So there is still one thing that gets me worked up; when I hear people who want to limit God. I know God can defend Himself and actually is so secure that He doesn’t need to. Still, I find myself wanting to engage. I hear often from believers that say “Grace needs to be balanced. We need to balance the message. You know God does get angry and people need to be aware of His impending wrath.” So sad really. If you are reading this and feel you agree with those kinds of statements I pray you seek His face and let Him show you His nature. Your position will change.
So I want to ask this question “What are we to balance?” I am quite certain that Grace cannot be balanced. How do you balance the finished work of Jesus? If He did it all, what could I possibly add? We didn’t deserve life and we definitely didn’t work for it so what changes after becoming children of God? Check out what Paul has to say.
Galatians 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith- 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?(ESV)
Maybe we are supposed to balance our status, you know, be wary of “falling from Grace.” Nope, that doesn’t work either. As a born again child of God there is nothing that can separate me from his love. Not only that, but we will absolutely triumph over any trial. How is that balanced? There is nothing, absolutely nothing in creation that removes me from the love of God.
Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.(ESV)
Maybe we are supposed to balance our emotions. “It wouldn’t be right to feel good all the time and get our hopes up” right? No, that isn’t it either. By believing we are filled with all joy and peace where the Holy Spirit really shines and through His power we live in hope. How is that balanced? All I did was believe.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope(ESV)
Maybe we should balance our “behavior” by applying some rules to live by, right? Wrong again. When I want to balance something I am actually applying rules. I am making a law. God gave us the Spirit for wisdom. To go back to a law is to go back to independence. Look at Romans 7 again and see what it looks like when you try to follow the law. “Balance” gives sin power.
1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law(ESV)
Maybe we just need to apply more effort since there is nothing to balance the badness? Nope, God gives us all the power we need. The only thing we do is believe and His power comes. Not just any power, but the power that raised Christ from the dead. In the same measure as riches of an infinitely good God we are strengthened with His power from the inside out. How do you balance something like this?
Ephesians 1:18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places
Ephesians 3:16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being(ESV)
“But don’t we need to keep the people in line, show them how unworthy they are?” That one really gets me. HE DOES IT ALL! Why do we insist on doing it our self when it will absolutely fail?
2 Thessalonians 1:11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.(ESV)
When I want to apply balance where is it coming from? It comes from my carnal wisdom. God can’t be balanced. To try and apply balance is to put your faith in yourself and not in the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.(ESV)
Our words, our desire to speak human wisdom into a situation has no power, it isn’t even of the kingdom. The power is in Him. The tongue can only be tamed by the Holy Spirit. When I am speaking from the Spirit, the words have power. Since God is love, those words should sound like love not law.
1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power(ESV)
But what about the unbeliever, don’t they need some good old-fashioned “fear of hell stuff?” Transition from one side of the cross to the other is the GOOD NEWS of Jesus and His finished work, not fear of hell.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Romans 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?(ESV)
“But wait don’t we need balance between Spirit and flesh?” No, God is clear on that one too. How about we just believe what it says and live from that truth?
Galatians 5:24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (NKJV)
Romans 8:9 But if God’s Spirit lives in you, you are under the control of your spiritual nature, not your corrupt nature. Whoever doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ doesn’t belong to him(GWT)
So if you want balance try this. Let your mind be transformed by His goodness, His wisdom, the revelation of Jesus’ finished work and you will be pleasing to Him. Not only that but He strengthens you for the task.
Colossians 1:9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.(ESV)
Perfect love casts out fear. God is love. I challenge us to rethink our definition of “the fear of the Lord.” I bet there are many that see this as “the fear of Hell” or “the fear of God’s wrath.” There is nothing farther from the truth. Did Jesus become sin? Did He die to obliterate that sin? Was every sin redeemed? Did Jesus raise from the dead? So what amount of wrath remains for us? Tell me what wrath remains for us? “Yeah but what about that unbeliever?” God died on a cross to make a relationship possible, not to make us aware of our sin. Jesus hung on a tree to free us not scare us. People are looking for a savior not a judge. The only balance we need is to believe in His ability to deliver on His promises. Grace has no balance by definition, it is unmerited and undeserved and big as God Himself. Try to balance that!