message that we are free to enjoy sin and poor choices. 

 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NKJV
Here is some difficult but honest news. If you as a believer are living with your significant other without being married, that is not God's will or best for you. It is unloving because in reality it is rooted in selfishness or self-gratification. If you regularly lie or cheat or find shortcuts to get out of assigned duties at your job that is wrong behavior. Where is the love for others being displayed in this behavior? These behaviors are the "fruits" of wrong thinking.

 Does God simply ignore our poor choices or sins? Newsflash we will reap the natural consequences of our poor choices. Let me elaborate. God still loves us. He is still pleased with us, just not our actions or choices. Jesus took the full punishment for our sins and failures. However, we still live in this Earth. Poor choices have poor consequences. If you commit adultery be aware you are in danger of losing your marriage, the trust and respect of your  children and depending where you work, possibly your job. 

 With poor consequences still attached to poor choices certainly God will correct us when we are on the wrong path. So don't draw the wrong conclusion that correction doesn't exist under Grace. The  truth we must know and understand is the how He corrects us.

How does He correct us?

 This is paramount for us to understand how God corrects us. Does He correct us by casting guilt and condemnation onto us? Does He shame us publicly? Does He make you have a flat tire because you are just no good? I used to think this is how He corrects. These and, of course, the threats of loss of salvation. This is why the Word is so vital to our growth in Grace. Let's allow the Word to reveal how He corrects.
For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 NKJV

1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? 1 Corinthians 6:1-2 NKJV

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! 1 Corinthians 6:5 NKJV

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, Colossians 3:8-10 NKJV

 To the performance and insecure minded all they see here is Paul chiding believers. Is this an accurate description of what we just read? Certainly not. Paul the Apostle of Grace by the Spirit is bringing correction and instruction. How so? He is simply reminding the people of who they already are in Him.
 This is how God corrects. He reminds us of who we are and whose we are. When we awaken to the truth that we are the very righteousness of God in Him, we will begin to act accordingly. When we understand He already sanctified us and made us holy by the Finished Work we will begin to identify with that. This is what brings about true change in our thinking and our actions toward one another. 

what Grace isn't saying

 A word of caution here. As I stated earlier we must draw the right conclusions from the information that is presented to us. Even if you find yourself in a state of living in sin and poor choices, don't react by adopting the performance based, self-help mentality. Meaning don't say to yourself and God, "I'm sorry, I will do better now let me do..." That is not correction that is humanistic self-improvement. 

18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. Hebrews 10:18 NLT

 Many of the performance minded and insecure wish to "balance" Grace. What they mean is they want Radical Grace mixed with all the "commandments" they deem vital. In other words, "God loves you yea but get busy doing more and if you miss it you're a sinner and need to confess or God's gonna get you.."

 Grace is saying there is no more sacrifice for sins. You can't pay for your sins or poor choices. You can't try to outweigh your "bad" by doing better stuff like feeding the homeless or giving donations.  If you've failed and are seeing some consequences still trust Him to get you through it. Allow wisdom and instruction to come so you don't repeat the same behavior patterns. Be who you already are in Him.
 In summation, yes there is still correction under Radical Grace. It isn't condemnation or guilt. It is the process of us understanding who we already are in Him. Radical Grace isn't saying let's do evil that good may come. Yes God has a great plan for each of His kids. Yes, we can rebel and get off the path. But His amazing Grace is there to help us get back up again and get back on the path. Correction is good for us. It may seem grievous at first, but it is for our best and growth in Grace.

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