Among the many controversies in Christendom today, one which stands out is what many refer to as “hyper-grace” (or ultra-grace). The alleged conclusion is that these doctrines teach an excessive form of God’s grace, thus apparently encouraging careless and sinful living since they supposedly make light of and disregard God’s old covenant law and commandments.
Those who take issue with this ‘gospel of grace’ are also of the strong opinion that new covenant believers ought to live by the application of God’s law and God’s grace, and one cannot be ignored at the expense of the other. A familiar statement used to backup this view says “God gave us his law to show us how to live and grace is how he empowers us to do it”. While this view may seem doctrinally sound, it raises many bible covenant interpretation questions since the implication is that believers are to live by a blend of old and new covenant operating systems (or ways of relating to God). An issue which gospel of grace believers disagree with equally strong.
So, who is right? and What are we to believe?
Every reformation or revival experiences a component of extremism and opposition, meaning that there will always be those who take what is being revealed or manifested by God either to a crazy extreme or oppose it fiercely. A sad, historical trend of humanity, but it should not stop believers from exploring and experiencing what God is clearly doing in our time.
Acts 17:10-13 (NLT)
10 That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men. 13 But when some Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, they went there and stirred up trouble.
Before joining popular opinion, assumption or conclusion, we owe it to ourselves to be like the Berean believers and be open-minded, listen eagerly, search the scriptures for ourselves and determine if the Gospel of Grace is indeed from God and in the word of God. We cannot base our lives, our faith and our doctrine solely on the teaching, interpretation and opinion of those who we allow to speak into our lives. The Bereans didn’t do it and neither should we.
Did you know that this “hyper-grace” controversy goes all the way back to the days of the early church?
In those days it was the religious leaders and teachers who opposed the apostles and believers. They too were accused of embracing and teaching an excessive form of God’s grace supposedly at the expense of God’s law.
Acts 13:45 (NLT)
But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said.
Romans 3:8 (NLT)
And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, “The more we sin, the better it is!” Those who say such things deserve to be condemned.
Acts 6:11 (NLT)
So they persuaded some men to lie about Stephen, saying, “We heard him blaspheme Moses, and even God.”
Acts 6:13 (NLT)
The lying witnesses said, “This man is always speaking against the holy Temple and against the law of Moses.
Acts 21:21 (NLT)
But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs.
Acts 21:28 (NLT)
yelling, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who preaches against our people everywhere and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws. He speaks against the Temple—and even defiles this holy place by bringing in Gentiles.”
The reason why the leaders of the then established religion viciously opposed what the apostles taught was for the same self-preserving reasons we see it being done today. They did not want their established form of faith, doctrine and religion challenged because of how it would affect them, not the people!
Their purpose was to simply degrade and discredit the true message of the gospel of God’s grace (the very same thing we see happening in our time).
Acts 20:24 (KJV)
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Galatians 2:21 (NLT)
I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
No one likes to be challenged but unless we are challenged, how will we ever know if we have discovered all there is to know about God and the Gospel Truth?
Most life-changing discoveries, reformations and revivals in the history of the world were as a direct result of someone challenging the status quo.
So we encourage you to be like the early believers and search the scriptures for yourself. Have an open mind and heart. Listen to those who preach the gospel of grace without a filter, and discover what the truth is for yourself!
For more teaching in this regard, we encourage to listen to the following sermon: The Gospel Paul Preached
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