Category Archives: grace

Joy Came To Earth – Religion and The World Did Not Know And Still Don’t

Consider – before the Incarnation, God had not spoken to man (through the prophets) for over four hundred years! Selah

When God finally had something to say it centered on joy and a Person!

Even though this joy was for the whole wide world, joy happened in a small and ‘hidden’ way, consequently religion and the world didn’t know it and still don’t!

‘Hidden’ Joy

God’s way – small, hidden, humble.Mary Greets Elizabeth

Look at these small ‘hidden’ joy-filled encounters involving the Incarnation story. Note Greek meaning elaborations included.

  • Elizabeth shouted with clamorous screaming that was extremely boisterous with great emotion as she explained, upon hearing the sound of Mary’s voice, how her baby John in utero – leaped skipped, bounded with exuberant, wild, ecstatic, delightful joy! (Lk 1:39-45)
  • Mary, while pregnant with Jesus, extolled that her spirit was experiencing a gladness that was jumping in celebration! (Lk 1:47)
  • The angel, standing before the shepherds, reassuringly and excitedly declared – Don’t be afraid, I bring good news of great and large joy! It is a joy because of grace recognized. And this joyful news is for ALL the people!” (Lk 2:9,10)
  • Then suddenly the sky filled with a multitude of heavenly host, who brought the message to conclusion – “peace to the earth and goodwill, happiness, favor, and delight in men”. (Lk 2:13,14)Heavenly Host Declaring Peace and Goodwill Towards All
  • The Shepherds urgently went searching for the babe. Can you imagine their wide-eyed excitement and anticipatory joy at what they would find? Afterwards encountering, they spread abroad this joyful good news. Those who heard marveled and were astonished. Perhaps because it came from shepherds! (Lk 2:16-18)
  • The Wise Men, after their arduous long-seeking journey, when they saw the star standing still to indicate where Jesus was, rejoiced with excessive, violent, extreme, great, loud, even fierce joy and delight. (Mt 2:9-10)
  • The earth was given a declaration of peace – i.e. a sense of welfare, to tie together into a whole, God’s gift of wholeness. Imagine the joy with that kind of ‘togetherness’! (Lk 2:14)

Joy Is The Focus Not Sin

When Jesus became flesh it was a happy, exuberant celebration. Joy for the world was the Godhead’s focus in coming to earth. Sadly, sin is religion’s focus for His coming.Oh The Joy!

Please realize Jesus did not have to come, He wanted to come to restore truth. Jesus came to show us who the Father really is and who we really are. (Jn 14:9 2Tim 1:9)

God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world be saved, preserved, rescued on account of His Son. (Jn 3:17)

God’s joy over us propelled Him to come and remove the emptiness of sin that was keeping us from real relationship with Him.

Sin literally means ‘without form, having no substance’. Truly when we sin there is no fullness in it. It leaves us formless and empty in the long run.

God hates that emptiness. He originally made us to enjoy His fullness. Jesus came to restore that fullness. That is why God was so happy when, after 400 years, the fullness of time had come to reveal His eternal joy over us and restore access to the fullness.

Dig In

  • At times it can seem God is nowhere to be found, all is silent, life seems hopeless. But joy is coming. He might surprise you in a humble hidden way. Be open to believe (be persuaded) and receive, just like Mary. (Lk 1:38)
  • If you live in fear and guilt in your relationship with God, then know that is a religious relationship. Repent = change your religious mindset! Joy is a huge part of  God’s kind of relationship. Ask for the real deal. He longs for you to have it.
  • The Incarnation is huge – it means God enjoys our human ‘be-ing’. And God is not partial in His enjoyment. Consider – He made known to illiterate poor shepherds (the lowliest of people in that culture and time) something profound. In the darkness and quiet of the night He let them encounter  the supernatural and hear heaven-resounding news that affected the whole wide world. The shepherds didn’t grasp it all. But, they were one little hidden way He expressed His value of all mankind.

Joy to the world the Lord has come!

Oh the Fullness in hidden smallness!

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More Than One Grace Macedonians Money Angels Incarnation How Do They Go Together

The traditional teaching of 2Corinthians chapters eight and nine is used to get believers to give money to religious institutions’ needy causes. The  Macedonians, who gave in the midst of affliction and poverty, is the standard to duplicate.

