Friday, July 16, 2010

Cheap Grace??

It is vital that we distinguish between Biblical grace and what is known as CHEAP grace. Cheap grace carries the perspective that since God is a God of grace and mercy and love, and since we are righteous in Christ and accepted in the Beloved, it doesn't matter how we live. We can sin all we want, or at least treat sin lightly because we are secure in Christ. Notice how the heresy dances on the edges of truth! This is precisely why Paul was accused of teaching cheap grace (Romans 6:1)!!

What we emphasize at Oak Mountain is the two-fold wonder of grace that helps us avoid Cheap Grace: We talk about:
1) Grace as Unconditional Love
2) Grace as Transforming Power

Both elements of grace find their source in the Work of Christ.

Grace as Unconditional Love finds its source in the Imputed Righteousness of Christ to us. The righteous life and substitutionary death of Christ and all their merits are credited to our account. This leads to a believer's justification: God accepting me and delighting in me IN CHRIST just-as-if-I'd never sinned and just-as-if-I'd done everything perfectly my entire life! This is the Christian's confidence and joy and peace in Christ.

Grace as Transforming Power finds its source in Christ as well, but is the result of IMPARTED righteousness. There was the PAST work of Christ which involved His perfect active obedience as He walked this earth and His perfect passive obedience as He submitted Himself to suffering death on the cross and embraced the wrath of God on behalf of His people.

BUT, there is also a PRESENT Work of Christ that involves Him sharing with us, through the power of the Holy Spirit, His actual righteousness...a continual work of grace in us that conforms us more and more to His image. We are renewed daily by grace (as we WALTZ--the 3-step Dance with Christ of Repent, Believe, Fight!) and His righteousness is imparted to us so that we put to death, by the Spirit, that which is sinful in us and we are SUPERNATURALLY renewed moment by moment as Christ shares His resurrection life with us. It is NOT the result of human effort or striving (Gal 3:1-5!).

BUT, and this is KEY: BOTH imputed AND imparted righteousness are experienced by grace through believing the Gospel Promises and hoping continually in the finished work of Christ. Imputed righteousness is GRANTED ONCE, at conversion, but is to be looked back upon over and over as we feel the weight of our daily sin and failure. Imparted righteousness is granted continually as we look to Christ in faith to change us by His grace at our places of repentance!

Both the imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ form the "breastplate of righteousness" that we are to put on as part of the armor of God in our battle with the devil. The devil seeks to discourage us that we are not loved and that we are powerless failures. Christ calls us to place no confidence in self or any of our own works, but continual confidence in His righteousness...both imputed and imparted.

May your heart be filled with encouragement over these words!!!

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