Paul Ellis -The Hyper-Grace Gospel…

…A Response to Michael Brown and Those Opposed to the Modern Grace Message.

The section on 12 Myths about the Hyper-Grace Gospel is very useful. Contents include:

Myth 1: Hyper-grace preachers are against repentance
Myth 2: Hyper-grace preachers are against confession
Myth 3: The hyper-grace gospel is universalism in disguise
Myth 4: Hyper-grace preachers say it’s wrong to ask God for forgiveness
Myth 5: Hyper-grace preachers say God is not grieved by your sin
Myth 6: Hyper-grace preachers are against the law
Myth 7: Hyper-grace preachers ignore the Old Testament
Myth 8: Hyper-grace preachers disregard the words of Jesus
Myth 9: The hyper-grace gospel encourages sin
Myth 10: The hyper-grace gospel discourages obedience and holy living
Myth 11: Hyper-grace preachers don’t talk about hell and wrath
Myth 12: The hyper-grace gospel makes people lazy

PaulEllis

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How to recognize the hyper-grace gospel

The hyper-grace gospel is easy to recognize for it is nothing more than boasting about Jesus—who He is and what He has done and what you can now do because of what He has done. If the message you’re hearing causes you to fix your eyes on Jesus, and moves you to shout for joy and give thanksgiving and praise for all He has done, chances are you’re hearing the hyper-grace gospel.

While a mixed-grace gospel is recognized by the presence of carrots and sticks, the hyper-grace gospel is marked by invitations. Here’s one: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Here’s another: “I want to come in and be with you” (Rev. 3:20).

A mixed-grace gospel drives people with the law, but the hyper-grace gospel draws people with love. This is how Martin Luther distinguished the two messages:

A lawdriver insists with threats and penalties; a preacher of grace lures and incites with divine goodness and compassion shown to us; for He wants no unwilling works and reluctant services, He wants joyful and delightful services of God.[14]

In a quest for holiness a mixed-grace preacher may preach a little law, a little self-help, or a little pop psychology, but it’s all just a flesh trip. In contrast, a hyper-grace preacher preaches Christ alone. Whatever your need, whether it’s salvation or sanctification, your supply is found in the One who promises to meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Php. 4:19).

In this world you will have trouble. If you are facing the giants of sickness, poverty, and loss, the last thing you need is religious formulas or trite theology. Your greatest need is for a revelation of Jesus Christ who is Lord above all. When you see the One who is greater than all the giants, your mouth will be filled with laughter and your heart with songs of joy. This is the fruit of the hyper-grace gospel.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s hear from some other grace preachers. Look carefully at the following good news announcements. Note the absence of carrots and sticks. See how they all point to the grace of God as revealed in Jesus.

  • Paul: “Christ died, was buried, then rose. He reigns!” (see 1 Corinthians 15:3–4,25).
  • Martin Luther: “The gospel is nothing else but laughter and joy … This was first spoken unto the Jews; for this laughter was first offered to that people, then having the promises. Now he turneth to the Gentiles, whom he calleth to the partaking of this laughter.”[15]
  • Spurgeon: “None but Jesus! None but Jesus!”[16]
  • Malcolm Smith: “Preaching the gospel, we are announcing the news of the revelation of who God is and how He feels about us. We stand on the street corners of the world shouting the news that God is not the way we thought He was—He loves us! … This is the greatest news in the world …”[17]
  • Andrew Wommack: “God loves you and is extending forgiveness for your sins. Everything that comes as a result of salvation—like forgiveness, righteousness, healing, deliverance, and prosperity—comes to you by grace through faith. It’s not based on your performance, but God’s grace.”[18]
  • Joseph Prince: “The gospel is the gospel of Christ, and everything is about Jesus. It’s not the gospel of morality and character, and it definitely isn’t the gospel of money and prosperity. But do you know what the gospel does? It produces all of those things. The true gospel of Jesus Christ always produces godliness, holiness, morality, character, provision, health, wisdom, love, peace, joy, and much more. They all flow from the gospel of Jesus Christ.”[19]
  • Robert Farrar Capon: “If the gospel is about anything, it is about a God who meets us where we are, not where we ought to be.”[20]
  • Dudley Hall: “Grace is a message of unconditional love from the Father of the universe. It’s the free offer of the eternal life. And we can experience it all in the gritty now as well as in the sweet by and by.”[21]
  • Max Lucado: “Grace is everything Jesus. Grace lives because He does, works because He works, and matters because He matters. He placed a term limit on sin and danced a victory jig in a graveyard. To be saved by grace is to be saved by Him—not by an idea, doctrine, creed, or church membership, but by Jesus himself, who will sweep into heaven anyone who so much as gives Him the nod.”[22]
  • Jerry Bridges: “We are brought into God’s kingdom by grace; we are sanctified by grace; we receive both temporal and spiritual blessings by grace; we are motivated to obedience by grace; we are called to serve and enabled to serve by grace; we receive strength to endure trials by grace; and finally, we are glorified by grace. The entire Christian life is lived under the reign of God’s grace.”[23]
  • Tullian Tchividjian: “The gospel of Jesus Christ announces that because Jesus was strong for you, you’re free to be weak. Because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose. Because Jesus was Someone, you’re free to be no one. Because Jesus was extraordinary, you’re free to be ordinary. Because Jesus succeeded for you, you’re free to fail.”[24]
  • Benjamin Dunn: “The scandal (of the cross) is that though your sin was great, God’s love was greater … It is a scandal of love. We couldn’t provide a sacrifice, so God provided one for Himself—in Christ. We couldn’t climb to Heaven, so Heaven came to us—in Christ. In Christ we see the grand display of the heavens invading the earth. This scandal is designed to make you blush. Its intention is to make every cell in your body scream with thanksgiving and joyful praise!”[25]
  • Judah Smith: “That’s the gospel. It’s good news for everyone. It’s not good news just for people who are already good, for those who are self-controlled and disciplined enough to have all their ducks in a row. It’s good news for the people who can’t even find their ducks. They haven’t seen some of their ducks in years. Their lives are a mess. But they can come to Jesus and find instant acceptance.”[26]
  • Paul White: “It is grace that saves us and then it is grace that keeps us. We are defined by grace.Everything we have is a free gift of God, given to us for Christ’s sake.”[27]
  • Various: “The Son of God became the Son of Man that the sons of men might become the Sons of God.”[28]
  • Anna Bartlett Warner: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”[29]

The hyper-grace gospel is simple. You don’t need to read Hebrew or Greek to get it. Nor do you need to go to seminary or Bible school. To paraphrase Joseph Prince, the hyper-grace gospel is so simple it takes theologians to complicate it.[30]

There may be 1001 versions of the mixed-grace gospel but there is only one hyper-grace gospel and it is this: God loves you. Simple! The reason I have put so many quotes above is not because this message is hard to grasp but because the love of God is extreme, over-the-top, and utterly hyper. God loves you. We will spend eternity unpacking those three little words and exploring the immeasurable reaches of His love. It’s what we were made for.

