Extreme grace: A license to sin?

A lot of people of late have been concerned over those in the body of Christ who are preaching an “extreme grace” message. As someone who only desires to become more extreme in my understanding and representation of the grace of God, this has obviously caused me a lot of concern.

To say that we can be too extreme in grace or preach too much grace is similar to saying that you can take love to an extreme or preach about love too much, or how about truth? These are not parts of the gospel. These are who God is. He is Love, He is Truth, He is Grace.

First of all

I want to say that I understand where this camp is coming from. Their concern is that when extreme grace is preached people will use this message to either sin and say “grace covers it” or “Jesus paid for that”, or to become unteachable because of their belief that they are perfect. I have seen some examples of this myself, but the problem is not the message.

You see, they are right. What they are saying is true. Grace does cover all sin. The problem is you need to be under grace to experience that. The very fact that these people haven’t seen a turn around in their lives tells us that they are not under grace because we all know that it is not our own efforts that bring any lasting change or righteousness but rather Jesus’ effort on the cross. As John says – if you are living with sin in your life you have neither seen nor heard the Father, you are still a son of the devil (1 John 3:4-10) (See my article on 1 John)

So are these people wrong?

Yes. The problem is they are preaching (in part at least) truth, that God has taken care of sin and it’s not a problem to Him anymore. The gaping hole they leave out is the only job we as believers have. To believe. Jesus Himself said that the work of the Father was to believe. (John 6:28-29)

You see, to experience the grace of God you must have faith. Faith is what activates the grace of God in our lives (Rom 4:16, 5:2 & Eph 2:8). By putting our faith in God’s grace, we believe that we are no longer sinners (Romans 6:2,3,4,6,7,8,11,14,17,18,22 – you get the point), but rather we have been made new creations (2 Cor 5:17) and are the righteousness of Christ. This produces fruit of (shock horror) righteousness.

You see when people had the same concerns in Paul’s day about what He was teaching (He was the first “greasy grace” preacher ;) ) and asked him “What shall we do, sin more so grace can increase?” (Romans 6:1) He said “Don’t be stupid! How can you sin? Your sinful nature is dead!” (Romans 6:2)

There was one thing that Paul said again and again that would alienate you from grace and God. (Gal 5:4, Gal 2:20-22, Rom 5, Eph 2) What was it? It was to bring balance to grace, to bring back in the law to make a grace and law mixture. Grace + Law = Law. There is no mixture, any mixture becomes pure law.

Extreme love: A license to sin?

If people were going around preaching about love and how we need to love more, but were having orgies to show their love, would you try to bring balance to the message of love?

Of course not. It would be clear they aren’t talking about love at all. Maybe they are proclaiming love but they mean lust. It would be a travesty for us to try to bring balance to love in the name of it being abused.

What’s my point?

My heart is not to attack anyone who has been trying to bring balance to the grace message, or to attack the “extreme grace” camp (in fact I hope I am in it!). Rather, my heart is to encourage people to focus on what matters, the authenticity of the gospel. If someone is preaching grace but living in sin, they are in deception. However there are many people who are not only preaching grace but living it out successfully. The grace message is not the problem. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.

Paul put it beautifully when addressing this same thing in the Galatian church, check out how the Mirror Translation paraphrases it – “However, if in our quest to discover righteousness by faith in what Christ did for us, we find that it is still possible to stumble, do not now label yourself a sinner yet again! The fact that you sinned does not cancel the cross of Christ and gives you no reason to abandon justification by faith as if Christ is to be blamed for your distraction! That would be absurd! Only a con artist will try to be a law-man and a grace-man at the same time!” Galatians 2:17-18

When we or others don’t reflect the message well, let’s not turn our back on the message or try and tweak the message to make ourselves feel safe or better. Lets run after the message all the more, knowing that in our believing it whole-heartedly we will experience it fully.

There is lots more to be said on this subject and I may go into it in greater depth in a future post. I guess what I’m trying to clear up here is we need to stop attacking the message of grace because we disagree with people who misrepresent it.

What are your thoughts? Does this raise more questions? I’d love to hear either :)

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Comments

  1. Lovemercygrace2u says

    Papa gave me a revelation of His grace over thirty years ago coming out of legalism which I could not live up to was never meant to Grace is the power of God to do in me and thru me what I can;t do my self rather overcoming or living in hard situations its all about me being in His grace and He gives us His grace and power to do whats right as we make that choice amen

  2. Lovemercygrace2u says

    Also His grace is His keeping power over us There is saving grace .serving grace and keeping grace But Its all Him amen

  3. Sue says

    This is a very good post Phil, I agree with it, your next post should be on  Revelation 14:12 
    Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Why does it say that?

  4. Ron Archer says

    Good blog Phil! I think part of the problem is that the “law” has not been sufficiently preached in the Church to bring us to a revelation of the “depth of sin” and why we absolutely need a Savior. Ray Comfort in his little book, “God Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life,” makes a valid point that we have preached a “watered down” gospel that has not adequately brought sinners to a place of “repentance!” Grace has NO meaning if we don’t understand the existence, nature, power & pervasiveness of sin, and our total inability to deal with it apart from the Cross of Christ! Paul likens it to carrying around a “dead body!” These are just some initial thoughts!

