Is True Grace Hyper?

27 May

True grace (I Pet 5:12) is so much better than we can comprehend.  In fact, New Testament grace is described as amazing grace, abundant grace, abounding grace, the gift of grace, exceeding grace, exceeding riches of grace, all grace, multiplied grace, grace according the measure of the gift of Christ and the manifold grace of God.  It just doesn’t seem like the Bible has any limits whatsoever on grace.  But could grace legitimately be called hyper?

Some have brandished the term ‘hyper-grace’ around in negative connotation, but exactly what they mean by this misleading label is hard to come by… and who they’re talking about is even harder.  It’s usually just “those people”.  Unfortunately, in some camps, this mislabeling has cast a negative stigma on the whole topic of grace.  The result is that a wet-blanket of confusion and intimidation has fallen over many conversations that mention the word grace.  This is unbelievably sad… even a travesty, because grace is the central and foundational underpinning of our salvation.

“For by grace are you saved through faith….” – Eph 2:8

There is no salvation without grace!  Nothing in all of Christianity makes any sense without the grace of God. 

Actually, we shouldn’t be surprised when accusing mortars sail over the bow of true grace preachers.  Martin Lloyd Jones, a very highly respected writer/elder statesman and main-line evangelical Bible scholar and preacher says this;

“If you are properly preaching the true gospel of salvation by grace alone, you will likely be misunderstood… don’t underestimate how radical God’s grace is.” – Martin Lloyd Jones

The fact is that the Bible itself describes grace as being ‘hyper’.  Consider this:

“But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” – Romans 5:20

In the Greek, it reads like this; where sin abounded – pleonazo – grace did much more abound – huper-perisseuo.  The Greek prefix huper is used like our English words ‘super’ or ‘hyper’ which serve to heighten the impact of grace.  Thus, hyper abounding grace!!!

Now with that in mind, how does the aforementioned negative labeling of grace square with Scripture’s actual description of grace?  Inappropriately, to put it mildly.  It seems that it may be necessary to re-label the criticisms of what should really be called “perverted” (Jude :4) grace.

Sadly, in their discovery and exploration of grace, some Christians have perverted the grace of God into a license for sinning.  

They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. (Jude :4 NIV)

But if cannon volleys are not defined when fired in a generalized way at some erroneous aspect of perverted grace, they create the distinct likelihood of cutting their own salvation off at the knees.  If the authors of these volleys are going to be respectful of true grace, which is so vital to salvation and Christianity in general, they should take great pains to affirm the solid preeminence of grace… and that “hyper abundant grace” is Biblical… and they should include sincere affirmations to all those who believe in and preach Biblical grace.

FYI – Despite the controversy over grace, did you know that it’s impossible to truly reign in life without an abundance of grace?

“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” – Rms 5:17

God’s true grace goes way beyond any sin we could ever commit.  For sure, it addresses the sin issue, but it addresses a whole lot more… it’s vital for reigning in life.  You see if we don’t learn to live in hyper grace and the gift of righteousness, there will be no reigning. 

Grace is not a license to sin!  In fact, true grace compels a person into deeper devotion to Jesus.  Apostle Paul was the most prolific writer on grace and the contrast of his life (pre and post conversion) demonstrates the greatest example of this: from serial murderer… to the poster-child of a godly life.  Those who say grace is a license to sin do not understand true Grace… or they are living under some other gospel.  According to Jude this is “perverted” or distorted grace.  “Perverted” grace and ‘hyper-grace’ are not to be misunderstood… they are diametrically opposed to each other.  True grace trains our hearts into godliness.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2:11–12 NIV)

The two main enemies of the gospel of grace are; legalism (keep the Law) and libertinism (license to sin).  They have always been present since the Covenant of Grace began.  The book of Galatians was written to legalists—thus the strong emphasis on liberty, freedom, and grace.  James was written to libertines, those who presumed on the grace of God and turned it into a license to sin.  Thus the book of James is strong on obedience, faith that expresses itself in works, repentance (for the believer), and false faith (or presumption).  Legalism and libertinism are the two ditches on either side of true grace… and are always at war with grace.

So, according to Martin Lloyd Jones, if we’re preaching true grace and getting mislabeled and misunderstood… not to worry… that’s to be expected.  There’s a good likelihood that we’re onto something good.  Here’s a simple litmus test: if we think we’re preaching grace and immorality breaks out everywhere, then we’re not preaching grace… we’re preaching something else.  But if we and our listeners are discovering liberty and falling more in love with the Man who is grace (Jn 1:17), then it’s likely that we’re preaching true grace.

Take home points:               

~ We must better define the dialog of grace… and remedy the negative stigmatizing of true grace.
~ Those who use grace as a license to sin are perverting grace

~ True grace teaches us to not sin… and how to live godly lives.

~ Grace is central and foundational to salvation.  It’s so amazing… it’s even, HYPER. 

~ If you’re preaching true grace and you’re labeled ‘hyper’… wear the label confidently.

— MLH

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7 Responses to “Is True Grace Hyper?”

  1. Mel Wild May 28, 2014 at 2:39 PM #

    Amen and amen! It’s important what you said…”If cannon volleys are not defined when fired in a generalized way at some erroneous aspect of “perverted” grace, they create the distinct likelihood of cutting their own salvation off at the knees.” This seems to be what’s happening with some of the misinformed knee-jerk reactions to this re-discovery of the ancient truths about pure grace.

    It’s counter-intuitive to our human nature not to want some Law mixed in so we can save ourselves in some way. Being controlled by the Spirit instead of rules is foreign to us.

    But if God’s grace doesn’t make you blush and make you think it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not pure grace! As the Amplified version of John 1:16 says, it’s “grace heaped upon grace.” The Voice says it’s “grace beyond our imagination.” Sounds pretty over-the-top to me! And it’s not a license to sin but a license to love as we walk in His love!

    • marklhen May 31, 2014 at 1:30 PM #

      We’re finding our minds illuminated… our hearts rejuvenated… and our lives reinvigorated. Insecurities are falling to the wayside… replaced by security in Him rather than me. O blessed relief… and LIFE more abundantly. Yay, God!

  2. Tony Preyer May 30, 2014 at 6:52 PM #

    Gold star for Mark! I will be re reading this several times, thank you for such clarity. You deserve ice cream…

    • marklhen May 31, 2014 at 1:26 PM #

      Tony, it’s a blast feeling the old lifted off… I feel more alive in God than I have for about 25 years. Like we’re walking through an epic ‘door’ in history. Re: ice cream… I’d love it. Next week works for me.

  3. Ben Kilen June 1, 2014 at 7:57 AM #

    All I can say is “Hyper-Yes and Amen! “

    • marklhen June 1, 2014 at 3:17 PM #

      Heaven says, “Yes, this Grace is for you!” And we say, “Amen!” (So be it!)

  4. Ben Kilen June 1, 2014 at 7:58 AM #

    Reblogged this on Kilen's Spot.

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