As a mom, one of my growing concerns is this false message of grace that my teenagers see lived out openly in the church world. The message of grace has been hijacked and turned into something far from the authentic grace of God. Understanding authentic grace and how to teach it is something every Christian parent must be able to do if they desire to see their children grow to become steadfast in their faith and walk in obedience to the Truth of God’s Word.
There is open confusion in the hearts and minds of this generation, producing some of the greatest cynics in the church. Honestly, I have seen first hand the effects of raising a standard against such false teaching. The moment we speak up and say “Hey! This ought not be!” we are automatically slammed with a label of being legalistic. I laugh at the notion, really. The smokey cries of legalism are just another tool of the enemy to cause a distraction against a far more serious revelation.
There are 2 extremes:
Legalists – The false extreme of believing that people have to keep certain rules in order to gain spiritual salvation.
Libertines – The opposite extreme in believing that Christians are free to do as they please as long as they rely on God’s grace. Both of these extremes are spiritually fatal. These 2 groups go back to the bible times, they were dealt with frequently throughout the New Testament. It’s not new, however the libertine message is gaining ground rapidly in the church. Paul called them false teachers and false doctrines, today there is a lack of discernment. No one is crying out and calling it what it is!
Discernment is not knowing right from wrong. Discernment is knowing right from almost right.
I made this statement to my husband the other day: “The fact that so many are falling into the deception of a false grace is setting the stage for the anti-christ. If people will fall so easily for a false grace, then they will fall easily for a false peace. Jesus warned against such when He said “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect”.
Paul speaks to the Church in Titus 1:16. He says, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him.” What is Paul trying to say? He is saying exactly the things our teens see laid before their eyes everyday in this age of media. Social media offers the most shocking glance into this verse. We have a generation that knows nothing of denying themselves, they don’t know what it means to pick up their cross and follow Jesus. A generation is going to hell because they believe the lie that they can have their cake and eat it too. As long as you post a couple bible verses on your Facebook or tweet about going to church, it’s OK to have a mental acknowledgement of Jesus and then go sleep with your girlfriend because you’re human and Jesus will understand, it’s all grace anyway.
We have a generation that will show up at church on Sunday and put on the pretty religious face, telling their friends they are followers of Jesus, then go to school on Monday and ignore the youth leaders standing at the flagpole ready to pray and proclaim Jesus over their school. It’s a Christianity in label only and holds no merit and bears no fruit. Can we honestly sit and watch this generation continue to spiral out further and further into a zombie like deception? We have a generation of professing youth that can’t pray or recite any scripture but they can sing the latest profane laced sexually explicit hip hop song that was just released, word for word. They can twerk like a superstar and know exactly how far they can go sexually with anal and oral sex and still call themselves virgins, because that’s all that matters, right?
It’s time to say enough is enough! The grace of God is not a license to sin. We have a confused generation when they see church leaders going in public to party at clubs wearing clothes that the waitresses at Hooter’s won’t even wear. When they see parents who proclaim the holiness of God, yet spend hours trying to perfect the latest jello shot recipe. This is a generation in the church that proclaims to know God, but deny Him by their actions. This should bring you to a place of travail, a place of grief and sorrow. The grace of God has been corrupted and placed in the same value as a condom for safe sex.
What is the authentic Grace of God? Paul then goes on to show us what the grace of God actually is and what it does. “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:14)
The authentic grace of God teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions. Countless times I have had to clarify with my kids that certain behaviors are unacceptable even though these behaviors are being acted out by professing believers engaging in acts of ungodliness and call it all grace. What is ungodliness? Ungodliness is anything neglecting the fear and worship of God. What are worldly passions? Lust of the flesh: desire for the indulgence of the senses, lust of the eyes: desire for the possession of the appealing, pride of life: desire for the elevation of self.
“As followers of Christ we must be careful not to get caught up in the behaviors, activities and pastimes that are common in the world, that do not reflect God’s character or promote His purposes. Many such things may even contradict His standards of truth and moral purity. In Ephesians 5:1-7 we read, “We are not to conform to the pattern of this corrupt world. Instead we must pattern our lives after the example of Christ. We must be “imitators of God” whose behavior and character are openly and distinctively different from those who do not follow Christ.” (Fire Bible) Mark Batterson sums it up this way, “We are seeing an inverted gospel. People want Jesus to follow them instead of them following Him.”
How do we teach our kids? As parents, we must first have a thorough knowledge of the Word of God. We must understand and know how to teach our children the authentic grace of God and how it differs from the counterfeit of God’s grace that the luke warm Church teaches. We must pray for discernment. We Must intercede on behalf of our kids and their generation continually. Grace-based parenting is not passive parenting. Grace-based parenting is proactive parenting. When we are teaching our kids to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions, we are being proactive. Most importantly, we have to live it out. As parents, we cannot live as hypocrites, but teach our children another way. Jesus makes it very clear in Matthew 7:21-23 that there will those who stand before Him and call Him Lord, yet, will not enter into the kingdom of Heaven, He says, only those who do the will of my Father.
Jesus, open our eyes to see any area of our lives where we have fallen into deception, help us to live in the authentic grace of God and forgive us for denying you with our actions.