A Healthy Church Member is Gospel Saturated (Part3) – Hypergrace
April 6, 2014 | Speaker: Bro Jurem Ramos
We are going through a series on the topic, “What is a healthy church member?” We have covered three marks out of the then that I plan to share with you.
The first mark is an expositional listener.Second mark is a biblical theologian. What we mean is simply a Christian who is doctrinally grounded or who affirms that the Bible is the inspired word of God and submits to its final authority over one’s life in all matters of faith and conduct. Third mark is gospel saturated.
As I’ve said before, the gospel is not only the greatest need of the world, it is also the greatest need of the church.And this is why we need to
Know the gospel
Regularly expose ourselves to the gospel
Order our lives around the gospel
Share the gospel with others
Guard the gospel
We need to understand that the gospel is a message that saves.
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 ESV 1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain.
- Act 11:14 he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved…
- 1Th 2:16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved…
- Acts 23:11 ESV The following night the Lord stood by him and said, "Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome."
- Acts 20:24 ESV But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
The gospel is not the good works or help that you do to your neighbor. It is not your distributing of food to victims affected by a calamity, doing medical mission, helping rebuild houses and church buildings destroyed by typhoons and earthquakes. These are all good and but they are not the gospel. These good works adorn the gospel (see Tit 2:5,10) and do prepare people to hear the gospel, but they are not the gospel.The gospel is not good deeds. It is good news. It is a message
And we must make sure that we preach the right message and the pure message or else people are not going to be saved. This is the reason why the apostle Paul had very strong words to say to those who distort the gospel.
Galatians 1:8-9,But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed
When Paul mentioned this, he was dealing with the problem of legalism in the churches of Galatia. There were false teachers who were distorting the gospel and saying that Christians must be circumcised and submit to the Mosaic Law in order to be accepted by God. Paul’s central message in this letter is that “a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ.”
I said a while ago that if we are going to be gospel saturated we should…
- Know the gospel
- Regularly expose ourselves to the gospel
- Order our lives around the gospel
- Share the gospel with others
- Guard the gospel.
Today, I want us to do that last point, “guard the gospel.”
Paul exhorted Timothy in his last letter just before he died, with these words in 2 Timothy 1:14, “By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”
The phrase “the good deposit entrusted to you” refers to the gospel. The word “guard” in that verse means to keep watch upon, to protect, to guard a thing so that it is not lost or damaged.
Turn your bibles to Jude 3-4 as we look at one of the efforts that the church did in order to guard this gospel.
The background of the letter of Jude.
The author of this letter is Judewho is generally accepted as theJudas
who is one of thehalf-brothers of the Lord Jesus mentioned in Matthew 13:55. Matthew 13:55 reads, “Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?”
Jude calls himself the“brother of James” in verse 1 of his letter. This James is not one of the twelve apostles of Christ, but the other half brother of Jesus who became the leader of the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15).
Jude originally intended to write the believers about the gospel. Notice that he says, in v. 3,
“Beloved.”The recipients of this letter were already believers and yet Jude wanted so much to write them about the gospel. He writes, “I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation.”
As we learned, the gospel is not just for unbelievers. It is also for believers. Jude wanted them to be saturated with the gospel. He wanted them to know the gospel, to be continually exposed to the gospel, to talk about the gospel, and to live according to the gospel. Jude wanted his readers to have something to read for encouragement when they were down, persecuted, or when they needed motivation to persevere. He wanted them to meditate upon and enjoy the gospel. For him the gospel was something that, as the Psalmist said about God’s Law, was more to be desired than gold and sweeter than honey (Ps 19:10).
Although Jude was very eager to write to his readers about our common salvation, he found himself writing another kind of letter instead. He says,I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
Although Jude would have wanted to write about the gospel of God’s grace, he changed his plan. It became urgent for him to write about the need to contend for the faith. “The faith” refers to the known and received body of truth about Jesus and salvation through him that had been once for all delivered to the Christians.
