Have you ever heard the gospel communicated in a way that sounded so good! and made you feel so good!, but something about it just seemed a little off?
The Cure is a book that was recommended to my husband by a friend, and after reading a lot of great reviews I decided to read it.
Now that I’ve finished it, I can understand why people find it so enticing.
“Consider the caterpillar. If we brought a caterpillar to a biologist and asked him to analyze it and describe its DNA, he would tell us, “I know this looks like a caterpillar to you. But scientifically, according to every test, including DNA, this is fully and completely a butterfly.” Wow! God has wired into a creature looking nothing like a butterfly a perfectly complete butterfly identity. And because the caterpillar is a butterfly in essence, it will one day display the behavior and attributes of a butterfly. The caterpillar matures into what is already true about it. In the meantime, berating the caterpillar for not being more like a butterfly is not only futile, it will probably hurt its tiny ears!
So it is with us. God has given us the DNA of righteousness. We are saints. Noting we do will make us more righteous than we already are. Nothing we do will alter this reality. God knows our DNA. He knows that we are “Christ in me.” And now He is asking us to join Him in what He knows is true!” – The Cure
Doesn’t that sound awesome!?!
God is pleased with me because I have been given Christ’s righteousness – this, essentially is the fiber constructing the entire texture of this book.
And I would absolutely agree!
However..there is another part to the Christian life and to pleasing God that was not presented.
There was no discussion of our responsibilities as saints of God to live our lives in obedience to God’s commands – to abide in Christ – to live worthy of our calling! There was no encouragement to turn and repent from sin (I actually thought it minimized it) and pursue holiness and godliness..
..kind of a problem!
“Hyper-Grace” – this is a term I’ve been hearing a lot lately and, in my humble opinion, I believe The Cure falls into this category.
To be honest, I really don’t like the expression ‘hyper-grace’. God’s grace is ‘hyper’! I really don’t think over-emphasizing the grace and goodness of God is the issue. Everything that is good, righteous, and godly in me is by His grace!
The issue that I see is ‘lack of fear’.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverb 1:7)
“In order to the attaining of all useful knowledge this is most necessary, that we fear God; we are not qualified to profit by the instructions that are given us unless our minds be possessed with a holy reverence of God, and every thought within us be brought into obedience to him.” – Matthew Henry
A healthy fear of Him puts a desire in us pursue knowledge of Him so that we may live, serve, obey and worship Him in truth. This is what leads us to holiness and godliness.
“Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago” (Titus 1:1)
“seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3)
We cannot isolate the holiness and righteousness of God apart from the kindness and mercy of God. If we do this, we are not obtaining a true understanding of who God really is.
Unfortunately, in today’s American ‘God just wants me to be happy’ Christian culture, this aspect of godly, reverent fear is many times absent from the pulpit. – hence the term ‘hyper-grace’.
When discussing this with my good friend he described it this way..
“The problem with this teaching, is that it leaves room for people to walk in willful sin and still think that they are okay. I have heard preachers who pitch the Grace message say very close to that. Everyone wants to hear that they are ok just as they are and they are under no obligation to change their lives.”
Hebrews 10:26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins..
2 Timothy 2:19 NIV Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.
1 Peter 3:10-12 NIV For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
Notice how in these scriptures, it’s our responsibility to turn away from wickedness, keep our tongue from evil, turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.
If we want to live in a way that is truly pleasing to Him, we gotta forsake sin. This of course, is accomplished through the strength He provides, but it’s still an act of the will; we have a choice as to whether we are going to remain in our sins or, in a holy reverence for God, remain in Christ and pursue righteousness.
Presenting the gospel without establishing truth in it’s entirety is only presenting half of it – which isn’t really the gospel; and just like The Cure, because this teaching holds threads of truth, it is seducing! It sounds really good!
Let’s not be deceived!
Let’s remain in Him!