How Much is Too Much

March 1, 2014

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When dealing with the topics of grace and holiness, eventually the question of “how much is too much comes up.”

I’ve spoken before about how much grace is too much grace. The flip side is how much sin is too much sin?

We are accustomed to hearing preachers rail against certain kinds of sin.

We decry adultery, yet maintain secret addictions to porn.

We rail against homosexuality, yet we are a generation of obese, gluttonous people. The Bible has more to say about gluttony than homosexuality.

In Africa I am constantly attempting to break the hold of idolatry and ancestor worship in the lives of others, all the while knowing I have idols in my own life.

So how much is too much?

Are certain kinds of idolatry the kind which keep you out of heaven and others are covered by the blood?

Does God measure sin based on the consequences it has on Earth, meaning murder is worse than anger in our hearts?

We know God does not want us to live a lukewarm life, but how much lukewarmness is too much lukewarmness? All of us have areas on our lives we could be more committed, so how can we be confident we will not be spit out of the mouth of God?

The Ten Commandments and the Old Testament Law are the benchmark to define sin. In the Commandments, God covered actions, thoughts, words, and our hearts. This is what Christ referred to in Matthew 5 when he spoke of murder and adultery being the same as anger in our hearts and lust.

The Law, and keeping it, demand perfection.

So how much is too much when it comes to sin?

Any.

All it takes is one thought to break God’s standard of perfection.

We are a broken people from sin one. We do not climb the ranks of sinner status the more we sin receiving promotions (perhaps demotions) or medals. One sin or a million sins is too much sin.

The Law and the Commandments reveal our brokenness and our need for one to rescue us.

The horizontal consequences of sin on Earth have levels and degrees. Murder does carry different consequences on Earth than anger.

But when God asks the “how much is too much” question, all sin is the same.

The preacher railing against homosexuality is in need of mercy for his own greed and gluttony the same as one marching in pride parades.

All are broken. All are in need of mercy.

Consequences on Earth are different, but need for rescue is the same.

Ok, well if that is true, how much grace is too much grace?

Won’t people sin more if you give them too much grace?

We will leave that one up to God. Our job is not to decide if someone has “crossed a line”.

Our job is to dispense the grace of God to a lost and hurting world.

Our job is to response with gratitude and thanksgiving to the amazing gift of grace.

Our job is to take others with us on a journey closer to God’s standard and not away from it.

That is the scandal of grace.

If grace does not appear as if it could be abused, than we are not seeing grace for as big as it truly is.

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God