But searching through the verses of this passage in light of Greek meanings reveal a different point.

Here are a couple of key words from previous posts about this passage that help reveal the fullness of what Paul was saying.

(2Cor 8:2 2Cor 9:11,13 – BTW liberality is not about giving money)

liberal/liberality in the Greek means

  • simplicity
  • singleness
  • sincerity
  • purity
  • graciousness
  • not compounded or over complicated
  • single-threaded

(Liberality is not about giving money.)

(2Cor 9:7 BTW –  a cheerful giver loves God, not God loves a cheerful giver)

cheerful in the Greek means

  • propitious (favorably disposed toward someone)
  • disposed because satisfied – describing someone who is cheerfully ready to act because already approving (“already persuaded”)
  • won over
  • already inclined

(Cheerful in this context is not about smiling or laughing when giving.)

We will see that grace is the source of of the Macedonians’ liberality and cheerful giving.

More Than One Grace

In the Greek there is more than just one word for grace. They are cognates of the same root word, but their individual meanings are important to apply.

In this passage (2Cor chapters 8 and 9) several cognates of ‘grace’ are used NINE times.

Now this is curious. Any Greek words for money or offering are NOT used in these two chapters!

Grace is such a big deal that Macedonian story (chapters 8-9) is book-ended with grace.

Grace Bookends

Beginning of story –

“Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God given to the churches in Macedonia.” (2Cor 8:1)

End of story –

“… who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor 9:14,15)

The Graces_GrowingInFullness_Nancy Teague


It is grace, grace, grace! It is not about money, money, money. In fact, there are no Greek words that mean ‘money’ or even ‘offering’ in this story.

Exposing Mistranslations

In fact let me back the grace focus with a few examples.

“…to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of God” (2Cor 8:19)

Now, we would automatically think this gift is money. Some translations even say ‘offering’. So it must be money, right? Nope.

The Greek word for gift in this verse is

  • xáris (charis)- favor, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit”) – properly, grace. xáris preeminently used of the Lord’s favor – freely extended to give Himself away to people (because He is “always leaning toward them”)

“…prepare your generous gift beforehand…” (2Cor 9:5)

Looks like a big offering of money! Ah but, ‘generous’ is not even in the Greek, and ‘gift’ is eulogia – adulation, praise, blessing. Of course ‘blessing’ can be money, but I am deconstructing the religious mindset that this passage is all about giving money.

More mistranslations:

  • In verse 20 Paul continues – “avoiding that anyone blame us in the lavish gift…” Sounds like a lot of money. But, ‘gift’ is NOT in the Greek. “Lavish’ means thickness, abundance, lavish generosity. It seems there could be an abundance of something else going on.
  • Verse 21 – “providing honorable things…”. The translation ‘honorable things’ in the Greek means beautiful, good, worthy; beautiful, as an outward sign of the inward good, noble, honorable character. ‘Providing’ means – I take thought for beforehand, provide for, practice; to think, plan before. There is thought and practice of things beautiful, worthy, and of honorable character. Again, more than about the wallet.

Looking up some of these words in the Greek can certainly get one to reconsider what is really being said!

What Is Thanks

It is the GRACES theme that overwhelms Paul at the end.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2Cor 9:15)

Now, Is this a usual “thanks”?

When we say thanks, it generally means we are expressing gratitude for a pleasant experience, kindness, or help.

Is this what Paul was doing, but was just super thankful to God? No.

Paul is not thanking God. Say what?!

Check out the actual Greek meanings in this verse:

Thanks  

xáris ‘charis’ (khar’-ece) – grace, favor, kindness, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit; sometimes rendered ‘thanks’, but the core-idea is “favor, grace“, “extension towards“.
[Please note it is NOT the cognate euxáristos – prop. thankfulness (thanksgiving) – literally, “the giving of thanks for God’s grace – e.g. 2Cor 9:11,12.]

to God

for

epí (a preposition) – upon – naturally looks to the response (effect) that goes with the envisioned contact, i.e. its apt result (“spin-offs,” effects).

the

indescribable

anekdiḗgētos – indescribable, that cannot be thoroughly related, inexpressible, impossible to estimate

of him

autos – an intensive pronoun (1) self (emphatic) (2) he, she, it (used for the third pers. pron.)

gift!

dōreá – a gift, freely given and hence not acquired by merit or entitlement. It expresses a brand of giving that highlights the beneficent desire of the giver. (Note: this word comes from dídōmi – to put, place. It is used in 2Cor 8:1 – “…the grace of God put/placed on the churches. So when God ‘puts/places’ something or Someone on or in someone it is actually connected with being a free gift!).

