Grace is God's favor for His children, it is His opinion of us, it is God's love for us. To use the term "hyper-grace" in a derogatory way is very very sad. God's love passes all knowledge (Ephesians 3:19). The Father loves us as much as He loves His Son Jesus & Jesus loves us as much as the Father loves Him (John 17:23,15:9).
This post is a response to Michael Brown's Confronting the Error of Hyper-Grace. Italics are from Mr. Brown's original post & my response follows them.
One of the foundational doctrines of the hyper-grace message is that God does not see the sins of his children, since we have already been made righteous by the blood of Jesus and since all of our sins, past, present and future, have already been forgiven.
Hebrews 10:17 says when you enter the New Covenant God promises to "never remember your sins & lawless deeds." Romans 8:9 says, "We are not in the flesh but in the Spirit because the Spirit of God lives in us." 1 John 3:9, 5:18 say a Christian's spirit cannot sin. 2 Corinthians 5:16 says God "no longer identifies anyone according to the flesh." Romans 4:8 says, "The Lord does not take sin into account." 2 Corinthians 5:19 says, "God does not credit people with sin." It isn't a matter of if God sees my sins. I no longer have sins, I am solely identified by God as a perfect spirit though that spirit does live in this temporary "tent" of flesh. God is not blind to how the deeds of my flesh affect myself & others but He does not need to charge me or even my flesh with sin for our relationship to work, the above scriptures make that very clear.
That means that the Holy Spirit never convicts believers of sin
That is true. There isn't a single scripture that says He does. The only time conviction & the Holy Spirit are mentioned with the believer is when the Spirit convicts (convinces) them of their righteousness.
that believers never need to confess their sins to God
This is true. There isn't a scripture that says they should. People assume 1 John 1:9 was not only written for Christians but also that it is somehow a mandatory daily practice of the Christian life though we see nothing in the text suggesting that it is something that needs to be repeated nor are there any other scriptures even seemingly telling Christians to confess their sins to God. See this page for over a dozen posts looking at 1 John 1:9.
and that believers never need to repent of their sins
Never do we see the phrase "repent of sin" in the New Testament. Unless you incorrectly assume that the Greek word behind repent has the concept of sin in its definition, which it doesn't, there is no reason to think repentance (changing your mind) regards sin at all.
God sees them as perfect in his sight.
He sure does.
"The sacrifice of Christ makes those who draw near to God perfect" (Hebrews 10:1).
"By one offering Jesus has perfected forever those who are made holy" (Hebrews 10:14).
"The spirits of righteous men have been made perfect" (Hebrews 12:22-23).
One hyper-grace teacher wrote this: “When God looks at me, He doesn’t see me through the blood of Christ, He sees me—cleansed! Likewise, He sees us as holy and righteous. He sees us, and He loves what He sees!” Really? Always? 24-7? God always loves what he sees when he looks at his people? Yes, he loves us, but does he always love what he sees?
If you can't separate your flesh's actions from your identity you are under the law & don't know what it means to be born again. This question, "does God always love what He sees" is down-right silly. If your child does something wrong & you look at him or her after it do you love who you see? Of course! Because you love your child. The VERY REASON you seek to help them live their life better is because you love them. The author is just over-doing it to make an argument. God sees us & always loves us when He sees us. Whether He loves our behavior or not does not change how He sees us. So yes He always loves WHO He sees because He sees us as who we truly are, His dearly loved children.
Did Paul, writing on behalf of the Lord, love what he saw when he warned the Galatians that they had fallen from grace and become trapped in legalism?
No but God didn't love IT because IT hurt THEM. Love is not self-seeking, God is love. God didn't love IT because He loved THEM. You are tying behavior to identity again, almost saying, "If God doesn't like what you do that changes how much He likes you." That is a graceless idea. If He "didn't like WHO He saw" when He looked at His children He wouldn't care about them destroying themselves by forgetting about His love & putting themselves under the law. I don't think God likes what you've written Mr. Brown but that is because He loves you & wants to help you. What you believe or do doesn't change how much God loves you.
Did James, also writing as a servant of the Lord, love what he saw when he rebuked his readers for being “friends of the world” and “adulterers and adulteresses”? And if he doesn’t see our sins, why did the Lord discipline believers in Corinth because of their sins (see 1 Cor. 11:27-32)? (And pay careful attention to 1 Corinthians 11:32, “When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.”)
