Common Questions

1 - Are Grace Preachers against Repentance?

Grace preachers are for repentance, not against it. We say things like “repentance is essential” and “repentance is to be our lifestyle.” We are for repentance, for without it no one can receive the grace of God.
But what is repentance?
Repentance is one of those words that means different things to different people. Those with a performance-oriented mindset typically interpret repentance as turning from sin. It’s something you do (turn) as a result of something you’ve done (sinned). It’s fixing what you broke. It’s atoning for your mistakes. It’s sewing fig leaves to hide your shame. In contrast, faith-based repentance is always done in response to something God has done. It’s the change of heart and mind that happens when you encounter His grace. It’s often evidenced by turning to God in praise and gratitude.

We all agree that repentance is a good thing and that there should be more of it, but how do we get people to repent? A mixed-grace preacher will use carrots (“Turn from sin if you want to see God”) and sticks (“If you don’t, you’ll pay the price”), but this is the way of the flesh, not faith. This sort of repentance will lead you to trust in your own repenting efforts and miss grace. Consider the Pharisees. They turned from sin on a daily basis yet they did not recognize the Grace of God even as He came and stood among them. Mixed-grace preachers say, “We need more preaching on repentance,” as though this would motivate people to repent. But it won’t. Only one thing is guaranteed in scripture to lead people to repentance and that is a revelation of God’s goodness:
… God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. (Romans 2:4b


2: Are Grace Preachers against Confession?

Grace preachers believes in the power of confession. But what is confession?
Like the word repentance, confession is a word that has been mangled in the machinery of manmade religion. Instead of bringing healing to the hurting and life to the dead, confession is seen as the cost of admission into the house of grace. “You wanna be clean? Then ‘fess up you miserable sinner! Tell God your dirty little secrets.” But that’s not what confession is.

To confess literally means to agree with or say the same thing as another. Biblical confession is agreeing with God. It’s verbalizing faith in His goodness and acknowledging your dependence upon Him (Rom. 10:9–10). It’s saying, “God, I believe You are faithful and true and will do all that You promised.”

But some people have a different definition of confession. They think confession is something you must do to make yourself clean, righteous, and forgiven. “I have to review all my sins to receive forgiveness.” This is a dead work. Confessing-to-be-forgiven is like washing with dirty water. No matter how hard you scrub you won’t make yourself clean.

Faithless confession puts the focus on you and what you have done, but faith-based confession puts the focus on Christ and what He has done on your behalf.
Does that mean we should never confess or that it’s wrong to confess our sins? Not at all. Biblical confession is good for you. It will help you to walk in the grace that God has provided…


3 - Do Grace Preachers say God is not Grieved by your Sin?

God cares very much because sin hurt the objects of his affection—us! Sin damages people, fractures friendships, and destroys families. Sin hurts you, and that makes your Father sad.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Eph. 4:30–32)

Is God oblivious to our shortcomings and sins? When you sin does he act like Sergeant Schulz and say, “I see nothing”? Of course not. God sees everything. Our choices bring him pleasure and pain. Paul would not have written, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” if that wasn’t possible.

But you need to understand why God is grieved. He’s not grieved because you disappoint him. (Since he knows everything you’ve ever done and will ever do, it’s not possible to disappoint him.) Nor is he grieved because you broke his rules. (You are worth more to him than any rule.) Our sins grieve him because they hurt his kids.

Look at the sins Paul lists above and you will see they are all relational sins. They are the sins of quarreling, backbiting, and being a jerk. When we act this way we hurt those around us and make our Father sad. When we sin out of anger we give place to the devil and open a door to trouble (Eph. 4:26–27). That doesn’t make your Father happy and it won’t make you happy either.

Critics of the hyper-grace gospel say things like, “Grace teaches that God turns a blind eye to our sin.” It would be more accurate to say, “Grace teaches that God chooses to remember our sins no more.” But that doesn’t mean our sins don’t trouble him. He is our loving Father. He cares deeply for us. He is not happy to see us destroy ourselves through sin.

If Jesus didn’t care about the effects of sin, he would not have gone to the cross. The gospel declares that God’s love is unaffected by our choices, but it does not follow that we can act without consequences. Your behavior matters to God because you matter to God. He wants you to prosper and thrive in every area of your life.


4 - Did Jesus include all humanity in his finished work?

* We were crucified with Him Rom 6:6: Gal 2:20: Gal 6:14
* We were buried with Him. Rom 6:4, Col 2:12
* We were made alive with Him. Col 2:13: Eph 2:5
* We were raised with him. Col 3:1; Eph 2:6

Once we hear this good news, it leads us to repentance that God is superaboundingly good, it awakens us to receive the gift of FAITH, the gift of righteousness, the gift of ETERNAL LIFE, no condemnation, peace and JOY. NO works just rest, NO achieving just receiving. The gospel supplies faith, the law demands faith.


5 – Was the Father’s will different to the Son’s will on the cross?

Filtering our view of God solely through the revealed Son also means that there is not some other angry God hiding behind Jesus’ back, ready to hit me with a lightening bolt. No dark, impersonal force who stops short of destroying me only because “He remembers the blood.” Jesus and the Father were not playing “good cop/bad cop” on the cross. Jesus was not twisting God’s arm on the cross, persuading the Father not to destroy you! He was not conditioning or changing God so that He would be gracious to you. The Father was always for you! The heart of the entire Trinity is seen in the work of Christ on the cross. When you look at the love of Jesus dying for you, you are seeing the full expression of the love of the Father as well. Jesus was not changing God’s mind about you. God did not need changing – you did! There’s no hidden, dark side of God that Jesus was protecting you from. Not some evil “Old Testament” God that needed to be coaxed into loving us.

When Christ is our ultimate lens for understanding scripture, He is also our lens for seeing the unconditional love of the Godhead.

The Trinitarian approach does not see a moody Father who was personally offended by our sin, requiring the death of His Son to appease His own bloodlust. In fact, the Father never forsook His son on the cross to “satisfy” His anger. Instead, the Father and Spirit were fully involved on the tree, as “God was in Christ, reconciling the cosmos to Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). Yes, Jesus entered into our own “feeling” of separation from God – our own psychological calamity to experience what it’s like to feel the consequences of sin. On the cross, He asked the questions you ask ... “Why have you forsaken me?” ... But although he asked your human questions, the Father never did forsake the Son. And the Son never doubted the Father. The Father forsakes no one (John 8:29). The scriptures are clear that the Trinity never turned upon itself on the cross. Jesus and the Father are inseparable, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). And even when He went to the cross, Jesus said, “You [disciples] will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me” (John 16:32). To see Jesus on the cross is to see the full loving expression of the Godhead.


6 - Does All” really means “all”?

Paul is speaking of what Jesus did for all humanity. The scope of his vicarious human life extends to all who have ever lived. But not all Christians see “all” in this way:

Calvinism, for example, says salvation is not truly for all because the atonement is limited to the elect who are predestined to be saved; Jesus did not die for the non-elect. However, the Bible declares that Jesus died for all—and that his death applies to all now. Relevant passages include:
• John 12:32: “But I [Jesus], when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
• 2 Corinthians 5:14: “Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”
• Colossians 1:19-20: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
• 1 Timothy 2:3-6: “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.”
• 1 Timothy 4:9-10: “This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance…that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.”
• Hebrews 2:9: “But we see Jesus, who…suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
• 1 John 2:2: “[Jesus is] the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
• See also John 1:29; 3:17; Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Titus 2:11; and 1 John 4:14.

While there is even more evidence, this scriptural evidence is sufficient to conclude that Jesus died for all humanity.

Salvation is re-creation, not mere transaction
Arminianism, in contrast to Calvinism, agrees that “all” refers to the entirety of humanity; however, salvation is only potentially theirs, not actually since salvation is not actually given until a person has faith.

But the Bible tells us that salvation does not come about through a mere transaction in which God gives us salvation in exchange for our repentance and faith.

Rather than a transaction, Scripture presents salvation as a free and unearned gift, a gift that involves re-creation. In Jesus, who is fully God and fully human, the perfect representative and substitute for humanity, all humans are a new creation. Although it is experienced only through faith, all humans are justified, reconciled and saved precisely because they are all included in Jesus—included in his Incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension.

Jesus did all this for us and to us by doing it with us and in us—as one of us. Jesus is the One for the many, the many in the One. Therefore, we understand from Scripture that…
• When Jesus died, all humanity died with him.
• When Jesus rose, all humanity rose to new life with him.
• When Jesus ascended, all humanity ascended and became seated with him at the Father’s side.

Let’s review the relevant passages:
• 2 Corinthians 5:14-16: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

As we saw earlier in Romans 5:18, the result of Jesus’ righteousness is “justification that brings life for all men.” We are told to accept Christ’s sacrifice, but this does not cause the sacrifice to be effective; it was already effective.
• Colossians 1:15-17: “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Because Jesus is both Creator and Sustainer of the entire cosmos (all humanity included), when he died, all creation (all humans included) “went down” with him—”therefore all died” (2 Corinthians 5:14). And when he rose, we all rose; and when he ascended, we all ascended. Jesus includes everyone (“all”) in his Incarnation, life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension.

• Romans 6:10: “The death he [Jesus] died, he died to sin once for all.” Jesus’ death is already effective for everyone; he died to sin once for all.
• Ephesians 2:4-5: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
• 1 Peter 1:18-20: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you…but with the precious blood of Christ…. He [Jesus] was chosen [to save humanity] before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”

The gospel is about a relationship, a relationship with God healed and made real by God’s own action in Christ on our behalf. It is not about a set of demands, nor is it about a simple intellectual acceptance of a set of religious or Bible facts. Jesus Christ not only stood in for us at the judgment seat of God; he drew us into himself and made us, with him and in him, by the Spirit, God’s own beloved children.

7 - But what about human freedom?

If it is the life, faith and obedience of Jesus Christ that saves us and includes us in that salvation, what is our role? What happens in this viewpoint to the idea of human freedom? Consider the following points:
• All humanity, by God’s sovereign decision and action, is included in Christ; this inclusion was predestined and has been accomplished in Jesus, apart from any action, belief, works, etc. of our own.
• Each person is now urged, through the prompting of the Spirit, to believe God’s word and personally accept his love.
• God forces this personal decision/acceptance upon no one. Love must be freely given and freely received; it cannot be coerced, or it is not love.
• Thus human decision, the exercise of human freedom, is of great importance, but only in this context of accepting God’s gift that has already been freely given.


8 – Do Grace preachers believe in universalism?

When we talk about human decision, we are talking about personal response. And we must take care not to confuse what is objectively true in Jesus for all humanity with an individual’s personal and subjective reception of or encounter with this objective truth.
• We do not “decide for Christ” in the sense that our personal decision creates or causes our salvation.

• Rather, through personal decision, we accept what is ours already in Christ, placing our trust in the one who has already trusted for us in our place and as our representative.
• The Holy Spirit leads us to trust not in our faith, but in Jesus.
• This objective union, which we have with Christ through his incarnational assumption of our humanity into himself, is personally and subjectively lived out in faith through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
• When we personally believe the gospel, which is to accept what is already ours by grace, we begin to enjoy God’s love for us and live out the new creation that God, prior to our ever believing, made us to be in Christ.

There is the general, or objective, truth about all humanity in Jesus, and also the personal, or subjective, experience of this truth. Objectively all people, past, present and future, are justified already; all are sanctified; all are reconciled in Jesus in and through what he has done as their representative and substitute. In Jesus, objectively, the old self has already passed away; in him, objectively, we are already the new humanity, represented as such by him before and with God.

However, although all people are already objectively redeemed by Jesus Christ, not all have yet personally and subjectively awakened to and accepted what God has done for them. They do not yet know who they truly are in union with Jesus.

What is objectively true for everyone must be subjectively and personally received and experienced through repentance and faith. Repentance and faith do not create or cause a person’s salvation, but salvation cannot be experienced and enjoyed without them. Repentance and faith are themselves gifts of God.

In the Scriptures, we find some verses that speak to the general/objective, while others speak to the personal/subjective. Both are real and true—but the personal is true only because the general is a pre-existing reality.

9 – Is the gospel Good news for all people?

Here is a general truth that applies objectively to all—all are already reconciled to God through what Jesus has done in union with all humanity.

Any theology that is faithful to Scripture and to Jesus himself must account for this truth. Unfortunately, many theologies tend to ignore this aspect and focus primarily or only on the personal/subjective. That does the gospel a disservice, because it is the general/objective aspect of who Jesus is and what he has done that is the foundation upon which the personal/subjective rests.

These two categories are found throughout Scripture—both sometimes occurring in one passage, as happens in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. Paul starts in verses 18-19 with the objective/universal: “All this is from God, who reconciled [past tense] us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that G od was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” having established the general in verses 18-21, Paul goes on in verses 20-21 to address the subjective/ personal: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us.”
How can all be “reconciled” already and yet the invitation go out to “be reconciled”—suggesting a reconciliation yet to occur? The answer is that both are true—these are two aspects of one truth. All are already reconciled in Christ—this is the universal and objective truth—but not all yet embrace and therefore experience their reconciliation with God.

To be reconciled, and yet not know and experience it, is to continue to live as though one is not reconciled. Having one’s eyes opened by the Spirit to this reconciliation, choosing to embrace it, and then experiencing it does not cause the reconciliation to occur, but it does make it personally realized. Thus, the evangelistic invitation from Christ’s ambassadors (verse 20) is to “be reconciled.” But this appeal is not to do something that would bring about reconciliation; rather it is an appeal to receive the reconciliation that exists already with God in Christ. The same applies to the gifts of righteousness, eternal life and faith. Receive was Christ has already given you. Its all good news !!