I don’t do grease. I don’t cook with it (My choice these days is olive or coconut oil). I used to grease my car back when cars weren’t so complicated, but no more. I pay someone else to do that. I don’t even know if cars get greased anymore. In the 60s I would grease my hair – “a little dab’ll do ya” – now it’s pomade or something like that.
I found out a few days ago, though, that when it comes to Christianity, I am greasy.
A person who attends the church I pastor and who is part of a small group to which I belong told the group that he was accused of going to that “Greasy Grace” church. I wonder if the guy who made the statement has ever been to the church on which he slapped the label. Has he heard me preach? I don’t know.
“Greasy Grace” church? I had never heard of the term. A quick Google search and I realized that the statement was not intended to be a compliment. I didn’t think it was. People who make such statements usually make similar statements such as, “That preacher is soft on sin”, or “He is just giving them a license to sin” and, “You just don’t understand what it means to live holy.” Oftentimes, “greasy grace” is combined with the catchy term, “sloppy agape.” Nice.
I do preach grace. No doubt about that. I believe that:
– grace is the “good news”
– Jesus replaced a law-based religion with a grace-based relationship.
– Jesus replaced an obedience driven by fear, guilt and bargaining (If I am good, then God will be good) with a fresh motivation to follow Him out of love and joy.
-everything comes to us by grace. To believe that we have to work for God’s blessings is to try and buy that which is not for sale.
– instead of following lists of rules Jesus calls people to follow Him.
– sin is overcome by grace.
The accusations against pro-grace people have been around a long time. Paul was accused of promoting sin and reckless living. Listen to what he said: “And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, ‘The more we sin, the better it is!’ Those who say such things deserve to be condemned” (Romans 3:8 NLT) Tough words.
These guys follow Paul’s lead… What do you think?
From D. Martin Lloyd-Jones:
There is no better test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that it really amounts to this, that because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like because it will redound all the more to the glory of grace. That is a very good test of gospel preaching. If my preaching and presentation of the gospel of salvation does not expose it to that misunderstanding, then it is not the gospel… I would say to all preachers: If your preaching of salvation has not been misunderstood in that way, then you had better examine your sermons again, and you had better make sure that you really are preaching the salvation that is offered in the New Testament…
From Charles Swindoll, commenting on the above comment:
“To all fellow ministers, if you claim to be a messenger of grace, if you think you are really preaching grace, yet no one is taking advantage of it, maybe you haven’t preached it hard enough or strong enough. I can assure you of this: Grace-killing ministers will never have that charge brought against them. They make sure of that!”
Grace is big. Too big for me to understand. I just re-read a book by Steve Brown, Professor Emeritus of Preaching at Reformed Theological Seminary. Check out these quotes:
“You ought to live your life with such freedom and joy that uptight Christians will doubt your salvation.” Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom
“The only people who get better are people who know that, if they never get better, God will love them anyway.” Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom
“Religion can make people mean, angry, gloomy, critical, judgmental, and neurotic. Religion can also become an abuser of Christians. I have seen so many people hurt by religion that sometimes I think it would be better to be a pagan. Worst of all, religion can keep you from God…Something about institutional Christianity (as necessary as it is) will kill your freedom if you aren’t careful. Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom
The statement made to my small group friend may have been intended as a criticism. I think I’ll look at it as a compliment.