Through the work of false teachers, the church has been inundated with a false perspective on the grace of God. Or rather I should say a one-sided perspective of grace which produces a false response to God’s will. Initially, the gay christian movement focused its energies on refuting so called “clobber passages” (Romans, Leviticus, etc). The best results they got from this was to look utterly foolish; there was simply no getting around the clear proscriptions against homosexuality. But now there is a new effort to appeal to the church’s uber-sensitive understanding of grace and love. Unfortunately, like most biblical issues they touch, redefiniton compliments their sin.
Gay christians teach grace is somehow a right or rather that the grace of God establishes a right to have what other Christians have without having to do what others Christians do. This obfuscates the fullness and the truthfulness of God’s grace while superimposing a subtle lie: the prohibition of homosexuality is just an interpretation issue. Grace is an active, vibrant force in the life of the believer.
GRACE, THE REACHER
Before we talk about grace the teacher, lets talk about grace, the reacher. There aren’t two graces, but two functions of grace. One function reaches the sinful man with a message of love and kindness, drawing him to the Father with no requirements other than to respond. “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3. This is the will of God, acted out in love and the divine desire for holy fellowship and relationship with man.
Grace, as a reaching function spreads the message of God’s unconditional love. Its agape is given freely, even if it is rejected. Jesus’ coming personified God’s grace while equally pairing it with truth. Truth, so that grace would not be misunderstood or taken for granted (Romans 6:1). While agape on its front end only requires coming, the end of it requires repentance. God’s call is to repentance and thus reconciliation, and excluding a personal repentance for one’s sins, there can be no personal reconciliation with a holy and just God. This is not a prejudicial barrier erected by the church, God himself set the requirements of relationship with him. And they are universally applied to all people.
Every person, no matter what sinful proclivity they struggle against, is lovingly spoken to by the Holy Spirit. It is an invitation to come to the King’s table to receive something one could never possibly earn, nor deserve.
“…and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely will one die for a righteous man, yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.(our bold)
Take notice that Christ’s love (proven by his death) is for _________(just insert the sin here.) This is truly the unmerited favor of God.
GRACE THE TEACHER
So then we are called into relationship with God. Let’s call it a “no-fault” universal invitation. Once an individual accepts this free invitation from the Holy Spirit to come to the Father AND they respond appropriately with true repentance, be aware, the requirements change. Jesus goes from being just savior to Lord. As Lord, a person voluntarily agrees to accept his rule and reign over their lives. They agree to serve and obey him by adhering to his will and his word. They agree to deny themselves what they feel is right and accept what he knows is right for them. Grace the reacher now transitions to grace the teacher. Jesus himself explained this transition of grace:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
Consequently, the Apostle Paul characterizes grace as an instructor.
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 Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous for good works. These things speak and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. Titus 2:11-15
After salvation, its mission is to teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. That includes homosexuality and all other sexual immoral activities. It also teaches us that we should deny (read:restrict) the false feelings arising from such activities as normal. Thus, a so-called homosexual orientation isn’t compatible with Biblical teaching for a self professed Christian.
When we come to Christ, (contrary to what gay christian movement claims) we are not coming to get a “seat at the table”. That’s what the inclusion doctrine is all about in a nutshell. We are not coming to Christ to negotiate some deal whereby we are to receive privileges based on who we are. We come as ignorant servants eager to hear our Lord and learn of his ways in order to better serve him.
8 thoughts on “How grace functions and transitions, part 1”
Excellent distinctions! Some people only focus on saving grace, but grace is much bigger and broader than that.
Thanks Neil, I was blessed writing this.
Gawd is good! Awesome clarity brother.
The “seeker friendlies” are starting to come after me responding to my post on Pastor Robert Mark Lee’s “apology” to sinners.
The primary argument is always “God love us all and He takes us as we are”. My argument is that He takes us as we are so that He can change us to look and act in His image (that seems to fall on deaf ears).
You’ve just saved me hundreds of keystrokes – I’ll simply point the naysayers to this article in the future 🙂
This is so excellently written, D.L.! GREAT post! I just loved it…”grace the reacher,” and “grace the teacher”!
I was doing research on another subject and found a portion of David Guzik’s commentary on Romans 13:12-14 applicable to the discussion here:
b. Cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light: The illustration is from taking off and putting on clothes. When you get dressed every day, you dress appropriately to who you are and what you plan to do. Therefore, everyday, put on the Lord Jesus Christ!
i. We must cast off before we can put on.
“The rags of sin must come off if we put on the robe of Christ. There must be a taking away of the love of sin, there must be a renouncing of the practices and habits of sin, or else a man cannot be a Christian. It will be an idle attempt to try and wear religion as a sort of celestial overall over the top of old sins.” (Spurgeon)
c. The works of darkness are characterized as revelry and drunkenness, licentiousness and lewdness, strife and envy. These are not appropriate for Christians who have come out of the night into God’s light.
i. The idea behind the word for licentiousness is “the desire for a forbidden bed.” It describes the person who sets no value on sexual purity and fidelity.
ii. Lewdness has the idea of a man who is lost to shame. They no longer care what people think and flaunt their sin openly, even proudly.
d. The armor of light is related to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. When we put on Christ, we put on all the armor of God and are equipped to both defend and attack.
i. “Putting on Christ is a strong and vivid metaphor. It means more than put on the character of the Lord Jesus Christ, signifying rather Let Jesus Christ Himself be the armor that you wear.” (Morris)
e. Yet, we are still called to make no provision for the flesh. We have a work to do in walking properly, as in the day – it isn’t as if Jesus does it for us as we sit back; instead, He does it through us as we willingly and actively partner with Him.
f. God used this passage to show Augustine, the great theologian of the early church, that he really could live the Christian life as empowered by the Holy Spirit – he just had to do it. And so do we.
Guzik, David. “Study Guide for Romans 13.” Blue Letter Bible. 7 Jul 2006. 31 Mar 2008.
Don’t you just love Spurgeon? His quote regarding the need to remove “the rags of sin” verses putting on “Celestial overalls” in a human attempt to cover sin kind of describes what the gay “christian” movement tries to do with their sinful condition…doesn’t it?
Christine, thank you for that reminder to “put on the Lord Jesus.
Personally, I havent read a lot of Spurgeon but I have read nothing but great comments about his work and writings.
IST: Okay we are even now! 🙂 Remember the Christian chain letter post you wrote?
LOL! Pastor Foster have you noticed the responses? No long responses just WOWs. I second that motion also. I can’t add anything to it. It was truly given by the Holy Ghost to you. One of the top 10 best posts on your site. Praise God!
Touche` sir 😉
At least they can go directly to you to complain instead of complaining to me. I’ll keep my spam forwarding to a minimum.
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