Paul, in other words, is ecstatically shouting – “Grace to God upon the indescribable of him, Jesus, His free gift to all of us. ”


Angel Announcement Precursor to the Macedonians

Speaking of Paul’s loud pronouncement, how about –

The angel shocked the shepherds and said, “I bring you good tidings of great joy to all the people…” and then suddenly a multitude of heavenly host filled the skies with praise to God in response to Grace becoming flesh and the goodwill it meant toward men! (Lk 2:10-14)

Paul, in a way, was joyfully echoing this angelic raving, besides boasting how the Macedonians couldn’t help but display the fruit of  true grace!

It is not about money. It is about GRACE GRACE GRACE.  And the essence of grace is about joy!  The Macedonians got that. Talk about fullness!

Dig In

  • “I bring you tidings of great joy.” ‘Joy’ (xará) comes from the root word for grace (xar). Xará means – grace recognized, joy because of grace. Now this angel is talkin’ GREAT joy. Greek ‘great’ means – large, great, in the widest sense. To parallel that, the Macedonians had an “abundance of joy (xará)”! (2Cor 8:2) Their “abundance” (GR superfluity, excessively large amount, an abundance that exceeds normal expectations) was noticeable too. Hmm, is the grace you experience noticeable?
  • The heavenly host were actually saying (in the Greek meanings) – “Glory to God, namely upon (upon – that causes an effect) the physical earth peace (peace – from a word that means to join, tie together into a whole; properly, wholeness) in (in – inside, within – as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside) the human race, with whom He is pleased (pleased – good-will, good-pleasure, satisfaction, happiness, delight of men). Hey, is something wonderful going on IN each human, but we can’t see it because we really do not understand grace nor what Grace completed?
  • The story of the Macedonians is truly about being enriched in all ‘liberality’ – simplicity, purity, sincerity, singleness. This caused euxáristos (giving thanks for God’s grace). (2Cor 9:11) Gosh, to grasp that the coming of Jesus – His glory, full of grace and truth, revealed in flesh (because He really does enjoy our likeness of Him) – brought excessive enrichment to all mankind.

Oh, the exceeding grace of God in you!!!

 

What Is A Cheerful Giver Really

Paul states that “…God loves a cheerful giver”. (2 Cor 9:7)

Does that mean if you are not a cheerful giver then God doesn’t love you or He doesn’t love you as much as someone who is a happy giver?

I remember being in a few services where this very cheery attitude was preached or expected. People would come down to the front with offering or tithes in hand with a huge smile on their face or laughing all the way to the collection basket.

I certainly wanted to be happy in my giving. But is this the meaning of this verse? Nope, I have discovered!

If not cheerful

Let’s say you are not a ‘cheerful giver’. Then, have you ever given:

  • grudgingly
  • out of compulsion
  • out of guilt
  • out of fear of God
  • out of what other’s think
  • for appearance’s sake
  • for personal gain
  • to manipulate or control

I confess I would have fit in most of those at one time or another.

But good news! There is no condemnation in any of the above! You and I have been caught in a trap.

Traps

Now who set that trap? Religiousity  –  man, not God.

Years ago I heard the Lord say, “silent traps”. At the time little was my understanding. But growing in fullness has significantly begun to expose these silent traps.

Because they are ‘silent’ we have no idea we are trapped. God did not make us to be trapped, confined, limited, or controlled.

Now let’s check out the word cheerful and its true Biblical meaning.

‘Cheerful’ Definition

The Greek word for ‘cheerful’ is hilarós – prop. propitious (favorably disposed toward someone); disposed because satisfied – describing someone who is cheerfully ready to act because already approving (“already persuaded”); “won over, already inclined” is only used in 2 Cor 9:7 where it describes spontaneously non-reluctant giving.

Hilarious versus Cheerful

Charismatic Religiosity taught me that this scriptural cheerful means “hilarious” – they said our word hilarious came from the Greek ‘hilarós’. Sure looks that it could have.

