Distorted Grace


How one evangelical radio preacher misinterpreted this Scripture; Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: Romans 5:20.

Bill Burkett

Where Grace is Operating it Produces Good moral Qualities, Charles Stanley distorts God’s Grace.

The BIBLE teaches that where Grace is operating in a born again life it is teaching me to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this world. If His grace 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 dynamic and identifiable in the born again. The true Christian bears the image of the God born man described in Scripture so we have a way of knowing who the true Christians are.

Abounding grace produces good works
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.

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

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

Abounding grace teaches us to please God
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

Abounding grace makes us fruitful in the knowledge of Christ!
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 apart from repenting of it and forsaking it is NOT at all what the Word of God teaches. BUT, sin that is confessed and forsaken is FORGIVEN! 1 John chapter one.

BUT . . . . .

Charles Stanley using this text on his broadcast, (July 31, 1998), taught this verse in such a way that it could be construed he was saying, God’s grace automatically and unconditionally cancels all sin as I go along in life and commit a sin. He emphasized (without qualifying sin or grace) that where sin abounds God’s grace abounds even much more. “In other words,” Charles Stanley said, “No matter how much sin you have in your life God’s grace is always greater.” If the person listening to Charles Stanley has a conditionless concept of Grace 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 I have rebelled against His grace teaching. 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? Hebrews 10:29. The Scripture also makes it very clear that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

It’s very true that God’s grace is much greater, much more powerful than the sin of man, and that His grace can and will forgive any sin a man may commit, BUT, if I consciously transgress God’s moral law – that is, I am quite aware I have done wrong and displeased the Lord, then there are conditions to that must be met if that sin is forgiven! It begins with confessing the sin and admitting it before the Lord and asking His forgiveness. And then there is a second condition regarding sin we confess. It is made clear in this simple statement that, Sin confessed but not forsaken is not forgiven! When we confess our sin before God that implies that we are forsaking it and that we feel it wrong and was wrongly committed. To continue committing sin after we have once confessed it as wrong makes confessing wrong a trite ceremonial thing with no redemptive or life changing lesson learned, no eschewing of the evil we have confessed.

According to Charles Stanley, no matter how much I sin, God’s grace is much greater and that sin is covered by that greatness of God’s grace. It may seem he is paying a wonderful compliment 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 flatter Him (God) with false compliments.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.

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 cancels it no matter what sin I commit or how much I sin.” It leaves the Christian open to looseness with the false idea that grace is an automatic cover for my sin, that God provided grace to automatically cancel sin in my life under all circumstances as it happens. 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 power that forgives sin automatically always standing by to cancel my sins..

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

The first Grace is what we experience AT the cross when we are forgiven and this grace 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 my goals through obedience to His teaching. Titus 2:11-14.

2. I’m sorry, but some popular and articulate radio preachers simply do not understand the difference between the two operations of God’s grace. When Grace 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 conditionless. No! The grace that saves me IS conditonless, but the Grace that keeps me saved AFTER conditionless blood redemption is conditional as Scripture teaches clearly in many instances and illustrated in above listed Scriptures. 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. Forgiveness is granted through the operation of Grace. 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 a dysfunctional 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 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what {that} meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Matthew 11:20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard {it}, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Mark 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

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 automatic canceling all sin in your life so long as you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is disproven by many Scriptures as seen above. Grace (AFTER the cross) always produces the fruit of goodness and righteousness when it is operating in a Christian life. It is teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Titus 2″11-12. But, IF we sin, we have an advocate, (a legal representative) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1. That is the Biblical way of obtaining forgiveness and maintaining our standing in Christ.


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