My title today is a play on words. Many of you know the old hymn Blessed Assurance (link here, just in case you don’t), which sings of the assurance that we can have of our salvation. The same people who feel strong assurance about salvation are some who have trouble believing in the full message of grace or a pre-tribulation rapture.
The people preaching against “hyper-grace” believe in grace, up to a point. They believe that they are saved by grace, but then they must take over and work hard to live a holy life. And if they’re discipling somebody, they stay vigilant over that person to make sure that they dress right, live right, talk right, etc. They believe that the grace of Jesus Christ got them into Heaven, but they need to work hard to stay there. They teach a God of rules that watches to see if we are going to continue in sin.
Read 1 John 1:5-2:17. Anyone who continues in sin proves that they are not really born again (1 John 1:6). But John continues by explaining about what happens when believers sin, which we do. Remember that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). We are in perfect agreement about the fact that there must be repentance. What we disagree about is the power to live out that repentance.
They believe that it’s now up to us, and so mix law in with the message of grace. “Oh, you’ve got to watch out for sin,” and they teach daily confession and repentance. The law has never saved one single soul. That’s because the purpose of the law was to demonstrate our need for a Savior.
How do we get saved? It is as easy as believing. Here are some sample verses (there are many!):
John 1:12 – Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.
John 3:16-18 – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Acts 16:30-31 – He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
Romans 3:20-24 – Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
Galatians 3:6 – So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
That last one is so good and appropriate for this discourse that I’m going to expand it:
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” (Galatians 3:1-6, emphasis mine).
You know what I think? I think that it’s all just too easy for some folks. After all, there are lots of religions out there that require their followers to live by a set of rules: don’t eat this, don’t touch that, etc. Christianity breaks that mold by being simple and easy. It’s simple and easy for 2 very important reasons: 1. God is almighty and He has done it all for us; and 2. Since we didn’t do anything besides believing, we can’t take any of the credit.
So what is the power of grace? Love! Just as it was love that kept Jesus on that cross when He could have called down countless angels to save His life, it is love that gives us the power to live a life that pleases God. We love God because He first loved us (I John 4:19). When full grace is preached—that is preaching that gives us an idea of how long and wide and high and deep is the love that Jesus has for us—then we respond with a love that seeks to please the lover of our soul. At that point, sin loses all its appeal. And it’s not because we confess and repent daily. It’s not because we dress right, talk right, act right. It’s because we think with a completely different mindset. Instead of doing this or that based on what we want to do, we do things based on what would most please or honor God.
Most days I wake up with a love song to God playing in my head. Nobody told me to do that. I just love Him, so my heart wakes up singing love to Him and my head overhears it. Here’s a link to the one I woke up with today: Amazing Love. God is good—believe it!