Monday, January 11, 2010

Greasy Grace

In some churches, you will hear the term “greasy grace” used. There are Christians who believe the gospel message has been watered down in recent years to where we make it too easy for people to receive forgiveness.

One of the definitions of the word grace is “the free and unmerited favor of God.” Certainly, we need to preach repentance from our pulpits and not tolerate sin. Romans 6:15 says, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” But we must also remember, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

When I asked the Lord if it’s wrong to give a person too much grace, He reminded me of Matthew 18:21-22…

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

Notice that Jesus told us we are to forgive our brother ”seventy times seven.” That’s 490 times! Would you be able to do that for someone who wronged you that many times? I’m sure it wouldn’t be easy but God would give you the grace to do so. After all, it is a commandment.

In his book “Between Noon and Three”, Episcopal priest Robert Farrar Capon uses a powerful illustration comparing grace to the fire department. The building inspector may cite you twenty times for breaking the fire code. But when your house goes up in flames, the fire department still responds every time. A fireman would never walk up to your burning house and begin reading the code violations you committed. Condemnation won’t stop the flames.

So the next time someone accuses you of extending “greasy grace” to someone, search your heart in the light of Scripture. It's likely you are hearing from the heart of God.

“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” - John 1:17

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