I love Jesus. Anyone who knows me well knows that, and they also know that I love the Holy Spirit. I talk about Him constantly. I also frequently talk about how I believe the amount of Holy Spirit power we walk in, directly correlates to how much we are willing to surrender in our lives.
This has been my own personal experience, and I have read books from many powerful old-time evangelists who share that same opinion. Don’t get me wrong. I know that we live under grace, and we cannot earn our salvation. It cannot be bought. It is a free gift.
Ephesians 2:8,9 NIV - For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
We know that Jesus' life was the ultimate spotless sacrifice for our sins. When we repent and make Him the Lord and Savior of our lives, He washes us clean with His precious blood that was shed on Calvary. We could never possess anything as priceless or as perfect as His sacrifice as a payment for the debt we owe. His ultimate sacrifice was the only acceptable payment for our sins.
So we can never claim to be good enough to deserve eternal life except by His mercy and grace. We can never attain righteousness on our own. But, does that mean we shouldn’t even try to attain righteousness, or at least try to pursue a holy lifestyle?
I believe it is evident that we cannot earn our salvation through works. There is nothing we can do to gain salvation in our own power. However, I believe there is a very dangerous hyper-grace doctrine that seems to be running rampant today.
Just recently I heard that a few individuals were talking about me, and they were saying I was, “A little over the top because I had been radically saved.” Really? Is there any other way to be saved? Some people may have fewer sins to be forgiven, but anytime anyone is saved, I believe it is a radical experience.
Jesus doesn’t seek to change us just a little bit. He wants to radically change us! That is why He makes us a brand new creation when we ask Him to save us. (2 Corinthians 5:17) He makes a radical change in the life of the sinner who TRULY repents and turns away from their sins. We don’t get just a little saved. We are either all in, or not saved at all.
I don’t mind being accused of being radically saved. I think it’s a compliment. Obviously, people are noticing something about me that proves I’m a Christian. But the hyper-grace movement suggests that it’s okay if we sin and cuss, and it’s okay if we want to have an alcoholic drink from time to time because grace covers it all.
I simply cannot agree with that kind of teaching. Having been saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, I know the Holy Spirit lives within me. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I do not want to do anything to grieve Him.
My love for Jesus and my respect for the Holy Spirit compels me to pursue sanctification. I know I can never attain to the perfection of Christ, but I can strive daily to be more like Him as He has asked us to do.
One of the more recent hyper-grace arguments came from a friend who told me that God doesn’t cringe when we speak, or flinch when we curse.
However, this is only making God fit an idea or image you have of Him. I can’t help but think of Isaiah, and his words in Isaiah chapter six.
Isaiah 6:5-7 NIV “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Now I’m sure Isaiah didn’t run around cursing people, and speaking with filthy language, but he recognized his impurity in the presence of the Most Holy God.
Jesus tells us to be Holy as He is Holy. We must do our best to imitate Jesus. Would we curse, and use profanity if we were praying to Jesus? Not likely, if we are trying to attain to His holiness. I’ve had others ask me, “Well what if profanity just happens to pop out of my mouth accidentally?”
I think you should ask Jesus to forgive you immediately. But, on the other hand, I have a hard time believing that those words will pop out of your mouth if they aren’t a regular part of your vocabulary. I agree with the old adage that says, “Garbage in, garbage out.”
If we consistently consume the pollution of the world, it will be more likely to spill out. But, if it’s not in you, it can’t spill out. I think as Christians we can always strive to do better—myself included!
I want to walk in power. I want the Holy Spirit to find me usable at all times. I want Him to be able to use me, and not hear me curse when I’m in a different crowd. I’m willing to surrender whatever it takes in order to be usable for His glory. Let’s try to keep ourselves from becoming polluted. Let’s seek to look more like Jesus than the world.
“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
James 1:21-27 NIV