Even so, the definition of hilarious

  • hysterically funny, hysterical, uproarious, side-splitting, knee-slapping, boisterously merry

is a far cry (maybe I should say ‘laugh’) from the Greek ‘cheerful’ of being favorably disposed or already persuaded!

Hey, if the Spirit moves you to laugh uproariously – let ‘er rip. Love those moments.

But, 2Corinthians 9:7 is not talking about that kind of hilarity. Paul has a much richer point, which I will unfold in the next post.

For now, please realize you were not meant to be trapped in silent traps, but to be tapped into God’s wealth of grace that overflows with pure joy and simplicity. The Macedonians knew that, by the way.

Dig In

  • Listen for those silent traps of religion. Once you ‘hear’ them, and see them for what they are, get out. His powerful grace enables you to do so. Don’t be stuck in the container!Cheery or Other Do Not Be Stuck
  • God is the most joyful being around and He is always cheerfully happy in His giving. Oh to tap into that!
  • When you move into the revelation of how disposed He is towards you, how persuaded He is about your awesome being – you can’t help but be cheery! So, be of good cheer!

Next post – find out that God does not love a cheerful giver. Say what?!

Meaning of Be Doers of the Word James 1:22

“But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (Ja 1:22 NKJ)

Most Christians read James 1:22 as their marching orders to DO WORKS.

We must DO things to please God, to prove we are believers, earn rewards in heaven, maintain our salvation, etc.

If you don’t DO – then figure you will be deceived about the security of your salvation.

Doer Versus Grace

How does grace fit in all this religious doing? It doesn’t.

What do we do with – being saved by grace through faith, and not by works, lest there be boasting? (Eph 2:8)

Remember, when Jesus was asked by His disciples, “What must we do to do the works of God”? Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (Jn 6:28,29)

Hmm, is ‘believe’ a work?

But James said we must be a ‘doer’. What do we do with that?

Religion came to the rescue to tell us what to do.

Traditional Religious ‘Doer’ Meaning
• Pray a lot
• Read and study the Bible
• Memorize scriptures
• Fast
• Worship God
• Weekly church attendance
• Serve and participate in church activities
• Be accountable
• Witness to unbelievers
• Get people saved
• Tithe and give offerings
• Observe the rituals
• Do good deeds

If the above list exemplifies a doer, then what is a hearer? Religion to the rescue again.

Traditional Religious ‘Hearer’ Meaning

Religion would say a ‘hearer’ is one who goes to church, listens to the word preached but forgets the sermon message and doesn’t personally apply its points. But they like to feel good or justified for a while from what they heard.

The religious institution would explain a ‘hearer’ is not committed to the Lord or the church.

Religion would say a ‘hearer only’ is a surface believer. Religion might even say a ‘hearer only’ is not a believer!

Religious Christianity values doers over hearers. They have to, it keeps the doors open.

To Do Or Not To Do_Nancy Teague GrowingInFullnessy

 

True Meaning of Doer and Hearer

To understand the ‘doer’ and ‘hearer’ words, in James chapter one, let’s look at their Greek meanings.

doer – Greek poiétés – (poy-ay-tace’) – a maker, poet, a doer, carrier out, performer

Poiétés is the word from which we get poet. So when you read ‘doer’ think of a creative person, a sensitive person, someone who has heightened awareness of themselves, their surroundings and others. They have empathy and compassion. Consider a performer – be it visual or verbal –  expressive, desirous and able to touch others’ lives.

hearer – Greek akroatés (ak-ro-at-ace’) – a hearer of, a listener to

A hearer is a good thing. Jesus said multiple times, he who has ears to hear, let him hear. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God Christ (actually ‘Cristos’ in the Greek = Christ Jesus). If we truly listen and hear we will be hearing of things about Jesus and listening to what He has to say about who the Father really is and who we really are.

The Father even said, this is My Beloved Son, listen to him! Looks like that Word made flesh has important things to say and for us to hear, not do.

Hearer Is A Doer

In truth, James 1:18-25 is a beautiful picture of a grace-drenched hearer-doer. When you really hear the fullness of the Gospel you can’t help but be a doer!

Dig In
• Many Christians struggle with am I doing enough good works or are they the right good works. This ‘works’ mentality is driven by fear and guilt. Not good. Not God.
• Believe in Jesus – that is the only ‘work’ Jesus Himself said is doing the work of God. To fully believe is an incredible place of trust, confidence, and rest. What a place to live from and ‘do’ from.
• You’re a poet and don’t know it! It’s part of the fullness of your true identity.