Yet we can make this gospel simpler still. We can go from three words to just one and that word is Jesus. Jesus is what the love of God looks like. Jesus is the love of God in action. Jesus is the love of God come down.

The hyper-grace gospel is the revelation of Jesus. It is the announcement that He is the beginning and the end, the first word and the last. It is the confident assurance that He who has begun a good work in you will carry it on unto completion. It is the happy revelation that in Christ, your searching is over and you have found your eternal resting place. In Him, you are already home.

Jesus is the hyper-grace gospel!

PART B: 12 Myths about the Hyper-Grace Gospel

Myth 1: Hyper-grace preachers are against repentance

“Hyper-grace preachers say there’s no need for repentance. They dismiss repentance as unbelief.” Actually, hyper-grace preachers are for repentance, not against it. We say things like “repentance is essential” and “repentance is to be our lifestyle.” We are for repentance, for without it no one can receive the grace of God.

But what is repentance?

Repentance is one of those words that means different things to different people. Those with a performance-oriented mindset typically interpret repentance as turning from sin. It’s something you do (turn) as a result of something you’ve done (sinned). It’s fixing what you broke. It’s atoning for your mistakes. It’s sewing fig leaves to hide your shame.

In contrast, faith-based repentance is always done in response to something God has done. It’s the change of heart and mind that happens when you encounter His grace.

A mixed-grace gospel will define repentance in terms of a prescribed set of behaviors (e.g., turning from sin) and emotions (e.g., sorrow and grief). But insisting on the proper way to repent is tantamount to putting people under law.

The fruit of repentance may take 101 different forms—don’t limit God—but repentance itself is simply a change of mind. It’s what the word literally means.[31]

In the words of Watchman Nee:

Repentance … means a change of mind! Formerly I thought sin a pleasant thing, but now I have changed my mind about it; formerly I thought the world an attractive place, but now I know better; formerly I regarded it a miserable business to be a Christian, but now I think differently. Once I thought certain things delightful, now I think them vile; once I thought other things utterly worthless, now I think them most precious. That is a change of mind, and that is repentance. No life can be truly changed apart from such a change of mind.[32]

We all agree that repentance is a good thing and that there should be more of it, but how do we get people to repent? A mixed-grace preacher will use carrots (“Turn from sin if you want to see God”) and sticks (“If you don’t, you’ll pay the price”), but this is the way of the flesh, not faith. This sort of repentance will lead you to trust in your own repenting efforts and miss grace. Consider the Pharisees. They turned from sin on a daily basis yet they did not recognize the Grace of God even as He came and stood among them.

Mixed-grace preachers say, “We need more preaching on repentance,” as though this would motivate people to repent. But it won’t. Only one thing is guaranteed in Scripture to lead people to repentance and that is a revelation of God’s goodness:

… God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. (Romans 2:4b, ESV)

Repentance isn’t doing something about your sin. Repentance is responding positively to God’s kindness and grace. Think of Zacchaeus, the corrupt tax-collector. The Grace of God walked into his home and he became a different man.

John Sheasby explains it like this:

The goodness in Jesus’ spirit created a comfortable, safe environment in which, though there was no pressure to change, Zacchaeus found himself wanting to and choosing to change. The goodness of God expressed in Jesus produced a true repentance.[33]

How does a hyper-grace preacher encourage repentance? By preaching the goodness of God as revealed in Jesus. A mixed gospel says, “You gotta repent or else,” but the hyper-grace gospel says, “See Jesus!” Old covenant repentance puts the focus on you and your badness, but new covenant repentance puts the focus on Him and His goodness.

When you see the Lord of grace looking at you with love and affection, you will repent. You will turn from sin to Him not because you have been bribed with carrots or threatened with sticks but because Jesus is more attractive than anything this world offers. He is the Beauty who draws us to Himself.

When Jesus said “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15), He was saying “Here is the good news of God’s grace—change your skeptical mind and believe it.” If you want to see more repentance, preach the good news of God’s kindness. Tell people about the goodness of God that is found in Jesus.

Myth 2: Hyper-grace preachers are against confession

“Hyper-grace preachers say it’s wrong to confess sins. They say confession is a form of unbelief.” Actually, every hyper-grace preacher believes in the power of confession. We say things like, “confession is good for you,” and “confession is healthy.” But what is confession?

Like the word repentance, confession is a word that has been mangled in the machinery of manmade religion. Instead of bringing healing to the hurting and life to the dead, confession is seen as the cost of admission into the house of grace. “You wanna be clean? Then ‘fess up you miserable sinner! Tell God your dirty little secrets.” But that’s not what confession is.

To confess literally means to agree with or say the same thing as another.[34] Biblical confession is agreeing with God. It’s verbalizing faith in His goodness and acknowledging your dependence upon Him (Rom. 10:9–10). It’s saying, “God, I believe You are faithful and true and will do all that You promised.”

But some people have a different definition of confession. They think confession is something you must do to make yourself clean, righteous, and forgiven. “I have to review all my sins to receive forgiveness.” But this is a dead work. Confessing-to-be-forgiven is like washing with dirty water. No matter how hard you scrub you won’t make yourself clean.

Faithless confession puts the focus on you and what you have done, but faith-based confession puts the focus on Christ and what He has done on your behalf.

