adapted from a message by Pastor Dele Oyeleru
Where purpose is not know, abuse is inevitable. A believer who describes grace as merely unmerited favour will at a point in life inadvertently misuse grace because this definition does not include the purpose of grace. Grace is unmerited favour, forgiveness of sin … and also empowerment, enablement for man to do what he could not do on his own to please a holy God.
Abuse is defined as to use badly or improperly. If we do not know the purpose of God’s grace we will abuse grace. God’s purpose for grace is stated in Titus 2:11-13
For the grace of God (His unmerited favor and blessing) has come forward (appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind. It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world (Titus 2:11-12 AMP).
How is grace misused?
1)Turning God’s grace into a license to sin
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 4).
If you think grace is just unmerited favour then you’ll treat it like free-for-all-rain water that can be put to just about any use. You’ll sin with the mentality that “I can sin as much as I want. All I need to do is plead the blood of Jesus and voila God has no choice but to forgive me.”
2) By not growing in grace or not multiplying grace But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18).
When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God (Acts 13:43 NIV).
In John 8:31, Jesus says continue in My word. There is no vacuum in nature. You can’t give the excuse that you’ve remained on the same spot. If you are not advancing or progressing then you’re actually regressing. Put grace to work in your life by using it.
3) By not receiving grace Grace is always given so it must be received. If you don’t come to the throne of grace then you don’t receive grace. You are the one who needs grace so you must connect to God’s grace. God says come because grace is available (Hab 4:16)…God brings grace to you the way He wants, He is not bound to bring grace the way you want. People who are focused on nothing except Jesus are the ones who connect to God’s grace anywhere, any how and any time it shows up.
Sometimes God’s grace is released through His word by preachers or people we do not like. Forget the fact that you do not like the preacher and connect to God.
4) Not sharing grace with others Paul shared freely so we could be partakers of God’s grace (Phil 1:7; Acts 20:20). Freely have you received so freely should you give (Matt 10:8, 1 Cor 9:18). As a part of the body of Christ you are a joint which supplies (Eph 4:16), a saint speaking to another (Mal 4:16) and you are admonished to exhort one another daily (Hebrews 3:13).
but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Eph 4:14-16 NIV).
You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house (Acts 20:20 NIV).
5) Receiving grace in vain As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain (2 Cor 6:1 NIV). Is there anything to show that you have received the grace of God?
Do you lightly esteem the grace of God like Esau who lightly esteemed his birthright? Do you refuse to give value to the grace of God by a continuous life of sin? Properly estimate the cost of God’s grace. It cost the life of His Son, Jesus.
6) By frustrating the grace of God I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Gal 2:21, Gal 3:1-3).
Your assurance of salvation should not rest on your works outside of a relationship with Christ but on the work of Christ on the cross. You could do no good works until the good work on the cross had been done. Your righteousness outside of this is filthy rags. The work of Christ on the cross makes you do good works. (Titus 2:11, Eph 2:8)