Today, most believers who love the Lord are confused and in a place of inertia at best with regards to the subject of grace. There is currently a tremendous amount of hesitancy and even suspicion in the church about grace.
Epistles Replete with Grace
However, the Epistles are replete with revelations of the grace of God. Why is it that the majority of churches have been frozen? If you love the Lord and live in this present world, the odds are that you have also been “sore vexed” because of the abuse of grace by ungodly men. They have turned the grace of God into lasciviousness and greed.
The word “lasciviousness” as used in Jude 1:4 is one of “those words” in the King James Version.
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4 KJV).
I love the King James Version. It remains my favorite translation of the Bible every time, every day and at all times. But thank God for many easier versions including the New Living Translation, which puts the above verse into simple English:
I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4 NLT).
Holy Anger Gone Wrong
The anger against the abuse of grace is holy and good. But we have stretched it to the point that it has mutated into a monster, which has turned against us. The abuse of grace has caused many in the church to either freeze the subject, keep it in the peripheries, repel it or completely reject it altogether.
This might appear innocent to you but it is a very sad situation. It is like taking the bride away from a wedding ceremony and attempting to continue the proceedings as if no one is missing. It is taking away the good in the good news of the gospel and leaving the church with news.
Some years ago, I spoke to my mom about how most of what I do is by the Internet. She immediately cautioned that I must be careful. Why? Because most of what she knows and has heard about the Internet is evil. Her concept of the utility of the Internet has been shaped—and that quite early—by the abuses before she learned its enormous positive power and influence. How many of us will trash the Internet as evil because of hackers, identity thieves, pornography, ISIS or the perpetration of wickedness?
Robbed at a Critical Time
This evil seed that seeks to adulterate grace blossomed at a very critical moment. It occurred when most of the church has not even grasped the full revelation of grace. It is surprising—and extremely disheartening—that there are scores of believers whose notion of grace is “the license to sin.” Why? The abuse and not the truth of grace has been broadcast and spread instead of the truth of grace. If we were in Old Testament times, in the ancient Jewish culture, the verses below would have been very appropriate:
This is what the Lord of Hosts says: Consider, and summon the women who mourn; send for the skillful women. Let them come quickly to raise a lament over us so that our eyes may overflow with tears, our eyelids soaked with weeping (Jeremiah 9:17-18).
We have been robbed and remain in danger of being stripped of the treasure of the Word entrusted to us. These abusers of grace have given us an interpretation of grace that has caused the church to back off. They have given us a standard to compare our understanding of grace by; however, nothing should replace the standard of the Word.
We must escape the snare as quickly as a bird out of the hand of the fowler. I often hear the brethren say things like this all the time: “I believe in grace or I preach grace but not that…” And I understand exactly what they mean. This is a bad seed sown among the good seed in the field that quickly sprouted and gave a false impression of what was really sown in the field. An enemy did this!
Jesus presented another parable to them:
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. The landowner’s slaves came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’ ” ‘An enemy did this! ‘ he told them ” (Mathew 13:24-28 HCSB)
The Enemy has a track record of counterfeiting or looking for smart ways to water down divine purposes. In this case, he seems to be succeeding in his efforts to get us to shy away from the power of the gospel. But this will not last because there are waves of the revelation of grace pouring on the earth.
Falsehood Thrives in the Absence of Truth
The truth is that in the most part, the church has not known or received the revelation of the truth of the grace that is in Christ. For example, even today, the average believer knows more about the gimmicks of giving than the meaning of the cross and the empty tomb. Some do not even know who Jesus really is. The only reason that these men unawares have crept in and succeeded thus far is because we do not know the truth. We shall know the truth, and the truth shall set us free from the offense of these abusers.
We will be robbed terribly if the abuse of grace makes us shrink back. We will never come to know who Christ is and what we have become in Him if we continue to repel the word of grace.
The lack of revelation of God’s grace is simply a proxy to our inadequate—and in some circles lack of—revelation of who Jesus is, what He accomplished on the cross and what we have become because of Him. Christianity is about God revealing Himself to, in and through man in the person of Christ.
We battle many evils in the church today. One of the greatest is the pressure to take Christ out of His church by the adulteration of the Word of God. In some congregations, the mystery of His Person and the wonder of the cross are almost becoming extinct. Another parallel evil is the quenching of the Spirit, leaving men with the emptiness of form and religion, be it the “Christian religion.”
The adulteration of the Word of God and the quenching of the Spirit are the greatest threats to the survival of the church, not the sin and the darkness around us. If this trend is to continue, we will be gradually eroded and weakened like Samson losing his strength. The Word entrusted to us and the Spirit in our hearts are our power to change the world around us. Therein lies our treasure. The gospel is simple. It is about the death and resurrection of the Son of God and the glory to be revealed in His saints. This is the core message to the unsaved and to the saved. Sometimes, we preach the cross to the unsaved to get saved, and once saved and in the church, we begin to preach another gospel to them.
I think the sickest place in America responsible for the spiritual mess in which we find ourselves is not Hollywood or Las Vegas but the pulpit. By pulpit, I am not referring solely to the church pulpit but to the place where the message of the gospel is being preached and the content of that message.
It is a similar trend with raising kids. If you do not teach them at home, there are a million teachers out there who will quickly give them faulty foundations on which to build their lives. And you will have to deal with the consequences of that at home. If we do not know and believe the grace that is in Christ, the Enemy will give us a definition of what grace is and repel us altogether.
Recommended Read: What is Grace?