Does that mean we should never confess or that it’s wrong to confess our sins? Not at all. Biblical confession is good for you. It will help you to walk in the grace that God has provided.

Steve McVey writes:

Is there a place for confession in the Christian’s life? Yes, if confession means acknowledging the foolishness of disobedience to the Father and then praising Him that we are already forgiven and accepted by Him.[35]

One of the clearest descriptions of confession comes from Max Lucado:

Confession is not complaining. If I merely recite my problems and rehash my woes, I’m whining … Confession is so much more. Confession is a radical reliance on grace. A proclamation of our trust in God’s goodness. “What I did was bad,” we acknowledge, “but your grace is greater than my sin, so I confess it.” If our understanding of grace is small, our confession will be small: reluctant, hesitant, hedged with excuses and qualifications, full of fear of punishment. But great grace creates an honest confession.[36]

We don’t repent and confess to get God to forgive us. We repent and confess because God has forgiven us. Your repentance and confession won’t change God, but it will surely change you. It will help you receive God’s life-changing grace. As Clark Whitten says, “Confession is for my healing, not for God’s forgiveness.”[37]

Those who don’t understand this may point to 1 John 1:9 which seems to say God’s forgiveness is contingent upon our confession of sins. This scripture has been so widely misunderstood that it gets mentioned in just about every book on grace. To paraphrase Andrew Farley, John cannot be saying God forgives us on account of our confession because just a few verses later he says we are forgiven on account of Jesus’ name.[38] (We’ll take a closer look at 1 John 1:9 in Part C.)

When you sin it takes no faith to beat yourself up and agree with the Accuser who calls you a sinner. It takes faith to look at the cross and say, “Thank you, Jesus, for carrying all my sin.” It takes faith to praise your Father for His superabounding grace that is greater than your transgression. And it takes faith to agree with the Holy Spirit who says, despite what you did, you are still righteous, acceptable, and pleasing to God.

Myth 3: The hyper-grace gospel is universalism in disguise

“The hyper-grace gospel says all will be saved.” Actually, it says no such thing. The hyper-grace gospel is an announcement of something that has happened. It’s not speculation about something that may yet happen.

Because I preach the unconditional love of God and universal forgiveness, I am often accused of being a Universalist. A Universalist is someone who believes all will be saved. While it may be true that most Universalists preach grace, it is not true that most grace-preachers are Universalists. In my experience, the majority are not.

So why are hyper-grace preachers mistaken for Universalists? It may be because we say the whole world is forgiven.

“See, that’s universalism right there. You’re saying everyone is saved.” Only I’m not. Forgiveness doesn’t equal salvation. Forgiveness simply means God won’t judge you for your sins. How can He, since He has already judged all your sins on the cross (Rom. 8:3)?

Your sins are not the issue. Jesus is the issue. It’s what you have done with Him that counts. Since there are some who reject the grace of God revealed in Jesus, I do not think everyone will be saved. In the end everyone gets what they want. If you want the life Jesus offers, you’ll have it. If you don’t, you won’t.

But let’s return to this business of universal forgiveness. Why do I say the whole world is forgiven? Because that’s what the Bible says. John the Baptist said of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). To take away sin is to forgive. It’s what the word forgive literally means. It’s to send away, dismiss, forsake, and let go.[39]

On the cross, Jesus took away your sin. Your sin is no longer the problem. It was a problem, but Jesus dealt with it once and for all time. By His sacrifice Jesus has “done away with sin” (Heb. 9:26).

On the cross Jesus became:

… the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2, ESV)

Jesus didn’t just take away the sins of repentant, church-goers. He took away the sins of tax collectors and tax dodgers, hookers and hackers, phonies and Pharisees. He bore everyone’s sin.

Jesus said, “For God so loved the world.” As Dudley Hall has written, God doesn’t just love good guys; He loves everyone in the world.

If you live in the world, perfect love is offered to you. It is not offered only to the good.[40]

If God’s love is indiscriminate, then so is His forgiveness. This is the true message of the cross.

Before the cross, Jesus preached conditional forgiveness to those who were born under the old covenant law (e.g., Matt. 6:14–15), but on the cross He fulfilled all the requirements of the law so that you might live under the new covenant of His grace. On the night He rose from the dead, Jesus announced a new kind of forgiveness (Luke 24:46–47): Forgiveness that is based on God’s favor rather than your works.[41]

The gospel declares that through Christ you have been completely and eternally forgiven. This is amazing news. Yet as Malcolm Smith has observed, most Christians haven’t heard it.

There is no other religion on earth that announces the forgiveness of all our sins … Our assurance that our sins have been forgiven and we have been accepted by God is the first of covenant blessings and the most important in our experience. Without this, we cannot imagine any of the other blessings. This is the kindergarten of the new covenant, yet for multitudes of church members such a joy has not been even sighted.[42]

The unsighted joy of God’s forgiveness keeps many Christians busy pursuing that which they already possess. They hear muddled messages like, “Jesus paid for your sins but He hasn’t forgiven you,” and they are told, “you need to repent and confess to complete the transaction.” But the gospel of grace announces:

Forgiveness precedes repentance. The sinner is accepted before He pleads for mercy. It is already granted. He need only receive it. Total amnesty. Gratuitous pardon.[43]

What is true for the sinner is true for the saint. You are loved! You are forgiven! God is not chasing you with a scorebook. He pursues you with grace.

There is nothing you can do to make God forgive you because He’s already done it. Your sins have been removed “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12). Because of Jesus, God is no longer counting your sins against you. This is the hyper-grace gospel!

Myth 4: Hyper-grace preachers say it’s wrong to ask God for forgiveness

“Beware the grace Pharisees who jump on you if you say something that smacks of unbelief in grace. They say it’s a sin to ask God for forgiveness.”

There is nothing wrong in coming to the throne of grace in your hour of need to receive mercy and find grace. If you need forgiveness, God has an ample supply. If asking helps you to receive, then ask. It’s not wrong to ask. What’s wrongis telling people God won’t forgive them unless they first do things like repent or confess all their sins. What’s wrong is telling the poor and needy they’ve got to pay to dine at the table of the Lord’s abundance. What’s wrong is putting price tags on the free gift of grace.

