“Hypergrace” or “Antigrace”?

There is a terrible heresy going around at the moment which some call hyper-grace but which is really anti-grace.

The teaching has it that once we are saved, our eternal destiny is assured and therefore we can live as we want to. God will cover all the sin.

While it is wonderfully true that God will forgive all of our sins, even the ones we commit after we are saved, this is not to be seen as a licence to commit all the sins we want to.

To follow Jesus means that we live in obedience and allow Him to shape our lives. That's what being a disciple means.

What these teachers overlook is the relational aspect of christianity, replacing it with a purely transactional approach. In the hyper-grace theory the sole purpose of salvation is to guarantee that our sins are forgiven. Once you've bought that guarantee by reciting an appropriate prayer, then you're set to do what you like for the rest of your life.

But the real purpose of salvation is to bring us back into a love relationship with God. God isn't merely about populating a future heaven with as many souls as possible. His desire is to pour His love onto all who will receive it. When we really receive the assurance of forgiveness, then our hearts are open to the wonder of God's love and we are able to start loving Him.

The interesting thing is that if you really love someone, you don't want to hurt them. There might be times when there is conflict, friction or misunderstanding, but love means having a heart that is sensitive to the other. If I am more concerned with what I can get away with than I am about how my actions affect someone, then I cannot love them.

None of this is new of course. Some in the early days of the church argued that since our sin gives God an opportunity to show His grace, we should sin more. Paul gave this notion short shrift:

“What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1,2)

In the end this so-called hyper-grace is actually antigrace. It's just another religion whereby people try to force God to accept them without any desire to do what He wants. “Say this prayer and God will ignore your sins” is no different to offering sacrifices or going through the thousands of other rituals that people have invented to twist their deity's arms.

The true gospel is so different. Yes, God forgives our sins, with no limit, no preconditions. But He does this as a Father forgives a child- in the context of a loving relationship. Let's run into His arms and enjoy His love instead of lurking in the shadows in the furthest corner of the room.