The gospel revolution has been impacting countless lives around the world, with the radical preaching of the gospel of grace of God through ministers and pastors who have discovered and understood that we are living in the new covenant of grace. As they unveil the perfection of Jesus’ finished work at the cross through their preaching and teaching, many people are set free from fear, guilt, condemnation and performance-based living. Indeed, “it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21), and those who believe the good news of grace that all their sins have been forgiven and they have been made the righteousness of God in Christ experience life transformation, healing of their souls and bodies, restoration of their marriages, deliverance from bad habits, and so on.
However, Jesus also exhorted us to take heed how and what we hear, for the measure we receive the revelations of God’s grace into our hearts will be the same measure we are blessed and transformed from the inside out. It is unfortunate that in the grace circles, there are some christians who seem to know God’s grace only in their heads but do not have a revelation of grace in their hearts. Maybe they have not taken time to meditate on the goodness and grace of God, because if they know they are forgiven much, they will love much (Luke 7:47). Below is an insightful testimony written by a believer in Christ who shares about her experiences/encounters with some of these nasty christians who profess to be under grace but choose to be rude and disrespectful to people.
Lately, I noticed that there are so-called grace believers who find it amusing about swearing, cussing, and indulging themselves in self or rebellion. Perhaps all these things are new to them, especially when they first tasted freedom from legalism, which had held them in bondage in the past. As for me, these things aren’t new because I have seen people doing them in my own life, and I myself have done it all too. Just ask the pastors or christians in Southern Ontario area!
I used to attend churches that preached strongly the law or the ten commandments out of self-righteousness. Nevertheless, I refused to conform to those legalistic teachings, and I indulged myself in rebellion towards religion, and I even cussed and swore. I also hopped from church to church, and I hated other christians and I didn’t know the loving nature of God. Instead, I loved hanging out with what Christians call the “wrong crowd” etc. I did everything that was opposite to what those churches told me.
Keep in mind that back then, I didn’t know what the grace of God is all about. Instead, I was exposed to the “hell, fire, brimstone, losing-your-salvation” teachings by certain “holiness” preachers. Who in the right mind would want to rebel against God and the church after listening to such terrorising sermons? No one would do that! But I was crazy once and I truly went against the system of the church institution. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t know what grace is all about. I also thought swearing and cussing was fun (I still think it is fun LOL). I even swore at a so-called pastor and told him to leave me alone and not call my house. He himself would tell you that. He had tried to use legalistic doctrines to condemn me and make me guilty. Since I was never really a “good” christian to begin with, I had always lived with guilt and condemnation. But after I received the grace message about three years ago, I didn’t see any reason to look for a loophole to indulge in self or rebellion, as there is nothing to rebel against (at least to me).
I understand that it is true if people had been under severe legalism and religion in the past, when they heard the message of the grace of God for the first time, they would become wild and rebellious. They usually go through different stages of rebellion: denial, bargaining, anger or rebellion, depression, acceptance. It doesn’t necessarily happen in that order, as some stages can happen simultaneously and some can change quickly within 24 hours.
It can be messy for the first one year or so for these people because they are going through the process of dealing with resentment against the legalistic churches that they used to attend. The severity of the legalistic background of a person depends on the church denomination from where he or she came. For example, someone who came from a very legalistic church denomination, such as “holiness movement”, can become very wild after he or she heard the grace message because that person not only felt relieved from being set free from the condemnation of the law, but also was determined not to go back under the bondage of the law again.
I have noticed that the reaction of receiving the message of grace differs from person to person, but I know that for sure, grace messes us up and it does really expose our hearts. Grace can be VERY dangerous. There are a few possible reasons why some people respond in a rebellious manner.
Firstly, as mentioned earlier, when some people tasted freedom from the bondage of the law, they would resolve to rebel anything or anyone who sounds religious or legalistic. After all, it is understandable that they wouldn’t want to be held in bondage again.
Then again, when these believers go to the other extreme and start swearing and cursing and being rude and nasty, it may be a sign that all along they had wanted to indulge in cussing etc. It’s just that they didn’t dare to do so when they were under legalistic teachings, out of fear of displeasing God (or so they thought God would be displeased).
Furthermore, they probably know about grace in their minds but they don’t have a revelation of grace in their heart. To them, grace is simply a doctrine instead of a Person who is Jesus Christ. If they see grace as a doctrine that liberates them to do whatever they want with no regard for anyone’s well-being, they will only use grace as an excuse to become nasty and selfish. But if they see grace as a Person who liberates them from being burdened by the law, they can’t help but fall in love with Him.
My prayer is for them to experience the love of God in their heart. Because when people fall in love with Jesus, they will eventually fall out of love with their bad habits. Indeed, if anyone truly receives the love of Christ, he or she will end up loving Him as well as other people. “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)