Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Sheep Will Run Wild!


Sincere Christians often ask me something like,
"If this Grace stuff is really true...if God really does love me and accept me in Christ, apart from my performance...if there is nothing I could do to make Him love me more, and nothing I could do to make Him love me less...if He really has forgiven me of all my sins, past, present and future, so there is no condemnation for me...then why don't more preachers preach that, Terry?"
Here's why. Actually one of two possibilities, in my experience:

1. They have been so brainwashed with legalism and performance-based Christianity themselves, that their own eyes haven't been opened to the radical nature of Grace after salvation. Ask them about Christ "living His Life through me", and they will jump to remind you about your duty to buckle down and discipline yourself with self-control. If you remind them that self-control ironically is a fruit of the Spirit, and it is no longer you who live, but Christ who lives through you [Galatians 2:20]...they will look at you as if you were some alien from another world. And if they are biblically knowledgeable, they will begin to quote you rule after rule, duty after duty, sin after sin, to beat down your "grace" once and for all, you...you...Antinomian! (They love that word, because it keeps them from having to examine the biblical nature of Grace after salvation).

or...

2. They pretty much see the radical nature of New Covenant grace, but they are scared. Scared that if they preach it in all it's glory...if they truly preach "it is finished"... if they preach it without a mixture of the Law...then the sheep will run wild! Actually, the opposite is true. Real born-again Christians are new creations. Old things have passed away, behold all things have become new. We love Jesus, in our heart of hearts. We hate sin in our heart of hearts. When we hear how radically He has saved us, when we hear of His love that no sin or failure on our part will diminish, then the love of Christ constrains us to follow Him, to desire His ways, to fellowship with Him, to be filled with His Spirit.

The sheep don't run wild under grace. They run wild under Law, which quenches the Holy Spirit and inflames sin.

Here's a little test...complete this verse:

"For sin shall not be master over you, for _______" (Rom. 6:14)

Pretty important verse, wouldn't you say? A verse that explains why sin shall no longer be master over us? Important, no? Give up? Here's the whole verse:

"For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace."

When's the last time you heard that verse preached? Maybe never. Why? Ask around. See if your friends, preachers, teachers, can complete the verse. You might be surprised. And there's a good chance that either they don't believe it (watch them try to twist such an elegantly simple verse to mean something else), or they don't want it spread around. The sheep will run wild.


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