Occasional editorials written since 2001 

Passion yes, aggression no. Harry Potter All roads lead to God?  
Value of a soul. Homosexuality Passion of the Christ
Islam and Christianity  Love not the world Persecution coming
Biblical or secular worldview? Freewill offering Letter or Spirit?
Faith The sacred and non-sacred Test your self
Discernment The gospel of me Repentance
Sinking sand That awful four letter word Sin
When God offends Walls, gates and electric fences The curse of pornography.
Gender confusion Flowers and weeds The War on Abortion
The abuse of grace. God's sword divides Black lives matter
Obeying the government (Covid-19)    

The abuse of grace.

In Acts 20:26-27 Paul wrote,

Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.

I have hesitated several times about bringing this stream of truth to the open table. But it is too serious to lie hidden any longer.

If we are truly followers of Jesus Christ, then we are truly beneficiaries of God’s amazing grace.

I was a church attender for many years throughout my thirties, thinking that by faithfully attending church every Sunday, taking communion and hosting a fortnightly home group, I was a Christian.

As I reflect, I realise that I was someone who certainly gave some degree of intellectual ascent to God and the work of the cross, but I was definitely not a born-again spirit-awakened child of God. I was still the Lord and Master of my own life.

Then, on August 12th 1989 God’s amazing grace suddenly opened the eyes of my heart, and I rushed to the front of a tent meeting and there, on bended knees I fully and joyfully surrendered my life to Jesus. He now had my heart. Not just my mind.

All of grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

In life we naturally expect to get rewarded for our hard work. If we do well at school or university we expect to be rightfully rewarded with certificates to testify to the results of our labors. If we work hard in employment we expect to be rightfully remunerated for our efforts.

That’s life!  

So it is never easy to fully take on-board that God’s grace of salvation is a free gift.
If we think we must have impressed God by doing enough good things to receive salvation then we have not understood what His grace is.

The apostle Paul felt led to write and confirm this truth to the church in Rome.
Indeed he mentioned the word grace four times in two short sentences to emphasize this truth.

Romans none:5-6
So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.  And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, (based on works) then grace would no longer be grace. (all brackets and italics throughout are mine for emphasis)

Many of the world’s most undeserving people, including myself, have been beneficiaries of God’s grace.

Saul, who became the apostle Paul, was a man who hunted out Christians and helped to kill them. Then on the road to Damascus God’s grace appeared to him, and the rest is history. Paul wrote to Timothy testifying,

1 Timothy 1:14-15
The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

John Newton's life as a slave trader made him one of the most callous men of his age. Capturing and transporting men, women and children in one part of the world and selling them in another part of the world could not be done with a soft and sensitive heart. Yet God’s grace opened the eyes of his heart and he wrote the mighty anthem to God’s grace that the world knows so well.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

Listen to the Andre Rieu orchestra play Amazing Grace. The public know the words of this hymn so well that the music alone has a dramatic effect on them.

As the film ‘Amazing Grace’ (2006) showed, John Newton joined William Wilberforce in the successful fight to abolish slavery.

So our salvation begins by God’s grace, and must be lived out day by day in the power of God’s grace.

There are three salvation tenses in scripture.

We are saved. We are being saved - our salvation is now being outworked. And as scripture confirms, those who endure to the end will be saved. Jesus said,

Matthew 10:22
And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Matthew 24:12-13
And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 

Jesus spoke of those who did not endure when persecution came along.

Matthew 13:20-21 NIV
The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

The writer of Hebrews passionately warned his brethren about the danger of falling away.

Hebrews 3:5a-6 &12
Now Moses was faithful .. as a servant...but Jesus was faithful as a Son over His house - whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope until the end.... Take care bethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God

That is why the Apostle Paul tells us in

Philippians 2:12
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

To be able to do this we need God’s grace every step of the way. Jesus does not drop off halfway through our journey. Jesus is the Beginning and the End. The Alpha and the Omega. The Author and the Finisher of our faith.

Paul wrote that both his standing in Christ and his service to God was utterly dependent on God’s grace. Three times in one sentence he confirms that from ‘start to finish’ he is wholly dependent on Christ’s grace.

1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Despite being saved we all carry that sin nature within us and to our disappointment it so often breaks through into our lives. But we can’t ignore it. We have to be honest and take ownership of it

1 John1:8-9
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

However, IF we walk in the Light, then God’s abundant grace provides us with the immediate remedy.

