Living under a false grace
Mr. McNair's April Fool's Day letter "Living under the grace of God," epitomizes false grace.
After looking at a dollar bill, a man concludes it has a picture of George Washington, a serial number, and the words "Federal Reserve Note"; but fails to notice it also has on it a pyramid, an eagle, and the words "In God we trust". By refusing to examine both sides of the bill, he remains ignorant of its totality.
Similarly, by not examining the entirety of God's word, Mr. McNair is unaware of the power and purpose of God's grace. Grace is God's ability given to man, which empowers man to obey His law. In Matt. 5 Jesus said that He came not to abolish the law, but that it is to remain until "all" is fulfilled.
He goes on to warn against breaking or teaching others to break God's law. Although the sacrificial law in offering the blood of bulls and goats ceased when Jesus sacrificed Himself, God's moral law continues. The blood of Jesus justifies, but it's the grace of God that sanctifies. Anyone who thinks living under grace allows for less restraint, than did living under the law, needs to read all of Matt. 5.
Grace actually holds one to a higher standard than did the law. Under the law if you slept with someone you were an adulterer; but under grace to merely lust is adultery. Under the law you actually had to kill a person to be considered a murderer; but under grace to hate a person equates to murder. Under the law you must love your neighbor; but under grace you're required to love even your enemy.
1) Grace empowers Christians to overcome and live free from sin. "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Rom. 6:14"
2) Grace teaches us to live righteous. "For the grace of God that brings salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Tit. 2:11-12"
3) Grace gives Christians the ability to serve God on His terms, not on our own. "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: Heb 12:28"
4) Grace is not merely a cover-up for sin, but demands repentance. "What then, shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Romans 6:15"
5) Grace is not a license to sin. "For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slithered in among you, godless men who change the grace of God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ as Lord. Jude 4.
6) Grace that tolerates sin; insults the Spirit of grace, tramples on Jesus, negates the sacrifice, disregards the blood covenant, and is a return to judgment. "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. How much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? Heb. 10:26-27, 29"
7) Grace not utilized, is a squandered gift. "As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. 2 Cor.6:1"
8) Grace not used to live holy, will keep you from God. "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God. Heb. 12:14-15"
9) Grace enables man to do what the law demands. "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17"
10) Grace is given to those who repent, not the proud. "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6"
Mr. McNair missed a very important facet in the story of the prodigal son; the father received the lost son only after the son came to his senses, repented of sin and left the pigpen. He is error when he refers to reproof and rebuke as playing referee, blowing the whistle or crying "Foul!"
Contending for the faith and preaching repentance is a command by God and a necessity. Offering forgiveness without change distorts God's grace. "With lies you have encouraged and strengthened the hand of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way and be saved in that you falsely promised him life. Ezk.13:22"
Yes! I talk about fear, judgment, and severity; but I also recognize the love, mercy, and goodness of God. It's called balance! Without the love of God people become legalistic; without the fear of God people become lascivious. If we minimize grace, the world sees no hope for salvation. If we minimize truth, the world sees no need for salvation.
WWJD? He gave grace to the humble and law to the proud. "The law acts as a tutor to bring us unto Christ. Gal. 3:24" No man truly knows he needs a cure (grace), until he realizes he has a disease (sin). The law exposes sin, grace overcomes sin; but false grace tolerates sin.