What is the true grace of God? How is it perverted? What is the consequences of this perversion according to Jude chapter 1 verse 4?
4 For there are certain men who crept in secretly, even those who were long ago written about for this condemnation: ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into indecency, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ.Jude 1:4 WEB
Some people argued that the gospel of grace preached by Joseph Prince is perverting the true grace of God and encouraging licentiousness. They try to prove this by pointing to Jude Chapter 1 verse 4. But I think this is an inappropriate reference.
Firstly, the perversion referred to here leads not only to sensuality or licentiousness but a denial of Christ. The connecting word is “and” which means both must happen. So, this perversion leads to both licentiousness AND the denial of Christ as Master and Lord.
Joseph Prince has always upheld the Lordship of Jesus Christ and Him as the only way to eternal life. He places Christ squarely in the centre of our lives. His weekly sermons exhort us to read, study and meditate on the Word of God and uncover God’s love for us.
His focus on the gift of righteousness and on the goodness of God makes people uncomfortable because it seems to be condoning sin. But he isn’t.
He is telling people that to STOP sinning and lead holy lives is to STOP thinking about how to stop sinning. We should focus on Christ and meditate on how good he is.
It is like the lyrics for Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full into his wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace
How true! The things of Earth, human stuff turn dim when we look full into Jesus’ face, his wonderful face, not his angry face.
I think I can say with some confidence that the goal of all believers is to live right, that is, to have a meaningful and abundant life, filled with God’s presence. But the way to live right is to believe right.
What is right believing?
38 Be it known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man is proclaimed to you remission of sins, 39 and by him everyone who believes is justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.Acts 13:38-39 WEB
There is no condition in this proclamation. Everyone who believes is freed from the bondage that come with the law of Moses.
In Deuteronomy, it is clear that the law of Moses is basically conditional love. God bless only if we obey. But Christ’s love isn’t. For whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
I think this is so true. Recently, I realised that I have over-reacted to someone’s comment. I immediately felt really guilty. That out-of-sorts feeling is quite uncomfortable. I could not stop thinking and feeling bad.
Once I recognized that I was focusing on myself, I began to focus on Jesus. On the truth that I am still accepted by God, loved by Him. Peace returned to my heart and I can move on.
What about the wrath of God?
Is God angry with us? The answer is no.
His wrath had been appeased once and for all at the cross. Or do we not believe that Christ’s redemptive work is complete and perfect? If perfect and complete, it would cover all our past and future failings would it not?
What about the whole counsel of God? (Acts 20:27)
This phrase appears only in Acts 20:24-32 sandwiched between Paul saying that he had been faithful testifying to the gospel of the grace of God AND commending his audience to the word of His grace.
24 But these things don’t count; nor do I hold my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to fully testify to the Good News of the grace of God.
25 “Now, behold, I know that you all, among whom I went about preaching God’s Kingdom, will see my face no more. 26 Therefore I testify to you today that I am clean from the blood of all men, 27 for I didn’t shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Take heed, therefore, to yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the assembly of the Lord and[a] God which he purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know that after my departure, vicious wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Men will arise from among your own selves, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, remembering that for a period of three years I didn’t cease to admonish everyone night and day with tears. 32 Now, brothers,[b] I entrust you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build up, and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.Acts 20:24-32 WEB
Think about the historical context of Paul’s message here.
Who was he contending with? What is the most prevalent religion and beliefs of the land? Isn’t it Judaism? And what was missing from Judaism? Isn’t it the saving grace of Christ?
In the Books of Romans and Hebrews, Paul spoke strongly against those who want to re-introduce Jewish rituals and practices that will once again be used to “measure” one’s faith and state of salvation. Therefore, the whole counsel of God refers to the truth that God’s love is unconditional.
That’s the true Grace of God!
This personal study on Jude chapter 1, Acts chapter 13, and chapter 20 is inspired by a sermon entitled “Will the Real Gospel Please Stand Up?” by Joseph Prince of New Creation Church, Singapore.
Listen to the excerpt
Find the full videostream message at https://www.josephprince.com/sermons/will-the-real-gospel-please-stand-up/video?sku=20140608VJ