Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hyper-Grace Extremism

One of the negative developments that came to the fore in 2013 was the error of Hyper-Grace. For those of you not familiar with the doctrines of this teaching let me list them for you. Dr Michael Brown says they are (1) we have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus, (2) all our sins have been forgiven, (3) the Holy Spirit never convicts believers of sin, and (4) we need never repent for nor confess our sins. One proponent of the hyper grace message says "... it is not necessary to confess our sins and that Paul’s epistles never give an example of a believer confessing sin." This is simply not true. Paul confronts sin in the church of Corinth, for instance, in 1 Cor 7.8ff explaining to these NT believers that "Godly sorrow brings repentance". Indeed, other NT authors recognize the importance of keeping oneself pure and whole by confessing sins. John (1 Jn 1.9) talks about the God right to forgive confessed sin. He also criticizes those who say they do not sin. saying that they imply that "God is a liar" v10. James talks about the healing power of confessed sin in 5.16. The author to the Hebrews 12.14 reminded his hearers of the importance of their efforts to live rightly and then said " without holiness no man will see the Lord".

Another author writes that confession is a "faithless act" that does not result in forgiveness. He says that the meaning of repentance changed between the covenants. That doesn't follow logically. Repentance has always meant to agree with God's assessment of our condition and turn to God. This doesn't bring us to the love of God. God loves us (and all mankind) even while we are sinners. Salvation is never merited. It is by grace through faith )Eph 2.8-10)and that faith must be genuine (James 2.22-24) enough to produce the fruit of repentance (Matt. 3.8).

Confusion results because the scriptures are read and then taught through a theological system that discounts every work of man. I will be the first to stand and proclaim that in my flesh there resides no good thing. But my spirit is empowered by the Holy Spirit and gives direction to my body. I CAN live a life that glorifies God; I CAN bear fruit unto righteousness; I CAN fulfill the works for which he set me apart by grace. The fact is that the Apostle Paul spoke of his own "fear of the Lord" in 2 Cor 5.11ff saying that his ministry of trying to persuade men to follow the Lord was in a fearful response to the knowledge that " we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body..."

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