Automatic Grace?
Bill Burkett 

  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: Romans 5:20.

A well known radio preacher was recently teaching on the verse above leaving the impression that God’s Grace automatically and unconditionally cancels all sin as I go along in life continuing in my sin.

“No matter how deep your sin, or how much you sin, God’s Grace is always greater and abounds over all sin.”

Again and again He emphasized (without qualifying sin or grace) that where sin abounds God’s grace abounds even much more. “In other words,” he was saying, “No matter how much sin you have in your life God’s grace is always greater.” This is true! But only sin confessed is forgiven and sin that is confessed and not forsaken is not forgiven! But the Bible says, If we confess our sins he is faithful just to forgive our sin and cleanser us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. And Paul wrote, What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Romans 6:1-2,

If the person listening to this radio preacher believed what he was actually saying, he or she is going to believe that a Christian can sin and grace automatically cancels their sin no matter how much they disobey God’s Word and how much one repeats his sin, grace automatically. But the Bible says, Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? do despite unto grace. Hebrews 10:29.

According to many of the predestination radio preachers, no matter how much I sin, God’s Grace is much greater and as I sin His Grace is right there to cancel that sin no matter how much or how frequently I sin. It is immediately canceled and my sin is covered by the greatness of God’s grace. It is a wonderful compliment being paid to God and His grace – BUT if it is not according to the Word of God it makes no points with God no matter how much you try to flatter Him with false teaching.

If grace and sin are not defined correctly, in explaining this passage of Scripture in Romans 5:9, the hearer will think, “Oh, well, if I sin grace is greater than my sin and will cancel it no matter what sin I commit or how much I sin.” It leaves the Christian with the false idea that grace is an automatic cover for my sin, that God provided grace to automatically cancel sin under all circumstances. But, grace is not an automatic cancellation of sin! There are many conditions to the function of grace in my life for grace to operate efficaciously (effectively and according to God’s purposes) in my life. Let us look at some reasons why the Bible does not teach Grace as an automatic cover that is some kind of an ever present forgivness standing by to cancel my sins because I am predestined or sovereignly chosen.

1. There are two zones of Grace. These two zones of God’s favor operate in two different ways at two different times in our Christian life.

The first Grace is what we experience AT the cross when we are forgiven and is conditionless. Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5.

The second Grace experience is the favor of God through Christ AFTER the cross and is conditional. Romans 10:10; Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:11-12.

Grace AFTER the cross makes me a possessor of the divine presence in my heart or inner man. Once I possess the mind of Christ I take on the responsibility to respond and to obey Him because His love constrains me to do righteously. AFTER I am a Christian Grace is a teacher of righteousness to my heart and good works and the likeness of Christ are fruit. Salvation

The word of God must be RIGHTLY DIVIDED!
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

2. Those who teach such things simply do not understand the difference between the two operations of God’s grace. When this is not defined correctly and we fail to rightly divide the Word of truth we can end up with the idea that all of God’s wonderful favors toward man are all condionless. No! The grace that saves me is conditonless, but the Grace that keeps me saved AFTER condionless blood redemption is conditional as Scripture teaches clearly in many instances. When a bible believer thinks of God’s grace as being only conditionless his doctrine becomes seriously flawed and many people will be misled into believing that if they are sovereignly chosen then grace automatically covers their sin, no matter how much they sin or how little effort they put into their Christianity and they become deceived until the day of death!

3. Grace operates through forgiveness. The one condition of salvation is that I acknowledge my sinful state and repent. Sin that is not confessed is not forgiven. If grace gives a Christian automatic cancellation of sin then it immediately disfunctional grace because repentance is omitted by this teaching. The Bible is very clear in many places that repentance is vital to God’s saving grace. Matthew 3:8;  4:17;  11:20;  Mark 2:17;  6:12;  Luke 13:3;

But if we walk in the light [truth], as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7-9. We make bold the words that are conditional.

4. To teach that grace is conditionless and automatically canceling all sin in your life so long as you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is disproven by many Scriptures. We will see here that Grace (AFTER the cross) teaches obedience to the Word of God as evidence of valid salvation operating in a Christian life.  



Where Grace is present it is operating and producing the fruit of its energy. Grace is the evidence of the power of God operating through a person’s life! God is omniscient and if His presence is in me then it is producing the likeness of Christ in me and through me. The power of God is born out of His omniscience and that omniscience is productive and active – never in recession!

Grace Produces Some Good Divine Quality Where It Operates.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 2 Corinthians 9:8.


And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; Philippians 1:9.


Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:7.


Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 1 Thessalonians 4:1


For if these things be in you, and abound, they make {you that ye shall} neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:8.

From God’s Word we see that automatic conditionless grace that cancels sin “automatically” is NOT what the Word of God teaches

Three Zones of Grace


For a more in depth study see Bill Burkett’s book “Grace” Amen!

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