P.S. Next post we will go look more closely at the verses in James 1:18-25 which point to the wonderful law of liberty that releases us as true ‘doers’.

If God Is Gracious Why Do We Ask God To Be Gracious To Us?

Have you ever cried out – “Oh God, be gracious to me.”?

Perhaps in intercession you have groaned – “Oh God, be gracious to them.”?

Maybe a heartfelt prayer like – “God, be merciful, God be gracious, God forgive us.”?

Is that scriptural?

Well some psalmists certainly prayed that way. Thus, we should too. Right?

But were those psalmists right in their request? Did they really know God?

Misguided Scripture praying

Some Christians believe you must pray scripture in order to be more effective. So they comb the Bible to find key verses that God will answer. Been there, done that.

Is that how it works? Did God give us the scriptures so we can maneuver Him  and then expect Him to answer our formulaic request?

Hey, what if you totally misunderstood the meaning of a verse and dogmatically prayed your ‘gospel truth’? I confess.

What if the scripture you are praying is not even true about God? Have you ever considered that the Bible also consists of some expressing things that are inaccurate, misunderstandings, even lies about who God really is?

Here’s an example. Ever prayed from the book of Job? Maybe you never noticed towards the end of the book what God said about Job’s friends’ eloquent comments about who God was? God Himself said that what they had spoken of Him was not right, not accurate, not the truth! (Job 42:7)

Is God Gracious Or Not?


Scripture Cannot Make Up Its Mind

I found ten verses in the Old Testament where the cry was ‘be merciful/be gracious to me.’

Now why is that a big deal? Because, it illustrates our confusion of who God really is. It also reinforces the dynamic of many Christians’ identity crisis.

Did not God describe Himself as “gracious” to Moses?! (Ex 34:6) If He is gracious, then why do we ask Him to be?

But, some got it. There are also ten verses where the Psalmist, Jeremiah, Joel, and Jonah said God was gracious! Of course Moses would know that too. There is hope for us.

The Confused Psalmist

Here’s a blatant example of identity crisis of God and of self – right in the Bible.

The Psalmist cries out –

“You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious (chanan), longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. Oh, turn to me, and have mercy (chanan) on me! (Ps 86:15,16)

Yee gads! Make up your mind!

Now how many of us can say “Uh, that’d be me.”?

Meaning of Gracious

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for gracious is:

chanan (khaw-nan’) – to show favor, be gracious. In late Hebrew Aramaic chanan also means – yearn towards, long for, be merciful, compassionate, favorable, inclined towards

What a beautiful description of God! And it also implies how God feels about you.

So when the Psalmist is crying out ‘Have mercy on me!’ – just figure God is trying to get him to hear – “Hey, I already do yearn towards you, long for you, am inclined towards you, am favorable to you, am compassionate towards you.”

FYI – chanan is often translated ‘be merciful’ in the Old Testament. Please realize the fullness of chanan!

Remember Moses Glory Goodness Gracious

When Moses wanted to see God’s glory, God told him I will make all My goodness pass over/upon you. (Ex 33:18,19) When this goodness passed over Moses, then God proclaimed “The Lord God, merciful (rachum – compassionate) and gracious (chanan), longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.”

Just think about this glory, goodness, and graciousness coming upon you – just like it did Moses. No longer be confused about identity. You can be certain. Experience fullness!

Dig In

  • There is no ‘I might be gracious’ or ‘I will be gracious’ (future tense). Like, “Let Me think about it, let Me see how you behave first, let Me hear you say the right things – then I will be gracious to you.” No! Never is God like that!
  • When all this glory, goodness, and graciousness was passing over and upon Moses – it was a prophetic picture of Jesus – the One who came to make clear the fullness of our gracious God. We must look for Jesus when reading the Old Testament.
  • If you cry out for God to be gracious to you – stop it! 🙂  Instead shout out “Oh God, thank you for being so gracious to me, for longing for me, for being inclined towards me, for yearning for me, for showing me favor. Hey, You really like me and enjoy me!”

P.S. Grace (‘chen’) comes from gracious (‘chanan’). More to explore in the Old Testament about grace – next post!