It’s not wrong to ask God for anything. He’s your Father and He cares for you. He wants you to present all your requests to Him (Php. 4:6). If you have made mistakes and are in need of forgiveness, have the freedom to ask knowing that He will give you what you ask for.

But here’s something you may not appreciate: God will forgive you even if you don’t ask. How do I know? Because He’s already done it.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. (Ephesians 1:7)

Perhaps you think you have to ask for forgiveness as in, “If I don’t ask, God won’t forgive me.” That’s like saying, “Christ didn’t carry all my sin,” which He did, or “Jesus needs to come and die again,” which He won’t, or “God needs my permission to forgive me,” which He doesn’t.

Writing in The Naked Gospel, Andrew Farley says asking God to forgive you is like asking your wife to marry you. It might help you confirm in your mind that you are actually married, but it’s not necessary. Whether you ask or not won’t change the fact that you are married. Similarly, asking God for forgiveness won’t change the fact you are forgiven.

Farley notes that nowhere in the New Testament epistles is there any hint that we need to ask God to forgive us.

Why not? Because the writers penned their words after the death of Jesus. They were fully aware of their forgiveness as an accomplished fact.[44]

By all means have the freedom to repent, confess, ask, say sorry, or turn cartwheels if you wish, but do these things out of a sense of gratitude rather than obligation. Understand that you are not forgiven because you did the right things orasked in the proper manner. You are forgiven because your Father loves you and abounds in grace towards you.

Joseph Prince writes:

I have nothing against saying “sorry” to God or confessing our sins … Do I say “sorry” to God and confess my sins when I have fallen short and failed? Of course I do. But I do it not to be forgiven because I know that I am alreadyforgiven through Jesus’ finished work.[45]

From God’s side, forgiveness is a done deal. There remain no more sacrifices for sin. But from our side sin may be a big problem indeed. Many are crippled by guilt and condemnation. Others remain slaves to sin and are incapable of making healthy choices. The solution is not to buy into a message of dead works—“Try harder! Turn from sin! Beg God to forgive you!” The remedy is to receive the grace that has been provided in Jesus Christ.

Why do you need to receive the gift of forgiveness if you are already forgiven? For the same reason you need to receive the grace of God that has appeared to all people; it will change you. It will free you from sin’s brutal and condemning grip.

Unwanted grace is worthless. Leave God’s grace on the shelf and it won’t benefit you. This is why the New Testament writers exhort us to believe the good news. They’re basically saying, “Quit beating yourself up over sin and trying to make yourself clean. Trust Jesus and rest in His finished work.”

Receiving grace is simply a matter of agreeing with God. It’s thanking Him that through Jesus “I have been cleansed from all unrighteousness, and all my sins have been taken away.”

Myth 5: Hyper-grace preachers say God is not grieved by your sin

“Hyper-grace preachers say God doesn’t care when we sin.” Actually, we say God cares very much because sin hurt the objects of His affection—us! Sin damages people, fractures friendships, and destroys families. Sin hurts you, and that makes your Father sad.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:30–32)

Is God oblivious to our shortcomings and sins? When you sin does He act like Sergeant Schulz and say, “I see nothing”? Of course not. God sees everything. Our choices bring Him pleasure and pain. Paul would not have written, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” if that wasn’t possible.

But you need to understand why God is grieved. He’s not grieved because you disappoint Him. (Since He knows everything you’ve ever done and will ever do, it’s not possible to disappoint Him.) Nor is He grieved because you broke His rules. (You are worth more to Him than any rule.) Our sins grieve Him because they hurt His kids.

Look at the sins Paul lists above and you will see they are all relational sins. They are the sins of quarreling, backbiting, and being a jerk. When we act this way we hurt those closest to us and make our Father sad. When we sin out of anger, says Paul, we give place to the devil and open a door to trouble (Eph. 4:26–27). That doesn’t make your Father happy and it won’t make you happy either.

Critics of the hyper-grace gospel say things like, “Grace teaches that God turns a blind eye to our sin.” It would be more accurate to say, “Grace teaches that God chooses to remember our sins no more.” But that doesn’t mean our sins don’t trouble Him. He is our loving Father. He cares deeply for us. He is not happy to see us destroy ourselves through sin.

If Jesus didn’t care about the effects of sin, He would not have gone to the cross. Nor would He have warned the churches in Revelation about their bad behavior and unhealthy habits. The gospel declares that God’s love us unaffected by our choices, but it does not follow that we can act without consequences.

Your behavior matters to God because you matter to God. He wants you to prosper and thrive in every area of your life. He doesn’t want you opening the door to trouble by sowing to the flesh. But even if you do—even if you make one dumb mistake after another—He will still be your Father and you will still be His dearly loved child. Your actions may be harmful and saddening to Him but you will always be the apple of His eye.

If you don’t understand the hyper-grace gospel you may imagine the Holy Spirit to be the sheriff of heaven recording all your sins and convicting you when you’re guilty. You may see Him as a Prosecutor and Policeman even though Jesus called Him the Comforter and Counselor.

Act like a sinner and you’ll grieve the Holy Spirit, but here’s what won’t happen: The Holy Spirit won’t record your sins, for He promised not to (Heb. 10:15–17); nor will He send you on a guilt-trip, for He’s the Spirit of grace not the Spirit of guilt; and He won’t withdraw from you until you get your act together, for Jesus said He would never leave you (John 14:16).

When you sin, the Holy Spirit will always point you to Jesus. He knows that as we behold the kindness and compassion of Jesus, we become kind and compassionate ourselves. As we gaze at His forgiving face, we become forgiving. As we marvel at His beauty, we become beautiful. As we behold Jesus we are transformed into His shining testimonies of grace. This makes the Holy Spirit happy.

Myth 6: Hyper-grace preachers are against the law

“Hyper-grace preachers claim that God’s law is bad or defective,” say the critics. “They are opposed to His holy commands.”

Hyper-grace preachers are accused of being antinomian or against the law because we preach what Paul preached; that we are not under law but grace (Rom. 6:14–15). We say that Christ is the end of the law for all who believe (Rom. 10:4).

