WARNING! Hyper-grace makes Christians lazy. Hyper-grace leads to Christians-gone-wild living. Hyper-grace gives Christians license to sin.
What is hyper-grace? Hyper-grace is too much grace. Hyper-grace is excessive grace. Grace is good, but too much grace is a problem. Grace needs to be balanced; all in moderation.
• The thing about God the Creator coming to earth as one of His creations seems a bit much.
• Or the one about God loving us in spite of our rebellion and our lack of desire for Him seems over-the-top.
• Or the one about sinless Jesus becoming sin for us and hanging on the cross as a cursed man seems out of control.
• Then there’s our receiving God’s absolution and Christ’s righteousness by no effort or contribution of our own – crazy!
• Or the thing that all is finished and that by God’s grace we are justified and sanctified seems overboard.
• Or what about the stuff about resurrection? That Jesus’ Resurrection is a precursor to our resurrection is totally extreme.
So, what happens when grace isn’t hyper?
Here are some thoughts:
When grace isn’t hyper God’s Law is softened and reduced to exhortations and principles that are keys to unlock God’s favor on your life.
People are left with the impression that God’s Law is a set of life hacks rather than God’s exacting standard of perfection that he requires from everyone. In other words, if God’s Law is life principles, then God’s grace doesn’t need to be hyper. Jesus didn’t need to die to get you to the next level in your life; many are excelling in life without God.
But when grace is hyper, God’s Law is held in its rightful place as God’s righteous standard we are required to meet 100%, 24/7. In turn, we see our failure to live up to the standard (close doesn’t count). But when we see God’s excessive grace toward us in spite of our sin, His kindness leads us to repentance. We trust in Jesus’ perfect obedience to the Law for us, we trust in the imputation of Jesus’ righteousness to us, and we trust that God’s love and presence is forever with us.
When grace isn’t hyper God’s Law becomes a pathway to get and keep God rather than a guideway to enjoy God.
When grace isn’t hyper, it’s all on your obedience to God’s Law to get you to God. So week after week people hear messages about how they can keep God’s love, remain in God’s favor, trigger God’s blessing, etc. “Do this and you get more of God,” we are promised. “God did his part, now He’s waiting for you to do your part,” we are exhorted. “Look at all that God did for you, the least you could do is this,” we are guilted.
But when grace is hyper, we know that because of Christ’s obedience to God’s Law for us, we have God fully and completely – forever. Now, in the confidence and security that we can never lose God, God’s Law becomes His gracious guidance that show us how we enjoy God and live to His glory. Grace never gets rid of obedience, it empowers it.
When grace isn’t hyper we become insecure and selfish.
Confronted every Sunday with the weight of biblical commands, imperatives, and exhortations as a way to keep God in their lives, people are left wondering if their obedience is good enough. This insecurity leads to selfishness because when left wondering if their obedience is enough for God, there’s no way to truly worship God and serve others; the person’s focus will always be on himself, either in despair or self-righteousness.
But when grace is hyper, we rest in confident assurance that Christ’s obedience on our behalf was good enough for God. Now our good works are no longer about us; they truly become about others. But if I’m loving you because I want to keep God’s favor in my life, then I’m loving you for me.
When grace isn’t hyper we confuse evangelism with pragmatism.
Instead of proclaiming good news, we proclaim good suggestions. As alluded to above, sermons become life hacks and inspirational teachings that tell you how to get to the next level in your life. Jesus is mentioned and Scripture is quoted, but they are only there as helpmates to give you a leg-up in life. No doubt, these are practical and good suggestions. Heck, you don’t even need to be a Christian to follow them.
But when grace is hyper, we realize we don’t need good suggestions, we need good news. We realize our biggest problem isn’t finding our destiny, it’s our sin that got us death. We crave the announcement of good news that there’s nothing we did to get God’s love, and there’s nothing we can do to lose God’s love. We gather every Sunday, not to learn anything new, but to be nourished once again with the ancient gospel of grace. When grace is hyper, one can’t help but to be evangelistic.
Thank God His grace is hyper because my sin needs His grace to be hyper.
Thank God His grace abounds toward me like a tidal wave rather than a trickle.
Thank God His grace is a hurricane rather than a wisp of air.
Thank God His grace is excessive, over the top, crazy, overboard, and extreme.
Thank God His grace is never less than hyper.
This is Good News!