In other words, by the time that Jude wrote his letter, “the gospel and the apostolic teaching had already been fixed and established, and therefore could not be changed. But it was under attack and so needed to be defended.
In verse 4, Jude tells his readers why he was so concerned. He says, “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
The false teachers Jude referred to were those Paul referred to in his letter to the Galatians. In Galatians, Paul referred to false teachers who were legalists. The legalists were saying that people cannot be saved by faith alone. They needed to be circumcised. They needed to obey the Law of Moses, they needed to follow the rituals and ceremonies, festivals, etc., of the Mosaic Law.
The problem that Jude addressed was the opposite of the legalism; it was antinomianism. The word antinomianism
comes from two Greek words, anti
, meaning "against," and nomos
, meaning "law." Antinomianism
means “against the law.”
Theologically, antinomianism is the belief that there are no moral laws God expects Christians to obey. Antinomianism takes a biblical teaching to an unbiblical conclusion. The biblical teaching is that Christians are not required to observe the Old Testament Law as a means of salvation. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He fulfilled the Old Testament Law. But the unbiblical conclusion is that there is no moral law God expects Christians to obey.”
And perhaps this is the reason why the false teachers had joined the assemblies of believers unnoticed. Their teachings were not immediately recognized to be false because there were some elements in them that were true. They talked about the grace of God and perhaps those who were suffering under the weight of legalism experienced liberty. But the problem was that the false teachers went beyond the apostolic teaching of grace. These false teachers perverted the grace of God. Apparently they were trying to convince believers that being saved by grace gave them license to sin since their sins were already forgiven. And so because some believers were being helped by the message, and they were experiencing liberty from the bondage of legalism, these false teachers had free access to the churches and were not being confronted. People did not discern that their message contained some element of truth but there was also poison mixed into it. Claiming liberty in Christ, they interpreted His grace as license to do what their flesh desired with no inhibitions. As a result of their distortion of the gospel, people were no longer turning away from temptation and controlling their lustful desires. This wrong practice is in effect a denial of the Master and the Lord Jesus Christ because it is so opposite to the very reason why Jesus Christ came here on earth. Titus 2:11-14 gives us the reason why Jesus came:
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self- controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
And so the false teachers were distorting the gospel, they were destroying the faith of believers, they were poisoning the church, and they were dishonoring Christ. And Jude wrote the believers in order to make the believers aware of the problem and to start to actively defend the true gospel.
Today, I want to address a something that is happening in the churches that is similar to the one addressed by Jude in his letter. The situation may not yet be as bad as the one portrayed in Jude’s letter but nevertheless if it is not addressed and confronted it could become like that sooner or later. I could say that corruption is not yet like a full grown tree but the seeds are already being planted.
One of the most dangerous distortions of the gospel that is creeping into the churches today unnoticed is what may be called hyper-grace.
When you use the word hyper as a prefix it means “over,” “beyond,” excessive, above normal.” This false teaching goes beyond the normal teaching of grace in the bible. It is an exaggerated presentation of the gospel of grace and thus it is a distortion.
And one of the most prominent marketers of hyper-grace is Joseph Prince.
According to Wikipedia
, Joseph Prince is the senior pastor of New Creation Church in Singapore, one of the Asia’s biggest churches. In 2011, Prince preached at Lakewood Church, America's largest church, pastored by Joel Osteen. In 2007, his book Destined to Reign: The Secret to Effortless Success, Wholeness and Victorious Living
, which contains teachings from his ten years of preaching from 1997 to 2007, was published in Singapore and the US. Six months after the book's US release, it was listed as one of Christian Retailing's Top 100 Books.
Now I want to clarify. I mentioned the name of Joseph Prince and the wrong teaching that he is promoting. I am not saying that he is intentionally teaching people to live immoral lives and saying it is ok. I don’t think that there is any hyper-grace teacher who is doing that. But what is happening is that that even though their intention is to help people to be delivered from the error of legalism and from living under condemnation, they are inadvertently also planting bad seeds that will cause people to think that it is ok to sin because, anyway, Jesus already paid for all of their sins.