The charge of antinomianism is an old one. As Clark Whitten has observed, religious people have been accusing grace preachers of being opposed to the law ever since Jesus showed up:

Jesus must have been accused of being antinomian because He defended himself by saying, “Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17). Apostle Paul must have heard the same antinomian accusation from the Judaizers and responded by writing the book of Galatians![46]

Are hyper-grace preachers against the law? Not at all. We are 100 percent for the law and the purpose for which it was given. Joseph Prince speaks for all of us when he writes:

One of the things I have been accused of is being an antinomian (someone who is against the law of Moses). The truth is that I have the highest regard for the law … I am for the law, for the purpose for which God gave the law … God did not give the law for us to keep. He gave the law to bring man to the end of himself, so that he would see his need for a Savior.[47]

A mixed-grace gospel mixes law with grace and reaps the benefits of neither. It promotes the law as a guide for living and treats grace as little more than a lubricant for greasing the cogs of self-effort. Those who buy into this message reveal their disregard for both law, since they cannot keep it yet pretend to, and grace, since they would rather trust in their own efforts than in Christ’s magnificent work. Such a person is lukewarm. They have not yielded to either the cold and unbending demands of the law or the white-hot love and grace of their Father.

In contrast, those who preach a hyper-grace gospel esteem the law and agree with Paul who said “the law is good if one uses it properly” (see 1 Tim. 1:8–11). We understand that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and those opposed to the gospel. The law is for those who trust in themselves and their own righteousness rather than in Christ and His.

A mixed-grace preacher will tell you that the law shows you how to please the Lord, but it doesn’t. Faith pleases the Lord and the law is not of faith (Gal. 3:12).

A mixed-grace preacher will say, “God gave us the law to help you overcome sin,” but He didn’t. God gave us the law to help sin overcome you (Rom. 7:10–11). As Watchman Nee once said,

We can say, reverently, that God never gave us the Law to keep: He gave us the Law to break! He well knew that we could not keep it.[48]

A hyper-grace preacher understands that the purpose of the law is to reveal sin so that we might see our need for a Savior (Rom. 7:7).

So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. (Galatians 3:24–25, NIV1984)

The law was put in charge to bring us to the end of ourselves so that we might see our need for grace. Therefore, the real antinomians are those who use the law for other purposes. They are those who honor the law with their lips while keeping only some of the commands. They are the mixed-grace preachers who dilute the law’s power to condemn the proud and silence the self-righteous. And they are the lawdrivers who dare to threaten Christ’s bride with curses and penalties.

Myth 7: Hyper-grace preachers ignore the Old Testament

 

“Hyper-grace preachers would have you throw away most of your Bible,” say the critics. “They dismiss the Old Testament as irrelevant and useless.” This is not true. We view the Old Testament as a treasure trove of stories, songs, statutes, prophecies, and promises that all point to Jesus.

The misperception that hyper-grace preachers ignore the Old Testament is easily refuted. Just read our books, watch our sermons, or listen to our podcasts. Take Joseph Prince for example. If you have heard him preach, you will know that he mines the riches of the Old Testament like few can. He delves into the meanings of Hebrew words, obscure passages, and old stories to show how the coming of Jesus and the release of God’s grace was eagerly anticipated by those who lived before Him.

 

You can preach from Genesis to Revelation from the perspective of Jesus and His grace … After all, Christ is in the Old Testament concealed, and in the New Testament revealed.[49]

 

The Old Testament is epic in scope. It covers the long period between the creation of the world and the arrival of Jesus. Somewhere in the middle of that period, Moses led the children of Israel to Mt. Sinai where they signed up for the old covenant. This was the law-keeping covenant that ran for fourteen centuries and was fulfilled on the cross. The New Testament writers make it plain that we are not to live under this old or obsolete covenant because Jesus has forged a new and better covenant based on His grace (Heb. 8:13).

The old and new covenants are very different. The old was based on frequent animal sacrifices that could never take away sin, while the new is based on the once-for-all-time sacrifice of the spotless Lamb of God (Heb. 9:26, 10:4). The old hung on your obedience and was thus doomed to fail, while the new rests on Christ’s perfect obedience unto death and thus has already succeeded.

The two covenants can be distinguished in terms of their language. Those who lived under the old covenant spoke with hunger and unfulfilled longing as they looked forward to Jesus. But we who live under the new covenant look back with gratitude and speak a new language of thanksgiving and praise. We say things like, “I have been crucified with Christ,” and “I am a new creation.” Or we would, if we understood the significance of the cross.

 

Benjamin Dunn writes:

 

Isn’t it heart-rending that so many believers don’t know how to speak this (new) language? They are stuck in the undone, instead of floating upon the finished. Some of the phrases of the old language are: “I must nail myself to the cross every day.” “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” “Lord, You saved me but now come and cleanse me,” or “Every day I’ve got to die to my flesh.” Obviously the list goes on, and for the sheer fact that I hate hearing them, I will say no more of these faithless jabberings. This is a dead language![50]

 

We are not to live by the old covenant, but that doesn’t mean we should rip it out of our Bibles. As long as we read the old with the eyes of the new we will see what we are supposed to see:

 

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself. (Luke 24:27)

 

Jesus preached from the Old Testament so that His disciples might see what was said concerning Himself. That’s why we read the Bible—to see Jesus. There are pictures of Jesus on every page.

The Bible is a story about Jesus who loved us, lost us, and won us back. It tells this story a thousand different ways, and this is why hyper-grace preachers don’t want you to throw away parts of your Bible. All of it is good and all of it points to Jesus. The Bible is the greatest story ever told.

 

Myth 8: Hyper-grace preachers disregard the words of Jesus

 

“Hyper-grace preachers say the words of Jesus are not for us. They have no authority and are irrelevant to the modern church.”

One of the strangest claims made against hyper-grace preachers is that we are dismissive of the pre-cross teachings of Jesus. In point of fact, hyper-grace preachers are the only ones taking Jesus seriously. When Jesus is preaching law, we say that’s authentic law, not to be taken lightly. And when Jesus is revealing grace, we bow in awestruck gratitude. We would not dare to re-interpret His words with qualifiers and caveats.

