(Romans 5:20, CLNT)
Those are some of the most beautiful words in the Scriptures, so I’ll type them again:
…where sin increases, grace superexceeds…
Read them over and over again. Say them aloud, slowly. Let them sink in. Do not just read them or hear them, allow them to plant and take root in your soul.
Are you aware that you cannot outdo God’s grace? God’s grace cannot be outdone or outsinned. The Scriptures tell us that God’s grace superexceeds all sin, no matter how much sin increases. His grace extends above and beyond all sin. There is no sin that can trample over God’s grace. His grace is immeasurable. It is boundless. It has not limits. God’s grace is superior to all our wrongdoings.
There are erroneous teachings out there that say God’s grace is amazing, but that it only goes so far. Such teachings are deception. Those who teach such things are afraid, and they are allowing their fears to deny the truth of God’s grace. Those who teach such things are afraid that if the world becomes aware of God’s superexceeding grace, the whole world will “go to pot”, so to speak. They’re afraid such a grace will be a cheapened and abused grace. They are afraid people will perform “grace abuse” and use this limitless grace to sin to their heart’s content. But guess what?! The world is “going to pot” anyway! Evil deeds, the denial of God, and all kinds of sin is rampant in our world. And this is all happening while the false teachings are promoted that we must “do this” or “be that” in order to make sure we are taken care of by God, receive His grace, and don’t end up being tortured forever in some place called hell. Obviously, the “be good or else” tactic is not solving the problems of sin and evil. I can’t help but be reminded of the Scripture that says, “Fear is not in love, but perfect love is casting out fear, for fear has chastening. Now he who is fearing is not perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18, CLNT)
In his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace, Phillip Yancey attempts to makes a case for God’s amazing grace, until page 180. On page 180, Yancey derails off the truth of God’s superexceeding grace when he says that there is a “catch” to grace. Oh oh. If there is a “catch” to grace, it is no longer grace! He writes:
There is one “catch” to grace that I must now mention. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “St. Augustine says ‘God gives where He finds empty hands’. A man whose hands are full of parcels can’t receive a gift.” Grace, in other words, must be received. Lewis explains that what I have termed “grace abuse” stems from a confusion of condoning and forgiving: “To condone an evil is simply to ignore it, to treat it as if it were good. But forgiveness needs to be accepted as well as offered if it is to be complete: and a man who admits no guilt can accept no forgiveness.”
Whoops! Yancey has derailed from superexceeding grace. What he is describing in that paragraph is that we must do something to receive God’s grace. That means we must earn it by an action on our part. With that “catch”, grace just stopped being grace.
Yet, the Scriptures say, “Now if it is in grace, it is no longer out of works, else the grace is coming to be no longer grace. Now, if it is out of works, it is no longer grace, else the work is no longer work.” (Romans 11:6, CLNT)
I’m not sure why it is so hard to comprehend this simple aspect, but if we have to do ANY thing, grace is no longer grace! If I have to empty my hands of what I hold dear, repent from sin, and accept grace before it is given to me, then I’ve done something. In doing something, it is now “work” and thus, completely nullifies grace because I just earned grace.
Grace is about getting something from God when we do not deserve it. Grace is about God’s favor over us when we do not deserve it—actually, when we least deserve it.
Yesterday, I did a difficult thing. I showed my daughter God’s superexceeding grace. It was difficult because her behavior did not deserve the privilege she was begging me for. Her actions were selfish and thoughtless of others, while at the same time she was asking us to make a sacrifice on her behalf and give her something she wanted. I was very angry and frustrated with her selfish behavior and a situation that had transpired. I did not want to reward that selfishness with a sacrifice on my part and grant her what she wanted. I could think of no reason why I should do what she was begging for. I was determined to hold my ground and stick to my “no”. And suddenly, God spoke to me and gave me His reason why I should say “yes”: “Show her what my grace is all about. This is an excellent example. When you don’t deserve anything, when your actions are completely undeserving, I extend my love and favor over you, and I bless you.” I had a tremendous internal struggle with the idea of granting her request and the fear that it would be more of a detriment to her character to give her what she wanted when she didn’t deserve it. I now realize that struggle was rooted in fear. It was a fear of the flesh and soul instead of an assurance that God would take this opportunity to plant a strong seed of superexceeding grace in my daughter’s heart and that she would never forget this lesson. Even if at this time she is not capable of fully appreciating its meaning, I have the utmost confidence that in the future God will cause this seed of grace to mature and grow up strong and be a blessing to people who are touched by my daughter’s life. Not only that, it has taught me even more about this boundless grace of His. Grace is not an easy thing for the giver. It is a supernatural thing.
If we are talking of God’s superexceeding grace, we cannot be talking of something that has a “catch”, “and”, “if”, or a “but”. If it does, it is a fake. It is a deception. It is a lie. It is a limited grace of man and human flesh, not one of the God Almighty.
“What, then, shall we declare? That we may be persisting in sin that grace should be increasing? May it not be coming to that!” (Romans 6:1-2, CLNT)
“What then? Should we be sinning, seeing that we are not under law, but under grace? May it not be coming to that!” (Romans 6:15-16, CLNT)
God’s grace is not meant to be a license to sin away carelessly. But its truth is also not meant to be held back from people out of a fear that it may be abused or cheapened. Let God handle that. He is more than capable. Those who understand and feel God’s superexceeding grace and love are the least likely to want to abuse them. It is the ones who are threatened and filled with fear of punishment or torment that will be most likely to abuse it in the long run. Who wants to freely and completely entrust themselves to a God that supposedly loves you so much but at the same time is more than happy to punish you and torture you for all eternity if you do not “do this” or “do that”? That is cheap grace.
…where sin increases, grace superexceeds…
God’s superexceeding grace surpasses all sins, the worst of sins—even the one of unbelief.