And so this is what makes hyper-grace very dangerous. It does contain some elements of truth that brings great blessings to certain individuals but it also contains poison so that continued exposure to it will bring devastating results.
People are being deceived into thinking they are really being taught the true grace of God. But because they are receiving false doctrine, they will someday live in immorality and not feel convicted about it. Their consciences are going to be seared,they will no longer hunger and thirst for God, they will no longer repent when they sin, the body of Christ will be divided, people will be stumbled, the gospel will become offensive to unbelievers and God will be greatly dishonored.
For us to better understand the error of hyper-grace we will follow this outline
:First, we’ll look at what the gospel of grace is.Second, we will look at hyper-grace.Third, we will look at how we can protect ourselves from dangerous doctrine.
I. What is the gospel of grace?
Paul was called into this glorious calling of testifying about the gospel of grace. Acts 20:24, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
What is this good news about God’s grace? Essentially, what Paul means when he refers to the grace of God in this verse, he is referring to the free and unconditional gift of God for the salvation of sinners through Christ.
When you look closely at the elements of the gospel that I shared with you last time, this is exactly what you see.
You remember that the gospel begins with the bad news that we have offended God because of our sin. As a consequence of our rebellion towards God, we deserve to be condemned and punished in hell for eternity. God would have been perfectly just to do this immediately but in His patience and love, He did not do that. Instead, God chose individuals before the foundation of the world to become his children. We read about that in Ephesians 1:4-5.
We must not think that the reason why God chose these individuals is because he saw beforehand that they would receive the Lord and be transformed and start to love God and live for God. If that were so then in reality, it was not God who elected sinners but sinners elected God and God only responded. This is not so. God was free when He gave salvation. It was not because He was obligated or constrained because of the moral merits of people who have earned salvation. Grace, which means unmerited favor, is the only reason why some out the many who deserve to go to hell are chosen and saved.
But God in His justice could not just forgive these chosen sinners and make them His children unless his justice is satisfied. Because of God’s holiness, He could not just wink at their sin. And so what the holy God did so that His justice is satisfied is that He gave His Son andmade Him incarnate. His Son lived a perfect life and in time gave His life as a perfect sacrifice for these sinners God chose from eternity past.
On the cross Jesus took upon Himself both the sins of these people and God’s punishment for those sins. This is the reason for the terrible suffering of Jesus that caused Him to utter the cry, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.”
Before Christ died, He said, “It is finished!” (Jn 19:30). When He said this He was proclaiming that all the work the Father had sent Him to accomplish was now completed, particularly His work of bearing the penalty for sins. This means there was no more penalty left to be paid for sins.
Christ died, he was buried, and on the third day He rose again from the dead. And then He ascended to heaven and sat at the right hand of God His Father.His resurrection was an indication that the Father accepted His sacrifice on behalf of sinners.
Now the story doesn't end there.
All that Christ did do not automatically save sinners. People need to hear about this good news and trust in Christ who gave His life for them. This is the reason why the Lord Jesus, after rising from the dead, called His disciples to Himself and told them to “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to all creation” (Mk 16:15).
Now here is how grace is manifested again. All sinners have this common problem. Because of their sinful nature, even if they heard the gospel preached to them, they still will not receive it to the point of genuinely receiving Christ in their hearts. This is what 1Co 2:14 tells us. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
And so again, by grace, God sent His Spirit in order to convict sinners of their sin and to convince them of their need to receive Jesus. Jn 16:7-8 says, “…I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”
A beautiful illustration of this is in Acts 16:We have an example of this in the life of Lydia in Acts 16:14. The bible says that when Paul spoke to the women at Philippi, the Lord opened the heart of Lydia to pay attention to what was said by Paul. This is the Lord’s irresistible grace. This is God granting Lydia the gift of faith so that light shined in her dark soul and she began to understand the gospel and see the beauty of Jesus Christ to the point that she could not resist turning away from her sins and putting her trust in Christ. Without this grace of God, she could not have been converted.