In contrast, those who preach a mixed-grace message dismiss the hard words of Jesus as hyperbole and exaggeration. “Jesus didn’t mean what He said about chopping off limbs or being perfect.” Like the Pharisees of old, they pick and choose those commands which are to be followed while disregarding others as metaphorical, unreal, and not to be taken seriously.

To be fair, the misperception that hyper-grace preachers reject the teachings of Jesus is based on a kernel of truth, which is this: Everything Jesus said is good, but not everything Jesus said is good for you. Or to put it another way, Jesus spoke words the whole world needs to hear, but you are not the whole world.

For instance, Jesus had strong words for the Pharisees whom He called snakes and sons of hell (Matthew 23:15, 33). Are you a snake? Are you a son of hell? If not, then Jesus words for them may not be meant for you.

Does this mean we should go through the Gospels cutting out those bits that don’t apply to us? Personally, I don’t like the idea of chopping up the Bible. I think all Scripture is useful for teaching and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). But relevance is determined by context.

If you are self-righteous, then the harsh words of Jesus to the self-righteous are relevant for you. You need to hear Jesus say this:

 

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)

 

However, if you are not confident of your own righteousness, then you need to hear His promises of grace:

 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

 

What you hear in the words of Jesus reflects what is in your heart. If you are standing on your own righteousness you will hear law like you’ve never heard it before. “You have heard it said … but I say unto you …”

Jesus preached tough, merciless law that leaves no margin for error. “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). The message is clear. Either you must be perfect or you must be represented by One who is.

However, if you already know that you are not perfect, you need to hear Jesus’ words of grace. You need to hear Him speak about His Father who loves you, cares for you, and offers you His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).

The genius of Jesus is that He could speak to a crowd of people and connect with everyone at their point of need. Consider Jesus’ story of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9–14):

 

How does this parable make you feel? Does it fill you with joy or resentment? Your response to the story is your response to the gospel. If you identify with the sinful tax collector, then this story is good news. Really? He went home justified? That’s the scandal of grace right there. God justifies sinners (Romans 4:5) … But if you are confident of your self-righteousness, this story is not good news at all. “Wait a second. I fast. I tithe. I am better than other people. Jesus, what are you saying?” Jesus doesn’t mince His words. “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled” (Luke 18:14). That’s a hard word for a hard heart. It’s a word that condemns the self-righteous and silences the boastful. It’s a word of law for those who don’t see their need for grace.[51]

 

A mixed-grace preacher reads the words of Jesus selectively but a hyper-grace preacher values everything Jesus says. He recognizes that Jesus is the perfect Physician who always prescribes the perfect medicine. He gives law to the smug and grace to the needy. No matter who you are or where you are on your journey, Jesus has life-saving words for you.

 

Myth 9: The hyper-grace gospel encourages sin

 

“The hyper-grace gospel leads people to sin. Sinful living is the fruit of the modern grace message.” For 2,000 years, those opposed to the gospel of grace have said it promotes sin and licentiousness (Romans 6:1–2). But grace is no more a license to sin than electricity is a license to electrocute yourself. Saying “grace promotes sin” is like saying “medicine promotes sickness.” It’s a distortion that leads people to distrust the only thing that can empower them to sin no more.

Spurgeon had little time for such foolishness:

 

No doctrine is so calculated to preserve a man from sin as the doctrine of the grace of God. Those who have called it “a licentious doctrine” did not know anything about it.[52]

 

“Hyper-grace preachers say it doesn’t matter what you do. You can go on sinning.” Actually, it does matter what you do because sin is destructive. Sin hurts people. But since we are not in the habit of drawing attention to other people’s sin, I can understand how some have this misperception. So can D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

 

There is no better test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that it really amounts to this, that because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like because it will redound all the more to the glory of grace. That is a very good test of gospel preaching. If my preaching and presentation of the gospel of salvation does not expose it to that misunderstanding, then it is not the gospel.[53]

 

Preach the scandalous grace of God and some will misinterpret your message as an endorsement of sin. It’s practically inevitable. But those who dismiss grace as a license to sin merely show their ignorance of it. As John Calvin may have said, “How can the medicine that’s supposed to kill the disease (grace) feed the disease (sin)?”

“Hyper-grace preachers are soft on sin. They don’t condemn the sin that’s right in front of them.” The same accusation could be leveled at Jesus. An adulterous woman was brought to Him for judgment and He didn’t even mention her sin. Not once. Instead, He said “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Jesus wasn’t making a threat. He was saying, “Receive my gift of no condemnation and be set free from sin.”

“Hyper-grace preachers are closet sinners who distort the message of grace to accommodate their ungodly lifestyles.” Grace preachers are sometimes compared to the licentious men of Jude 1:4. Because we stand with Jesus instead of the rock-throwing Pharisees we are thought to be soft on sin and sinners ourselves. This is a slanderous accusation made by the ignorant and graceless.

To be sure, the abuse of grace is a legitimate concern. But so is medical malpractice and no one is suggesting we should shut down hospitals. As Rob Rufus likes to say, “The best response to abuse is not non-use but proper use.”

Grace-abusers are often confused about their relationship to God. As Jefferson Bethke has said, “Only people who see God as their judge, not their Father, try to take advantage of grace.”[54]

The issue for the abuser is not behavior but identity, because one follows the other. What you do flows out of who you are. If you see yourself as a sinner, you’ll sin. But if you see yourself as a dearly loved child of God, you won’t. You’ll gladly receive His grace that frees you from the dominion of sin (see Rom. 6:14).

Paul White writes:

 

There is a difference between chasing grace for what it gives and chasing it for Who grace is … It is Jesus, not a message, that makes us who we are.[55]

 

Jesus is grace. To abuse grace is to abuse Jesus. Those who love Him would never do it.

 

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness … (Titus 2:11–12a)

 

Jesus is the grace of God that offers salvation to all people. His grace teaches us to say no to sin. If the grace you’re drinking teaches you to say yes to sin, it’s not the grace of God. It’s a manmade substitute.

To say grace promotes sin is like saying Jesus promotes sin. It’s slanderous at best, and blasphemous at worse. Grace isn’t permission to sin; it’s the power of God to sin no more.

Some make a great show of suppressing sin by laying down the law but all they do is drive sin underground. A law-based approach cannot work because the strength of sin is the law (1 Cor. 15:56). Combating sin with the law is like trying to put out a fire with a bucket of gasoline.