Religious Grace versus True Grace In The Old Testament

In the last three posts I’ve been unpacking the When, How, Where, Why of grace according to religion.

Now it’s time to begin to see true grace in scripture.

But there is a problem!

If your understanding of grace comes from religious influence, then you will be hindered in knowing the fullness of true grace in either the Old or New Testament.

This religious influence can be determined by two words – ‘If then’.

If Then says Religion. Really?_GrowingInFullness.com

 

‘If then’ is religious Christianity’s formula for knowing God and following God. But is it right? Really.

The formula works something like this –

  • If God does this, then you must do this.
  • If you do this, then God will do this for you.
  • If you want God to do something, then you should do this.

So when reading the Bible please consider that many translations come from those influenced by ‘If then’.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

Religious ‘If then’ Old Testament grace translation of Ps 84:11

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Ps 84:11 NKJ)

As an aside, in case you didn’t know, when you see a word in italics in a Bible verse that means the interpreter added this word.

Religious ‘if then’ interpretation of Ps 84:11 explains (and in my former traditional religious Christianity I would have concurred)

  • The religious translation says ‘will give’ (future implication), it does not say ‘gives’ (present tense). Thus any grace (or even glory!) He might give will depend on something you do.
  • If you walk uprightly (are good, live morally upright, do the church requirements – go to church weekly, participate in church programs, tithe, pray, worship, have daily quiet time, memorize scriptures, do the rituals, etc.) then He will give you good things.
  • He will even be a shield to you – i.e. will protect you if you live uprightly and do those religious requirements.

Conditions, conditions, conditions to get God’s blessings. Really?

Ps 84:11 is better and fuller than ‘If then’ religion says!

Check out the eye-opening fuller Hebrew meanings (in bold) of the key words in this verse. The words are in order as listed in the Hebrew translation of Ps 84:11. (source BibleHub.com)

“For (because) a sun (daylight) and shield; Lord God put/place/set grace (charm, pleasant, elegance, precious) and glory (glorious, abundance, riches, honor); the Lord not withhold (restrain) good (beautiful, pleasant, agreeable), walk (go, come) blameless (complete, sound).”

In other words – Because God is a sun and shield He put grace/charm/elegance/preciousness and glory/abundance/riches/honor (in you)! He did not withhold good/beauty/pleasantness/agreeableness (from you). So you go forth as you really are (full of charm, preciousness, abundance, and honor) – in blamelessness/completeness/soundness.

Notice the present tense of this verse in the Hebrew. There is no future tense ‘will’ nor is there any ‘If then’ equation in the Hebrew.

Now that is true grace!

Don’t let religion make you think or believe there is an “If then” in your relationship with God. Be you really are – full of grace and glory. Amazing!

Dig In

  • There is no ‘if then’ with God – all His promises and gifts are “Yes and Amen” in Christ Jesus. (2Cor 1:20)
  • God has ALWAYS been for you, in fact for everyone. Read scripture with this truth in mind, it will help you get rid of the religious ‘If then’ mindset.
  • Grace came in fullness when Jesus (God Himself) showed up as a human being, but the shadow of Jesus and His fullness is found in the Old Testament. Process all grace (in Old and New Testament) through Jesus Christ and you will grow in true grace and in fullness.

P.S. More to come in really seeing true grace in the Old Testament.

When Where You Get Grace Why You Need Grace According To Religion

If you have been brought up in religious Christianity, then you come away with a sense that grace is received when certain things happen.

Religious Grace Signpost


Religion says you get grace WHEN

  • you get ‘saved’ – now you are experiencing God’s grace (and you get ‘saved’ WHEN you acknowledge you are a sinner, repent of your sins, ask God for forgiveness, ask Jesus to be your Savior)
  • you continue to repent of future sins and ask for forgiveness
  • you ask for grace in difficult situations – otherwise you won’t have enough
  • you give grace to others, then you will get more grace
  • you have obeyed/done all the things that supposedly give grace – e.g. pray, fast, tithe, attend church regularly, be involved in church work, evangelize

Religion also teaches there is a WHERE –  certain times or circumstances to experiencing grace.

Religion teaches you get grace HERE and HOW

  • especially flows during a church service
  • in the midst of doing good works
  • from lots of prayer and fasting
  • participating in corporate responses – e.g. everyone fast because there is “grace on it”

 Religion is also very clear in why you need grace.

