Archives For sanctification

The number one objection to grace says if you give people a big grace they will do whatever they want.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship famously called this cheap grace.

I do not believe any grace is cheap since it cost Jesus everything.

I would rather argue the cheapening of grace comes not in it’s cost, but in our response to the gift we have been given. After all, Bonhoeffer and anyone speaking against a cheap grace is not referring to the price Jesus paid.

They are speaking of our response having received this amazing grace.

We don’t want people to think they can do whatever they want without consequence.

Grace is never without consequence.

Paul addressed this in Romans 6:1-2. After proclaiming an enormous grace, he knew the natural tendency of people to see what they can get away with.

Improving on Perfection

August 11, 2015

When you merge something with impurities into something pure, it brings corruption.

In mathematics, we know a negative and a positive equals a negative.

As broken and flawed humans, we cannot improve the work of Christ by something we do, say, feel, or think.

Many times we are told the way to be a good Christian is “Jesus + (insert something we do or don’t do, an attitude, or a Christian discipline.)”

Consider some of the Christian activities we insert into this equation…

  • Prayer
  • Church attendance
  • Missions
  • Tithing
  • Spiritual gifts
  • Bible reading
  • Obedience

The list could go on and on. Notice the things listed above are all good things. We could easily attach a Scripture reference to each one.

The enemy would never think of convincing us that we need “Jesus + fornication or drugs” in order to be pleasing to God.

The relationship between grace and obedience can seem tenuous at times.

An over-emphasis on grace with no thought to obedience can lead to antinomianism, hyper grace, or as some would say “free, cheap grace.”

Focusing on rules and commands as a means to gain the favor of God can lead to rule keeping, law, and legalism. The thinking of “God has done His part, now we do ours” is equally out of balance.

But it is clear the Bible promotes a balance or blend of these two truths.

In his book, Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us, Preston Sprinkle shares a third way which comes from New Testament scholar John Barclay.

This view is called Energism. It stems from the Greek word “energeo” found Galatians 2:8.

“for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles”

God’s Perfect Plan

November 19, 2014

Is there a perfect plan of God for our lives?

I’ve heard many things along these lines through the years.

  • “The good is the enemy of best.”
  • “Don’t settle for second best in your life.”
  • “Compromise will limit your effectiveness and take you out of His Will”

This doesn’t even begin to consider the search for our spouse, the match made in heaven.

With this thinking comes a great deal of pressure and fear.

The implication is that unless we perfectly discern the will of God for our lives we end up in some alternate universe.

We endeavor to crack the mystery through prayer, godly counsel, and the ever-present laying of fleeces.

I literally know people who have been paralyzed with fear of their next decision derailing his Divine Plan. They could not even get out of bed.

A Blend of Grace and Effort

November 4, 2014

As humans we tend to go to extremes. The idea of tension and living in the midst of it is difficult. We are a people of “either or”, not “both”.

In writings and teaching about grace and works, you often get this as well. Very few talk about the balance between the two, rather than isolating one or the other.

As I speak and write on grace I feel this tension.

I know some of my posts on grace will anger the “effort” crowd, while there are others in our midst who despise any mention of our part and responsibility.

We label people in the camps of “Hyper-Grace”, “Sloppy Agape, “Holiness movements”, or “Legalists”.

As if there is no grace in holiness or any responsibility in the promotion of freedom.

I’ve posted many “Grace” posts such as: