Total Forgiveness? Isn’t that Hyper-Grace?
Sometimes grace feels like a dirty and offensive word in the Christian circle, but talk about being unworthy sinners, punishment, and how disobedient believers can be and you’ll make all kinds of friends. I remember when I first began sharing this message of grace and total forgiveness that many Christians would agree with me, for a split second. That was until I really expressed just how deep that forgiveness went. When I was done you knew I saw God as full of grace, kindness, and love. Dare I say that the blood of Christ totally paid for all sins, and no past, CURRENT, or FUTURE sin would ever be held against us? I would immediately be attacked with the typical religious response of “you can’t do whatever you want”. I have no idea why that’s the first place the legalist goes, but nonetheless, I’d respond with something from scripture like quoting Colossians 2:13-14 “He forgave us ALL our sins, having CANCELED the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
And of course, the same response would come up over and over of “but you can’t do whatever you want”, and I’d finally have to ask “not that I have a desire to break records for sin but can you grab this verse you keep quoting of not being able to do what I want”. My point was if that’s going to be your defense every time I talk about forgiveness then show me the scripture. Well, there is no such verse. Then, with nowhere to turn, I would be told “your acting like sin is not a big deal and that’s just hyper-grace”.
If you share the gospel in its fullness you can expect this same discussion many times in life. But, if anyone says this total forgiveness gospel message is going ‘easy on sin, well please don’t be quick to part from what God has revealed in scripture and through His Son. It’s actually going very heavy on sin. The wages of sin is death, not God being mad at you for 30 minutes until you repent and confess and really mean it, like some suggest. We know sin is extremely serious, with death as the only just penalty, but since the legalist isn’t being struck dead on the spot they just water it down as punishment, broken fellowship, and temporary separation from God. But Jesus died, so He paid that penalty in full, and that’s the message of the gospel. Some say that this high level of grace is ridiculous, so it simply can’t be true. Well, I’m not sure how you reduce God’s grace! So if you want to call it hyper-grace, then guess what………..I’m pretty darn hyper about grace, and you should be too! After all, it saved us from what we deserved according to what “we were doing”.
What About Cheap Grace?
Then other protesters against the grace of God say it’s ‘cheap grace.’ Well, it’s better than cheap. It’s 100% totally free. Yes, it did cost Jesus His life, so it was overwhelmingly expensive on His part, but you didn’t “do” a darn thing to get it. All you had to do was put your faith in Jesus. And now that it has been purchased and paid for in full, this gift of total forgiveness is much better than cheap. It’s absolutely free!
You Didn’t Make a Promise To God
I think one of the most commonly overlooked teachings in scripture is also one of the biggest contributors to legalism, tied into the failure to understand that the new covenant is not about a promise that we make to God. In the old covenant, the Israelites swore they would do everything written in the book of the law. Well, they couldn’t and didn’t, and when they were not faithful to the commands punishment was doled out, and oftentimes that meant death.
But God did something cool. Not that He was shocked, but He saw fault with us and our ability to keep His perfect standard, and instead of this new covenant being a deal that we make with God, God pulled us from being part of the new agreement. That means it’s not about you and your law-keeping, because since God could swear by no one greater He swore by Himself (Heb 6:13), and according to Hebrews 6:18 by two unchangeable things (God & God) He can not lie and this covenant is rock solid!
In Hebrews 8:8-13 we see this unfold as we digest some interesting facts about the old and the new.
For finding fault with them, He says,
“Behold, days are coming, says the Lord,
When I will effect a new covenant
With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;
9 Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers
On the day when I took them by the hand
To lead them out of the land of Egypt;
For they did not continue in My covenant,
And I did not care for them, says the Lord.
10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
After those days, says the Lord:
I will put My laws into their minds,
And I will write them on their hearts.
And I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.
11 “And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen,
And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
For all will know Me,
From the least to the greatest of them.
12 “For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
And I will remember their sins no more.”
13 When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
Verse 8 tells us a new covenant was coming.
Verse 9 tells us it won’t be like the old one. What did God mean? The same verse tells us by saying the people did not obey the covenant and God did not care for them. So again, it won’t be like that.
Verse 12 concludes by saying God will be merciful to our iniquities and remember our sins no more.
Verse 13 concludes by showing us that the first covenant is now obsolete for believers.
Do you see it? God made it all about Him keeping His word, and not about you keeping the law. And you wonder why I get so hyped up about grace! I am blown away that God did that for us! So call it grace, call it hyper-grace, call it cheap grace, it doesn’t matter to me. But if you call it anything less than grace you are sadly missing one of the most beautiful messages God has ever given us.
[1 John4:17-18] In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have CONFIDENCE on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is NO FEAR in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with PUNISHMENT, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.
Author: Mike Cynar
Mike Cynar was raised in a church setting where he frequently noticed that many attendees would eventually drift away. The church labeled these individuals as ‘back sliders’ or ‘fake Christians’ just looking for ‘fire insurance’. However, Mike realized the issue was rarely with these individuals but instead with the church’s message itself. The teachings heavily emphasized behavior improvement and one’s flaws, with only a fleeting mention of one’s identity in Christ. It felt as though every sermon was tailored to the church of Corinth, who as we know or committing sins that even unbelievers don’t partake in. This trend was noticeable not just in one denomination, but across Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal, and many other churches. Upon understanding the true essence of the gospel – that our righteousness comes from Jesus’ actions, not our own – Mike was inspired to liberate believers from lifeless sermons and reconnect them with the genuine teachings of Jesus. He believes that one can nurture a vibrant and growing bond with Jesus, unhindered by rigid religious practices. And thus, “Jesus Without Religion” was born.
It turns out that it is grace that leads to repentance. And if our heart is to get others to walk in the Spirit and live a godly life, then the best approach is not a beat down sermon, but rather to remind other that it is only when we understand our true identity in Christ that we will live it out. Yes, it’s true, if you’re convinced that God thinks you’re a dirty sinner, you will ultimately continue a lifestyle that mirrors that view, but if you truly believe that even on your worst day, you are called holy, sanctified, justified, and will be presented blameless in the end, well, it turns out this is the secret to living out on the outside what has been worked in to the inside.