Religion explains WHY you need grace

  • because you are such a wretched person
  • it will make you a nicer person
  • it will enable you to do things for God

In fact, religion teaches – grace is so important, if you don’t get it, you are doomed to hell.

The religious mindset is – God has done His part, now you must do yours.

God’s part was sending grace through His Son, now we must do our part. Can you see how conditional religion has made grace?

Hey, religion does that with God’s love too. They preach that God’s love is unconditional, but next thing you know, they tack on conditions to experience it. Go figure.

Dig In

  • Hey, ever heard of this religious phrase? If you have ‘fallen away’ and ‘get right’ with God, then you will get “back in His good graces”. Does that mean God takes grace back or removes it when you sin? So, it is you and your sin that determines His grace? Is grace that conditional? Wonder what religion does with “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more”? (Rom 5:20)  How about “by one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many“. (Rom 5:15 emphasis mine) How many is many? In the Greek, it’s the same word for ‘many’. Hmm.
  • Religion confuses us with their conditional Religious grace_GrowingInFullness.  If God’s love is truly unconditional, then that would mean His grace is too. If you feel limited in His grace abounding to you, then just figure you have let religion do a number on you. It has turned you upside down, so you can’t see Grace right!
  • Religion would say it’s a good thing Jesus came, otherwise we would not know grace. Wonder what they do with this verse – “…who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus BEFORE TIME BEGAN.” (2Tim 1:9 emphasis mine) Hmm, looks like grace has always been.

P.S. Next we get into exploring His true grace!

How You Get Grace According To Religion

In the previous post I shared about religion’s definition of grace – unmerited favor, getting what you don’t deserve, and religion’s acronym “God’ Riches At Christ’s Expense”.

If grace is unmerited favor, if grace is something you don’t deserve – then that implies God is not real happy with you.

Have you ever considered that heathen religions were continually dealing with unhappy gods? Over the centuries they appeased their gods through sacrifices. Hmm, looks like there is a common thread with heathen religions and religious Christianity!

Thus, ‘do’ things/sacrifices to get on God’s good side and receive His favor.

Religion's Grace Has Strings_Nancy Teague_GrowingInFullness.com


Traditional Religious steps (strings) on getting grace

• Acknowledge you are a sinner – that is who you are and  who you will always be
• Repent of your sins – i.e. be sorry for them, really sorry
• Let the tears flow – they add more sincerity and genuineness to your repentance – they especially mean that to those helping you and watching you ‘get grace’
• Ask God to forgive you – that is the only way to be reconciled with Him and for Him to welcome you into His presence
• Ask Jesus to be your Savior and Lord

Am I saying if you did these things above then they didn’t count for your ‘salvation’? Nope. But those things have nothing to do with your salvation. When I get to describing true grace, you will see that.

To continue receiving and enjoying His grace/favor religion says you should

• Continue to repent of any sins
• Obey His commandments
• Guard your heart and keep it clean
• Give grace to others if you expect to get any more favor from God
• Read the Bible, memorize scripture, pray, go to church, worship, be in fellowship

THE KICKER

What these traditional religious steps imply about God and You

• A conditional God
• A God of expectations and demands
• A God who is never satisfied with you
• His grace is never secure since it has requirements
• You will never be worthy since you always have to do something for God in order to get something from God
• Anytime you think you are experiencing His grace there will always be the conscious or subconscious understanding that you are not worthy of such favor
• There is really no rest in God because there is always something you have to do since you are just a sinner and always in need of forgiveness
• Hence be on your guard – He is watching you

My goodness, how could you ever draw close to God, let alone stay there?!!!

Religion preaches that grace is a gift and uses the scripture “we are saved by grace, and not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8 ) But, reflecting upon how you get grace according to religious teaching and considering their implications about God – grace is not a gift at all – there are strings attached.

Dig In
• Man’s grace has strings attached. God’s true grace has no strings attached. e.g. Were there strings attached to the prodigal son’s big shindig? Were there strings attached to the elder son’s invitation to join in on his brother’s ‘undeserved’ party? (Lk 15:22-24, 28)
• Religion is such a ‘downer’. Jesus came to show us how ‘up’ we really are. He made the ‘up’ all possible before time began (2Tim 1:9,10 Rev 13:8) and has freely given it to us all. (Lk 12:32 2Cor 5:19)
• Have you ever noticed that none of Paul’s letters tell you to ask for God’s forgiveness? Have you noticed that Paul never did repent of His sins, ask God to forgive Him, and ask Jesus to be His Savior? Remember, Paul got free from all the religious requirements he was taught and lived by because he received a revelation of true grace. (Gal 1:12)

P.S. Next post will discuss when/where do you get grace and why do you need grace – according to religion.