Now all those who are converted are born-again, have their sins forgiven, receive eternal life, be justified, be adopted into God’s family, be under God’s discipline, and receive many other spiritual blessings in Christ. Sinners receive all of these benefits not because of their works but only by faith in the person and work of Christ.
And so this is why this message is called the gospel of grace
. Everything pertaining to man’s salvation, from start to finish, is because of God’s unmerited favor. God’s election, the sending of Christ to die for sinners, the conviction of the Holy Spirit, the gift of repentance and faith, the blessings of justification, etc.,—all of that is because of God’s initiative.
This is why Paul ends his systematic presentation of the gospel in the eleven chapters of Romans in this way as we read in Romans 11:33-36:
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “ For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “ Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Now let us look at the distortion of this gospel of grace.
II. What is hyper-grace?
Hyper-grace is exaggerated grace. It is going beyond what the Bible says about grace. It is a teaching where where you have to remove what other portions of Scripture say about grace so that you have a distorted picture of grace. It is a mixture and polluted grace.
There is some wonderful truth in the teaching of hyper-gracebecause it is liberating people, it is setting them free from guilt and condemnation and legalism, and they realize that they are accepted because of what Jesus did and they experience freedom. But it is taught with addition, with distortion, with exaggeration, and so there is poison with it.
Some of the distortions:
- 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.
There is a sense that Jesus died for all of our sins, past present and future. The support for this is the teaching about the new covenant in Hebrews. Part of the new covenant is that God will no longer remember our sins. In Heb 8:12 ForI will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.
Heb 10:17, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.
Romans 8:1 also says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
[If a person is in Christ, it is permanent. No believer is in Christ one day and then out of Him another day. When a person is in Christ, he is secure in Him forever. This means that he will never be under condemnation again. Because of this you could say that God has already forgiven all of a person’s sins, past, present, and future.]
John 5:24 - Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
[Since the penalty for our sin, which is hell, is already removed, then in a sense you could say that God will no longer remember our sins.]
Ro 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God 's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died —more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
But here is where the distortion comes in. The wrong conclusion.Hyper-grace teachers say that since Jesus died for all of our sins, past, present and future, then there is no need to repent and confess sin because it doesn’t exist in God’s sight.Another wrong conclusion is that because Jesus died for all of our sin, God is no longer grieved when we sin.
Yes, Jesus paid for all of our sins. This is the message of John 13:10. You remember the story of the washing of disciples’ feet by Jesus in John 13. As Jesus was about to wash the feet of Peter, (vv. 8-9) Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “ Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean.
There is no need to be born-again and again; that is the bathing part. But on a daily basis there is a need to receive forgiveness; that is the washing part. (Remember “forgive us our sins” in the Lord’s Prayer?)This is not the forgiveness of salvation but the forgiveness of relationship. If we sin as believers we need the forgiveness of a family. This is relational forgiveness.
And so this is the reason why we still have many passages in the NT of believers asking for forgiveness. Here is one example:
James 5:15-16 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
Joseph Prince in his book Destined to Reign: The Secret to Effortless Success, Wholeness and Victorious Living writes,
“If you really believe that you need to confess all your sins to be forgiven, do you know what you would be doing? You would be confessing your sins ALL THE TIME!” … “When there were people in the Corinthian church living in sin, he [Paul] did not say, ‘Go and confess your sins.’ Instead, he reminded them of their righteousness, saying, ‘Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?’ Notice that in spite of their sins, Paul still considered them temples of the Holy Spirit and he reminded them of this truth.”
If God does not see sin then then why then do we have 1 John 1:9 which says,“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”?
There are hyper-grace teachers who say that this was written to gnostics during the time of John but the fact is that this was written to believers. John differentiates between apostates and genuine believers. When referring to believers he uses the pronouns “we” or “you,” but when referring to gnostic he uses the pronoun “they.” The gnostics were not in the congregation John wrote to.
He says in 1Jn 2:19 - They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
Let’s read 1Jn 1:8-10:If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
If God does not see sin and there is no longer any need to repent of sin then why do the epistles take the trouble to talk about sin?
