There is NOTHING wrong with Grace – Part 1

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Dear friends,

Recently Charisma Magazine had been publishing articles warning many of the dangers of the “grace movement” by labeling it “hyper grace” or “dangerous grace”.

Cheap Grace?

Such attacks are not new. Many also misquoted Dietrich Bonheoffer and label grace as “cheap”.   Why do people quote Bonhoeffer without quoting its context? The words, “grace without repentance, baptism with discipline must be read in the light that cheap grace is to preach grace as a doctrine rather than a person.

These are the words which form the context of what he said, “Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian “conception” of God.”

When you preach grace as a doctrine, there is no genuine repentance, there is no genuine baptism, there is no new man.

Dear friends, the grace of God is made available for us because we have been redeemed by His Blood. It costs much more than silver and gold. If you therefore think you can think it can be replaced by your sacrifice, blood, sweat, tears, effort, service and etc, you indeed are practicing “cheap grace”.

Grace is costly. However, it is not costly because we can deserve it, it is costly not because it demands everything from us, it is costly not because we have “pay it” back. If you think you can do all these things and deem it worthy of the grace that was shed onto you, you have just cheapen grace.

Grace is costly because of the one who was given to you. Grace is costly because of the person of Jesus. Grace is costly because God the Word became God the Lamb. Grace is costly because the Father sacrifice His Son. That is why Bonheoffer said, “If you teach grace as a doctrine and not a person, you teach “cheap grace”.”

Mike Bickle’s failure to understand Jude 3-4

I refer now to Mike Bickle’s article “What is wrong with grace?” http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/38918-mike-bickle-whats-wrong-with-grace

Mike begins his article and basis with these words.

“The apostle Jude confronted the great spiritual crisis of his day when he exhorted believers to contend earnestly for the “faith” or for the message of grace originally delivered to them through the first apostles. In Jude 3-4, he writes: “I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed … ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness.”

Think about this: Within one generation after Jesus’ resurrection, it was already necessary to contend for the true grace message. That’s how key this battle over the true grace message is and always has been since Jesus’ definitive work on the cross.

Jude warned of certain men who crept into the fellowship of the church unnoticed—that is, their error went unnoticed by most of the leaders and the people. These men turned the message of grace into a message of lewdness or one that affirmed various compromises, even sexual immorality. These men with persuasive teaching abilities twisted what the Bible said about grace, thus empowering many to confidently continue in sinful activities without feeling any urgency to repent.”

I will echo Jeff Turner’s wise words before I begin to explain what Jude really means and point to you such “teachers” a do not understand what they are talking about. Jeff says “I do not like to react when people put out unfounded, and untrue articles and messages concerning what they call “the Grace movement”, but I also understand that there are a lot of vulnerable people out there who are uninformed about these things, and will be swayed by these people’s wise sounding words.”

This note as such is not written as a critic of Mike Bickle’s article but for people who may or may be swayed by the article.

I have read many translations on Jude but the closest to the spirit of the original text seems to be from the Message (a paraphrasing by the brilliant Eugene Peterson.)

Here it is. Notice the words I highlight.

JUDE 1
The Message (MSG)

1-2 I, Jude, am a slave to Jesus Christ and brother to James, writing to those loved by God the Father, called and kept safe by Jesus Christ. Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!

FIGHT WITH ALL YOU HAVE IN YOU
3-4 Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish. What has happened is that some people have infiltrated our ranks (our Scriptures warned us this would happen), who beneath their pious skin are shameless scoundrels. Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license—which means doing away with Jesus Christ, our one and only Master.

Notice something interesting? Jude says believers are called and KEPT SAFE by JESUS CHRIST! Not your works nor by observing the Law! It is a GIFT!

So the “people” he mentioned are not believers but false teachers who crept into church and teach “another gospel”. These are not believers. They never had salvation in the first place.

Now let’s deal with the issue and the accusation that grace teachers are “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness.” We must understand that the New Testament is written in Greek. I chose the Message’s version because it actually shows you what this phrase actually means.

“Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license” Notice the word “turning” is actually “replace”. In fact the word “turns” here means to take out one thing and replace it with another.

Let me show you the verse in the KJV with Strong’s Concordance.

Jud 1:4 ForG1063 there are certainG5100 menG444 crept in unawares,G3921 who were before of old ordainedG4270 G3819 toG1519 thisG5124 condemnation,G2917 ungodly men,G765 turningG3346 theG3588 graceG5485 of ourG2257 GodG2316 intoG1519 lasciviousness,G766 andG2532 denyingG720 theG3588 onlyG3441 LordG1203 God,G2316 andG2532 ourG2257 LordG2962 JesusG2424 Christ.G5547

Now the word “turning”.

G3346

μετατίθημι

metatithēmi

Thayer Definition:

1) to transpose (two things, one of which is put in place of the other)

This is how the verse should be translated.

4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, took out the grace of our God and replace it with lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Look how the Amplified Bible uses the word “pervert into”.