    • says

      Thanks Ron. When we see who God has made us to be there is nothing short of an absurdity to the idea of living in sin under the law. I’m so delighted that it is in the revelation of God’s goodness and our righteousness that we find the foundations of repentance, we cannot truly change the way we think (repent) if we don’t know who we really are.

      Bless you brother!

      • Ron Archer says

        IMHO, We can’t know who we are until we know who He is. Repentance is the step, action, decision that brings us into the Kingdom Revelation of Who Jesus IS! Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near you!

  5. Tracy says

    When i was a new Christian some 26 odd years ago ( when legalism was fashionable..) I sat under a pastor who preached Grace.  He said you could see people suddenly light up as they understood its message.  I do think its a revelation that comes from God Himself… and as its the true Gospel it needs to be preached more so people can light up!

  6. David Gorka says

    First, I would like to go back to a scripture that you only partially quoted,”the only job we as believers have. To believe. Jesus Himself said that the work of the Father was to believe.” (John 6:28-29) The rest of the scripture says,” on Him whom He has sent.” That’s the most important part. If I would have been standing there at the time, it would NEVER have occurred to me that my sins are forgiven or that it was no longer my nature to sin. If I believed that He was the one whom God had sent (the Messiah) what I would have thought was, I am going to follow Him wherever He goes and listen to every word He speaks and do EVERYTHING He commands. I would not have thought about grace. And in fact, the word grace is only used 4 times in the Gospels. Three of those times are in the first chapter of the Gospel of John. They tell us in John 1:14,16,17 that the Word was full of grace and truth, we have received of His fullness, grace for grace, and that grace and truth came by Jesus the Christ. Then in Luke 2: 40 we are told that as a child, grace was upon Him. Not much here about grace. The very one that John 6:28,29 tells us is the ONE whom God has sent, and that we must believe He has sent, never says ONE word about grace. The one who’s words I cling to and whose commandments I obey, doesn’t teach grace.

    Webster’s dictionary defines grace as: 1. The exercise of love, kindness, mercy, favor; disposition to benefit or serve another; favor bestowed or privilege conferred. 2. The divine favor toward man; the mercy of God, as distinguished from His justice; also, any benefits His mercy imparts; divine love or pardon; a state of acceptance with God; enjoyment of divine favor.

    By this I can see God’s grace. Even John the Baptist taught God’s grace before Jesus even came. If we repent and wash away our sins, God will forgive us. But we could not enter heaven. Jesus made that possible. His sacrifice opened the gates of heaven so that those who received God’s grace by repentance and washing there sins away could, by believing that Jesus was the one that God sent and following Him, could also enter into heaven. This is also grace. In these two things we see God’s love or pardon and the enjoyment of His divine favor through following Jesus. That’s it. That’s all there is to grace. So what on earth is the doctrine of grace? It is clearly NOT the doctrine of Jesus. It is the doctrine of Paul. But who is Paul? Certainly God used Paul to expand the Gospel to the Gentiles and into Rome. And if he hadn’t, we would probably not be reading the Gospel today. But God has used donkeys to accomplish His will. God could use Paul to enable us to read the Gospel now even if everything Paul taught was wrong. His actions obtained what was necessary to spread the Gospel, but HIS words were not the Gospel. My job as a Christian, by your own words (well, close), is to believe on whom He has sent. That’s Jesus, not Paul. Paul virtually created his own religion. Yet he was originally out to sabotage Christianity. Why shouldn’t I believe that he had just changed his method. and sabotaged it from within. And without realizing it, God used him to spread the Gospel. But our job is to believe in, and listen to, and follow Jesus. And those of us who hold fast to what HE taught us, and to follow Him, will be saved. Those who believe that Paul is the one whom God sent, have been led astray. They follow a doctrine that Jesus did not teach. I know myself, I will follow Jesus. I believe HE is the one whom God has sent.

    • Ron Archer says

      Paul was encountered by the Risen Christ on the Road to Damascus. Even the Apostle Peter gives testament to his teaching as veracity, though difficult to understand. Jesus Himself was the VERY expression of Grace. Yes, I too follow Jesus, but I also listen to his Apostles & Prophets, the FOUNDATION of the Gospel with Jesus as the Chief Corner Stone. Paul’s teaching was not WRONG! Sorry bro, don’t mean to be disrespectful but you’re going against 2 millennia of Christian Church history!

      • David Gorka says

        Paul was no an Apostle or a prophet. Sorry Ron, maybe it’s time the Church wakes up. Is Jesus the one we are to believe in or is Paul? You make the choice.

        • David Gorka says

          By the way, Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus, which changed every time he told the story, is very handy. Why kick against the prick? When you see that your mission of destroying the church by killing Christians is futile, that is what you WOULD think. I’m getting nowhere and only hurting myself. If you can’t beat them, join them. If you alter their doctrine and make it dependent on your own. You can more easily defeat them. Most Christians I know do not follow Jesus at all, they follow Paul and HIS interpretation of Jesus.