If God does not see anything wrong in us when we sin then why is it that throughout the NT sin is seen as a reality of something in the lives of believers that must be dealt with.
1Co 11:28-32 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
If Jesus loved what he saw then why did Paul, writing on behalf of the Lord, warn the Galatians that they had fallen from grace and become trapped in legalism? Why did James, also writing as a servant of the Lord, rebuke his readers for being “friends of the world” and “adulterers and adulteresses”?
- One hyper-grace teacher wrote this: “When God looks at me, He doesn’t see me through the blood of Christ, He sees me—cleansed! Likewise, He sees us as holy and righteous. He sees us, and He loves what He sees!”
Did Jesus love what he saw when he rebuked five out of seven congregations in Asia Minor in Revelation 2-3?
If Jesus doesn’t see our sins, why did he say to the church in Ephesus, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Rev. 2:4)?
And why did he say this to the church in Sardis? “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.”
Does it sound like the Lord was happy with what he saw in Ephesus and Sardis?
If the Lord always “sees us as holy and righteous” and always “loves what He sees,” why did He rebuke the believers in Laodicea, telling them that they were “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Rev 3:17)?
If he was so happy with what he saw in Laodicea, why did he threaten to spit the congregation out of his mouth (see Rev. 3:16)? And if believers never need to repent of their sins, why did Jesus say, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent” (Rev 3:19)?
- 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.
The fact that we can sin against the Holy Spirit as believers implies that He still convicts believers of sin.
- Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
- Acts 5:3 But Peter said, “ Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?
- 1Th 5:19 Do not quench the Holy Spirit.
In John 16:8we read that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin. Sometimes the Greek word for“convict” is translated “reprove” as in Rev 3:19 where Jesus says, “Those whom I love, I reprove
and discipline.” What is interesting is that in the end of that section it says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches
”(Rev 3:22). This clearly shows that the Holy Spirit still convicts believers today.
- Because Jesus has died for us and made us righteous, and we are now fully accepted in Jesus, not only have we been justified, but we have already been sanctifiedand made perfectly holy in God’s sight. God does not just see us as holy through His Son, but that He sees us as holy not only positionally but also practically.
In one sense it is true that all believers are already sanctified.1Co 1:2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.”
This is positional sanctification. This means we are already set apart for God. However this does not remove the fact that the bible also teaches about progressive sanctification.
1Th 4:1-8 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
- The Christian life is effortless.
There is truth that if you receive Christ, you cease from your labors.
- Heb 4:11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
- Mt 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
But at the same time the entire NT calls for discipline.
- 1Co 9:24-27 - 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self- control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
- 2Ti 2:3-7 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
- Col 2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,
- Heb 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
- 2Pe 1:5-9 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self- control, and self- control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
Following Jesus is a call to respond in effort. Yes there are people caught up in works righteousness, people who have this attitude, “if I pray more, God will do this for me,” etc. They are caught up with that teaching and feel the burden. And so they are helped by the message of hyper-grace that teaches that we do not become righteous by trying harder. But there is danger when you neglect the portions of Scripture that tells us that effort and hard word still needs to be exerted in the Christian life. Christian continue to rely on God’s power so that they can exert effort to do what pleases God whom we love with our whole hearts. Col 1:29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
III. How can we protect ourselves from this perversion?
- Know your doctrine. Jude 3 says that it is the believers who are to contend for the faith is for believers. Yes in some passages the call is for elders to be raised as in Titus 1 and they are the ones who are given the responsibility to deal with the false teachers. But the call in Jude is for all believers to contend for the faith.
- Take seriously 2Ti 3:16-4:4. It is because Christians do not take seriously the warnings of Scripture like what is taught in this passage that makes them lax in watching over themselves and the flock from deception.
- Remember that any teaching that encourages us in either legalism and antinomianism is wrong.
- Remember to differentiate between a believer’s position in Christ and his practice. This is not something complicated. This should be regarded as basic teaching for Christians. When you confuse the two, you are going to go astray.