I frequently get accused of being one of those “hyper-grace” people.
I have to confess I do find grace rather hyper. The apostle Paul did too.
Romans 5:20 says “where sin abounds (pleonazõ), grace hyper-abounds (hyperperisseuõ).”
Paul’s description of grace was hyper. In fact, he heard a lot of the same objections to grace as we see today!
I have to confess. I totally understand people’s reservations with grace. It’s a scary thing if you don’t fully understand what it is. Which it seems most people don’t.
However, trying to bring balance to grace is not a good solution. Rather, it’s about the worst thing you can do.
Changing grace to suit us is not the answer.
The answer is to educate ourselves in the truths of the gospel until we can see grace as the solution.
So today I want to briefly talk about why trying to balance grace is so dangerous.
The importance of believing in the gift of righteousness
Here is the deal. Grace is scary!
But only when coupled with one key misunderstanding of the gospel.
Romans 5-8 explains the key to walking in grace is understanding your sinful-self died and you are now righteous.
As we believe this, grace becomes a powerful force to enable us walk in the righteousness we’ve been given.
If we don’t believe this then grace loses any effectiveness it has.
We just end up letting “sinners” do what they want to do – sin.
Teaching grace and extending grace has to be complete.
We can’t release a partial grace that leaves people in their sin.
We must teach a grace that makes us righteous. Not by our efforts to change but by Jesus’ work in us to make us righteous!
In my experience every pastor who preaches against hyper-grace has a common incorrect belief. They believe on one level or another that Christians are sinners.
This makes grace as it’s preached in the Bible a risky proposition.
Imagine you are leading hundreds of people. Now imagine that the Bible presents grace as something we should teach.
This grace says that we must believe in those we lead that they will behave perfectly righteous without any of the rules or laws. But just because of who they are in Christ.
If you think they are all sinners you are going to have a heart attack at the prospect.
You need some rules to help make sure they behave. To make sure these sinners don’t sin! You can’t just trust God to keep them from sinning!
The result is we try to “balance” an extreme message. The problem is that balancing the message isn’t the answer.
Despite how much people try – balancing grace doesn’t work. In fact, it makes things worse! And here’s why…
Grace + Law = Law
Trying to balance out grace is impossible. It can’t be done!
Grace in it’s very nature is an all or nothing.
When we change the all… it becomes nothing!
Paul talks about this in most of his epistles but nowhere with as strong an emphasis as his letter to the Galatians.
In it he states (in Gal 5:4) that just by getting circumcised, nothing more, you fall from grace back under the law.
Just one rule ruined grace and made the whole system of belief the same as being under the law.
You see there are two systems you live under.
1) Grace – allowing God to work in and through you, simply following the lead of the Holy Spirit.
2) Law – attempting to what’s right or wrong.
It is physically impossible for you to be living both!
To mix them puts you firmly in the law camp.
But just the bad parts of the law!
What’s funny about this is you aren’t even living fully in the law either!
The insistence on balancing grace means you don’t get to enjoy the benefits of grace or the law.
Yes, while we are not under the law (not in the slightest), those who were under the law did have benefits. If one perfectly fulfilled the law without a single error there were blessings you would come under.
But we don’t put ourselves under the blessings of the law, because we have mingled a little grace with the law.
So we fail to do the law perfectly.
Instead we put ourselves back under the curse of the law.
The law requires any man who lives with law to adhere to it perfectly or they place themselves under wrath!
So by “balancing grace” we remove ourselves from grace and place ourselves under the curse of the law!
We live in a terrible in-between place. This is why the book of Revelations tells us it’s better to be hot (grace) or cold (law) than lukewarm (a bit of grace and a bit of law).
What’s my point?
My point is this:
If you try to balance grace – you receive none of the benefits of grace and only the negative parts of the law.
You end up with no grace at all and a partial law.
Balanced grace = sloppy law!
Grace = no law at all.
For more resources on the law I’d encourage you to check out these links: