Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reaction To "Can Grace Be Cheap?"

I have a parallel blog at multiply.com and have been having exchanges of views with this fellow Christian, going by the moniker thywordistruth, who loves to refer me to articles by famous theologians or preachers when he argues for his point of view. By the way, he was the one who referred me to John MacArthur's "If We Confess Our Sins" article.

I append below his reaction to my "Can Grace Be Cheap?" article and my response:


thywordistruth
thywordistruth wrote today at 11:09 AM
Hi Stanley,
There is a good summary of what is "Cheap Grace" hereby John MacArthur : What Is Grace?
http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/Grace_to_You/Article.asp?article_id=1085

Cheap grace is in reality a self-imparted grace, a pseudo-grace, and in the end the consequences of living by it are very, very costly. "Cheap grace is not at all a reference to God's grace; it's a contemptible counterfeit. It's a grace that is "cheap" in value, not cost. It is a bargain-basement, damaged-goods, washed-out, moth-eaten, second-hand grace. It is a man-made grace reminiscent of the indulgences Rome was peddling in Martin Luther's day. Cheap? The cost is actually far more than the buyer could possibly realize, though the "grace" is absolutely worthless."

"Many professing Christians today utterly ignore the biblical truth that grace "instruct[s] us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:12). Instead, they live as if grace were a supernatural "Get Out of Jail FREE" ticket-a no-strings-attached, open-ended package of amnesty, beneficence, indulgence, forbearance, charity, leniency, immunity, approval, tolerance, and self-awarded privilege divorced from any moral demands."
The Gospel According to the Apostles © 2000 by John MacArthur


hfavoured
hfavoured wrote today at 7:58 PM
Hi ThyWordIsTruth,

Grace is truly "a supernatural "Get Out of Jail FREE" ticket-a no-strings-attached, open-ended package of amnesty, beneficence, indulgence, forbearance, charity, leniency, immunity, approval, tolerance, and privilege divorced from any moral demands" ... take note that I removed the phrase "self-awarded" because all this has been awarded to us through Jesus' sacrifice.

This privilege is free from any moral demands because God does not demand from us righteous living, but rather He imparts to us the desire to live right - as I have quoted in my article from Galatians 5:16-18:

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.


Verse 17 says that the Spirit and the sinful nature are two forces that are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. This means that we who are under grace have good intentions because of the Spirit but sometimes we do fail to carry them out because of our sinful nature. However, under grace, we have this "Get Out of Jail FREE" card that allows us not to feel condemned before God but to pick ourselves up and continue on our Spirit-led journey.

Although this "Get Out of Jail FREE" card can be abused by some people, it does not mean that it should be denied to the majority who treasure it and will not abuse it. Paul himself is aware of the possibility of abuse and he addresses this issue in Galatians 5:13 - "For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love."

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