Listen to what the Apostle John writes.

1 John 1:6 - 10
If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Twelve verses later John continues to confirm this work of grace in the lives of his ‘dear children’

I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.

Grace, grace, amazing grace.

Yet, somewhat confusingly, the apostle John then goes on to say,

1 John 3:6 & 9
No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who has either seen him or known him....

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.

So in chapter one John says that as Christians we sin but God forgives us when we confess our sins, and then in the same letter says - to the same readers - ‘no one who lives in Him keeps on sinning’

What does John mean?

I believe it is this. There are - what the Bible calls ‘unintentional’ sins.

Or, as Song of Songs 2:15 would describe them.

..the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, .....

We struggle at times with our impatience, our lack of generosity, our envy and our selfish ‘what about me’ attitudes, our ability to endlessly gossip, our endless wrestling with faithless anxieties, our carnal responses to rejection, offense, accusation or unfairness. We struggle with our mood swings, our tempers tantrums and various temptations, and at times we even struggle with the constancy of our faithful day to day walk with Jesus.

These are not things we choose to do. Not things we intentionally set out to do.
Quite the opposite. We dearly want rid of these Christian character spoiling sins.

The apostle Paul - who was utterly committed to following Jesus - understood the same struggles in his own life.  Here are extracts from Romans 7:15 - 25

For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do. 
...For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing. 
... in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but, I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Grace, grace, amazing grace for the man or woman after God’s own heart..

However, in our humanity there is always the temptation to abuse God’s grace.

If His amazing grace covers our multitude of unwanted sins, then hey-ho, why don’t I also claim it for my.. ‘em’.. much loved sins as well?

Why don’t I claim Christ’s righteousness through grace, and also continue in my favourite carnal desires? (or as an 'an opportunity for the flesh' Galations 5:13)

Paul attacked this abuse of grace head on, again and again.

Saying in no uncertain terms that God’s grace is not a license to sin.

Romans 6: 1 - 2
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!   We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

Twelve verses later he re-emphasises this,

Romans 6: 14 - 15
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

He states clearly that there is, and until we reach heaven, always will be, a war between the Spirit and the flesh, and we must determine to count the old man and his flesh-driven carnality as dead, and determine to count our new man with our born-again spirit alive to Christ.

Romans 8:12 - 13
...brothers and sisters, we have an obligation - but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but, if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

So there are then, clear scriptural boundaries between living life under God’s grace and the willful abuse of His grace.

This important truth needs careful unpacking, so let me start way back in the early pages of the Old Testament.

It may come as a surprise to many, but all the grace offered to the children of Israel through the animal sacrifices were purely for their unintentional sins and transgressions.

There is not one sacrifice for intentional sin.

Several examples,

Leviticus 4:1-3
The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands - If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the Lord a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed.

Leviticus 4:27-28
If any member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, when they realize their guilt and the sin they have committed becomes known, they must bring as their offering for the sin they committed a female goat without defect.

Leviticus 5:15
When anyone is unfaithful to the Lord by sinning unintentionally in regard to any of the Lord’s holy things, they are to bring to the Lord as a penalty a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value in silver, according to the sanctuary shekel. It is a guilt offering.

These sacrifices of animals without defect were the prophetic foreshadowing of the final and ‘finished for all time’, perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, The Lamb of God.

The ‘Cities of refuge’ mentioned in Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua gives us a similar prophetic example.

The Israelites - who were raised from birth knowing what God’s laws were - still found that in life ‘stuff happens’ and yet - even when that ‘stuff’ had the misfortune to include the unintentional shedding of blood by manslaughter - there were - in God’s grace - cities of refuge provided as safe places from any aggrieved relative who would be the avenger of blood.

Joshua 20:2 - 4
Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses, so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood. When they flee to one of these cities, they are to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state their case before the elders of that city. Then the elders are to admit the fugitive into their city and provide a place to live among them.

However, when the sinful act was a premeditated, willful and deliberate act of rebellion by one of His chosen people the outlook was different.

Numbers 35:20 - 21
If anyone with malice aforethought shoves another or throws something at them intentionally so that they die or if out of enmity one person hits another with their fist so that the other dies, that person is to be put to death; that person is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when they meet.