          • says

             Hi David,

            Thanks for sharing your thoughts my friend – I
            personally don’t see an “either or” requirement to Jesus and Paul’s
            ministry. I’d be really concerned for me to have to tear out a huge
            portion of the scriptures to explain how to follow Jesus. I don’t follow
            Paul, I follow Jesus. I’m not in union with Paul, I’m in union with
            Jesus.

            I wonder, are you against what John and James and Peter wrote as well?

          • David Gorka says

            Phil, I’m not against what Paul wrote, nor John, James, or Peter. They all are entitled to their opinions. But those opinions are no more valid or important than yours, or mine, or anyone else’s. They are nothing more than people who are trying to follow Jesus, like the rest of us. God is not a respecter of persons. I do not believe He would have chosen the biggest persecutor of the church and made him the primary teacher. That does not make sense. It makes more sense that Paul was jealous of what Jesus had and tried to steal the show. So I am cautious about his teachings. Jesus did not create a religion. What He taught was simple. Repent and follow me. Why would there be any question as to how? His words are there. I can see what He says. And not a word of it was about grace. If it was important, He would have taught about it. Just like His virgin birth. He never talks about it. Must not have been an important aspect of His teachings. That is the problem. The things Jesus teaches are important, are not so much the things Paul teaches are important. I question those things. I question everything but the fact that Jesus is the one whom God has sent. That is my job to believe. Nothing else. I would have NO problem at all following Jesus if the only thing we had to read was the Gospels. It is simple. That is because He was not trying to create a religion, as Paul was, but rather to find followers. None the less, I read and quote Paul and the other disciples often. I agree with some of the things they teach, but I do not feel COMPELLED to follow them or to adhere to their doctrine. I know to whom my salvation depends. And it is on none of THEM. Thanks for listening.

          • says

             Thanks for sharing your thoughts David – I can’t say I agree but love your heart for the truth and recognize we are all on a journey of growing in the faith :) Bless you bro!

          • Liz says

            I am sort of in agreement with David here. I’m no scholar and I’m sure I haven’t done as much study into the scripture as some of you, but in reading David’s comments it just spoke for me more or less how I felt, with the exception of course his thinking that Paul had ulterior motives. I think he did have good intentions. But as it is said roads are paved with them. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are right all of the time. Mistakes by people in the bible are sprinkled all over and  has cause and effect just as what we do today.    

          • says

            Liz – I’m really intrigued by what causes you to think this way? 

            Scripturally it’s extremely hard to do so… unless you throw out Paul’s specific teachings… I mean Paul’s writing are not commentary on things he did that might or might not have been a good decision, I could see how some might argue that of some of Acts. However they were revelations taught as the very oracles of God. The whole of Church history backs Paul as being the voice of authority in interpreting the gospel and explaining what Jesus did here on Earth for us as a human race.Until David’s post I’d genuinely never heard of a single person who disagreed. So I’m fascinated because having you share it seems there are lots more out there that think this way than I thought!

          • Liz says

            Phil – As I said before I SORT of agree with him. I don’t agree with it being said that Paul was not a prophet or apostle. I don’t think there was an ulterior motive to his suddenly being For rather than Against Jesus. I do believe he was chosen. And it’s shown that the Lord chooses people you would not expect. So throw what would make sense to you out the window David.  I agree in a sense that because Paul was a human being like everyone else, he was subject to mistakes just like all of us. Only Jesus has the distinction of being perfect and it’s HIS teaching that matters above all. We are to follow HIM and not Paul.

          • Steverptaylor says

            David: By saying you both quote and majorly distrust Paul because of his background, I wonder if you aren’t trying to have your cake and eat it too?

            Whilst your job surely is to believe on the one God sent, do you really trust yourself to understand His words better than his own disciples who had far more than two to four snapshots of a few years of his life to go on? The real problem of your idea is where it ends – how important are the words of Luke in his Gospel compared with his Acts? Your theology would nearly inevitably tend towards a very western individualistic approach and fail to take account of the value God places on His church, whom he prayed might be one, as even Christ and the Father are one. Why doubt those who knew Christ best and were themselves the first to receive the Holy Spirit?
            Steve <

          • says

            Hiya David, I am reading your comment with intrigue, because I have walked around this mountain as well.

            Having been under legalistic teaching some years ago, part of my own weaning process was to read the ‘red letters’ in my bible more than others.

            Not because I thought the others where wrong, but because I wanted to hear from Jesus Himself personally, and directly into MY life and situation, because it was He who I followed and He who was my salvation.

            Is that perhaps where you are coming from?  

            I struggled with Paul on many occasions, particularly because quite often he was addressing specific situations that required a lot of contextual understanding, and giving Spiritual advice on happenings in a particular church… that without understanding the history of what was going on, the teachings to that church easily could be misunderstood as ‘law’ or ‘dogmatic instruction’ rather than sound advice. 

            Issues like women, marriage, leadership etc needed to be read through contextual eyes, something many churches forget to do.

            Perhaps Jesus didn’t have to teach grace (i.e. give a 3 point sermon with notes and power point), because He WAS the very crescendo  of grace.

