Recently Charisma Magazine had been publishing articles warning many of the dangers of the “grace movement” by labeling it “hyper grace” or “dangerous grace”. This part 2 of my response to the article “What is wrong about Grace?” by Mike Bickle.
It is very important for us to note that when Paul was speaking to the Christians in Corinth about the ministry of condemnation, he was not speaking about the law. Rather he was explaining to them that the approach they were adopting were a balance between law and grace. The ministry of death is NOT the law alone.
This is how Bible Scholar John Darby puts it “The revelation of grace in a measure (that is, unless it be in the fulness and perfectness of its own glory – God’s love to the sinner in Christ) only enhances the sin of man, and makes his responsibility and condemnation the greater.”
What this means is simply if we share grace with people without the law, we are preaching grace “with measure”. It only makes one sin more and condemns him further.
Darby argues that it is not pure law because the first time Moses went to pick up the law, he did not have a veil over his face. Darby continues “And this is not mere abstract reasoning: God has brought it all out in His dealings. When Moses put a veil over his face, as referred to by the apostle here, it was not when it was pure law. When Moses came down from the mount the first time and broke the tables (Ex. 32), there was no veil.
That was all on the supposition of there being the possibility of relationship between the people and God on the ground of law. He had nothing to do but to break the tables, since all relationship on that ground was gone.
He could not give them to Israel (they had made the golden calf); so he broke them. He goes up again (v. 30), saying, “Peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin,” and says to the Lord, “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin – and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book, which thou hast written.”
To this the Lord answers, “Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book,” etc. Then (chap. 33: 12-23), we find Moses, emboldened by his knowledge of the exceeding loving-kindness of God, interceding again. He beseeches God to shew him His glory; and God (in answer to Moses’ prayer), says, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee,” etc.
This is not merely law. Moses hidden in a cleft of the rock (chap. 34), the Lord passes by before him, and proclaims, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.” This means the second time receive the law it was mixed with grace. That was when a veil was placed before his face.
“In a certain sense, that was grace; not the sovereign grace of God which we know in Christ, but His “goodness.” It is well to observe, in passing (this being often quoted, as a general statement of what God is), that it is not a revelation of what God is in grace, as now presented to sinners”,Darby argues.
We so often do this don’t we? We tell people that you are saved by grace but if you don’t love Jesus, you will be punish by God. Let me be very clear. The Bible does not teach us to love God the way Mike Bickle teaches as a “commandment”. Dear friends, “loving God with ALL your heart, soul and mind” is not the Spirit’s function. Nether is “you shall love your neighbour as yourself” a reflection of the Spirit’s ministry. Now before you throw stones at me listen to what Matthew records for in Chapter 22 verse 40.
The NLT says “The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” This is NOT the ministry of the Spirit as Mr. Bickle says. The ministry of the Spirit and law are of the opposite ends.
The ministry of the Spirit cannot be balanced with the ministry of the Law.
King James Version (KJV)
7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
The ministration of that was engraved in stone is “Loving God will all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbour as yourself”; and “The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
The question here is are we bound to do this?
Perhaps I am asking the wrong question. I should ask Mr. Bickle this question “can you do that? ALL your heart? What happens when you can’t?”
Here’s your answer;
King James Version (KJV)
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
24 So the law was put in charge until Christ came. He came so that we might be made right with God by believing in Christ.
25 But now faith in Christ has come. So we are no longer under the control of the law.
So are we teaching you a license to sin? Dear friends, it fundamental for us to realize the Law of Love referred to Romans 8, Galatians 6, 1 John 3 and James 2 does not mean the 10 commandments. Rather it is the new commandment Jesus gave to us “To love one another as i have loved you.” The emphasis is “As I have loved you”.
This means it is not about me and my power to love. We are told often that the Spirit of God is given to to enable me to obey the commandments of God. I beg to differ. As indicated to you the Spirit of God functions independently of the law. Its job is simple. Tells you how much Jesus loves you. Its not about how much you love him but how much he loves you. This is the spring board of the Law of Love.
