It has become popular for many churches today to preach what I and others have come to call “the false gospel of false grace”, which says, in essence, “come as you are to the feet of Jesus, receive grace and forgiveness of your sins” and nothing else. Seldom if ever is repentance or holiness mentioned, all we hear is “the grace and love of Jesus” – all you have to do is to “accept Jesus” and your sins are automatically forgiven.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Those who preach such false gospel are sadly wrong, and sadder still are misleading their congregations into believing that once they profess a belief in Jesus that they are saved, they need do nothing else.
I can’t tell you just how wrong this is. Jesus himself was quite clear. Again and again in the New Testament the theme of repentance, of turning away from sin, is both necessary and required!
I guess we need to define our terms first – belief is “the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.” It seems to me that if you believed in something that you would act in accordance with those beliefs, wouldn’t you? If you believed in Jesus, that means you believe in his teachings, right? And if you believed in his teachings you would do what he said to do, wouldn’t you? And didn’t he say to forgive your brother for his sins, to repent of your sins and turn away from them, and to lead holy lives? I can’t find anywhere in the Bible where it says that you are automatically forgiven of sin without repenting of that sin – quite the opposite, in fact! But there are churches that teach that doctrine by omitting the necessity of repentance. You don’t get a “get out of jail free” card just because you profess a belief in Christ – you have to act on that belief!
As for the “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven” folks, I would just say that if you think you will always be forgiven, no matter what you do, you are mistaken – in fact, God will reinstate formerly forgiven sin. Salvation is not a license to sin at will!
God has sent many, many warnings to pastors, teachers, and evangelists, to stop sinning while at the same time preaching from the pulpit – to stop blaming God because their ministries aren’t where they think they should be or because someone they prayed for and laid hands on died or because the offering wasn’t what was expected, to stop chasing money and possessions and bigger congregations instead of seeking God, to stop committing adultery, to stop cheating people, to stop pretending that they are without sin, and a whole host of other sins.
What does it hurt to preach righteousness? If you’re wrong and God is much more lax than what is presented here, you haven’t really lost anything, and gained a great deal. If, on the other hand, God is exactly how he is presented here, then by being less righteous, you may be “saved”, but you certainly won’t go to heaven – certainly a less-than desirable outcome for your life, to say the least!