The Mixed Gospel and the Message of Pure Grace

swan-1Time and time again I encounter Christians who claim that the teaching of God’s grace, that is to say God’s unmerited favour for mankind, is dangerous to the church for several of reasons. I am sure you have heard such accusations too. Mostly, critics of the pure grace teaching say that those who teach grace encourage sin, discourage repentance and confession, discourage prayer, discourage character transformation and good behaviour, and many other things. Based on this, there is a backlash against the teaching of the radical love of God for mankind.

The more I hear about this criticism the more I get puzzled. The message of God’s love has been very transformational to me. While growing up, I had given up on pursuing my relationship with God because I thought I was sinning rather too much too easily and too quickly for a spirit-filled Christian. I thought the Holy Spirit must have left me due to the intensity of my sins. I grew up on a steady diet of the Mixed Gospel and I was my own worst critic. With that background, I thought my actions affected God’s attitude towards me. It was when I got exposed to the true gospel of grace that my Christian life got revived. I therefore take a particular interest whenever I hear people bash the teaching of pure grace. I want to understand what they mean. As I interact with the critics of grace, I find that most of their accusations are based on projections and hypothetical situations rather than on reality and facts. I am made to understand that there are some people out there who were once holy before the preaching of God’s pure grace, but they started to sin immediately after they heard the message of God’s grace. Are there such people out there? Those who bash the teaching of God’s radical grace would like us to believe there are. I am yet to meet them.

rotten-appleAnother accusation is that the teaching of grace is like a rotten apple: it is soft on sin. Is this true? As I continue to grow in my understanding of the pure love of God for mankind, I know that sin is not so much of an issue to God. God is not shocked by sin. It is rather shocking that we could believe that sin could stop His love for us. Remember that God loved us while we were sinners, while we were dead to Him. What changes when we become Christians? Suddenly God cannot handle sin in a spirit filled Christian? The message of grace says God loves us even when we sin. I sin. I am glad that God will not stop loving me just because I sin. In the past, I felt condemned whenever I sinned, did not fast, or didn’t pray long enough. I felt guilty and condemned whenever I wanted to sleep rather than pray at overnight prayer meetings. I felt useless and powerless that I was still capable of sinning despite being a spirit-filled Christian. I felt dejected and I slowly drifted away from God. I could not keep up with all the hoops I needed to jump through. I elevated my sin above God’s love. I was heading towards a level of complete deception that could have insulated me against having a relationship with our loving heavenly Father. But I thank God He reached out to me and snapped me out of the deception that the Mixed Gospel had imposed on me. The Mixed Gospel basically says that once you are saved, you need to work. I do believe the Mixed Gospel is dangerous.

Four dangers of the Mixed Gospel

Number 4:

peacock-1497338The Mixed Gospel gets Christians to be more outwardly focused, judgemental towards others and lacking in compassion. Christians who embrace the Mixed Gospel can be very rough and sometimes intolerant to those with different views. The Mixed Gospel tends to perpetrate divisions in the body of Christ and pride.

Number 3:

vote-here-womanInstead of going of the heart transformation, those who embrace the Mixed Gospel tend to resort to engaging in political action. There is nothing wrong about seeking political office, but we have to be aware that God’s transformation is not primarily based on legislation; God’s economy operates on relationship with God based on the prince of peace, Christ Jesus, and through the preaching of His grace.

Number 2:

Christians who embrace the Mixed Gospel sometimes also tend to be pessimistic and believe in conspiracy theories that the left-wing is taking over.

Number 1:

The Mixed Gospel tends to effectively eat away at our ability to have a stronger trusting relationship with God. It makes us focus on our important prayer, our Bible reading, our fasting, our visits to the hospital to cheer the sick and so forth. Mixed Gospel tends to turn us into Pharisees and the early Galatians’ church to whom the Apostle Paul addressed his famous epistle.

swanWhat I love about the message of pure grace is that it takes us back to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; and it takes us back to relationship where our attention ought to be: you and I are the beloved children of our heavenly God our Father. This type of a live and vibrant relationship cannot happen outside of the preaching of the radical love of God for you and me.

My mission is that Christians should take their rightful place as the sons and daughters of the living God: we are joint heirs with Christ. God has a will, and you and I get to share in His estate alongside Jesus and all other saints, not as pretenders but as rightful heirs. We must move away from robotic servant obedience and walk with confidence that we are loved by an awesome God. I want us to encounter the God that Jesus came to show us; the God who loves us to death, literally: the humiliating death on the cross two thousand years ago. Jesus endured the stinging lashes, insults, a crown of thorns just to demonstrate the love of our heavenly Father for us. That is how far God is prepared to go to have a relationship with you and me, even while we were sinners.

thumbcuffs-1564236One of my favourite Bible heroes is King David. David was a man after God’s own heart. Have you ever wondered why David is said to be a man after God’s own heart? David committed sin just as Saul committed sin. In fact, come to think of it: David committed a more sophisticated smart sin that could have given today’s CSI teams a run for their money: the crime couldn’t be traced back to him. Why then does David get the distinct honour of being called a man after God’s own heart? Well, the answer came to me as I meditated on that particular incident with Bathsheba: David was man after God’s own heart because David understood God’s heart: he knew that no sin was greater than the love of God for us. Even after he sinned, he knew that he was better off being in the house of a loving God than out.

The biggest thing that people who embrace the Mixed Gospel tend to champion is holiness. Here again there is a lot of confusion. The Bible says we should be holy just as God is holy. How are we supposed to pursue holiness then? Those who believe in the Mixed Gospel believe that to be holy, one must avoid sin. That is their solution. But I know that this is a tough call to implement. It’s tough because trying to avoid sin makes us more conscious of sin. It is not unlike the Law which is meant to show us our inadequacy. Above everything else, this approach is wrong at the conceptual level. God is holy and we are to be holy just as God is holy. For us to get God’s holiness, perhaps we need to follow God’s method. Have you ever wondered how God achieves His holiness? Does He walk around trying not to sin? Does He spend sleepless night analysing how to avoid iniquity? I do not think so. I believe God walks around being God, doing His divinely things. He walks around loving you and me every moment of our lives. If we must be holy just as God is holy, we must walk in the spirit of God as the Bible advises us: walk in the spirit so you cannot fulfill the desires of the flesh. Walk in the spirit of God; walk in God’s love, get lost in His goodness, get lost in His grace.

Ephesians 3:14-19 tells us how we can walk in the spirit.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (ESV).

love-love-1310077To walk in the spirit is the same as to walk in the fullness of God. So in order for us to walk in the fullness of God (verse 19b), we must have strength to comprehend in unity with all saints dimensions of the love of Christ. We must know this love which surpasses knowledge. Jesus does not prescribe avoiding sin. He prescribes getting lost in his love. I trust that you do see why we must focus on the radical love of God for mankind. When we get lost in His love, sin grows strangely dim and compassion becomes alive in us.

I’d love to hear from you. Tell me who you are and what you have enjoyed about this post and why. If you have a bit of time, I would also appreciate it if you shared how we can receive the radical love that God has for us. Please share your insights with me below. Please also feel free to share with your friends about the liberating message of God’s grace.

May God bless you

1 Comment

  1. Jenny
    Apr 25, 2015

    Well written, we thank God for his amazing grace.

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