For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard Christians arguing about the subject of grace. The Lord knows I’ve done my share of arguing. As I have read well meaning people jabbing “BUT YOU HAVE TO REPENT” into the Facebook posts and discussions with those who have discovered God’s grace, I’ve come to realize there is a brick wall that we all need to not only tear down, but rise above to see the bigger picture of grace and repentance.
Romans 2:1-4, Paul writes
You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. 2 And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. 3 Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? 4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
1) It’s not my place to put limits on God’s grace for another. If God will one day judge us, is that not enough? Are my seemingly “benign” issues more worthy of His mercy than someone’s struggle with the “big” sins?
2) It’s God’s goodness and kindness – HIS GRACE that is sent to cause us to repent of our sins. The more grace you see, the more sin you will be compelled to turn away from! We are not better than God, our steps can never be greater than His.
3) Repentance is a result of God’s grace, not the other way around. We are saved by grace through faith, not by works lest any many should boast. There are many who think they understand the amount of grace God has given them, yet they refuse to walk in repentance.
4) Many “old school” fundamentalist and pentecostal believers assume when someone is excited about God’s grace, that they are refusing repentance. Why? Maybe because of the misunderstandings of the teachings of grace through the doctrine of unconditional eternal security (where it’s assumed “once saved, always saved” means “sign a card, pray a prayer, and continue in sin”). Maybe it’s the thought that the person excited about grace will see it as a license to sin? The Bible makes it clear we aren’t to use His grace and our liberty as a license to sin (Gal 5:13).
I’ve been among preachers who other other preachers as compromisers that water down the gospel because they believe in the grace approach! Call me what you want, but I know after many years of studying God’s Word and after many years of trying to do this on my own, that God’s grace is greater than my sin and that I can never be good enough to earn God’s grace. If we believe that we can hold up to God’s perfect standard, have we not watered down His Holiness?
I’m just thankful enough for His grace that covers all of my sins through the blood of Jesus that I”m willing to give Him my life and I’m willing to deal with every sin that grace covers as the Holy Spirit convicts and reveals.