Extreme Grace, Extreme Love, and Angry Jesus

Jesus vsI know a guy who loves the grace of God. Several years ago he started to preach about God’s extreme grace. He started to tell people that God’s grace covers absolutely EVERY wrong thing they could ever do, and that the love of Christ is more powerful than ANYTHING.

Church people can get pretty uncomfortable with this message of extreme grace. It seems that we do not like to conceive of a God who does not hold anything against us. This idea is a little too risky.

Eventually my friend was not welcome in most churches.

I have heard this same story over and over. A person begins to understand the the love and grace of God to be truly unconditional, and they are quickly and unconditionally rejected by the Christian establishment. It seems that we often like our Jesus to be just a little bit resentful. We don’t want Him to be too quick to extend acceptance. It seems that we like conditional Jesus.

Many believe that there is a danger in talking about the love of God too much. We might tempt people into thinking that God accepts them despite their bad behavior. We might cause people to think that they don’t have to be afraid of God. We might allow people to lose sight of the “wrath” of God. We end up preaching a “balanced” message. We make sure to balance the message of God’s love with His abhorrence of sin. We balance the message of God’s acceptance with His judgement. We balance the message of God’s grace with the idea of the God who demands holiness.

Perhaps, though, we should lose sight of those attributes of God that actually drive many people away from Him. Perhaps they are not true. Perhaps God actually is a being of extreme grace, extreme love, extreme forgiveness, extreme acceptance. Perhaps God is better than we imagined.

The gospel is not balanced news. It is better news.

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