Does Religion Explain Grace Accurately?

Ever wonder about grace?

• How do you get grace?
• Where does grace come from?
• Who gets grace?
• When do you get grace?
• What does grace REALLY mean?

I have been purposefully pondering grace for weeks now and discovering some surprising things in scripture about it. My dilemma – too much to share at once!

Hence, a series on exposing the misunderstandings of the how, where, who, when, what of grace – then concluding with scriptural clarity to explain true grace. I realize several of these posts will be offensive to some, but if you hear me out through this series, you just might welcome the slaying of some sacred cows that you had no idea were such.

If you have grown up in religious Christianity you may identify with some of the typical explanations of grace below. But, have you ever thought past those religious meanings to their implications about who God is?

Traditional Religious Christian explanation of graceReligion explains Grace

1) God’s unmerited favor
2) Getting what you don’t deserve (of course mercy is then defined as “not getting what you deserve”!)
3) God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

Are these definitions true and accurate about grace? NO!

Let’s examine religion’s explanations and implications.

According to the dictionary
favor – has to do with approval; preferential treatment; a kind or obliging act freely granted
unmerited – not deserved
deserve – you are qualified for or have a claim because of actions, qualities, or situation

In essence religion is saying – you don’t deserve any approval or kind act by God. You are not qualified or have any claim to receive His approval, but in spite of that He will oblige you with kindness. After all, remember you are a “wretch” (think “Amazing Grace” song).

Religion’s acronym for grace – “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”

Not sure who came up with this, but it is catchy, easy to remember, and recite. At the surface it seems appropriate.

However, what does this really say about you and God?

What are God’s riches? What is Christ’s expense?

The ‘riches’ are the riches of His love? The ‘expense’ is Jesus’ horrific death on the cross?

Does that make you feel all warm and cozy inside? Or does it make you feel guilty? How about, it makes you feel like an awful rotten person when you consider what Jesus had to do for you – you wretched person, you.

Does God want you to feel guilty? Does God want you to feel miserable about what your rottenness made God have Jesus do? Does God want you to be remorseful and regretful about what your sin did to Jesus’ life? No, no, no.

Is this what grace is about? NO!

Dig In
• Have you ever thought about the ‘pat answers’ you have been taught?
• Have you ever considered those ‘pat answers’ from religion just might be wrong?
• Is grace really undeserving, or is it something way beyond religion’s grasp?

P.S. Next post – “How you get grace” according to traditional religious Christianity.

Huge Meanings Why Jesus Stooped Wrote On The Ground and Raised Up Jn 8:2-11

In scripture, when something is repeated two or three times, that means we need to pay attention. It is important. Take heed. Ponder.

Jesus repeated three actions TWO times concerning the woman caught in adultery as she had to stand before her accusers.

  • stooped down
  • wrote on the ground
  • raised Himself up

Looks like we need to pay attention!

There is HUGE meaning and significance to His, what I call, prophetic actions. Out of all my pondering, these past few weeks over His actions in this story with the adulterous woman, I was amazed to discover truths about our true identity and the Good News.

You know, if we begin to realize how much He is for us, how He came to show us who we really are, that He has never changed His mind about us, and get free from the ‘traditions of the elders’ (AKA religious tradition) – then we will begin to see this wondrous pattern of unconditional eternal love.

Click here for the video to see and hear for yourself what Jesus was saying by His actions. You will be wowed!


Dig In

  • Jesus knows the times when we were brought low. Please realize, He will get even lower than us, because He came to lift us up. We were always made to be lifted up and highly valued.
  • Jesus has nothing but terms of endearment about us, even in the midst of our blowing it. Open your heart to the truth of who you really are.
  • Don’t let accusers define you. Only God’s evaluation of you counts. Come into the revelation of His elation over you! Certainty of this is part of fullness.

P.S. The next post will explain what Jesus truly meant when He told the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.”