4 For certain men have crept in stealthily [[c]gaining entrance secretly by a side door]. Their doom was predicted long ago, ungodly (impious, profane) persons who pervert the grace (the spiritual blessing and favor) of our God into lawlessness and wantonness and immorality, and disown and deny our sole Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

This means the message of Grace actually leads you away from lawlessness and wantonness and immorality. BUT to promote lawlessness, wantonness and immorality, you have to PERVERT GRACE. You have to “metatithēmi” take out Grace and replace it with another gospel. You have to REMOVE GRACE before lewdness comes in.

When you remove the Grace of God, license will come in.

When you take Grace out and replace with something else, it breeds license.

IMAGINE YOU BEING A CAR< GRACE IS THE HANDBRAKE, LOSE IT AND THE CAR GOES DOWN HILL.

Do you honestly think without the grace of God you can be holy by your own? Do you actually think you can be protected or be exempted from curses without the grace of God?

Context

That was also what happened to the children of Israel who was led away by God through the covenant of Abraham (grace) and ended up dead in the desert when they replace the covenant of Abraham (grace) with the covenant of Moses (law). That was what Jude meant by “they defected”.

See how the Amplified speaks about “self reliant” rather than “God reliant”?

5 Now I want to remind you, though you were fully informed once for all, that though the Lord [at one time] delivered a people out of the land of Egypt, He subsequently destroyed those [of them] who did not believe [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him].

That is the way of Cain who offered a bloodless sacrifice to seek worship from God. A religion of works. That was the error of Balaam think God’s people can be curse despite their frailties.

Please view this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UOjnJMA29Ow

 

Diluted Message?

Mike then argues that “Sadly, some believers aren’t even aware of this spiritual crisis regarding a diluted grace message. They must wake up to the emergency at hand—because today, as we contend for the spirit of truth, we are fighting for the very soul of a generation.”

Really?

Are we really speaking a diluted message?

I personally the diluted gospel is one which we preach that devoid the power of the cross and makes it conditional on my obedience or my commitment to Christ. It is the focus on what I can do rather than what has been done for me.

“When the emphasis becomes human-centered rather than God-centered. In more conservative contexts, you hear it as exhortation: “These are God’s commandments. The culture is slipping away from us. We have to recover it, and you play a role. Is your life matching up to what God calls us to?” Of course there is a place for that, but it seems to be the dominant emphasis.

Then there is the therapeutic approach: “You can be happier if you follow God’s principles.” All of this is said with a smile, but it’s still imperative. It’s still about techniques and principles for you to follow in order to have your best life now.

In both cases, it’s law rather than gospel. I don’t even know when I walk into a church that says it’s Bible-believing that I’m actually going to hear an exposition of Scripture with Christ at the center, or whether I’m going to hear about how I should “dare to be a Daniel.” The question is not whether we have imperatives in Scripture. The question is whether the imperatives are all we are getting, because people assume we already know the gospel—and we don’t.”

Why do people think this is the Gospel?

“It’s our default setting. No one has to be taught to trust in themselves. No one has to be taught that what you experience inside yourself is more authoritative than what comes to you externally, even if it comes from God. Since the Fall, it has been part of our character to look within ourselves.”

“The gospel has nothing to do with what I do. The gospel is entirely a message about what someone else has done not only for me but also for the renewal of the whole creation…. Paul calls the gospel “the power of God unto salvation,” and I don’t think he meant the power of God just unto conversion. The gospel remains the power of God unto salvation until we are glorified. Calvin once said we need the gospel preached to us every week, and the Lord’s Supper to ratify that promise, because we are partly unbelievers until we die.”

On the point of having to do this and that, Michael says this:

The gospel is not even my conversion experience. If somebody asks me what the gospel is, I’m not going to talk about me; I’m going to talk about Christ. All of the testimonies we find from the apostles’ lips are not testimonies about what happened in their hearts. They are testimonies about what happened in history when God saved his people from their sins. That’s the gospel. Although the gospel makes all sorts of things happen inside of me and gives me the fruit of the Spirit, the gospel itself is always an external word that comes to me announcing that someone else in history has accomplished my salvation for me.

Someone comes with instructions and says, “Here’s what your life could be like if you do x, y, or z.”Good news is, “Let me tell you what has happened!” The gospel is not good instructions, not a good idea, and not good advice. The gospel is an announcement of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. (Michael Horton)”

 

To ask us to seek after a relationship there is to teach us to chase after an elusive dream

Mike Bickle then accuses grace preachers of the following “The same is true with hyper-grace teachers today. They choose to emphasize only God’s love and forgiveness while practically ignoring Jesus’ call for His people to walk in wholehearted commitment to the Lord. They preach mostly on forgiveness without repentance and on receiving God’s blessing on their circumstances without any conditions. The truth is, it’s glorious that we are freely forgiven by Jesus and that He blesses our circumstances; but these truths are in context to seeking to live in a real relationship with Him and in agreement with His leadership and Word.

With respect, this is totally untrue.

