Trying to Grasp the Concept of Grace :: By Candy Austin

Grace is a concept that most people obviously struggle with. It is even harder to grasp when one’s life has been filled with such a lack of it. Especially when everyone else in your circle seems to get a ‘free pass’ on the mistakes they have made, except you. When your experiences in life from every direction are ‘supposed loved ones’ with their backs towards you, with noses snubbed in the air, and a blind eye turned to the injustices perpetrated at you, it just makes grasping the concept of Grace that much harder.

Excerpt from Bible Study Tools: “Grace”

The word “grace” in biblical parlance can, like forgiveness, repentance, regeneration, and salvation, mean something as broad as describing the whole of God’s activity toward man or as narrow as describing one segment of that activity. An accurate, common definition describes grace as the unmerited favor of God toward man. – Source

Back in 2012, I was introduced by a coworker to the teachings of Singapore Pastor Joseph Prince. That was the first time in my life that I started to wrap my mind around the subject of Grace. My family and I started to learn a lot about this ‘elusive topic’ by listening to this pastor on Sunday morning television. That same year, my husband gave me one of Prince’s books for Christmas. Oddly enough, while reading it, I came across the statement that ‘God is not mad at America.’ Even at that time it was puzzling to me because deep down I knew that statement was not true. The truth is that our Savior is a God of Love, Grace, and Mercy, but at the same time He is also a Holy and Righteous God of Justice. One who cannot tolerate sin in His presence and will therefore righteously Judge all unrepentant sin.

We cannot ignore all of the willful sin and wickedness in our country and even around the world by ‘blanketing it’ under Grace. Anyone who dares to say that God is not angry at deliberate, willful, and grossly unrepentant sin obviously does not rightly know God’s Word. Jesus expressed righteous indignation on two different occasions towards the money changers and peddlers at the temple by turning their tables over and exclaiming, “My house is a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves!”  Needless to say, over time we came to realize that Joseph Prince’s doctrine leans heavily on the side of ‘hyper grace,’ and much of what he teaches is taken out of context biblically.

Psalms 7:11 “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” (all scripture KJV)

Excerpt from Long for Truth: “Flaws of Joseph Prince” 

So even though Prince is clear when it comes to the work of Christ for sinners, he teaches that because of Christ’s work, the sinner is not only forgiven, accepted and loved by God, but is entitled, and should pursue health, wealth, and prosperity. This is heresy. This is mixing the Word of Faith prosperity heresy with the gospel. Not only is this a problem, but there are other theological problems with his teaching as well. – Source

Excerpts from TGC Australia: “The Hypergrace of Joseph Prince: A Review of Destined to Reign”

Joseph Prince is a charismatic pastor of a very large church in Singapore. He has written a number of popular books, but it is his emphasis on what is called ‘hypergrace’ that is raising quite a deal of discussion in Asia.

Many Christians do not grasp grace properly. Humanity’s default position is to try to merit something by our works or piety. And Prince is right to stress the way the gospel of grace sets us free from these attempts to please God by our own effort.

One of Prince’s striking claims is his call not to confess our sins (e.g. p 7). Here is a mixture of truth and error. On the one hand, it is true that the blood of Jesus covers all our sins, past, present and future. On the other hand, the Bible calls God’s people to repent, to turn from sin, to confess them even.

Prince sets himself up as an astute interpreter of the Bible, but he is far from it. He is simplistic, selective, deceptive and shows ignorance of nuance, balance and complexity. His argument rightly directs us to grace and Jesus but wrongly interprets it, and thus endangers his readers. – Source

Suffice it to say, as soon as I was starting to take hold of the concept of Grace, it once again slipped from my grasp upon realization of this pastor’s teaching errors. Even after years of research on this topic, the best description I could ever give would be flawed at best. All I know is that Grace is ‘unmerited favor’ from God towards man. That the Creator of the Universe came down to die for us even though we did nothing to earn it and everything to deserve the opposite. Maybe it would help us to realize this if we could visualize us as being the very ones who nailed Jesus to the cross while He was praying, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Luke 23:33-34 “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”

Excerpts from “What is the Definition of Grace?”  

Grace is an essential part of God’s character. Grace is closely related to God’s benevolence, love, and mercy. Grace can be variously defined as “God’s favor toward the unworthy” or “God’s benevolence on the undeserving.” In His grace, God is willing to forgive us and bless us abundantly, in spite of the fact that we don’t deserve to be treated so well or dealt with so generously.

Finally, the Bible teaches that grace is completely unmerited. The gift and the act of giving have nothing at all to do with our merit or innate quality (Romans 4:4, 11:5–6; 2 Timothy 1:9–10). In fact, the Bible says quite clearly that we don’t deserve God’s salvation. Romans 5:8–10 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. . . While we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son.” – Source

This is dedicated to all the haters, which is most family members. Not like what I have to say is important, but I will ask this just like I did when I emailed our oldest prodigal earlier this year before she changed her email, “Do you know when you will forgive and love me again?” As far as we know, all this hatred is unfounded and has no merit; and it is so baffling that it is almost comical. Absurd to the point that it clearly boils down to a spiritual battle.

Even though it may not matter to all the haters what I have to say, it matters to God. What I have to say is this: For what it is worth, we pray for each and every one of you often. We choose to forgive everyone no matter what; and if there is any reconciliation to be made before these last days wrap up, we also choose to have it done with our arms wide open in the Grace that Jesus helps us to give.

2 Timothy 2:1 “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

Until next time… Maranatha!

Jesus = Way, Truth, Life

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