Do some abuse Grace? That question is about the same as, "Is the Pope Catholic?" By all means some abuse Grace! However, the key word here is, "some!" To say that the message of New Covenant Grace gives all of it's adherents a "license to sin" is just plain foolish! I am so much more concerned about those who teach a mixed message of Law and Grace than I am about the few who abuse Grace. My friend, Mark Drake, probably one of the best "Grace teachers" alive today once said, "I'm not afraid that people will "abuse" grace. I am afraid they will never know the power of grace and keep being abused by fear, shame and condemnation!"
I am in full agreement with his statement!
You may or may not recall the term, "Wildfire." This term was used in the early Pentecostal days, when things seemed to get out of control during meetings. Back in the day, Pentecostals were known for their very emotional meetings. I guess that today, there isn't so much worry about "Wildfire" as it seems that the Pentecostal movement has toned down their emotionalism. However, those who tried to put out "Wildfire" in meetings would often quote I Corinthians 14:40, "Let all things be done decently and in order." Of course the problem with attaching that verse to the goings on in meetings is that who's opinion of what is decent and orderly will be used? My opinion of what is decent and orderly may be far different than yours. See the problem here?
So, today when someone within the "Grace Movement" gets a little off balance on their doctrine, it's pretty difficult for someone to reel them in without pushing the line of bringing them back under some sort of law, thus leading to fear, shame and condemnation!
Here's what's going on....Many within the "Grace Camp" today have come out of very abusive situations within the Traditional Church. It's like they have escaped the prison bars and now are flying free for the first time in their Christian lives. A bird that escapes its bird cage will fly wild for a long while until it eventually calms down and discovers that it can eat, breathe and even fly a normal bird type life. I kinda think that is the same today. What some may think is "Wildfire" within the "Grace Camp" will eventually be toned down into very healthy Grace living. Watch it... I know I'm right on here! Yet, there is another thing to explore .....
Some of my Grace friends don't like me using the word, "Balance." I've actually been accused of trying to bring people back under some type of law when I've used that word in the past. However, "balance," in the way I use it, has nothing to do with law, but rather common sense. Yesterday, Corinne and I viewed a video message from a well known Grace teacher, one that I greatly respect and agree with. In his Sunday morning message to his church he was pretty emphatic in declaring that we must preach the message that Paul preached. I totally, 100%, agree with that statement. Early in my entry into the revelations of New Covenant Grace, I heard the Lord speak to me many times, "Make sure you preach the message that Paul preached!" Paul is the guy that God used to bring the message of the New Covenant into the Early Church. His message was way different than the other Leaders of the day. They were mostly keeping the Church Jewish, only adding Jesus to the mixture. Paul came along, after receiving direct revelations from Christ Himself (See Galatians chapter 1), and lead the Leaders and eventually the Church into an entirely different direction. Therefore, Paul is the guy we in the "Grace Movement" really look to.
In the midst of all of his New Covenant teaching and direction for the Church he also brought a message of "balance." The other day, after reading several Facebook posts that included lots of cussing I posted on my FB Timeline how we might wish to tone down the bad language. It was mostly accepted. However, there were some of my Grace Friends who accused me of trying to bring people back under the Law. Of course, that was never my intention. I just think that a lot of cussing is done in poor taste. Now, I'm certainly not a prude in this area. I've been known to say a few colorful words myself. But when the "F-Word" is used over and again (by the way, a word I never use), I feel that it's pushing the envelope a little too far. It's not taking the "Lord's name in vain" or anything like that, but to me it's spoken in bad taste. I realize that the word is used more and more today, more than ever. Just watch a movie and see for yourself. Maybe I'm old fashioned here, but I find that word is not socially acceptable, no matter how many movies it's used in, and those who use it do so in bad taste.
You know, I've a feeling that Paul would agree with me here. I'm thinking that there are so many who oppose us, why do we go out of our way to give them ammunition to use against us? In other words, if they think we are lawless and full of sin, why don't we temper our life styles and prove them wrong? Am I putting people back under law here? I don't think so; I'm just trying to promote a little common sense.
Here's what Paul said about issues like this:
I Cor. 10:23, "You say, "I am allowed to do anything"- but not everything is good for you. You say, "I am allowed to do anything"- but not everything is beneficial."
I Cor. 8: 9-13, "But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. For if others see you - with your "superior knowledge" -eating in the temple of an idol, won't they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for who Christ died will be destroyed. And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ. So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live - for I don't want to cause another believer to stumble."
So, do you think that Paul was trying to put people under the Law here? I don't! I think that he was trying to bring some balance and common sense into the Church. I'm also kinda thinking that it's time that some of us "Grace teachers" begin to do the same thing. Maybe then, some others within the Mixed Church will be more open to the great freedom that we are enjoying.
Sorry about the long post here. But I'm feeling that this is a very important message for the Church!
Grace and peace!