The Age of Grace?

“The age of grace” has been used to label the current age. The main reason for this title is that God does not appear to be judging sin. The ground hasn’t opened up and swallowed people, fiery serpents are hibernating, multitudes of frogs have not shown up on heathen lands, nor have there been any world-wide floods.

We take this to mean that God isn’t bugged by sin as much anymore. Things changed after the cross. “Before the cross sin was punished; after the cross God doesn’t punish sin because Christ took the punishment,” so goes the argument. So we have the notion that we’re “getting away with sin” due to Christ’s intercession. Thus, we are in “the age of grace.”

Allow me to present an argument against this label.

God’s opinion of sin has not changed since the cross. God does not abhor sin less because of the cross. Nor has His mind changed on whether sin needs judging. Rather than showing grace by “letting us get away with sin,” God is showing that He is fed up with humanity.

We’ve spent thousands of years going against what He said, ignoring His warnings, and telling Him that we know better. Then we killed His Son! We’re better than Christ, we don’t really need Him. God has given up on us. He’s handed us over to what we’ve always desired.

Romans 1 lays this out. God gave us up to a reprobate mind. If you want to know God, He’s been revealing Himself since creation. It’s there, you can’t miss it. Instead, we worship creation, we love our Mother Earth and animals are our cousins. He gave humanity over to a reprobate mind, allowed us to do all the junk we’ve always desired. I can see God in heaven throwing His hands up and turning away, “Fine. Whatever. You guys know so much, go for it. See you on judgment day.”

Indeed, that’s what Paul says next in Romans 2. As we are “getting away” with our sin, enjoying it and enjoying others getting away with it, Paul explains what we’re really doing, “after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”

No, God is not presently judging all sin. He’s not stopping us, you can get away with some stuff. But you will not get away with it forever. You may get away with your adultery, your pride, your coveting, your bad attitude and ungrateful whining for now, but you are heaping up for yourself wrath for the day of judgment.

When God wiped out sinners in the OT their sin was done. Dead people can’t pile up more wrath. God was actually saving them from more wrath at the day of judgment. Observe Matthew 10:15 and similar verses. It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha than it will be for people who refuse to be nice to Christ’s followers. Why? Because the people in Sodom died and couldn’t continue to rebel! People who reject Christ’s followers will continue to pile up wrath.

Not being wiped out in judgment is not necessarily a sign of grace! It may be a sign that God wants you to pile up more judgment so He can really nail you for eternity.

“The age of grace” gives an altogether wrong idea of our day. This is the age of God’s indifference. It‘s not that He can‘t save, it‘s that He gave us up. God is very much aware of your sin, it disgusts Him as much now as it ever did and we will get the wrath it deserves if we do not flee to Jesus Christ, our slain Lamb, who took the wrath of God upon Himself. There is a distinction between God’s grace and God giving up.

32 thoughts on “The Age of Grace?”

  1. At the end of days will stand before God with our sin, or the one who took our sin upon Himself. God has shown Himself merciful to those who seek mercy. But He will judge those who have harden their hearts, and have choose not to repent

  2. I always thought that it was called the dispensation of grace based on Ephesians 3:1-2:

    1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—
    2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,

    I do agree about how people like to twist scripture to excuse their own evil.

  3. Nice refutation Glenn! I was not entirely pleased with my explanation in this post. My point is more toward people’s misapplication of Grace rather than removing the title. I Sort of mixed my points or some such.

  4. Why does Paul teach that God will give eternal life according to our deeds in Romans 2?

  5. Every judgment in the Bible is based on works so Paul is merely agreeing with the rest of the Bible. A man of faith is created in Christ Jesus to do good works. On judgment day every man will receive the reward for the deeds done in his body. Men of faith patiently continue in well doing and receive eternal life. Unbelieving men are contentious and do not obey the truth and get tribulation and anguish.

  6. What is the role of grace in the context of Romans 2 and eternal life being the reward of deed?

  7. What is the role of grace in the context of Romans 2 and eternal life being the reward of deeds?

  8. For by grace are you saved through faith. . .created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Without faith it is impossible to please Him.

  9. Paul says God will give eternal life according to our deeds. Sounds like you are saying good deeds are the result of eternal life already obtained.