Why assume all of these people are Christians? The article's #1 flawed assumption: "Christians are the only ones written to in the scriptures." James outright says that his letter is written to the "12 tribes" & Paul twice calls for the Corinthians to "examine themselves to see if they are of the faith," & one of those times is in 1 Cor. 11. Looking at the assemblies addressed in Revelation, if we drop the assumption that they are Christians, we can easily see that it is most likely they are non-Christians. Same thing with the friends of the world in James. See this post for more as to why this portion of 1 Cor 11 is not aimed at Christians.
And if the Lord doesn’t see our sins, why did James write that if a believer who was sick had also sinned, God would forgive him when he healed him (see James 5:14-15)?
Follow this up with James 5:16 & you'll see. It is talking about relational forgiveness among the brothers. If they apologize to one another there will be forgiveness among them.
If Jesus doesn’t see our sins, why did he say to the church in Ephesus, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love” (Rev. 2:4, NIV)?
This is a generalization of the assembly historically. Like how the Old Testament spoke of a generation that had "not served God like their fathers had." Some of the people here were saved & some weren't. Walk into ANY church today & there is a 99.999999% chance not everyone there is saved. Why oh why do we assume that every assembly in the New Testament that a letter was addressed to consisted of 100% Christians? Even Jesus spoke about there being sheep & goats, wheats & tares. If this verse were to Christians it would simply mean that they had forgotten their first love, meaning they forgot that Christianity is to live knowing God FIRST LOVED us. The word "against" in the verse doesn't mean "I'm mad & charging you with sin." This word could be translated dozens of ways. It could even mean something like, "I have this leaning against you, causing you a great burden, that you have forgotten that I am the one who loved you first."
And why did he says this to the church in Sardis? “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” (Rev. 3:1-3)
The only deed/work required before God is to trust in Jesus. Jesus said it Himself in John 6:28-29, "The only work God wants from you is to trust in Jesus Christ whom the Father has sent." If you don't trust Jesus you are not saved. Also, no Christian is EVER dead. God gives ETERNAL life. Scripture wide the word repent is used almost exclusively as an invitation to salvation, to change your mind to trust in Jesus. Likewise people are told to "obey" the gospel which is to be saved. The "deeds" being "incomplete" meant many of the people there were not saved, they did not know God.
If the Lord always “sees us as holy and righteous” and always “loves what He sees,” why did he rebuke the believers in Laodicea, telling them that they were “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17)? Why didn’t he say, “I see you as beautifully clothed, healthy, and rich?" If he was so happy with what he saw in Laodicea, why did he threaten to spit the congregation out of his mouth (see Rev. 3:16)?
Why? Because they weren't believers. The doctrine/assumption of "because the word 'church' appears it must exclusively be talking to Christians" causes you to throw out the rest of what the New Testament says about Christians & how God sees them. It says the Laodiceans don't have the "white garments" of righteousness. Jesus is even pictured as outside of the assembly knocking, wanting to get in. If you are a Christian Jesus is already in! I mean people even use the "stand at the door & knock" thing in evangelism yet we interpret this as being written only to Christians? Also note that these messages to the assemblies talks about the person who "overcomes" being the ones that are saved & share in Christ's riches. Elsewhere in scripture "overcoming" is a synonym for "having faith." If you are saved you have already overcome.
And if believers never need to repent of their sins, why did Jesus say, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent” (Rev. 3:19)? And how interesting it is that the same Greek word used in John 16:8—where Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of its sins—is the word used by the Lord in Revelation 3:19 (translated there as “rebuke”; and note Rev. 3:22: this is the Spirit speaking!).
Again it does not say "be earnest & repent of your sins." And again it is most likely not aimed at Christians, even if it were it would just mean "change your minds." This Greek word for "convict" & "rebuke" simply means "to convince of the truth." It does not picture a charging of guilt, like the English word convict does. God teaches His children the truth, He leads them out of falsehood, He corrects their false beliefs.
It is because God loves us that he rebukes us (not condemns us)
Condemn & convict in English are direct synonyms. You have to create a lie in your mind that tells you, "when (I think) God convicts me & makes me feel guilty I am not being condemned." Condemn & convict mean virtually the same thing.
it is because sin is so destructive that he calls us to turn from it.
It is because sin is so destructive that by His death on the cross He made it powerless against us. Only when we put the knife in sin's hand by believing that it can destroy us will we be destroyed by it.
This is the goodness of God, and this is what grace does, as Paul wrote in Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”
Taken by itself this is totally true but the whole paradigm of, God has to charge you with sin or slap the label of sin on you or "convict" you of sin does not belong anywhere near this scripture from Titus or anywhere near grace itself because it is not true. Grace, which is literally God's loving opinion of us(!), teaches us to walk away from these bad things, not because He shames us for not doing it fast enough but because His grace is His unconditional love. That means He loves us apart from our actions, LIKE A TRUE FATHER WOULD! That perfect love, that does not have to focus on our faults to help us grow, is what accomplishes what Titus 2:11-12 says. Nothing else works in the long run, it may seem to work for a while but "turning from sin" a billion times will never produce the results that a one time "changing of your mind" about how God views you & how He has TAKEN OUR SINS AWAY will.
