The Grace Myth

Of all the myths included in this series, the grace myth is probably the closest to the truth. It is not easy to spot the errors in it, and perhaps because of this it has had a very wide spread acceptance.
The grace teaching (since this much of it is not mythological) is that nobody is perfect, and therefore, acceptance by God could never depend on our goodness, but rather on God's grace and forgiveness. The death of Christ on the cross has somehow made that grace available to all mankind.
The myth aspect of the teaching take two forms. The first has been touched on in comments on the born again myth: People teach some kind of religious act (saying a prayer, attending mass, etc.) as a necessary requirement to receive God's grace.
Someone has rightly said that all it takes to preach the grace of God and the cross of Christ is to tell everyone in the world that they are already forgiven through Christ...whether they like it or not. Anyone who believes you is forgiven. Believing is an incredibly simple act and does not require any religious ritual to make it genuine. (In fact, the religious trappings usually result because the faith is hollow and counterfeit!)

The second perversion of the grace teaching is the myth that it is wrong to teach or to seek to obey the teachings of Christ because this would be an attempt to "work your way to heaven".
Lets get it clear from the start: The traditional passages of Scripture in support of the grace teaching do not come from the teachings of Christ, but from the writings of the apostle Paul. And yet Paul himself warns against twisting what he has said to excuse ourselves from Christs disciplines. (Galatians 5:13 and 1:8) And St. Peter said that ignorant people twist what Paul taught about God's grace to excuse their lack of diligence to be found obeying Christ when he returns. (2 Peter 3:14-17)
If we are to honestly preach the message of God's grace in Christ, we must let people know that they do not need to go to church, say prayers, stop smoking and drinking, etc. to be forgiven by God; but we should also be aware that if they really believe that Christ has made all of this possible, then they will assume that the commands of Christ are also part of God's good news and they will seek to obey them as well...remembering all the time that, if they do not obey them perfectly, God still loves and forgives. Can you see how this is significantly different from ignoring Christs commands, or in some other way excusing ourselves from taking them seriously?


The Grace Myth Bible References

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Galatians 1:8: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

2 Peter 3:14-17: Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

Go back to study