            Over and over in His life and ministry, His words and behavior are what speaks to us.

            He shows grace at every turn, He oozes it, and it’s fragrance goes before and behind Him.

            John 1 says: 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

             15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

            Perhaps it was a classic case of do as I do, when it came to Jesus example of grace, rather than following a ‘specific’ teaching?

  7. Monte Palmer says

    All we have to do is believe in Jesus, but what does real believing really look like? If we are connected to the Jesus the vine we will bear fruit. When the seed of the Holy Spirit is planted in us it should grow & become fruitful. So believing or having faith in Jesus isn’t just a mental accent in saying there is a God, but a change in someone’s life & way of thinking in which the Holy Spirit is the author of that change. It can be misleading if what believing is supposed to look like isn’t explained. That’s why their is the fruit of the Spirit also. Remember what Jesus did to the fig tree that was not bearing fruit? He cursed it, just like He also talked about the branches that don’t bear fruit are cut off & burned. So I agree with what you said about believing, but I think clarification on what believing looks like is necessary. If God plants a seed it will grow, or else the seed was never planted.

    • says

       Hey Monte – thanks for your thoughts. You are absolutely right – as we are both saying if you believe well then your fruit will be good… effortlessly i.e. without OUR effort. But when we believe poorly there will be no effortless fruit and so we will have to rely on our selves… that’s when we start seeing effort and striving and trying so hard to act holy which we all know leads to guilt, condemnation, sin and death.

      I’m going to write a few blogs in the next few months hopefully with a more practical approach. thanks for that suggestion! Hopefully it will help clarify this whole process for people.

  8. Josh Greeson says

    Good stuff bro.. “By grace, through faith” The two work together. Basically everything about the Christian life and its benefits (i.e. “on earth as it is in heaven”) is wrapped up in those 4 words.

  9. Russ Hock says

    In response to question of GRACE. I do believe some are incapable of discerning Grace from the abuse of Grace (Hyper-Grace). As Peter said…  “Paul’s teaching is difficult to understand.”. That does not translate to a lack of veracity. For those who seem to be on the march against The Doctrine of Grace, I would leave them with the fact that I once or twice had been on the other side of this (almost as hard to understand as quantum physics) doctrine, before I was drawn to it by no power of my own. I now have an understanding of Both Sides. Again, I did not choose this doctrine, rather, it chose me. I suppose if someone wants to believe their salvation is,at least in part, by their own choice, they would be proud of that choice as well. Thereby, taking even more offense at the apostle Paul’s Statement: “lest anyone should boast.”  I trust Paul to be one of the greatest of all teachers of The Gospel and I, God willing, will not boast of the salvation which has been so gracefully given to me.     

    • says

      Yes – it sure is hard to understand until God really opens up your eyes to this. It goes against the grain of thousands of years of trying to please God by our own efforts!

      Such a great point about our salvation being something we can’t boast in!

      Love Ephesians 2:8 as you said. It is by grace through faith you are saved…. and that faith is a gift in and of itself lest anyone should boast!

      We can’t even boast about our faith!

      • TheHolyGhostGuy says

        it is important to remember with the gospel (Grace) that a covenant does not begin until the blood of that covenant is spilled. So the book of Matthew is not the begging of the new covenant, not even the birth of Jesus, but it is the death of Jesus that begins the new covenant. Jesus was preaching old covenant in his sermons, most times to point those who had become puffed up in thinking they had actually become good at following the law that the law was never God’s real plan for a relationship with man. So a distinction between Paul’s letters and Jesus teachings is not necessary they were speaking in many cases in two different covenants.

  10. Nick-tracy says

    What I found really interesting in the Eph 2:8 scripture was that it says it is by Grace we are saved, not by works…… then it goes on to say in verse 10 that we are to DO good works. Works plays a vital part in the life of a Christian. So being saved is an act of God that we cannot boast about, but THEN we go on to do good works by being saved, not out of fear or guilt obviously, just because we love Him and as His children, imitate Him.

    • says

       Yes Tracy, like I said… you can tell what someone is believing by the fruit of their life. The big issue is that you can appear to have good fruit regardless of what you believe. So while people might appear to be pure we need to make sure what they are saying is the gospel. Think the Pharisees, they were “perfect” in the eyes of the people but taught contrary to God’s heart. Likewise we need to figure out who is both preaching a pure message of grace and walking it out… which comes from believing it, focusing on Jesus not on the fruits.

      • says

        Perhaps the distinction needs to be made between fruit and Fruit.  There surely can be the fruit of good works, and the Fruit of the Holy Spirit.  

        My guess would be that the Pharisees, were apt at producing fruit, but not Fruit :-)I wonder if the simple litmus test is who does the ‘fruit or Fruit’ seek to glorify?

        • says

           Totally agree in the need to be able to define those two “fruits” – I think the problem is they look so similar… not sure if it can be the desire to glorify God though as the Pharisee’s genuinely wanted to glorify God… at least many did. The litmus has to be is it from rest or from works. Is it from our own efforts or from His effort in us. Does that make sense? It’s all so simple when we are evaluating ourselves and yet ever so complex if  we are evaluating others.

