Radical grace

By Johnny Tatum


The purpose of this study is to understand that grace gives us power for life.






Let us remember:

Grace means


We are never going to be punished for our sins.


Some people do not like to hear this emphasized; however, it is true—

We are free.


In fact—

We are totally free.


Some people do not like to hear that, and we seldom hear it taught, but—

We are either free -or- We are not free.


And that means—

We are free even to disobey.



We are free to suffer the normal consequences that might result from disobedience, but those consequences are not engineered by God to punish us.


And if we ever say anything less than that, we are not talking about grace anymore; so—

Grace Is Forgiveness and It Is Total


If a Christian says If I sin, God will punish me, then he does not understand grace; he is not resting in grace.  Again, if a Christian says Since I am forgiven I can live, however, I can sin as much as I want and there will be no consequence, then he does not understand grace either.


What is ironic is that a Christian who is carnal (one living in complacent disobedience as a normal lifestyle) is not resting in grace.  It is, indeed, a paradox.



We have begun to define grace in its simplest aspect as unmerited favor, complete forgiveness for sins.  But there has to be more to grace than that.


One way we know that is to see a remarkable instance of God’s grace described in the book of Luke.  Luke, the writer, speaking of Jesus says:


The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. (Luke 2:40)


Does that not sound a bit strange to say The grace of God was upon Jesus of Nazareth?  That could not mean that forgiveness of sins was working there, because He did not need forgiveness—He did not have any sin.


Obviously, grace means more than just forgiveness of sins.  A fuller description of grace is, as follows:


Grace Means Power For Life


That was the power operating in Jesus of Nazareth; there was no forgiveness of sins operating in Him since there was nothing to forgive.  For Jesus of Nazareth, the grace of God meant the power to live life.


That is amazing!  Jesus of Nazareth was born as a perfect human being, and yet, He could not have lived the life He did without the grace of God working in Him.


That is what we mean by a fuller understanding of grace — not trying to soften it, not bringing up discipline, not bringing up consequences of disobedience — to understand how it is that grace gives us power for life.  Ultimately, the concept we have of the grace that saved us will be the same concept we have of the grace that sustains us.  So, obviously, if we have a wrong idea of the grace that saved us, then we are going to have a wrong idea of the grace that sustains us.


For example, many people tend to think that grace is God overlooking sin; and that is just not true.  Again, let me say—


Grace is 100 percent forgiveness, meaning we are 100 percent free and God will not take it back.


However, we want to see how it is that God can forgive sins.


God wants us to forgive sins of other people by overlooking their sins against us.  We can overlook the sins of others because we are equally sinners before God and we are not holy.  But God cannot do that. 


The Lord God cannot say Your sin is okay or I am going to save you and now your sin is okay.  If He were to do that, He would not be God anymore.  However, what God did do was to put our sins on Messiah Jesus, and then He crucified Messiah Jesus:


Our sin went into the flesh of Messiah Jesus—He was carrying our sin with Him—and then He was condemned at the Cross—He was crucified, and our sin nature was killed with Him.


Grace is God forgiving our sins because He put them away. When we look at grace, we cannot just say that grace is God forgiving sin—although it is that 100 percent—it is more than that.  Grace is God providing a remedy for sin.


When we emphasize grace, we are not emphasizing that sin is okay.  We are emphasizing that sin is horrible and it is devastating to our lives; however, the only remedy for this horrible disease (sin) is grace.  We emphasize grace because we acknowledge what sinners we are.


People stress obedience over grace and say We think too lightly of sin; however, I believe the exact o-p-p-o-s-i-t-e.  Those who stress obedience over grace do not understand how deadly sin is.  We are saying that sin is a monster that we do not have any ability to conquer in ourselves, although we hate it—we want sin out of our lives, and the only way to get it out is to rely on grace.  That is why we emphasize grace.


When God saved us, judicially He killed our sin; in fact, judicially He killed us (our old man).  The Lord God can now look at me as perfect because I have already paid the death penalty for my sin.  That is the grace that saved me, but the grace that sustains me is really the same thing.


q       The grace that saved me was God judicially killing off every bit of sin at the Cross.

q       The grace that sustains me is God’s Holy Spirit gradually killing off actual sin in my life.


That is the grace we proclaim!



Next: Radical Grace #3:  Ten Attributes Which Are Produced Only By Grace


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