All posts by Becky Hewett

What’s the Point

From XTMG chap 7

The primary goal of this book is to get you to know how passionately God loves you and the great lengths He has gone to in order to be with you.  Grace is the love of God being freely poured into us.  If you are like me, this will generate some real excitement when you start to see that God really does love you and that He is not chasing you with a hammer waiting to pound you when you mak a mistake.

Ultimately, we will know we have really been overwhelmed with grace when it starts to pour out of us.  We will start to see people differently.  Strangers are no longer scary.  Conflict becomes less about the people involved and more about how we can love them in any situation.

We will begin to see people as God does, with love and deep compassion.  Our hearts will desire the best for others and we will not walk in shame or in fear, because we are secure in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  We know that we have a Father that lavishes all good things on us (I John 3:1) and loves us no matter what.

Too Much Grace

From XTMG chap 1

There are those who speak about hyper-grace and the “abuses of grace.” Someone wrote a book on it, and I’ve heard a few sermon fragments and discussions here and there.  The problem is that they use the word incorrectly.  In the words of Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”  Grace is the love and favor and powerful presence of God.  The Greek word is charis, or gift.  We can’t get too much of that.  We can’t use too much of that.  Grace is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Grace is what the entire Christian life is composed of.  Grace is the love of Christ empowering us to walk in freedom.

Some people feel that if we completely walk in grace, then we will start sinning a bunch as a celebration of grace.  Even in Paul’s day, there were some who came to this conclusion (Romans 6:1.)  The problem is that these people are using the wrong word.  The correct word they are thinking of is not grace, but license or licentiousness. The concern is that grace will lead to sin, so we better rein in the grace to keep people behaving correctly.  This is living under the law.

In simple terms, Grace is Christ, legalism is the Law, and license is ignorance of the saving life of Christ.  The legalistic person is under the impression that we need the law to keep people under control.  They have no understanding of grace.  The Law was designed to drive us to Christ because we can’t do it on our own.  The licentious person does not understand that they have been freed from sin. They have no understanding of grace.  They are still trapped in their sin.

The Bible does not advocate a balance of grace and law.  It teaches grace for the believer and the law for those who wish to be under the curse of the law (Galatians 3:10.) The true understanding of grace is that I have been reconciled to Christ (Colossians 1:22), and have been made free from sin and its bondage.  I have also been freed from the law.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me (Galatians 2:20.) I am led by the Holy Spirit and empowered by Christ.  If I return to sin, then sin becomes my master (Romans 6:16.) In Christ, I am freed from God’s penalty of sin and the penalty of the law, but I am not free of the consequences of sin.  If I choose to go on sinning, I am still fully loved by Christ, but I am living in bondage and will suffer the natural consequences of that behavior.

Sin is not the result of grace.  It is the lack of grace.  In fact when people say that grace will cause sin, they have a latent belief that sin is actually good and they just don’t do it because they might get into trouble.

For example, I lead a Bible study at a prison and one of the men said, “I gave up drugs for Jesus.”  I replied, “No, you did not.”  My explanation was this:  When you say “I gave up drugs for Jesus” what you are actually saying is, “Drugs are good and I was willing to sacrifice the goodness of drugs so that Jesus would benefit from my action.”

This of course, is a complete misunderstanding. The real situation was: “I was in bondage to drugs and they were destroying me.  Christ freed me from the slavery of sin.”

When we have the right perspective, we can have the right attitude.  Sin is not something I get to do because of grace, but rather sin is what I have been freed from by grace.  I cannot abuse grace, but I can be abused by sin.  The Holy Spirit will lead me in all truth (John 16:13) and will show me what to do and when to do it.  That is walking in freedom and grace.

Faith

From XTMG chap 4

Faith is completely crazy, except when faith is in God. Thoreau said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” These are the men who will not walk in faith. These are the mass of people who walk by the flesh and never see the joy that God promises.

Faith is not about us trying harder with God. It is RESTING in what God has done, and staking your future on it.  When we walk in faith, we will have peace instead of turmoil.  We will have rest instead of striving.  It is a release that is initially scary, but results in joy like never before.

Sowing and Reaping

From XTMG chapter 6:

“When we plant good seed we get a good harvest.  When we plant bad seed (lies, deceit, violence, etc.) we reap a bad harvest. Put another way, God desires to lead us in good things, but sometimes we choose something else.  When we do so, we open ourselves up to a host of negative influences and consequences.  We can’t blame this on God – He is not bring a trial into our lives.  He is not testing us.  We are just reaping what we sowed.

So rather than walk in fear of the judgment of God, instead walk in dependence on God and avoid the schemes of the evil one whose goal is to steal, kill, and destroy.  The desire of God is life and life abundantly, so walk in that instead.  God is the one who is bringing us good things (James 1:17.) God is for us, (Romans 8:31) He is not against us.  But even when we make mistakes the sequence can often be redeemed like this:

  1.  Plant a seed from the flesh.
  2. Bring it to God (repentance)
  3. Reap the harvest of Christ

Jesus will not magically fix all of our mistakes, but rather as we are dependent on Him, He will bring healing and life, even to the things that we have messed up.  He has a great and abundant love for you, and He desires to see you grow in life, health, and love.”