Confronting the Error of Hyper-Grace
Confronting the Error of Hyper-Grace, by Dr Michael Brown, is an article that has gained a lot of traction at Charisma news, a Christian news website. (Dr. Brown is a prominent Christian and an Hebrew scholar in the evangelical world. You can read his profile here).
Referring to what he terms as “hyper-grace” in the article, Dr Brown states, “one of the foundational doctrines of the hyper-grace message is that God does not see the sins of his children, since we have already been made righteous by the blood of Jesus and since all of our sins, past, present and future, have already been forgiven. That means that the Holy Spirit never convicts believers of sin, that believers never need to confess their sins to God, and that believers never need to repent of their sins, since God sees them as perfect in his sight. It is easy to see how such teaching can be dangerous, especially to a believer being tempted to compromise”.
Then Dr. Brown finally states, “Has He justified us by the blood of Jesus? Absolutely. Has He has set apart as holy to Himself? Without a doubt. Has He called us to be His sons and daughters, all by His love and grace? Yes He has. And it is because of these things that Paul wrote, “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Cor. 7:1).
Although many modern-day evangelicals would contend with the message of this article, Dr. Brown brings an important lesson about what God’s grace really does in a believer. The majority in the evangelical world confines grace to forgiveness of sins only (forgiving grace). But grace is more than God counting us righteous and perfect after we confess our sins and claim forgiveness. Grace is also life changing. Grace helps us to grow in holiness. Grace is also able to provide the believer with the experience of victory over sin. Any gospel that does not preach this complete truth about God’s amazing grace (that it is both forgiving and life changing), is an incomplete gospel! Notice that God's word make it plain that God's grace forgives and transforms us:
The first aspect to grace is that God forgives my sins.
My sins are forgiven and I am no longer a guilty sinner:
Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
With forgiveness, comes the following blessings:
When I am forgiven I am counted righteous as if I have not done any wrong:
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 4:6-8. "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."
When I am forgiven, I have peace with God:
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1
When I am justified (just-as-I-have-not-sinned = forgiveness), my guilt is gone, my fear is gone, and my uncertainty is gone because Christ has paid the penalty for my sins fully. They are replaced by peace and joy, because now I am counted righteous and perfect for Christ's sake. When we truly understand that God has forgiven us, we will begin to extend the same forgiveness to others and treat others as Christ treats us, that is, just as they had not done any wrong. This way we have peace with God and peace with others. “By grace ye are saved" (Ephesians 2:4,5).
The second aspect to grace is it is life transforming:
Grace breaks the power of sin over our lives:
Romans 6:14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.
When we are under grace, we can experience victory over sin, because sin will not rule over us because we are now under grace! God says He "is able to keep us from falling" (Jude 1:24); God wants us to grow and mature "unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:13). God also promises us in this journey that "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1), to help us get back in line with the "will of God, even your sanctification" (1 Thess 4:3) and experience victory.
Grace empowers us to live differently:
Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Grace involves how we live. In Titus two, Paul is discussing behavior and how we should live because "the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men". Because of grace, we we will live differently. Grace teaches us to deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts” because Revelation 21:27 assures us that nothing that defiles or makes a lie will enter into heaven.
Notice also that grace is sent out in search of us. We do not deserve it or merit it, but it has been sent out in search of us since God is trying to bring salvation to us. “By grace ye are saved" (Ephesians 2:4,5).
Grace, therefore, is forgiving grace and life changing grace, which is the complete gospel or good news that is taught in God's word. We will summarise true grace like this: The gospel of grace teaches us that whatever you have done in your past, however you have been condemned by sin (Romans 3:23), however you have been defeated by Satan; the gospel of grace is the good news that there is forgiveness in Jesus (Eph 1:7). It is also the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16). It is the fact that the living Christ who resurrected from the dead can break the bonds that keep us in bondage (Rom 6:14); He can set us free from the prison house of lust, anger and bitterness. It is surely the forgiving power of Christ and the life changing power of Christ (John 8:11). “Bygrace ye are saved" (Ephesians 2:4,5).