          • says

            It is very tricky isn’t it?  Probably opens a whole other can of worms- ‘should’ we evaluate it in others? Or if we do, ‘how’?

            And yes, I emphatically agree that we must rest from works.

            I have a huge apple tree in my garden. Not once have I seen it red faced, forcing forth it’s own fruit.  It does not strain.  It lives, it breathes, it eats, it worships God and in season fruit appears.

            Every year where it is planted, it produces apples- just by resting in what the knowledge of what it was created for. 

            We also saw instances in the NT where Pharisee’s used their fruit/works as a way of trying to gain favour with man and God.  Even the rich young ruler thought his goodness and ‘obvious’ favour (in terms of wealth and influence) could buy/influence salvation. Their desire looked honourable, but really it was still all about self. 
            I particularly love the story of the rich young ruler.  I don’t know that Jesus was saying to the man that wealth was wrong, I wonder if he was saying that his cultural (Jewish) understanding of blessing, favour and good works didn’t ‘earn’ him salvation. So the suggestion to strip himself of everything he placed value on (his wealth, his influence, his works/fruit, his ‘supposed’ law keeping), would place him stark naked before Jesus. Then and only then his true desires/motives where revealed. 

            He was relying on ‘fruit’ (that which he could produce- or was bestowed upon him), rather than ‘Fruit’ which comes after reconciliation with our Father, through the son, by the Holy Spirit.

            Even pagans/atheists produce good fruit.  But it is only Fruit, when the Spirit produces it in us- thus the glory is the Lords.  

            Sorry, I think I have rabbit trailed… and have confuddled myself.

  11. Julieannpeters says

    “When we or others don’t reflect the message well, let’s not turn our back on the message or try and tweak the message to make ourselves feel safe or better. Lets run after the message all the more, knowing that in our believing it whole-heartedly we will experience it fully.” I like this part a lot! Keep up the good news!

  12. Hilton says

    To explore the nature of grace without taking cognisance of the purpose of grace can cause things to get out of kilter and rather complicated. The purpose of grace is adoption!  It is a Loving Father making us holy and blameless through Christ so that we can be in His presence.

  13. Philip Smith says

    Hey Phil, great post.  I want to encourage you to continue full steam ahead with exploring and sharing the scandalous gospel.  Too often you hear about people running “a series on grace”…If we ever lose sight of grace, if we ever think we have had enough of grace, if we ever think that we have covered grace to its fullness, then we are simply saying “thanks for the cross Jesus, but we can do this ourselves”. Continue to be relentless with the good news, it is setting many free as many around the world are on the difficult journey out of religion and into the freedom that Christ set then free for (one that I went on a couple of years ago). What a privilege to be in a position to explore the realities of the gospel and enjoy our perfect union with Christ, what a joy to be able to say “I know nothing but Christ and Him crucified”. 

    love and blessings.

    • says

      Thanks so much Philip! You are a radical blessing to me and your unwavering heart is beautiful! Thanks for being so fully persuaded of His complete work in you! :) Love you bro!

  14. Gary Bird says

    Hi Phil,

    I want to put my name to what Philip Smith said. Please keep running hard after this.

    Can I also commend you on your graciousness to ALL those who write comments on your blog, you are a kind man (I think that’s a fruit isn’t it ;) ).

    Have you heard of a man called Terry Virgo? He started New Frontiers (If you have heard of that) and he is renowned for preaching on Grace and a number of the people who talk on it now have got a lot from him. I know you like reading what others say and I think you will be hugely encouraged by him.

    Love you matey!

    Gary

    • says

       Thanks Gary – you always release life and encouragement over me… I rather like that :D haha

      I’ve heard of Terry Virgo and what he has done with New Frontiers, I hadn’t known he was known for preaching grace… that is really cool! I’ll need to check him out! :)

      Love you too!

  15. Tobias Feil says

    i like your attitude that you want to be in the “extreme grace” camp. the thing with “you cannot be too extreme in grace” is really well explained, i like it! =)

  16. @fightprayheal says

    Phil u ate a dude!!
    Love u and ur wife cant wait to see you !!! Will u b preachin at coj wen uncum baCk coz i am keen!!!!!!!

    Mike x x x

    • says

       Thanks Mikey! Although I’m assuming you meant “you are a dude” not “you ate a dude” haha

      Love you guys too –  I’ve not spoken to Ricky since I left really (he’s a hard man to get a hold of) so I’m not sure if he’d want me to come back or not. :)

  17. ohn Fin says

    YES YES YES. Good, good. I’m here laughing out loud and saying “Oh wow” as I’m reading this. Good one, Phil. Nicely put. Daddy’s great. That is all :D

  18. Liz says

    I think what alot of Christians seem to forget is that Jesus was a Torah observant Jew. There was no new testament in the time that he spent on earth.  And also you need to realize Jesus came from a Jewish family and was raised in the Jewish way for a reason.  If God didn’t feel that it was important, he could have just selected among the Pagans. As David above said, I don’t think it was meant for there to be a separate religion or a religion at all for that matter. I think that Paul made a mistake in separating us like he did and he didn’t come to that decision alone. So yes, there are words said and actions that were taken that we can learn from in all of God’s chosen to lead, but above all esle we should simply follow Jesus.

