Can Grace cause too much rest?

Posted: October 11, 2011 in Uncategorized
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All is well between you and the Lord. That is the essence of the ministry of reconciliation. You have been forgiven – now, receive forgiveness by putting faith in your Savior, Jesus. Now, you are justified before God; blameless and above reproach. That’s good news. Because of Jesus and His finished work, we are heirs to all the promises and have actually already been blessed with all spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3). Wow, it really is finished, which begs the question what is there left to do? Some would say “absolutely nothing! Just rest in the finished work!” ……..Well……. that brings me to this blog entry. I recently visited a church whose pastor told the congregation “It’s not our job to preach Grace to people. Only the Holy Spirit can give them that revelation.” I personally can not separate “grace” from the “gospel”  because it is the gospel. It puts the “good” in “good news.” I could have misunderstood what was being said, but to me he might as well have said, “It’s not our job to preach the gospel – It’s the Holy Spirit’s job.” I am writing this to address a “do little” attitude I am seeing develop in the crowd that’s receiving the True Gospel of Grace.

Pardon me pastor, but we have been commissioned to go into all the world. Hopefully, have received a second separate experience called the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which empowers us to be effective (bold and powerful) witnesses of Jesus. It’s almost as if the Grace crowd is forgetting that we were saved by grace through faith. Faith is an action- it’s active. Faith, without corresponding works of faith, is dead/useless. Oh, if the body of Christ would just begin to do what it said it believed. Believing in healing or quoting healing scriptures is not the same as healing the sick. Hear that? I’ve just set off some people’s “works” alarm! Good, because there is work to be done – and those aren’t my words: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10). Some people do rightly to “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest,” but never consider that perhaps they could be the laborer. Yes labor=work, I’ve done it again. Resting in the finished work does not mean literally resting and doing absolutely nothing. It means we stop trying to earn blessings/favor/right standing with God based on our works. It’s a motive changer. I understand that many have been burned out on ministry of any kind, and yes literal rest and doing nothing will be good for a while. But my question is: How much rest do you need? How long do we need to soak at the Master’s feet before we are compelled by the same force that compelled Him (God’s love) to spread the good news? You may say: “Well, I’m not going to do anything I don’t feel led to do.”

Ok, that’s fine, assuming you are in perfect tune with that still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Never missing even His most gentle nudging. The only problem with that is there are a lot of Christians who are quite carnal (ruled by their senses or emotions) and could easily mistake “feelings” for “not being led.” I’m not trying to pass judgment on anyone, or even motivate anyone. I’m just trying to remind us Gracer’s that you do – yes I said do, have to balance grace with faith. “Yes we know, it’s faith in the finished work.” That’s fine, but that doesn’t exclude us from acting on what we say we believe. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father (John 14:12). I’m all for sitting at the feet of Jesus, and always will, but lets interrupt those receiving sessions with some “such as I have I give you. In the Name of Jesus, rise up and walk” sessions. I know we don’t “have” to do anything. For example, we don’t “have” to give a certain percentage of our income to our church or else face a curse, but how can a person who has received the fullness of the gospel of God’s unconditional love and radical grace not become a partaker of the divine nature and share in what Paul called “the grace of giving”?

Paul bragged of the grace of giving that was bestowed on the churches of Macedonia. They were freely willing to give what they were able and beyond what they were able(sacrificial giving) and all this while in the mist of deep poverty(due to persecution). That doesn’t line up well with the “give because you’re blessed” slogan, unless of course we’re not talking about monetary blessings. Paul then tells the Corinthians to “see that they abound in this grace also” (2 Cor8:7). He then commends them for their desire to give, but he’s also stressing that there needs to be actions to accompany that desire. James gives the same principle :What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save(rescue) him?  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Paul says in 2 Cor 10 that it is “to their advantage ” that they give. In Phil 4:17 he said “not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Mathematically speaking, in order for it to be “more blessed to give than to receive”(acts 20:35) there would have to be a multiplicative property to giving. I guess I’m one of the few Gracer’s who doesn’t have a problem telling people to expect a multiplied return on properly motivated giving.