There is a necessity to preach the total forgiveness of sins. This is why. It is the ONLY way we live in a real relationship with Him and in agreement with His leadership and Word. Dear friends, we don’t seek to live in such relationship. We ARE ALREALDY in such a relationship. Here’s why?

Dear friends, I want us to know before Jesus died, the Holy Spirit can only be on you or with you. He cannot be in you. So the control is still external, not internal.

Numbers 11:17

I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

Judges 6:34

Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him.

2 Kings 2:15

The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.

So only when Jesus died, the Holy Spirit could come into you. Why is that? It is because Jesus did not only forgave you. He took your sins once and for all. In the past the Holy Spirit does not remain on a person. It is only when Jesus came that the Spirit remained on a man. The reason the Spirit can remain on him is because He was the spotless and sinless Lamb of God. He was sinless. We on the other hand were not. We now because of the death of the Lamb are holy, blameless and without wrinkle. Jesus took all our sins away. Hebrews 10.

He became sin so that we become the righteousness of God in Christ. Whose righteousness? The Father’s! Now the Holy Spirit who was on us and with us, can finally be in us. Forever!

John 14: 17

17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

John 20:

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

This was only possible after Jesus resurrected! The word tells us that He was raised for our justification.

Because our sins were taken away once and for all, the Holy Spirit now can come into us. God finally has influence on the inside. He can now trust His Spirit to change us. By His Spirit we are changed in our nature, we now lose our sinful nature, we have now gain a divine nature.

If there is yet one sin who has not been forgiven or not taken away, the Holy Spirit can only be on us NOT with us.

Do you think God is stupid? Forbid it! He trusts Himself rather than our ability. You see the law’s power was weakened because of our sinful nature.

Romans 8:3

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh.

Note the Law was powerless. It does even say it has 1% power It has 0% power.

So friend, when we preach to you that your sins are forgiven, past, present and future, we are saying that the license to sin is revoked. Now, there is a new guy in your body. The Spirit of Jesus.

Romans 8:

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

So please stop telling people that Grace is license to sin. It is NOT. It is license to Kill. Your sinful nature is NOW killed off. You now are available fully to HIM because He is now in you. You also have the license to live too. Cause now the control is in the Father and NOBODY DOES IT BETTER than Jesus. That is why our relationship is already seal. Teaching people that they have to SEEK such a relationship is NOT preaching the Gospel. We already have this real relationship. To ask us to seek something we have is to preach an elusive dream. We are already living this dream.

I will address the rest of his article tomorrow. As for Charisma magazine, you seem to have forgotten this was your cover story only a year ago: http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/church-ministry/10870-prince-of-grace. Please be consistent.

Here’s part 2 of the article: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/grace-has-to-be-hyper/

9 Comments

  1. Conditonal grace is not grace at all because grace, in it’s very essence, is unconditional. Thanks for a thorough reflection on this topic, God Bless~Mike

  2. Yes! Yes! Yes!

    Every time I read or listen to a “radical grace” preacher I learn something awesome about God and His wonderful plan. It’s like the message of grace is the key that unlocks the magnificent message of the Bible. It’s so amazing to learn more and more (like a feast) how Jesus is revealed in ALL of the Scriptures. (After all, those who walked with Jesus said their hearts burned within them as Jesus explained how the Scriptures [Old Testament] spoke of Him.)

    What Bickle doesn’t understand is the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian. He even promotes Catholic mystics, such as Theresa of Avila, as a source of spiritual “fire.” Theresa wandered through countless rooms in the “interior castle” of her heart! She even opposed the “grace alone” message of the Reformation and joined Loyola and the Jesuits in the Counter-Reformation. If Bickle was so doctrinally sound, why would he promote any of the Catholic mystics? Especially Avila!

    Perhaps his willingness to oppose grace comes from the same place as those who opposed it in the Counter-Reformation. Perhaps the message has offended him because he has been teaching for years that it’s somehow more spiritual to put effort into seeking God–rather than entering in boldly by the blood of the Lamb.

    He must not understand that nothing can be added to grace or else we’re saying the work of Christ on the Cross wasn’t enough.

    Great column!

  3. Simon, thanks for posting this! The realization I came to a couple years ago was that even though many of the well known prophetic/charismatic teachers (like Bickle) have a sincere passion for God, many do not preach a clear distinction between Old and New Covenant. They will preach a conditional relationship with God and emphasize our need for zeal and seeking God. But these things must spring forth from rest in His finished work. Many of the popular teachings out there will leave you constantly striving to become closer, more intimate with God but never satisfied. It is a trap for unenlightened zealots. Thanks again for bringing clarity. I was actually just thinking about the book of Jude right before going onto this post.

  4. I once read that this teaching that says salvation is free but we have to live up to it’s standards is like having to pay rent to stay saved. Which of course is a mockery of the free-gift of God. Either it’s fully free and we are fully forgiven or it’s only partly free and we are only forgiven up to a point.

  5. I’ve read that on charisma also and you answered him truthfully. I see He has no revelation of the grace of God The way God revealed it. I really liked your post. All yeah and by the way I preached out of your post already.

  6. Pingback: The Grace Space

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