    I’m toddling toward ya daddy!  Ouch, help me up will ya pwease! ;o)

  19. Paul Jay says

    I personally believe that if you still willfully sin and preach the grace message then you probably never belonged to God in the first place … and the key word here is willfully … sometimes I stumble but I fight it all the way I don’t just throw my hands in the air and say “oh well Jesus will forgive me anyway so might as well”  I am curious tho Phil about the mystery of lawlessness … is  there some literature I can clear this up with ??

    • says

      Hey Paul – totally agree, I believe if you are willfully sinning and preaching grace then you are probably not teaching true grace nor are you experiencing. 

      As for 2 Thes – I’m not really an expert on that passage by any means, eschatology is not my strongest suit and one that people get pretty annoyed with me at whenever I even mention some of my thoughts :) Let me know what you think and find. If I can suggest two people who would be great people to go to for thoughts on this passage it would be Harold Eberle and Jonathan Welton. Both are experts on the end-times with quite a unique point of view I’d be more inclined to side with. You can find out more about Jonathan here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/optimisticendtimes/
      And Harold here – http://worldcastministries.com/

      Bless you bro!

  20. Lauren Parlette says

    @33353b6b0af82d5965ff40f1dca3396c:disqus , hello brother!!  i was just thinking about a few things that you mentioned- (1) Paul is called an apostle in the the book of Acts, which was written by Luke.  all of his missionary journeys are chronicled there as well and i believe his letters were also sent out before Acts was finished.  if he was preaching something contrary to what the other apostles believed, i don’t think they would have listed him as having apostolic authority in Acts.  (2) the bible was compiled by the early church, so if something was contrary to the Gospel, the Pauline epistles wouldn’t have made the cut.  (3) in Acts 15:40, it specifically says that Paul was “committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord” *keyword- grace*

    hope this helps some!!  love and bless you man of God!!!!!!!!

    • says

      Some great points Lauren. Thanks for adding them. I personally really struggle with where some people are coming from saying that Paul was an enemy of the gospel. I raised some of the same arguments the other day and was told because Luke was a disciple of Paul we shouldn’t trust Luke or Acts as authoritative sources.

      Crazy stuff :)

      • Lauren Parlette says

        so interesting!!  i’ve never heard it before this thread.  oh well.  i just read Acts 20:24, which basically restates that part of Paul’s ministry was the gospel of grace

  21. John says

    “If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker.” – Galatians 2:18

    In other words, if I rebuild the old man which was under law – then i am really a lawbreaker! This is truly a scary and awe-inspiring statement which shows the preciousness of God’s grace!

    I think we need to be careful to remember, though, that sin is a force. The devil is called the “prince of the power of the air,”  and in Hebrews it says to be careful that we are not “hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Our duty is to remain obedient to the Spirit of God. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit. We need to have wisdom for when to minister and when to keep our distance. And also for whom we should be close with and for with whom we should not be close with. And also for when to minister, when to pray, when to place our hands on someone, and even when to shake hands with someone (to have fellowship with someone). “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1 So, obedience is still required if we want to walk in the fullness of what God has for us and the high calling of God on our lives. Obedience through faith. If this is true of Christ:  34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Then we must also let His sword pierce our soul and be uncompromising in our walk of faith in this life. We must cherish his sword in our lives, which keeps us in his fellowship and in his will. 

  22. says

    AWESOME BLOGPOST PHIL DRYSDALE, servant of the Most High God!  I have been lovingly working to pry the ministry where I serve as an ass. pastor (pun intended)- teaching and eldering- free of works/law/holiness (as a work of human effort) for more than three years, ever since the Master exploded it in my head and I realized how far off I had wandered, exchanging life and freedom for religious zeal…  But, the more I presented the “Gospel of Grace” the more the church recoiled, always adding caveats and treating me as a “loose canon” (hey- that might be my best pun, yet!) Unfortunately, as we live to the law, we get death and sin.  It makes sin more sinful (Rom. 7:13)  As if to prove this point the ministry collapsed (repeatedly, after repentance, recuperating and going forward) from gross sexual sin at the top and spilling down through the Body.  I’m talking about crazy, stupid, immorality that would astonish the world in a sense similar to that recorded in Paul’s first letter to Corinth.  It seems strange to me that my assembly would so vigorously live to the Old when we so obviously and desperately need the new. Oh, well.  God is faithful and continues in his unstoppable, ravishing love for us, just the same.  

    • says

      Haha – “loose canon” was an amazing pun Herb!