Check this out:
5 And hope will never let us down. God has poured his love into our hearts. He did it through the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us. Notice the words, HIS love. HE did it. HE HAS given to us. All Him. John tells us we love because God first loved us. The Holy Spirit does help us love Him. The Holy Spirit fills us with His personality, His nature and His love.
John tells us in 1 John 3 that “That’s because we obey his commands. We do what pleases him. God has commanded us to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ. He has also commanded us to love one another. Those who obey his commands remain joined to him. And he remains joined to them. How do we know that God lives in us? We know it because of the Holy Spirit he gave us.”
It is the Spirit that transform us from within.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)
17 Now the Lord is the Holy Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, freedom is also there.
18 Our faces are not covered with a veil. We all display the Lord’s glory. We are being changed to become more like him so that we have more and more glory. And the glory comes from the Lord, who is the Holy Spirit.
Here lies the questions: What is the veil? How can it be removed?
The veil is the reading of the law and it is removed by turning to the Spirit. See verses 14-16 of 2 Cor 3.
“But their minds were made stubborn. To this very day, the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. The veil has not been removed. Only faith in Christ can take it away. To this very day, when the Law of Moses is read, a veil covers the minds of those who hear it. But when anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”
As Paul puts it in Galatians 2
New Century Version (NCV)
19 It was the law that put me to death, and I died to the law so that I can now live for God. 20 I was put to death on the cross with Christ, and I do not live anymore—it is Christ who lives in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself to save me. 21 By saying these things I am not going against God’s grace. Just the opposite, if the law could make us right with God, then Christ’s death would be useless.
So dear friends, grace as such must be preached in the “hyper sense”. While there are people who will point to horror grace stories, by quoting a lingerie model and a rapper (which I must say say, don’t even belong to churches which teach pure unadulterated grace) and condemn them, I can point to thousands who say other wise, I will give you two.
Let me share with you Rick Davis’s first. Here’s an email that he had sent to me. I pray that you will blessed.
“You may know the last few months have been very exciting for me as I’ve considered the teachings of Joseph Prince (JP). As part of this seeking process, I ran across a blog of a guy named Simon Yap who believes as JP does. Eventually, after reading his stuff for a while, I emailed Simon, introduced myself and asked him if he would mentor me in these teachings to speed up my understanding and he agreed to do this.
Over the last few months, I’ve been happier than I’ve been since I was a child. I’m also more aware that I’ve ever been that I’ve been fighting sadness and fear my whole adult life. I don’t think I’ve been entirely aware of that before because I think much (but not all) of my sadness was covered up by busy-ness, alcohol, anti-depressants and other diversions. I’m in a time when more than any other time, those sad/afraid feelings have been significantly replaced by peace and joy. I’m off my anti-depressants, I’m not struggling to get out of bed in the morning, etc.”
Now you must realize, I can point to many other testimonies, but let me just end with this man. He is Saul from Tarsus and I will end with his testimony to all of you.
Here is Saul’s story in the words of the Message in Galatians 2.
“We Jews know that we have no advantage of birth over “non-Jewish sinners.” We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good.”
The next statement I believe if Paul was alive he would refuted those who confronted him for teaching hyper grace.
“Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? (No great surprise, right?) And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren’t perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. If I was “trying to be good,” I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.”
See the same accusations hurled on people who preach grace was hurled on Paul. Paul’s answer? FRIVOLOUS! Such accusations are superficial and baseless.
So please do not accuse us of not preaching about repentance. Repentance is more than contrition and remorse. Judas had both, where did it land him? Peter on the other hand realized all his obedience could not save him. Paul repented. He changed his mind. His “transforming of the mind” (greek for the repentance) is to switch from trying to be righteous by loving God with all his might but by trusting completely in how much God loves him and allowing that love to flow to others through the Spirit in him. That is true repentance. Repentance from self effort.
So what really happen to us? Paul continues,
“What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”
The great Martyn Lloyd Jones said this:
If your preaching of the gospel of God’s free grace in Jesus Christ does not provoke the charge from some of antinomianism, you’re not preaching the gospel of the free grace of God in Jesus Christ.”
I will deal with the remaining of the article later. Here was part 1 of this note.