How tragic it is today when God’s people mistake the voice of His correcting love for the condemning voice of Satan
Satan is the accuser. An accuser is by definition, "someone who charges another with a shortcoming, error, or wrongdoing; someone who ascribes guilt or blame." Charging someone with sin condemns them. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus & there are no sins laying on a Christian because Jesus has taken them all off. God can love & correct someone to help them out of harmful behaviors without having to lay guilt on them, that is in fact the only way God does it.
and how sad it is when they resist the purifying work of the Spirit, claiming that there’s nothing to purify since God no longer sees their sins.
What did Jesus say the Spirit would do? He said it would testify of Him. But Mr. Brown's view of God's purifying work, is apparently far more about a self-centered focus on sin & the flesh than it is about Jesus & how He loves us apart from our flesh's faults. His idea is a walk by the flesh & shame labeled as a walk by the Spirit. But the real way the Holy Spirit purifies our minds, beliefs, & bodies is by testifying of Christ, His love for us, & His finished work on our behalf.
Has He justified us by the blood of Jesus? Absolutely. Has He has set apart as holy to Himself? Without a doubt. Has He called us to be His sons and daughters, all by His love and grace? Yes He has. And it is because of these things that Paul wrote, “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Cor. 7:1).
1 Cor 6 speaks of "now being the time to be saved" & Paul saying why He is trustworthy. He then tells what God promises for those who trust Him. 2 Cor. 7:1 refers back to several verses before regarding being yoked with unbelievers. Paul twice encouraged the Corinthians to "Examine yourselves to see whether or not you are in the faith" (1 Corinthians 11:28 & 2 Corinthians 13:5). The rest of Paul's writings make it clear that Christians are already pure & holy in Spirit. So here Paul is inviting the unbelievers into the promises of God, in 2 Corinthians 6:1 he urges those who haven't to "receive the grace of God" & those who have to live in that grace. A Christian's spirit can never be contaminated, it is as 1 Corinthians 6:17 says, "one spirit with God." If it could be contaminated then God Himself could be contaminated thus this must be, as the context supports, an invitation for people to be saved, to purify their spirits once & for all.
What a beautiful, lofty calling. Don’t let anyone steal it from you.
It is a calling to be saved & purified by God, not by your own self-effort. That is beautiful & too lofty for us to accomplish. God finishes His work in you. But if you follow Mr. Brown's idea of the calling, that Christians are bound to perform after salvation, & you don't let someone "steal that concept from you," you are stuck in bondage & blinding yourself to God's true love by your constant & self-centered sin management.
Now for my experience. How were the fruits of the Spirit coming out of my life living under the way Mr. Brown claims things should be vs. living under the way I believe things should be?
When I believed God charged me with sin, identified me with my sin, that I had to confess my sins to him, & that I had to try to turn from my sins..
the love I felt from God & for God was totally based on how much I thought I had sinned, joy was seldom, peace was fleeting, I was miserable & filled with shame, & I had very little faithfulness & almost no self-control.
Now that I no longer believe God charges me with sin thus I have no need to have a sin counter in my head..
The love I feel from God & the love I have for God is indescribably more abundant than ever before, joy floods my heart at any moment I turn my thoughts to God, my peace is unshakable concerning my spiritual life & 99% of the rest of my life, I never "run from God," I never feel guilt or shame or condemnation, I have self-control because I now know my self is my spirit thus I walk by the spirit.
If you have some sort of complaint claiming I'm letting my experience interpret scripture
1. I've showed you what the scripture says above without relating it to my experience.
2. Show me a scripture that says not to do that. Show me one scripture that says, "Don't let your experience change how you interpret the scriptures." If you try to use the "heart is deceitfully wicked" one, yeah that pre-cross scripture, visit the New Testament for more on that because our hearts are where the Holy Spirit dwells & it is also where God pours out His love (see 2 Corinthians 4:6, Acts 15:9, Philippians 4:6, & Romans 5:5).
Since Jesus truly is the Prince of Peace it should be impossible for me to have more peace "living a lie" than living according to the truth. So based on the scriptures & based on experience, both of living the way Mr. Brown suggests Christians should live & living how I now think Christians should live, I conclude that "hyper-grace" is 100% true.
Mr. Brown directly countered some of my post above in his book Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message. Here is my response with necessary clarifications.