      Thanks for your faithfulness and heart to love the people you served with. Sarah and I will be praying for you and your ministry :)

  23. sylvia says

    Great word Phil ! I agree 100% & my beliefs because of my own experiences that his grace is meant to set the sinner free. Not to give you a get out of jail free card but to draw you close to his heart so that his love can drown out every hurt, fear, rejection, pain torment ect. After all, I would have to say that it is from those places that we “do” sin. I use to have debilitating panic attacks to where I couldn’t breath my hands would cripple up my heart would pound ect, I began to learn tht it was guilt and shame that brought those panic attacks on. it was experiencing his love that set me free from that , walking out my freedom was a challenge for me because I had to learn to master taking captive of every thought.. Satan would come and condemn me and if i didn’t catch it immediately I would start having symptoms that would take me down that road of fear again, however one day I was talking to god and I said ” who the son sets free is free indeed , and you didn’t set me free from panic for me to keep having to battle” and gods answer was truly revelation to me . he said until I believed that his grace was BIG enough for every mistake i made& every mistake I will make & quit condemning myself and believing satans lies that i would continue to battle with satan. Learning that we don’t earn grace is huge. if we had to earn it than it wouldn’t be grace !! The experience of gods grace  causes us to not want to “sin” , now that doesn’t mean that we wont mess up but the beauty of living under his grace is knowing and believing that we are all works in progress , law cannot make us perfect , no one is or ever will be perfect. When we have experienced his love and grace, that produces such a change that our desire is to make him proud and we step into who he says we are not who satan says we are. The enemy is the one who tries to condemn us and thats when we get to throw it right back in his face and say my Jesus paid the ultimate price so that I could live under his grace and satan could stay where he belongs ….. under my feet !!!

  24. Kevin says

    Christ’s command to us was pretty simple. Love and make disciples! It is not our job to concern ourselves with whether the grace of Christ is too extreme. We are simply to share the good news! When we share anything other his extreme grace by making it sound harder than it is, we are distort the truth and discourage a free and growing relationship with Christ, which is what he desires of us all. I don’t want to stand before God some day and have him ask me why I made his grace so difficult for people to accept. He gave it freely and so should we.

  25. gahigi says

    I’m a year late but I thank God for these posts. I’m not sure what some people are concerned about with extreme grace. I don’t even know who coined the term but that doesn’t matter. I wonder if there are other issues and I guess it may be the fact that some people preach it but don’t live it out. But it’s just like God to not allow me to get away from this considering comments like David’s. I’ve been there before and I just wanted to follow everything the Lord was saying actually every command I could find in the Bible but it put me in bondage and I got really weird. I guess what I need to remember is none of us have it ALL right and you must think for yourself and what it is the scriptures say to you. The point I want to make though is that you can take away Paul’s letters and I’m sure you could still find grace all the way from Genesis to Revelation especially in Jesus’ own words and life. For example He’s the friend of publicans and sinners. He came to serve and not to be served. A woman finds a lost coin and wants her neighbors to REJOICE with her. He says he who follows me will NEVER walk in darkness and he who comes to me I will for no reason cast out. Even in Revelation I believe he makes a promise to one church by saying repent and I will never blot out your name. Right there you can see legalism or you can see the security He offers. My point is not to argue. I’m just grateful The last thing I want to do is sin. All these things cause me to love Him like I have never before.

    • says

      Absolutely! Great point… Jesus Christ is the word of God and all the scriptures point to Him… but He is GRACE and Truth, not Law! The Law only points to Grace and is only good in as much as it fulfills that purpose! Grace is the answer, Law is the tutor.
      Thanks for sharing!

  26. says

    I agree with your interpretation of the gospel of Grace which is salvation is by grace alone through faith and not on works and when we have faith in the finishing work of Jesus and on God, we become ‘born again christians’ and you become a changed person and the good works will follow. The problem is that majority of people in the church are so judgemental and legalistic and seeks the observance of laws. I tried to show them my view of the gospel of grace and they seem to take it so badly, being rude and also starts ostracising you. I sometimes wonder whether it would be easier to just meet other people outside of church rather than going to a legalistic church.

    • Phil Drysdale says

      Hey man – sorry for all you have experienced in the church as you have come into an understanding of the message of grace and tried to walk it out.

      I actually just this minute finished uploading a message to Youtube on this very topic!

      Check it out I think it’ll really help you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVrUs_XMEag

  27. Michael says

    On the Pauline thought that Paul was trying to beat Christianity from the inside by joining them instead of persecuting them. He was certainly not trying to drag Christianity into Judaism by corrupting their doctrine. Have these people read what Paul wrote from a Jews perspective?

    If that is what he was doing he made himself an outcast in both camps. The Jews would have stoned him for what he would have said, the Christians would not have recieved him. He profited from the exercise by being jailed and run out of nearly every town he came to .

    He also was made an apostle to who? The Gentiles; so much for making two religions into one, My God is one who favors the weak vessel to bring His message. That’s why Simon Peter was an apostle to the Jews . Jesus is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the gentile.

    Surely Paul had a life changing event to leave his life of comfort and authority (which by the by is just about everything that everybody wants wheather they confess it or not) to leave all that and join a bunch of persecuted rebels.

    It must be remembered that many things in the gospels are just written to frustrate our pride and drive us to the finished work. It has been enlightening to have revelation that every hard or dare I say impossible standard that Jesus preached he accomplished all of them himself in His suffering and crucifixion. He who said forgive a man seventy times seven and forgive them from your heart said at the cross; forgive them Father for they know not what they do. (Ps they knew what they were doing from their perspective) It has ALL been accomplished , even the excess commands that were not in the Torah that Jesus gave us.

