It’s not hard to see that there is much confusion in the modern Church. You can find different portions of the Body of Christ suffering from compromise with the world; entertaining adultery and idolatry in their lack of spiritual and moral boundaries; committing works that are dead; or acting in conceit, pride, and arrogance.
Sounds an awful lot like the indictments that Christ delivered to the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation concerning the First Century Churches, doesn’t it? It’s as if the Holy Spirit has left those Church buildings; that Jesus has been moved away from being the central focus, and we are on the verge of no longer seeing Him as the Bible describes Him in these Last Days.
I have felt for quite awhile now that the Church is out of balance between the Grace of God and the Wrath of God. By compromising with the world and the culture, the message of Grace has eclipsed any notion that we serve a God of Wrath. In fact, oftentimes, only the message of Grace is taught, and God’s only emotion in the New Testament is Love. To be sure, God IS Love, and that is His holy and righteous nature. But it is not His only prerogative when it comes to what He hates most: Sin.
|Jesus, as Love and Grace|
But in our desire to be conciliatory or placating — and let’s face it, our desire to let ourselves off the hook by diminishing our sins — we’d rather only see God as Grace and Love. It helps us to sleep better at night. Because we live in such a prosperous and self-centered culture, we are not satisfied with simple Grace. We now have churches and Christians practicing what is called Hyper-Grace.
So, your definition of Hyper-Grace may differ from mine, but here is what I mean when I use that term: Hyper-Grace is a doctrine that stresses God’s Mercy and Grace, while omitting the truth of His righteous Judgment and Wrath. The message that we receive is that the God of the Old Testament was a God of Wrath, but Jesus died on the Cross to bring us to confession and repentance of our sins so we can receive salvation by Grace. But here’s a logical question … what do we need to be saved from? Answer: God’s Justice and His Wrath.
We rightfully preach that our salvation is available only by the Grace of God. We certainly don’t deserve His Grace and Mercy, or our Salvation. We are due Death! But the message of Hyper-Grace tells us God won’t judge us, because He is limited by His Character and the nature of His Love. But how do you explain away Romans 2:5, which says, But because of your callous stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are [deliberately] storing up wrath for yourself on the Day of Wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed? Obviously, there is some future day when God is planning on punishing those who do not accept His gift of Grace and reject faith in Jesus Christ.
Now, you might present the position that the Day of Wrath does not apply to Christians; that this is actually God’s promise that we will be spared that horrific Day — and I would agree with you. But Hyper-Grace goes a step further and says that God would never exact eternal judgment upon those who reject Him, or send anyone to torment in hell. But that’s not what the Bible says! Jesus, Himself, tells us in Matthew 10:28: And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Seems pretty clear to me that our God has set some standards by which we must all live. In fact, in the Parable of the Sheep and Goats, Jesus emphasizes that there will be a Day of Judgment when all the nations will stand before Him and He will separate them into two groups … some to go away to eternal punishment, and some [the righteous] to eternal life. It is important that all men know that they must choose between Death and Life; Hell and Heaven.
Churches that do not teach those Truths of the Bible do their congregations a great disservice. I find it interesting that the German Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, on the eve of Hitler’s destruction of the Church in Germany, visited America and found our churches full of “cheap grace”. By that, he meant, as he wrote in The Cost of Discipleship, “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves [rather than a gift given to us by our Merciful God]. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate”.
I believe that adequately describes too many of America’s churches today. Far too many of our prosperous Church leaders preach a non-Biblical view of Sin. Oh, they preach about the forgiveness of sin in Christ, but that’s all about what Jesus does for us. When was the last time you heard about your responsibility to take a stand against sin for Him? And if you dare to suggest that we are to take a closer look at the world and call out sin, then you are labeled as “legalistic” or called “a Pharisee”. (Just try pointing out the sins involved with Freemasonry and find out how quickly people don’t want to look at it or consider how it offends God).
|Jesus, as Righteous Judge|
Then what about those churches who allow people to be in leadership positions who are living immoral lives? I cannot tell you how many times in our deliverance ministry we have run across sad stories of people being sexually exploited by ungodly and immoral pastors or teachers. There is no accountability for such perverse actions and God’s Grace literally becomes a “Get out of Jail Free card”.
Churches that practice Hyper-Grace will often relegate members who believe in balancing the traditional teachings of God’s Grace [with the truth of His Judgment and Wrath] as part of the “Old Paradigm” of Believers; claiming that a “New Paradigm” is emerging — one that replaces the strict standards of the Old Testament with a message that Grace comes with neither cost on our part, nor responsibility.
Finally, another aspect of Hyper-Grace Churches is the continual message that God is only about wanting the best for you. His Grace will afford you health, wealth, prosperity, forgiveness of sin, and success in life. While these feel-good messages fill church auditoriums and coffee bars, they don’t teach the “whole counsel of God” — which, yes, includes Grace, but also Judgment and Hell. So, if a church’s “mission statement” only focuses on God’s Grace and the belief that God will eventually save all people, regardless of whether a person accepts or rejects Jesus as their Savior, then it is in clear violation of the Word of God.
In fact, it finds any Scripture that alludes to God’s Righteous Judgment or Wrath as offensive, and you will most likely never hear it mentioned from the pulpit. And by doing that, Churches that espouse Hyper-Grace are misrepresenting the Bible and treading on dangerous ground. Romans 1:18 makes it very clear: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the Truth.
There you have it: Hyper-Grace is not Biblical, nor, in the long run, beneficial for men’s souls. I encourage you to know what the Bible says about both Grace and Wrath. You don’t want to be deceived, nor to deceive others. Within God’s Character is His ability to grant Grace OR Judgment and Wrath. Be sure you know that the Bible affirms this. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, God’s Grace cost Him the life of His Son. And what it cost God should not be treated as cheap by us. Remember, Jesus bore God’s Wrath for us, and there will come a day when He returns to judge all the wicked and evil of the earth. God says, “Vengeance is Mine”, and make no mistake … there will be vengeance and His Wrath will be evident upon the earth. But Jesus will spare us [who believed in Him] on the Day of Wrath; showing His righteous indignation and making known His power to those who rejected Him. And the world will mourn.
John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the Wrath of God remains on him”.