It is not God’s law that teaches us to say no to ungodliness, it is His grace. Those who seek to mix grace with law ruin the medicine that would otherwise set you free. Only God’s pure and undiluted grace can turn a sinner into a saint, a hater into a lover, and a Pharisee into an apostle.

Stumble and sin in a mixed-grace church and the message you get will be, “Look at what you did!” But sin in a hyper-grace church and the message will be, “Look at what He did and what you can now do because of what He did!”

A mixed-grace church would have you turn from every sin until you’re a dizzy sinner. But a hyper-grace church will do what Paul did with the sinning Corinthians and seek to reveal your true identity in Christ. They will say things like:

 

(You are) sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be His holy people … Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in Him you have been enriched in every way … (and) He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:2–5, 8).

 

We don’t get victory over sin by striving to keep the rules. We overcome sin by trusting Jesus who loves us and lives within. So reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to Christ and be free!

 

Myth 10: The hyper-grace gospel discourages obedience and holy living

 

“Grace preachers may not be promoting sin,” say the critics. “But neither are they challenging people to embrace a lifestyle of obedience to Jesus.” That depends on your definition of obedience. If by obedience you mean, “Obey the rules, or else,” then you are right for a grace preacher would put law on a believer.

A mixed-grace preacher says, “You gotta obey God,” but the bottom line is not whether you obey Him, but whether you trust Him. Wayne Jacobsen explains the difference in his book, He Loves Me:

 

One can obey God and yet not trust Him, and in doing so miss out on a relationship with Him. One cannot, however, trust God and be disobedient to Him.[56]

 

Grace preachers emphasize the love of God for the same reason Jesus did: Our Father’s love is the root on which we grow. Obedience is not something we do to merit His love. It is evidence that His love has been made complete in us.

Joseph Prince writes:

 

People say that those who preach grace don’t preach on obedience. What they don’t realize is that under the old covenant of law, obedience was the root of all God’s blessings. But under the new covenant of grace God blesses us first, and obedience is the fruit.[57]

 

Another complaint made against the hyper-grace gospel is that it is unbalanced. It emphasizes one teaching (grace) above all others (repentance, obedience, holiness, etc.). But as we have seen, grace is not a teaching. Grace is a Person and His name is Jesus. In Him is found all the wisdom and all the teaching you’ll ever need.

Others say, “we need grace and we need truth,” as though it was possible to have one without the other. Yet there is no grace without truth and both are embodied in Jesus. “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). If you have Him you have grace and you have truth in abundance. You have the complete package.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say you could have grace without truth. What is the truth that is apparently missing from the hyper-grace gospel? According to our critics, it is an insufficient emphasis on law keeping and holy living.

“The hyper-grace preachers say, ‘Jesus loves you,’ but that’s only half the message. They don’t tell you about His words in John 14:15—‘If you love me, you will obey what I command.’”

A mixed-grace preacher reads the words of Jesus backwards and says you must obey to prove your love. But obedience is a fruit, not a root. Jesus is making a promise not a threat. He’s saying that as you abide in the vine and bask in His love, He will bear His fruit in your life effortlessly. It’s inevitable.

A hyper-grace preacher takes Jesus at His word: “If you love me, you will obey.” Those who are resting in the unconditional love of Jesus will trust Him and do what He says without any conscious effort. They don’t need rules to tell them what to do for the Holy Spirit Himself is their guide (John 16:13). It’s a completely different way to live.

“Hyper-grace preachers affirm the lustful desires of their hearers.” What lustful desires? If you’ve been born again, you have been given a new nature and a new heart. Saint, you are one with the Lord. You have the same desires as Jesus.

“Grace keeps Christians immature and discourages them from pursuing holiness.” Why do we need to pursue that which we already possess? “Because sanctification is progressive,” says the holiness preacher. “It’s the result of faithful discipline in prayer, Bible study, and purity.” But the Bible says holiness is a gift. Like all the blessings of God, holiness comes us to us through grace alone.

 

It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30)

 

Do not have any doubts about God’s requirements. He requires you to be wholly holy. You’re not getting in unless you are. But the hyper-grace gospel declares that the holiness you and I both need is found in Jesus Christ. Sanctification isn’t a three-step process, it’s a one-step process and Jesus is that step.

“Hyper-grace preachers discourage holy living.” Actually, what we discourage is the futile quest to make yourself holy by acting holy. We agree with the New Testament writers who said things like, “You are holy so be holy.”[58]

Do you see the difference? Under the old covenant it was do-to-become. Act holy and maybe you’ll get holy, although no one ever did. But under the new covenant it’s do-because-you-are. Be holy because in Christ you are holy and you are holy through and through.

How do hyper-grace preachers encourage holiness? Not by getting you to sign up for flesh-powered holiness courses. Instead, our desire is that you will

 

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

 

There is nothing within us that can save us or sanctify us. Everything we need has to come from above. Everything we need is found in Jesus.

 

Myth 11: Hyper-grace preachers don’t talk about hell and wrath

 

“Hyper-grace preachers present an unbalanced view of God,” say the critics. “They’ll tell you about His love but not His wrath or judgment. They’ll tell you about heaven but not about hell.”

Contrary to what you may have heard, hyper-grace preachers do talk about hell, wrath, and judgment. (I have written whole series of articles on these topics and I hardly think I am the only grace-preacher who has done so.) But what we don’t do is mix bad news with the good news.

Andrew Wommack writes:

 

The gospel is good news—not bad news! That definitely limits what we mean by the word gospel.[59]

 

Those opposed to the modern grace message sometimes claim that we who preach it have left hell out of the gospel. They are correct. Hell is bad news; the gospel is good news. By definition, there can be no bad news in the good news.

Wayne Jacobsen writes that when we use the threat of hell to motivate people to come to God, we are using it in a way Jesus never intended. As a result,

 

We push people farther away from God’s greatest desire rather than inviting them closer to it. His message was not “Come to God or you’ll burn in hell.” His message was “God’s kingdom has come near you and you can become a participant in it.”[60]

 

Jesus was not interested in scaring the hell out of people but inviting all to enter the kingdom of heaven. It’s not about what you have been saved from, but what you have been saved to.