  10. Yep, until you get to Romans 3.

    Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight. . . Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe. . . Being justified freely by his grace. . . Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. . . Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

    Faith comes first, works follow, judgment looks at what man can see so every mouth is stopped, the man of faith pleases God, has works that pass the judgment and receives eternal life because those deeds are present because those deeds prove faith is there. Deeds without faith cannot please God. Faith without deeds cannot please God.

  11. I am with you all the way until you say deeds merely prove saving faith. Paul and James are very clear that works play a role in our justification, though not apart from faith and grace.

    There is a paradox to the salvation message. Faith, grace, the Spirit, the human will, and works are mixed together to produce the merit Paul mentions in Romans 2. When merit is misunderstood, man will find himself on one of 2 deceptively deadly paths. On the first path we find the individual who“trusts” so much in the “finished” work of Christ that he believes God expects nothing more from him then a mental agreement. In Matthew 7 we see how Jesus will deal with this group. The 2nd path is traveled by people who reject the thought of needing a savior and believe they can merit eternal life by living a good life or by religious rituals.
    Scripture as a whole speaks to theses 2 paths that make up the 1 broad road, and provides the solution to the paradox. The answer to this apparent contradiction is grace, and the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. This act is God’s own initiative, and then man’s free will can cooperate, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful Christian. Man’s merit is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit. Without Christ and without grace we can do absolutely nothing. In him and with grace we can do all things! This truth reconciles the paradox of Romans 2 and James 2 (saved by works) and Romans 4 (saved by faith).
    No one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. This is absolutely critical to understand! Once we have been forgiven and adopted into God’s family, empowered by the Holy Spirit and motivated by love, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life.

    Grace & Peace to you

  12. Well Chris, I think we both know I’m not Catholic and I pretty much consider the meriting grace for self and others to be along the lines of heresy. However, you are free to air your view, which you did.

  13. Don’t you ask God to give your non believing friends and family the grace to be converted and see the truth? Don’t you ask God for an increase of grace in your own life? God gives grace to the humble. The more we humble ourselves the more grace we receive to say no to sin and live godly lives (Titus 2:11). I assume you fast regularly and teach your flock to do the same. What is the reason? For an increase of grace, for ourselves and for those we are praying for!

  14. For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? We are debtors; God never is.

  15. There is an immeasurable inequality between God and man. God owes man absolutely nothing, and in ourselves we can do nothing to earn anything from God. However, by God’s own initiative, He chooses to repay or reward us. Jesus makes this clear by teaching us how to pray, fast, and give alms so we will receive our “reward” from God. Imagine Bill Gates takes an uneducated homeless man off the street, cleans him up, trains him and give him a high paying job at Microsoft. The man works hard and is promoted and receives a higher income. Did he earn it? Yes, but only by Gates initiative. He owes everything to Gates. We owe everything to God, yet He chooses to allow us to “earn” an increase in grace from Him. We pray and fast for an increase in grace for ourselves and others. Why do you reject this idea?

  16. The problem is not whether God rewards obedience, He does. He rewards those who diligently seek Him and do His will. No problem there.

    Jesus said if you do alms, pray and fast as He instructed the Father will reward you openly. He did not say the Father will give you grace. To me you are mixing terms, perhaps it’s semantics, but I don’t think so. A reward and grace are two different ideas and terms.

    In your illustration Bill Gates increases the man’s wages and wages are not grace. Bill Gates did not show him grace, he showed him a wage. It was Gates’ initial showing of grace that allows the man to enter a way of life that holds out reward for service. If the man did not do what Gates said, the man would not receive reward as the gracious offer had been rejected.

    God’s grace has already abounded to all who believe, you can’t make it abound more and this abundant grace produces abundant works. THis is God’s doing, HE is able to make grace abound, not me. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.

  17. Your lack of training in Greek is limiting your understanding of what grace is and it’s effect on humanity.. Grace abounds in some and is lacking in others. Study grace in the context of Luke.

  18. If grace abounds equally in all believers, why do we not live out the effects of grace equally? (Titus 2)

  19. I can’t imagine you know of my Greek training! I don’t see how Luke’s use of grace causes a problem at all. Luke 17:7-10 in fact seems to say that a guy does not receive grace for doing what he was told to do.

    Luke 6 speaks of it and says there is no grace to the man who does stuff that heathens do, but then uses the word “reward” to talk about the reward for the man who does what God says. “Reward” is also translated “wages” in several other passages.

