Who wants the Charis experience to affect future generations? Ben and Joy Johnson do! Right after Ben and Joy got married, Joy developed multiple sclerosis and, soon, was in a wheelchair. Although Ben had been a pastor and Joy had been a missionary to Hong Kong before...
Grace, Faith, and Religion
Andrew joined Jesse Duplantis and Jefferson Bethke in a recent interview on TBN’s Praise the Lord program for a spirited and powerful discussion on grace, faith, and religion in the church. Hosted by Matt and Laurie Crouch, the show brought together multiple generations to address a subject that has often caused division among believers.
“There [is] a faith camp and a grace camp, and sometimes they don’t see eye to eye,” Matt began.Each guest agreed that there has been a misunderstanding among believers about what faith and grace actually mean. While some see grace as an excuse to sin, others view faith as taking human credit for God’s work. The panel agreed that faith and grace should work together, and each shared their individual perspectives. Andrew relayed his journey in “living in the balance of grace and faith,” which is also the title of one of his teachings.
“I had experienced grace in a supernatural way. It was wonderful, but it ruined my theology,” he admitted.Andrew continued by explaining that this led to a problem in his walk: When he leaned so much on grace, he didn’t balance it with faith. Ephesians 2:8 says,
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (New International Version).Andrew compared grace and faith to sodium and chlorine. Sodium or chlorine consumed alone are poisonous and will kill a person. But when they’re combined into the compound sodium chloride—table salt—it is stable, safe, and necessary to life. He went on to say that in the same way, grace to the exclusion of faith—and vice versa—is harmful to our relationship with the Lord. But when combined, they are as necessary to one’s spiritual life as sodium chloride is to physical life. Jefferson Bethke, a twenty-something Christian evangelist who is trying to encourage his generation to take a new approach to faith, prompted a discussion about the spirit of religion. Andrew offered this insight:
“Religion is the work of man; grace and faith are the work of God. A lot of people think that sin is what separates us from God. God has already forgiven us for all sin—past, present, and even sins we will commit in the future.”Andrew added that grace does not excuse sin, nor does faith make grace irrelevant. He said that religion distorts truth, while relationship embraces and encourages right living.
“Religion teaches that faith is what you have to do to get God to bless you. But grace and faith have to work together. It’s a combination of God and me. Grace is what God has supplied, and faith is your positive response to what He has already done.”Andrew showed how you can end up in wrong thinking when the two don’t work together.
“If you say, ‘My faith did this,’ then you aren’t understanding the grace of God. On the other hand, if you say ‘It’s just up to God. It doesn’t matter what I do,’ that won’t work either.”After a lively multigenerational discussion, the age gap was only evident when the conversation moved to social media. Andrew and Jesse, both in their sixties, shared wisdom on the issue of grace and faith, and Jefferson suggested to both of them,
“You should really tweet some of this. It’s really tweetable stuff.”The two older men looked at each other, shrugged, and then laughed. No matter your age or what “camp” you started in, this discussion about grace mixed with faith will help you develop spiritual maturity and true relationship with God.
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