By: Danny Wallace
Many Christian leaders spend so much time teaching what they believe Grace isn’t that they fail to testify of all that Grace truly is. Grace doesn’t possess a negative.
When people teach Grace from the negative t’s called, “preaching in fear.” At the sound of their voices an angry congregation of religious minds stand up to shout, “Amen,” as another leader steps forward to explain the difference between real Grace, and false Grace – reasonable Grace, and hyper-Grace. The truth is, Grace doesn’t need our explanation. It is a “stand alone” glory. Each feeble attempt by religion to explain Grace is simply a pathetic attempt to subvert its true glory.
There can only be one reason for this constant defining. It is all part of man’s compulsion to rush in with a “comma,” and a “but,” as if another religious addendum, or theological explanation is needed to complete that which God Himself has finished by His own sacrifice.
Pay close attention to every word that comes after the word man inserts a comma, and a “but.” His next words define a fear propaganda that holds religious multitudes to man’s teaching, rather than bringing hope to the world through the faith story that is, Jesus, and His gift of Grace.
We’ve heard this subject argued, explained, and “added to,” in more ways than the beaches have grains of sand. Our “over explaining” of something so complete and simple as Grace reveals, “Thou does protest too much.”
Grace is about far more than receiving a guaranteed ticket to Heaven, as some might stipulate. Grace is the foretold, promised, and final covenant of God with Himself, that lists mankind as full beneficiary. By His own declaration, God declared the Old Covenant to be insufficient, thereby promising the New Covenant was coming with far better promises. God surrendering everything so that we could truly be set free needs no further explanation, and most especially an explanation from the “dust of the earth” that Grace has redeemed. Grace needs nothing that we have to offer. It is wondrous, and all-sufficiently GLORIOUS!
Granted, who would expect us to understand it since we possess nothing by which to begin to understand such a selfless sacrifice. Nothing in the archives of religious teaching prepares man to accept the idea that the highest of royalty surrendered Himself to die for the lowest of mankind. Especially when religious minds have no intentions of surrendering even a single inch of authority, or respect they have worked tirelessly to accumulate from their many followers. The concept of removing self, ego, and reputation is foreign to religion, yet it is the epitome of Grace. It is ludicrous to assume that religion would preach only from the glory of this New Covenant. It has a far more complicated gospel to offer.
Therefore, we are left with these countless explanations as to what Grace is not, when all that religion stands for today is living proof that it is a devouring beast which is marching forward, trampling over, and having no understanding of the wonder of Grace. Religious leaders continue to preach from fear, declaring God’s completed Grace is the same as releasing people to a life of sin. Religion’s followers begin to walk in fear, even though scripture is clear that it is the Law that brings sin and death, not the finished work of Christ on our behalf. What would happen if we preached the glory of Christ in faith, rather than continuing to burden hearts with religious fear? If the caution, and fear of religion is justified, then what on earth was a loving God thinking when He extended such Grace to set the entire world free?
Grace is everything. It is the gift and covenant that sets the lineage of Ishmael on equal footing with the lineage of Isaac. It is the fulfilled promise of God that joins Jews and Gentiles as one. It is the blood of God – therefore, who can reach it, or add to its infinite glory?
Many stipulate that Grace surely saves us, and quickly acknowledge that there is no way we can save ourselves. However, in hope of adding a twist to the finished truth of Grace, these same leaders hold followers to their authoritative voice by adding, “That’s all that Grace provides.”
We are told that it is up to us to live in such a way as to earn the favor, and rewards of God. With this addendum we are thrust into the fear that Heaven will be an eternity of the same peer pressure, and “keeping up with the Joneses” that has desecrated America. If this were true, Grace would be nothing more than an eternity of more of the same tragedy this life has become for so many broken and competitive souls. God forbid.
Grace is far more than any human voice could ever explain. It is far more than religion will ever stipulate. Grace is the glory of God that allows man the freedom to live out a blessing for all people, love without conditions, and forgiveness for all people. Grace is the sweet land of treating others the way we would like to be treated. Grace is the supernatural wonder of every word that Jesus ever spoke brought to life.
Therefore, should any man feel compelled to tell you what Grace is not – kindly bless him and pass him by.