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Grace: The Genuine and the Counterfeit

Updated on January 21, 2016

Defining Grace

What is your definition of grace? Do you know the difference between counterfeit "grace" and genuine grace? Scripture can reveal and make the distinction between the two.

Here are some common ideas of grace that you may have heard in the modern church:

  • A sigh of relief: “Thank the Lord we are under grace now!” You might be thinking this while reading through the Old Testament when God dealt with disobedient, rebellious people. There were stonings; men, women and children killed, nations and cities were wiped out. There are many intense accounts through the Scriptures.
  • “Boy, I am sure glad we are no longer under the law any-more, but under God's grace".
  • “It doesn't matter if I sin; I am under God’s grace now”.

If, or When?

Some time ago I heard a teacher in the false "church" system say, "It doesn't matter what you do tonight; God will forgive you in the morning.”

Is this teaching true or false?

The verses in 1 John can clearly point out his error.

Example 1.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2

I highlighted “if” out of the first verse to make a contextual point because most people substitute it with “when” in what they think their interpretation of grace means.

I am going to retype these verses and substitute “if” for “when” to make an important point.

Example 2.

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And when” someone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

There are two distinct meanings here. One (“if”) is biblical, and the other (“when”) is not.

By adding “when” to the second example, an important part of grace is missing. It neglects the power of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus Christ forgives us of our sins, He also releases us (sets us free) from the enslaving power sin has over our lives. I think most believers would live their lives quite differently knowing that God’s grace is not a get out of jail card to be conveniently used like a credit card. You see, the word “if” means that something might possibly happen, but most likely won’t; “when” assumes that it is going to happen.

No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. - 1 John 3:6

If we are truly abiding in Christ, then through His power, the “when” turns to “if”.

In elementary school did you purposely misspell words in English class so that you could use the eraser?

Do you continually sin and use Jesus’ blood as your divine eraser of convenience to keep sinning?

The Good

God’s true grace not only forgives us of our sins, but empowers us to live for Him free from that bondage. You see, there are two parts here: first, we come to God through Jesus Christ’s blood (grace). Secondly, we can serve our God because of the work He (His power) has done in us, enabling us to do His will (grace). One part of grace cannot work without the other.

The law can point out our failures and sinful nature, but grace transforms our nature so that we are no longer enslaved. That is the true power of Jesus Christ!

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. - Romans 6:14

Through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake. - Romans 1:5

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. - Titus 2:11-14

The Bad

If grace does not make us holy, then the power of Jesus is not working in us, or through us.

If we are no longer slaves to sin, then how come we are still reeking of it?

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. - Hebrews 12:14-17

The Ugly
The Ugly

The Ugly

The counterfeit modern "church" preaches the gift of grace, but denies the responsibility of it.

The counterfeit modern "church" opens their doors to sinners with open arms; there they remain sinners.

No wonder there is so much apostasy in the "church" system today. God’s grace is being denied for the counterfeit version.

But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 6:22-23

Do you know people who abuse God's grace to justify a sinful lifestyle?

See results

Comments Appreciated

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    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 7 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ

      Thanks again RJ for your affirmation. Have a blessed day.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 7 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      This helps clear up the meaning of GRACE for me. Nicely done. RJ