Urban Legends of Grace
If you have been online for more than a month, you have received in your e-mail some story passed on in ignorance that is simply untrue. These e-mail forwards take on a life of their own. Soon people from coast to coast are reading about people waking up in bathtubs full of ice missing a kidney, how flashing your headlights at a car can get you gunned down by a gang, or Proctor and Gamble is actually a front company for the Church of Satan (a rumor that pre-dates public internet). These are called Urban Legends. You should have bookmarked a few sites that deal with Urban Legends so you can know whether or not to pass along the latest notice that Penny Brown is missing or that Pepsi is against God. Check the SNOPES website for probably the best and most up-to-date listing. They even have a TOP 25 URBAN LEGENDS that is fun to look at. We have our own urban legends in the church, and none are more disturbing than the ones that surround the subject of grace. I recommend you keep up with a discussion on Danny Sims' blog that he is beginning on the subject of grace. When we say the word GRACE in the pulpit, several things are set in motion. *Some want us to focus on what grace does NOT cover. *Some want us to affirm that grace gives us a free ride in the world. *Some hear only what they want to hear. *Some can't believe that we have gone this far into apostasy! *Some weep with gratitude when they know God's grace. I never received more criticism than when I preached through the book of Galatians and presented the material as it is written, and without any spin to cover our own misunderstandings. The Urban Legends of Grace ... I bet you could name a few. Feel free to do that, by the way, in the comments section! *Grace Will Not Be Available At The Day of Judgment. In an e-mail exchange a brother would not let go of this urban legend. I kept asking him, if there is no grace on that day, then what good is it on any other day? Thankfully, I have heard of very few accepting this legend. *Jesus Never Used The Word 'Grace'. This little tidbit might catch some of us off-guard. After all, if Jesus never talked about it, why should we? Actually, Jesus talked about Grace all the time. That he never used that WORD is inconsequential. If you missed grace when you read the Gospels, you missed something that John the Baptist pointed to in the very beginning: Jesus Christ is full of grace and truth. *Grace Is God's Half, Works Are My Half of Salvation. Truly this sounds pretty good. After all, I'm going to do all I can, and whatever I can't get done, God can see to that part. This ignores what Jesus said in John 15: Without Me You Can Do Nothing. This Urban Legend supposes that you can do things (i.e. good works) to earn part of God's approval. Luke 17:10 affirms that even when doing all we can do, we are still unprofitable servants. A brother was upset with me once for saying that I would not want to bring my 5% to God and ask for his 95% to complete my salvation. Folks, I bring nothing to the table. He gives me whatever I have. *God Will Have to Save Everyone. Ah, if God is not guilty of favoritism, and if He has enough grace to save everyone, and if we have to do nothing to receive this grace, then we are preaching Universalism. Another Urban Legend of Grace built upon a false premise: I did not say that we have nothing to do in order to receive grace. We must receive God's gift in the ways that God has asked us to. However, even the obedience to one of His commands is grace! *It Is Easy To Fall From Grace. Some seem to believe that they fall in and out of grace as if they are sitting on God's dunking booth. There is a fear that one unconfessed sin will send them straight to the fiery pit if they should suddenly pass from this life. Friends, I believe it is hard to fall from Grace. If Romans 8 teaches us anything, it teaches us that God holds on to his children and He doesn't let go. *Grace Makes Light of Sin. Or rather, 'the way you teach things', grace makes light of sin. If anything ever made light of sin, it is our belief that our works somehow make up for our weakness. The grace of God is given to us at great cost. I do not think God counts any of this lightly. Maybe there are more, or you'd like to elaborate on these ... even disagree with me if you like. Maybe I need to learn something about grace! I would welcome any knowledge of this wonderful subject. But I hope that we can clear the water a bit by eliminating some of these urban legends of grace. Still, I know how these things are passed around. Just when you think you have seen them for the last time, you hear them repeated from a new source who thinks they have found the truth!