It is significant that in his summary of the gospel, Paul never mentions hell:

 

By this gospel you are saved … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:2–4)

 

Indeed, Paul never mentions hell by name in any of his letters. Although Paul did preach on judgment and the coming wrath he never used the fear of hell to push people into a loving relationship with Jesus. There is no fear in love.

Darrin Hufford writes that we are drawn to God by the Holy Spirit, not threats of hell:

 

Threats of hell bring fear and condemnation. Only a loveless person could think of such a thing … God didn’t create men to save their souls from hell. He created men and women to have relationships with one another and with Him … God never delights in people getting what they deserve. He is about saving us from what we deserve.[61]

 

To place hell at the center of the gospel is to mischaracterize God as a vengeful punisher who sends people to hell, when in truth He is a loving Father who saves His kids from the hell of their own choices.

“Hyper-grace preachers never warn the saints about the coming wrath.” Nor does anyone in the Bible. John the Baptist warned the Pharisees and the Sadducees about the coming wrath but you are not a Pharisee or a Sadducee. The gospel is not “be wary of the coming wrath,” but “Jesus rescues us from the coming wrath” (see 1 Th. 1:10). For the believer, wrath has been taken out of the equation.

A mixed-grace preacher will blend bad news with good news and insist that the threat of hell is part of the gospel message. He will confuse the saints by telling them God loves them, but if they’re not careful they may fall under His judgment and wrath. Those who are saved may become unsaved and those whom God adopts He may yet abandon.

In contrast, a hyper-grace preacher says there’s no bad news in the good news. He will seek to woo sinners with the love of God and reassure the saints that no one can snatch them out of their Father’s hand. He will say things like “nothing in life or death can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:38–39).

 

Myth 12: The hyper-grace gospel makes people lazy

 

“Grace is a soft gospel for soft Christians,” say the critics. “Grace promotes passivity and laziness.” It does? Then I guess somebody forgot to tell Paul:

 

By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)

 

This is not a Grammy speech. This is Paul giving us the secret to his success.

Paul was a tough-as-nails church planter. He wrote letters that would shape the world for 2,000 years. How’d he do it? “I didn’t make this happen,” said Paul. “God and I did it together.”

Grace doesn’t make people lazy; it makes them productive and supernaturally fruitful. In contrast with the law that provides no aid to those who trust it, grace makes us soar.

A 300-year-old poem from John Bunyan expresses this perfectly:

 

Run, John, run, the law commands,

But gives us neither feet nor hands.

Far better news the gospel brings:

It bids us fly and gives us wings.[62]

 

In his book Extra Virgin Grace, Ryan Rufus has a chapter entitled, “More gets done when you rest.” This title perfectly captures the relationship between God’s grace and our fruitfulness. For as long as you are working for the Lord—trying to serve, trying to produce—you cannot bear His fruit. But the moment you start resting in the Lord, He will begin to bear His fruit in you. It’s a huge difference.

When I was a pastor, I used to bust my hump in service to the Lord. Any fruit I had was piddling. But since I have learned to rest in God’s grace, I have become a thousand times more fruitful. Every grace preacher has the same testimony. Had you heard of Joseph Prince or Andrew Wommack before they started preaching radical grace?

One of the best illustrations of how grace makes us fruitful comes from Tullian Tchividjian’s book One Way Love. Tchividjian tells the story of two friends who applied for college. One was accepted but the other was deferred. In the subsequent months both friends took similar classes and had a similar workload. But the one who had been accepted into college branched out into a number of extracurricular activities. He started a band, got into rock-climbing, and set up a program for under-privileged kids. The other friend also got involved in extra-curricular activities but he did so in the hope of impressing college acceptance boards. How did things turn out?

At the end of the semester the student who had been deferred was exhausted while the student who had been accepted was full of energy. Free from the pressure to perform and the need to play it safe, the accepted student wrote papers about topics he was genuinely interested in and attained higher grades. Tchividjian concludes that the fruit of assurance was not laziness but creativity, charity, and fun.[63]

The unconditional love of God gives you wings. It inspires you to take risks and be generous with your life. When you are frolicking in the grace of God, work doesn’t feel like work. It feels like fun.

“But if you tell people they don’t have to do anything for God, they won’t.” Good! They shouldn’t, because your Father is not looking for servants, He’s looking for Sons. It’s not about what you do for Him. It’s about what you and He can do together. By himself the apostle Paul could do nothing, but he and God together changed the world.

“Hyper-grace believers are too lazy to open their Bibles and read Scripture for themselves.” Don’t fall for the line that says reading a certain number of scriptures or praying a certain length of time impresses God. It doesn’t. The New Testament Christians didn’t even have Bibles and most of them couldn’t read anyway. Yet this did not stop them from walking in their Father’s favor and setting the world on fire with the good news of Jesus.[64]

“Grace is irresponsible for it says we have no responsibility to do anything. We have a duty to serve the Lord.” In the mouth of a mixed-grace preacher, words like responsibility and duty are the cattle-prods of performance-based Christianity. They convey a sense of obligation that leaves you debt-conscious rather than grace-conscious.

Jesus didn’t suffer and die to put you in His debt. He did it to show you how much He loves you. The idea that you are obliged to repay Him for His priceless sacrifice is ludicrous. What can you give Him in consideration for His grace? There is nothing. The instant you give Him anything, it ceases to be grace. Your only “duty” is to say, “Thank you, Jesus!”

In a mixed-grace environment you will feel the pressure to perform and live up to the expectations of others. But walk under pure grace and you find there is no pressure, only the freedom to be who God made you to be. Manmade religion will tell you that you have a responsibility to deliver results for the Lord, but your only responsibility is to shine as a dearly-loved child of God.

 

We have looked at twelve myths or misperceptions that some have about the hyper-grace gospel. Since I preach this gospel, this list was easy to make. I encounter these misperceptions all the time. Perhaps you have encountered some of them as well.

These twelve myths are pervasive. They regularly appear in articles and books attacking the modern grace message. Every single myth listed here appears in some form in Dr. Brown’s book, as we shall discover in Part C.

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