Preaching grace always keeps an eye on the incredible forgiving & loving nature of God.
Preaching grace does mean loving your hearers in spite of how they respond to your message.
Preaching grace does mean trusting God to accomplish His objectives in His way and in His time.
We are all molded by our walking in life, especially our childhood experiences and when we grow up, we tend to apply what we experienced into our daily life, including in our professions, be it a clerk, a manager, a housewife, or even a Preacher. For a secular positions, it is just normal, but for a Grace Preacher to teach and still be influenced by the world principle instead of the Heaven Kingdom’s principle, that is something to raise concern. Grace is unnatural to the world, some may find it mystified, for it is too good to be true to the natural ears.
The Gospel (=the good news) is beyond human understanding, it takes Holy Spirit to teach and understand. The Gospel is basically Grace, Grace is the Gospel, and Grace is the Truth, as Truth is on the side of Grace and not the Law, and Grace & Truth is Jesus Christ. (Joh 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ)
Man will understand and accept fully the principle of Law because it resonances well with their flesh: “when you do good you get good, but when you do bad you get beat”. Isn’t this what every religion in the world is teaching ? what is the difference with Christianity then ? This is what every child learns; the first time they know good from evil, probably at the age of 7 years old onward. Because this is what their mommy & daddy taught them, continued with what their school teachers taught them. All performance oriented. Also when they entered working life, this is what their employers taught them “performance oriented principles”. And thus, this is what everybody grows up to believe in! They read bible also from the lens of man’s experience, instead of the lens of Grace (read my article : https://liftingjesus.org/2013/08/02/read-the-bible-through-the-lens-of-grace/). When the bible said Labor to enter rest, they think they have to work more to earn the rest. While the truth is we Labor to enter rest is “Holy spirit directed activities”, resting on Jesus’ finished work (read my article : https://liftingjesus.org/2013/08/06/labor-every-day-to-enter-his-rest/)
Grace preachers must first believe with the unshakable confidence in God’s Grace, His unmerited favor unearned, and freely given. That they can receive God’s goodness even when they fail, because Grace is freely given independent of our obedience and unearned, nothing to boast about ourselves. This can be seen in their daily life, when being grounded in Grace will produce Graceful actions towards one another. Then God gives the wisdom and the heart to generously dispense that grace through their preaching.
The life of total dependency on God’s Grace can be best described just like a little child. Jesus mentioned the phrase “a little child” 9 times in the new Testament, being the most desirable state to inherit the kingdom of Heaven. Why “a little child”? I learnt from my daughter, Pearl, since 3 to now 7 years old, always happy, when I brought her to any places, the first thing she would do is to look for things to play, no worries on tomorrow, nor any food to eat, nor any clothes to wear, nor anything at all, because she is totally dependent on the parents. Even when she is sometimes naughty and makes mistakes, she would still receive my grace, because I love her as my daughter whether or not she is good. She trusted on the parents for any problems of tomorrow. And that makes her totally freed and joyful every day. This is hard to find in adult people’s life, even Pastors alike.
Grace Preachers having a good heart, sometimes still worry about their congregation’s sinful life-style. So, they preach Grace mixing with law. And by so doing, they diluted the powerful message of Grace, from totally beholding Jesus and His beauty, into mixing with self-performance of what man ought to do. And surely man is weak at his core, and will fail again and again. The power of Grace is diluted and gone.
There is no power in telling man what they ought to do or not to do, because every man knows what they ought to do already, and yet they failed to do again and again. Apostle Paul in his writings always starts from teaching the believers: “WHO the believers are in Christ”. What they have inherited in Christ. What Christ has done for them, before in the later chapter/s he will also tell them what fruits they ought to bear being in Christ. Non Grace Preachers will concentrate on the later (the fruits – by trying to modify believers’ behaviors, teach like a school teacher teaching a young child), while Grace Preachers will focus on the former first, who they are in Christ. What Christ has made them “a new Creation” a prince, a priest, and the children of God, knowing this they will not want to be a pauper anymore. Grace preachers should always behold Jesus, unveiling Jesus in all the loveliness of His person, and unveiling the perfection of His finished work on the cross, And “Trust Jesus will do the rest”, just let the Holy Spirit do His work inside the person. When Jesus went to the cross, He did not have doubts whether His Grace by dying on the cross will result in any good for any sinners ? Jesus had faith in Grace, so shall we who have faith in Jesus.
A Preacher is not a school teacher who teaches mere man’s knowledge what man already knows. A Preacher’s job is unveiling the heart of God, that is Grace, Jesus Christ. And, it has to be radical, or otherwise, people’s life will not be radically transformed. I pray to all Preachers, that God give you unshakable confidence in His grace for you as His child. And then, may He give you the wisdom and the heart to generously dispense that grace through your preaching. And that as you unveil the beauty of Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, Grace instead will teach the hearers to deny ungodliness. Let go, and let God be God and let God do the rest of transformation within the person. Tit 2:11-12 For the Grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, … Note that Grace is teaching us…, Grace is a person, Grace is God, Grace is Jesus Christ Himself, and Grace is Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
Today many preachers claim to preach Grace to impress the audience. Let me teach you how to discern if the Grace teaching that you are hearing is doctrinally sound. It is always Christ-exalting, it always reveals more and more of Jesus. It always unveils the beauty of Jesus and the perfection of His finished work on the cross. Jesus is always glorified when Grace is taught. There is no Grace without Jesus! Grace is a person and His name is Jesus.