The 18th Sunday After Pentecost: STOPPING FALSE GRACE BEFORE IT SPREADS
In todays epistle we read:
“I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus...that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 1:4-8)
Father Manning and Father Parker both had Parishes in there home town in the 19th century. On one occasion, Father Parker commented on the poor condition of children admitted to Father Mannings orphanage. It was reported to Father Manning however, that Father Parker had criticized the orphanage itself. Father Manning blasted Father Parker the next week from the pulpit. The attack was printed in the newspapers and became the talk of the town. People flocked to Father Parker's Parish the next Sunday to hear his rebuttal. "I understand Father Manning is not in his pulpit today, and this is the Sunday they use to take an offering for the orphanage. I suggest we take a love offering here instead." The crowd was delighted. The ushers had to empty the collection plates 3 times. Later that week there was a knock at Father Parker's study. It was Father Manning. "You know Father Parker, you have practiced grace on me. You have given me not what I deserved, you have given me what I needed. That is a very simple illustration of what grace is.
The Church teaches that there are two kinds of grace, sanctifying and actual.
Sanctifying grace stays in the soul. It’s what makes the soul holy; it gives the soul supernatural life. More properly, it is supernatural life. We receive sanctifying grace through our baptism.
Actual grace, by contrast, is a supernatural push or encouragement. It’s transient. It doesn’t live in the soul, but acts on the soul from the outside, so to speak. It’s a supernatural kick in the pants. It gets the will and intellect moving so we can seek out and keep sanctifying grace. It is a grace that compels us to take action in our lives to put God first.
But I would like to add a third kind of Grace which is called False Grace "False grace" is not a new phenomenon. It was being preached even in the days of the apostles.
Jude speaks of "certain men who secretly entered in, (who were written of long ago unto this judgment,) ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord God into riotousness, and denying the only sovereign Ruler, and our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jude 4).
So Peter was prompted by the Holy Spirit to write a whole letter explaining what the true grace of God was. At the end of that letter, he says, "I have written briefly: beseeching and testifying that this is the true grace of God, wherein you stand.!" (1 Peter 5:12). Saint Peter is saying, stand firm in the true grace of God!
So, if we study Peter's first letter, we can understand what true grace is.
As you listen, do a self examination to see whether you have the true grace of God:
The Holy Spirit says that the true grace of God:
- Will make you live in obedience to God - and not according to the evil desires that governed you in your unconverted days
As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance:(1 Peter 1:14).
- Will make you long to be holy as God is holy, and enable you to actually be holy in all your conduct and your way of living
But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy (1 Peter 1:15).
- Will make you value the blood of Christ more than all the silver and gold in the world, so that you never again treat sin lightly (sin, for which Christ shed His blood)
Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers: But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled, (1 Peter 1:18-19).
- Will strengthen you to love others fervently with a pure heart
Purifying your souls in the obedience of charity, with a brotherly love, from a sincere heart love one another earnestly:(1 Peter 1:22).
- Will enable you to get rid of every trace of wickedness, deceit, insincerity, pretense, hypocrisy, grudges, envy, jealousy, slander and evil speaking
Wherefore laying away all malice, and all guile, and dissimulations, and envies, and all detractions,(1 Peter 2:1).
- Will make you long for God's Word, just like newborn babies cry for milk As newborn babes, desire the rational milk of the word without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation (1 Peter 2:2).
- Will build you up along with others in God's family as a spiritual house for God and thus deliver you from individualistic Christianity
Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5).
- Will enable you to submit to every human authority for the Lord's sake
Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God's sake: whether it be to the king as excelling; Or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of the good: (1 Peter 2:13).
- Will enable you to do what is right at all times, thus silencing the ignorant criticisms of others
For so is the will of God, that by doing well you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:(1 Peter 2:15).
- Will make you treat all men with respect
Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.(1 Peter 2:17).
- Will enable you to follow in the footsteps of Christ Who did not sin
For unto this are you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow his steps.Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. (1 Peter 2:21-22).
- Will enable you to follow Christ's example, Who never reviled or threatened anyone when He was insulted, but trusted Himself to the Father Who judges fairly
Who, when he was reviled, did not revile: when he suffered, he threatened not: but delivered himself to him that judged him unjustly.(1 Peter 2:23).
- Will enable you wives to submit to your husbands, with a gentle and quiet spirit
In like manner also let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives. Considering your chaste conversation with fear. Whose adorning let it not be the outward plaiting of the hair, or the wearing of gold, or the putting on of apparel: But the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptibility of a quiet and a meek spirit, which is rich in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:1-4)
- Will enable you husbands to honor your wives as fellow-heirs, recognizing always that they are weaker vessels
Ye husbands, likewise dwelling with them according to knowledge, giving honour to the female as to the weaker vessel, and as to the co-heirs of the grace of life: that your prayers be not hindered. (1 Peter 3:7).
- Will enable you never to return evil for evil, or insult for insult, but on the contrary be a blessing to others
Not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing: for unto this are you called, that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9).
- Will enable you to keep your tongue from evil and from telling lies
For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. (1 Peter 3:10).
- Will make you seek for peace with all people, always
Let him decline from evil, and do good: let him seek after peace and pursue it:(1 Peter 3:11).
- Will make you willing to die to your self-life as Jesus did ("suffer in the flesh") so that you might stop committing mortal sin totally
Christ therefore having suffered in the flesh, be you also armed with the same thought: for he that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sins:(1 Peter 4:1)
- Will make you long to live the rest of your life for the will of God alone
That now he may live the rest of his time in the flesh, not after the desires of men, but according to the will of God. (1 Peter 4:2).
- Will make you cover the sins of others with Divine love
But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
- Will enable you to rejoice in suffering for Christ's sake
But if you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice that when his glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:13).
- Will keep you from being a busybody in other peoples' affairs
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a railer, or a coveter of other men's things.(1 Peter 4:15)
- Will make you judge yourself
For the time is, that judgment should begin at the house of God. And if first at us, what shall be the end of them that believe not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)
- Will enable you elders of churches to serve God's people humbly even when there is no salary
The ancients therefore that are among you, I beseech, who am myself also an ancient, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ: as also a partaker of that glory which is to be revealed in time to come: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking care of it, not by constraint, but willingly, according to God: not for filthy lucre's sake, but voluntarily: Neither as lording it over the clergy, but being made a pattern of the flock from the heart. (1 Peter 5:1-3)
- Will enable you to humble yourself at all times.
In like manner, ye young men, be subject to the ancients. And do you all insinuate humility one to another, for God resisteth the proud, but to the humble he giveth grace. Be you humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in the time of visitation: (1 Peter 5:5-6)
- Will free you from all earthly anxieties and worries
Casting all your care upon him, for he hath care of you. (1 Peter 5:7)
- Will empower you to resist Satan boldly and firmly at all times
Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9).
The Holy Spirit says that this is what "the TRUE grace of God" will produce in believers; and He exhorts all of God's children to "stand firm in it" always (1 Peter 5:12).
This is the true grace that Christ purchased for us as our inheritance, by His death and resurrection and given to us through the sacraments. Don't miss out on this inheritance, by listening to the message of false grace that is being preached everywhere in Babylonian Christianity today.
Anything other than what has been described above is false grace - and must be rejected outright.
"And do you all insinuate humility one to another- for God gives His true grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5).
May the Lord open the eyes of our heart to see and to receive His true grace.