    As to Titus 2, people don’t live the effects equally because many are busy trying to “get it” instead of using it already. Doing humanly devised works rather than spirit devised works. The lack of service is not a fault with God or His provision but always with the inadequacy of the human involved. Not all men submit to sound doctrine.

  20. Is there a difference between grace and mercy? Seems you have collapsed the 2 into 1. If not, can you please explain the difference between the grace and mercy?

  21. Chris. Seriously. That’s enough. I’ve given you time once again. The conversation has devolved into what it always does. I will never say anything right, I am not educated enough, question after question with no progression, etc. Fine. Once again, at a certain point, I’m not interested in endless arguing over words. I’m not Catholic. Never will be. I’m OK with that and I’m begging you to be as well. If you have a point, make it and we’ll be done with it.

  22. For someone who posts his opinions the way you do, you have thin skin when people push you to defend you position. You have not answered a simple question, yet you act as though you have answered it 1000 times. We disagree on the meaning of grace. I am sincerely interested in how you define it. I promise not to argue, tell you’re wrong and uneducated. I also promise not to tell you what I have been taught it means.

  23. It has very little to do with the depth of my skin. I’ve answered your questions, even bypassed the belittling comments I’ve received over the past months from you and yet I still converse with you. My problem is that it never ends. There’s never a point. I don’t mind arguing if there is a point. But there is never a point, just more questions and soon I have no idea what we’re even talking about or why. I’m not offended or angry, just tired of it. You had ample opportunity to make a point. Again, go ahead and state your point, the one you began with, so I at least feel like something happened with the time I’ve put in here. For the record, grace means acceptance, being precious, to show gratitude for. God showed this to us despite our sin, we show it to others by showing them the same attitude.

  24. Thanks for providing your definition of grace. As promised, I will not argue. Is there a specific verse that provides this definition, or is it based on your overall reading of texts mentioning grace?

  25. This is the way the word is translated and used. Ephesians 1:6 grace makes people accepted. 1 Peter 1:20 grace menas acceptance. 2 Corinthians 2:14 grace is thanks, also in many other places. Certainly favor is used all over. Grace has many meanings, no single english word wraps it all up. If the Bible does not mean what it says when it says it then all bets are off.

    I will not be spending any more time or energy responding to your questions. As I said, there is no point for me to nor do you ever wrap it up. If you have a point, please state it.

  26. Would you also include strength, power, or ability as a definition of grace? Paul references grace in this way. This speaks to my point about different “levels” of grace.

  27. I’d like to make a few observations on the actual subject of the original thought:

    1. Perhaps when we consider how God acted in the Old Testament times, with how He acts in the New Testament times, we tend to forget that the Old Testament period was twice as long. 1600 years to the flood. That’s almost as long as the time from the cross to now. God endured the wickedness of that long-lived generation for 1600 years without any apparent judgments. Approximately 200 years that the children of Israel were slaves in Egypt…no judgments during that time. 450 years from the time of the rebuilding of the temple to the time of Christ’s appearance…no recorded judgments during that time.

    2. The second thing to consider is that there have been judgments handed out during the New Testament times, but since they are not explicitly recorded in the Bible as history, they are easily overlooked.

    Yet the book of Revelation makes reference to them in the seven trumpets, which are said to come in answer to the prayers of the saints (Rev. 8:1-5). My interpretation is strongly based on the Protestant historical method.

    I take the first four trumpets to be judgments on Pagan Rome, because of her persecutions against Christ and His followers, and her sins. These judgments were the attacks by the barbarian tribes of northern Europe, and they were quite terrible.

    The next two trumpets I take to mean the judgments against Papal Rome for her persecution against the saints and the Bible. These judgments were fulfilled by the inroads of the Mohammedan and Turkish powers into Eastern Europe. God used these scourges to distract the Papacy when she was ready to crush the Reformation…suddenly the Turkish powers were attacking the Eastern borders of Europe, and the emperor had to divert his attention away from the Reformation to fight this threat.

    Also, the sixth trumpet includes the rise of Atheism in France during the French Revolution, which was a terrible blow to the Papacy, removing from her the nation that had been foremost in her support from the beginning.

    The seventh trumpet is a judgment against Babylon the Great and hasn’t happened yet. It includes the 7 last plagues, which will be far worse than any judgments yet handed out (excepting perhaps the flood) because they will cover much more area, and because they will be unmingled with mercy.

    The Lord is still a “man of war”. Believe it.

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