Unintentional sin finds grace easily, but intentional sin, not so easily.

If we choose to cherish sin within us, then our prayer life becomes sterile.

Psalm 66:18-19
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.

However, God will show mercy to those with a humble and contrite heart.

Isaiah 66:2
“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word

King David was a man after God’s own heart, yet we all know of the time when he abused God’s grace by willfully, deliberately and intentionally deciding to commit adultery, and with another man’s wife. Then to hide his sin from the people he arranged for the husband to be killed in battle.

When he was finally confronted by the prophet Nathan and realised with horror the depth of his rebellion and the seriousness of his offence towards God, his humble and contrite heartfelt pleas for mercy are recorded for us in Psalm 51.

Here are verses 1-4 and 10 -12

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

In mercy, God forgave him, but as we know, the consequences that followed from his act of deliberate sin do not make for easy reading. It makes even considering the indulging of your flesh in premeditated sin something to seriously avoid.

This truth continues in the New Testament.

Jesus confirmed that there is a major difference between those who know God’s will but choose not to do it, and those who through lack of understanding do not obey.

When we have been given much it is right that more will be asked of us. Especially of leaders who have been entrusted with much.

In Luke 12:47- 48 He said,

The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

If we call Him ‘Lord’, - but pick and choose what we are willing to obey - it makes our declaration of His Lordship a meaningless phrase.

Luke 6:46
Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

When Peter encountered Jesus after His resurrection, Jesus told him to ‘feed, and take care of My sheep’ and ‘feed my lambs’

Why the obvious distinction?

His lambs represent baby and infant Christians and the broken, vulnerable, weak and spiritually poorly-fed believers who find it hard to mature into ‘sheep’.   

Lambs tend to follow the sheep rather than the hearing and following after the Shepherd.

John 10:27
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Lambs are baby and infant and fragile believers who so often still take some of their moral plum-line from surrounding culture.

Hebrews 5:13-14
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Lambs still struggle with the very basics of Christian life, but with help will mature.

1 Peter 2:1-3
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

I love the verse which says that,

Isaiah 40:none
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

I mention this so that the Kingdom’s fragile lambs and infants will in no way feel threatened by this Biblical stream of truth.

Jesus told His ‘little’ flock that His Father was pleased to give then the Kingdom.

Luke 12:32
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

But back to following the abuse of grace stream through the New Testament.

When a person knows the love of God, knows why His Son went to the cross and knows why His Son’s Blood was shed and then treats it all as a license to sin, they are in dangerous place before God. They are abusing and insulting His grace.

Hebrews 10:26-30
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”

God uses Isaac’s son Esau as an example of someone who treated his inheritance from his father as nothing of great value, and was quick to swap it for a temporary and immediate sating of his flesh’s hunger.

Hebrews 12:14-17
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

The Bible gives us the target to aim for.

1 John 2:5-6
But if anyone obeys his word, love for God’ is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

Paul's letters were all written to Christians.

Galatians 5:16-25
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

The one word Paul used which is translated here (correctly) as ‘those who live like this’ is ‘prasso’ (G4238 pronounced pras-so) which means ‘to perform repeatedly or habitually’ thus differing from ‘poieo’ ( G4160 pronounced poy-ei-o) which means a single act or an occasional act.

The Old Testament showed God's grace to His people through the various sacrificial rituals, and it also showed His longsuffering and His patience when Israel chose to ignore His clear commands and behave as the surrounding nations behaved. But when despite the many warnings He gave His people through His prophets they chose to 'live like this' He removed His Hand and their enemies were able to conquer them. Eventually Israel even lost the very land God had given them.

In other words God’s grace does not cover lives willfully lived like that.

The - “I know this is wrong - but I’m going to do it anyway” - attitude to sin.

That is what Jesus calls 'bad fruit'.

Jesus confirmed this on earth.

Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

John 15:5-10
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

Matthew 25:1-13
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’  But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.

Charles Spurgeon commenting on this portion wrote:

The light of profession cannot be truly sustained without the oil of grace. Grace, wherever it exists, ought to show itself, as the oil is made to burn by means of the lamp; but it is no use to attempt to make a show unless there is that secret store somewhere by which the external part of religion may be maintained.

