Confronting the Error of Hyper-Grace

March 15, 2013
by Michael Brown
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The biblical message of grace is wonderful, glorious and life-transforming. We can’t live without it for one second of our lives. But there is a message being preached today in the name of a new grace reformation, mixing powerful truth with dangerous error. I call it hyper-grace.

One of the foundational doctrines of the hyper-grace message is that 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. That means that 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.

It is easy to see how such teaching can be dangerous, especially to a believer being tempted to compromise.

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!”

Really? Always? 24-7? God always loves what He sees when He looks at his people?

Yes, He loves us, but does He always love what He sees?

Did Jesus love what He saw when he rebuked five out of seven congregations in Asia Minor in Revelation 2-3?

Did Paul, writing on behalf of the Lord, love what he saw when he warned the Galatians that they had fallen from grace and become trapped in legalism?

Did James, also writing as a servant of the Lord, love what he saw when he rebuked his readers for being “friends of the world” and “adulterers and adulteresses”?

And if the Lord doesn’t see our sins, why did James write that if a believer who was sick had also sinned, God would forgive him when He healed him (see James 5:14-15)?

And if He doesn’t see our sins, why did the Lord discipline believers in Corinth because of their sins (see 1 Cor. 11:27-32)? (And pay careful attention to First Corinthians 11:32, “When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.”)

If Jesus doesn’t see our sins, why did He say to the church in Ephesus, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love” (Rev. 2:4, NIV)?

And why did He says this to the church in Sardis?

“I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” (Rev. 3:1-3)

Does it sound like the Lord was thrilled 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)? Why didn’t He say, “I see you as beautifully clothed, healthy, and rich?”

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)? And how interesting it is that the same Greek word used in John 16:8—where Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of its sins—is the word used by the Lord in Revelation 3:19 (translated there as “rebuke”; and note Rev. 3:22: this is the Spirit speaking!).

It is because God loves us that He rebukes us (not condemns us) and it is because sin is so destructive that He calls us to turn from it. This is the goodness of God, and this is what grace does, as Paul wrote in Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”

How tragic it is today when God’s people mistake the voice of His correcting love for the condemning voice of Satan, and how sad it is when they resist the purifying work of the Spirit, claiming that there’s nothing to purify since God no longer sees their sins.

Has He justified us by the blood of Jesus? Absolutely. Has He has set apart as holy to Himself? Without a doubt. Has He called us to be His sons and daughters, all by His love and grace? Yes He has. And it is because of these things that Paul wrote, “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Cor. 7:1).

What a beautiful, lofty calling. Don’t let anyone steal it from you.###

Source: http://www.fire-school.org/media/articles/confronting-the-error-of-hyper-grace/; accessed 3-15-13.
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Read the follow-up article by Dr. Brown to this article: “Hyper-grace Horror Stories”.
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Pertinent Scriptures appended to the above article by the Editor (emphases added):

Romans 6:1-18
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?
(2) May it never be! How shall we who DIED TO SIN still live in it?
(3) Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
(4) Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
(5) For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
(6) knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be SLAVES TO SIN;
(7) for he who has DIED is FREED from sin.
(8) Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
(9) knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.
(10) For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
(11) Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
(12) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,
(13) and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
(14) For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
(15) What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
(16) Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
(17) But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
(18) and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Gal 1:6-9)

For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with FALSE WORDS; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Pet 2:1-3)
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Dr. Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. Dr. Brown served as a leader in the Brownsville Revival from 1996-2000 and birthed FIRE School of Ministry in 2001. He has preached throughout the United States and in more than twenty nations and has written twenty books on revival, holiness, radical discipleship, and Jewish-Christian issues, along with scholarly works in Old Testament and Hebrew studies. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. He hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, The Line of Fire, he is a featured columnist on TownHall.Com et al., and he is the author of many books, one of the latest of which is Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur\’s Strange Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.
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