This could open up many questions on stewardship, or sewing and reaping, but I’m out of time today. Now I will come clean as to one of the reason’s I’m writing this. I’m tired of seeing good churches go under because people are not giving any money at all. I hate seeing full-time pastors having to work secular jobs just to make ends meet. Paul was very clear on this whole matter in 1 Cor chapter 9. He uses words like “stewardship” and “sowing and reaping” which are becoming unpopular today. But in summary Pastors have a Biblical right to refrain from working. Paul chose not to exercise that right( unmarried – no kids), but concludes with “Even so the Lord commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.” I understand many pastors have abused this and hurt many people, but that doesn’t change the scripture. Yes, give as you purpose in your heart, but know this the Spirit of Christ on the inside of you is the biggest giver of all, and you, by your new nature are a giver as well. We are already blessed with all spiritual blessings, but that doesn’t do you any good in this life, on this earth until they are accessed by faith. And faith will always be an action – not a thought, belief, formula, or theory.

  1. Greg Riether says:

    Yes, brother. We are on the same page with this. Works are actually part of the blessing. They are another gift from God that we get to participate in. They are our joy.

    • Christy Mitropoulos says:

      That’s good teaching Steve, and I agree with Pastor Greg. I sit at the feet of Jesus a lot. But when I get up from that place of rest, I am motivated by love to share what I have received with others. I did not get the revelation of Jesus Christ just to enjoy it all by myself. I cannot keep silent. I must share the Good News with others. Some might call my teaching and preaching my “work” but I call it my “joy.” What I freely receive at the feet of Jesus – whether it be revelation of His finished work – love for hurting people – healing for the sick – or words of encouragement for the one who has been listening to the lies of the enemy – I want to give freely what I have freely received. And the same goes with my material possessions. When I know individuals have dedicated their lives to preaching the gospel of grace – I want to do all I can to support thoses ministers and give of my substance to see them blessed and do whatever God has called them to do. Since I heard the gospel of grace my giving has not decreased – it has increased, and so has the blessings of God upon my life. That is partaking of the ministry of Jesus and I absolutely love what I do 🙂

  2. savedbygrace says:

    Either pastors are preaching the wrong gospel, or they are not preaching the gospel

    oh, they are not preaching the gospel at all!

    Grace should be define based on God’s word.. not the secular dictionary, or traditional thinking

    secular and traditional thinking defines grace as
    – causes people to cease working, become lazy
    – encourage, give people license to SIN

    God’s word defines grace as
    – Grace is a person. Grace is Jesus

    There is work to be done. Gods Work is
    Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the WORK of God: that you BELIEVE in the one whom that one sent.”
    – JOHN 6:29 (LEB)

    How then will they call upon him in whom they have not BELIEVED? And HOW will they BELIEVE in him about whom they have not HEARD? And how will they HEAR about him without one who preaches to them?
    – Romans 10:14 (LEB)

    In case the pastor will ask if this is God’s will
    For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks at the Son and BELIEVES in him would have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
    – JOHN 6:40 (LEB)

    grace and peace to you

    • stevewolf918 says:

      Hello Savedbygrace,
      I think I agree with you, but not too sure what your main point is. The whole point of this blog entry was to highlight the truth that it is by grace THROUGH FAITH. I agree that there is work to be done. And yes the foundation is “that you believe in the One whom He sent” Just remember that this was Jesus’ answer in response to his disciple’s question of what must they do to work the same miraculous works that Jesus did (they just saw Him walk on the water). I would be the last person to say Grace gives a person the license to sin. Grace teaches us. People should be motivated by the love of God to go out and work the same works that Jesus did (John 14:12). What did Jesus do? He taught, He preached, He healed. We are His Body, and we are full of His power, it is our responsibility to let His light that is in us, so shine before men. Huddling up with other believers inside the 4 walls of the church and dwelling on how much we are loved, favored, blessed, and forgiven is fine, but once your heart has been established in righteousness, its time to get out of the safety of the nest(4 walls) and reach the world with the same true gospel that set you free!

      • savedbygrace says:

        Hi steve,

        I believe we are on the same page brother. My main point is actually leaders nowadays are claiming to preach the gospel, but really are preaching a different gospel. I see a lot of them.
        some leaders would burden the people saying that it is the WILL of God for you to go fulltime in the ministry dedicate your life to church (the building). Because it is the WORK of God.

        thus my emphasis on the Will and the Work of God is “believe”.

        grace and peace bro.

  3. Raymond Lee Gonzales says:

    Good Stuff Steve, I recently asked God about the balance between grace and works. He led me to Eph .2:10 which you used. There is a balance in this Grace message and our part whether it be giving, helping, praying for the sick, etc. etc. We are created unto good works which he planned beforehand. We do walk in these by faith, just trusting that we are being led by God daily whether we feel anything or not. This really is the life of ease He talks about here in Ephesians. Like I told Jeff when we began to understand Grace, there is a part that faith has in this. We go from glory to glory and God taught us faith first, now Grace. Hope I make sense.

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