Jesus also confirmed it from heaven - as recorded on the last page of the Bible

Revelation 22:21-23
Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

David Pawson, in his mammoth 1300 page book called ‘Unlocking The Bible’, and speaking of the Leviticus sacrifices, wrote,

‘... they only work for unintentional sins; they do not work for deliberate sins. In other words, nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes, we all fall into sin unintentionally. Even though we do not intend to do wrong, we do it. God provided for unintentional sin, but there is no offering on the list for deliberate sin.

This is an important point which is picked up in the New Testament. The New Testament distinguishes between accidental and deliberate, willful sins in Christians. Like the Old Testament, it says that if we deliberately sin after being forgiven, there is no more sacrifice for sin. Deliberate sin in those who have been forgiven is very serious, which is why Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more”.

For accidental sin there is full provision, because knows that we are weak, knows we fall, knows that we do not always intend to do what we do...This distinction runs right through the New Testament as it does through the Old. (page 139)

I know from every survey on the subject that the church is awash with Christians indulging in various forms of immorality. If we choose to live like this we deny Jesus Christ as our Master, our Sovereign and our Lord. As One we obey.

In other words, a Christian who wilfully indulges him or herself in sin just as the godless world does has become a friend of the world rather than a friend of God, and as James says, ‘friendship with the world is enmity with God’ James 4:4

One of my first encounters of the abuse of grace was a married man with children who was regarded as a strong Christian, and indeed - during worship - a man I saw eagerly waving a christian banner at the front of the church he attended, and yet I knew that at the end of almost every business day, before he went home to his wife and children, he indulged in gross immorality. When I challenged him with the fact that this was in clear and deliberate disobedience to God his face lit up, his hands went up and he said, “Thank God for His grace!”  

He truly believed what he was saying!

But he was deceived. He was - and I believe still is - making a mockery of God’s grace.

When you choose to live like this you do not do so under the covering of God’s grace.

You do not reap everlasting life. Instead you just reap corruption and defilement and provide easy openings for unclean spirits, spirits of lust and spirits of rebellion.

Galatians 6:7-8
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life

Indeed, if not dealt with, God regards those who choose to live like this as worse than when they were an unbeliever who did not know the truth.

2 Peter 2:20
If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

Indeed, the apostle Paul handed a member of the congregation over to satan so that his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord. In other words unless he desisted in his immoral behaviour he would be lost forever.

I Corinthians 5:1-5
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is pre sent with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

Paul did this with two other church members.

1 Timothy 1:18-20
This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Such drastic actions are designed to teach the believer that if they don't want to live under God's loving hand they can taste what it is like to live under their enemy's hand.

2 Chronicles 12:5-8

Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah, who were gathered together in Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord: ‘You have forsaken Me, and therefore I also have left you in the hand of Shishak.’ ” So the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, “The Lord is righteous.” Now when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, “They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance. My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless they will be his servants, that they may distinguish My service from the service of the kingdoms of the nations.” (all italics throughout are mine)

I hope I have followed this stream of truth accurately.

It should certainly instill in us  a healthy and proper reverential fear of God that would keep us from falling.

Tozer wrote in his book, ‘The Almighty God’

“No one can know the true grace of God who has not first known the true fear of God”

He also said "Grace is the mother and nurse of holiness, not the apologist for sin'

God’s grace draws you to Jesus, helps you to grow in Jesus and to stay as close to Jesus as you desire.

It is not available to help you live rebelliously, selfishly, carelessly and immorally.

Paul wrote this timely counsel to the immoral Corinthian church,

2nd Corinthians 13:5
Test youselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognise this about about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you - unless you fail the test.

If you know you have wandered away from God’s grace and defiled yourself, then be heartened by the story of the mercy that the prodigal son received when - smelling of pigs - he nervously returned to His Father with a humble and contrite heart and repentance based on Godly sorrow.

Luke 15:21
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

Like King David he did not say "Father, my life's in a mess, please take me back again"

The faithful stay-at-home son was upset at his Father receiving such a defiled son back again, but his Father said,

Verses 31-32
My son... you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.

It can go unoticed that the calf being fatttened for the Feast of atonement (substitution of an innocent life for a guilty one) was brought out and killed. (Luke 15:27)

Others may do this teaching better, but to ignore it completely could have tragic consequences for many.

Let’s do what Paul advised the Philippians to do.

Let’s ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling!’



https://christian-restoration.com/Editorial/Abuse of grace.html