    We must be careful to take everything Jesus said and just apply it to our life. Otherwise we would have to poke out all our eyes that cause us to sin. Interestingly Jesus only said poke out the one eye that was causing us to sin. Does anyone really only have one eye that is an issue?

    • Phil Drysdale says

      Thanks so much for sharing Michael, these are some great thoughts. I too have a lot of trouble figuring out how Paul was somehow trying to undermine Christianity from the inside – It’s a pretty funny conspiracy theory to me – in the category of the davinci code! Haha

  28. Avinash says

    Please Pray for me. I am having many problems. I need ur prayers. Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee [ray for me. Your prayers are soooooooooooooo valuable for me.
    Avinash

    • Phil Drysdale says

      Praying for you Avinash – hope you are doing better – I pray the peace, love and joy of God would overwhelm you as your awareness of Christ in you eclipses all your circumstances.

  29. David Larsen says

    Phil
    I have a thought for you and those who have posted here.
    Revelation 2:2
    I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance and you can not tolerate evil men and you put to the test
    those who call themselves apostles and they are not and you found them to be false.
    I am so amazed that some fellow comes on your blog and says the apostle Paul was really a fake apostle and
    not one person sent this fellow and what he had to say packing. Thinking that is the love of God. Seems Jesus doesn’t think so or why would he have told the church at Ephesus they were right for testing those who said they were sent ones from God. Or maybe John was a phony too? Not , and neither was Paul. What that fellow had to say about the apostle Paul was a flat lie and most all of his post was a lie. To consider that the Apostle Paul was a fake and all he wrote then becomes subject to being false. And he was the guy who said we were saved by Grace got that guys. Was he wrong or trying to trick us? No a thousand times no. The apostle Paul was a man chosen and sent by God to do and write all he did. And to think other wise is to call into question all scripture and undermine the faith of all. So if you don’t put this up that is fine I will not be offended. I at least had to say something. You see I really do believe the scriptures are inspired by God Himself to help us in this walk we are in. And it is love that will speak up in a time when all others think it is politically incorrect to do so.
    Grace is not an excuse to look the other way when someone clearly speaks against what God has done and is is doing through those whom He has called. And to say nothing is just wrong. Come on people don’t
    you believe what is written? After all we are suppose to be believers. Not we will believe what we want to or only the parts we understand. Even Peter said some of Paul’s stuff is hard to understand.
    2Peter 3:16
    as also in all his letters speaking of them in these things, in which some things hard to understand which the untaught and unstable distort as they do also the rest of the scripture to their own destruction. Peter could not have said it better. In Fact if you people think I am being hard read some of what Peter has to say about these things he comes down way harder of course we could just blow off his writings too after all he did say I don’t even know the man when asked about Jesus maybe it was all a trick? Not! Get with it people when someone tells you that what was written is not true stand up and speak up. The Bible is inspired by God and is something you can rely on. Take time and learn from it as you are lead by His Spirit and challenge any one who tells you other wise.
    The times we are in are serious and if you don’t believe what is written and just let lies slide by you will surly fail in this hour. That is not the will of God for you or any one.

  30. says

    When I hear people attacking gospel of the grace of God and calling it a license to sin, I have a moment like the blind guy who has people around him arguing about his healing and he finally says All I know is I was blind and now I see.

    I enjoyed your article, the one area I may disagree with about people saying they can sin and that grace covers. Mostly that I have NEVER met them in the first person. Its always someone someone else knows. I felt to strongly about this I wrote poem I’d like to share with you. I hope it helps someone.

    “A man I never met”

    Let me tell you about a man I’ve never met…

    This man has a revelation of the love of God for him in a deep and personal way.
    He knows his sins although many, have been freely forgiven.
    He knows that even when he fails, he’s loved, forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
    He knows that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ can only be received by faith and not earned.
    He knows that he is washed, sanctified and justified
    in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God
    He knows that he does not have to work for the Fathers approval like a servant
    but that his Father loves and cares for him as his own son.
    He knows that he also can not work for his Fathers inheritance
    but all that his Father has is his and this is promised to him
    by an oath greater than any oath ever taken.

    Yet, knowing all this…
    this man uses this as a license to keep on sinning.
    I’ve heard someone, who knows someone, who knows this man.
    but I’ve never met him myself.
    I’ve heard you need to be careful of those who teach
    and believe all the things this man believes
    because it will make you sin like crazy as well,
    but I’ve never actually seen it happen to anyone.
    I’ve heard of this man but do not believe he actually exists.

    I do know how often and how loud the accusation is.
    I do know an accuser and
    I do know what happens when sadly
    a man does not know, he’s loved, forgiven and accepted by the Father.
    I do know that man, because that man was me.

    • Phil Drysdale says

      Wow – that’s a fantastic poem John! Thanks so much for sharing it!

      Do you mind if I share it at some point – if you wouldn’t mind, how would you like me to credit you?

      I could not agree enough that I don’t know this group of people that abuse grace!

      Thanks again!

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