Some within the hyper grace movement have attempted to defend their position by claiming that the apostle Paul describes grace as “hyper”. In taking this position, they often reference Romans 5:20
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. ~ Romans 5:20
When Paul speaks of grace abounding, his intention is not that of the modern day “hyper grace” message, which promotes a view of grace abounding with doctrinal error. The apostle John tells us that Jesus was full of grace and truth, and of his fullness (grace and truth) we have received grace upon grace.
The grace of God does not abound with error. It abounds with truth!
The actual meaning of “abound” is “super abundant”, and Paul is making a clear distinction about God’s grace being super abundant in contrast to the effects of sin on humanity. Regardless of how many sinners need forgiveness God’s abundant grace is able to reach all sinners with salvation. God’s saving grace in Christ Jesus, never runs dry.
Paul is not teaching that God’s grace absolves Christians of any responsibility to live godly and walk in obedience. The very fact that God in his grace has reached out to save us from our sins, ought to teach us that God doesn’t want us to live in sin.
Paul clarifies his position regarding the abundant grace of God just two verses later by saying, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? ~ Romans 6:1-2
A popular text that is often quoted by those who embrace “hyper grace” teachings is found in Romans 6:14 where the idea of servitude and obedience are sometimes read into the word “law”.
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” ~ Romans 6:14
The call to obedience and godly living is not law. It is instead the very freedom that the grace of God has purchased for us through the blood of Christ. Because of Christ, we are not under “the law” but under grace.
Notice that Paul says, “the law” rather than law. The idea that Christians have no law to live by is error. When Paul declares that we are not under “the law” he is referring to the Law of Moses as was given to the children of Israel.
When the New Testament speaks of our not being under the law, because of our union with Christ, it is referring to the law covenant which separated Israel from all other nations. It is not referring to one being a “free willy” (doing as one pleases with no regard for the consequences that may occur). As those that have been saved by grace, we have a mandate upon our lives to live godly and holy.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. ~ Titus 2:11-15
Consider the following from the text above:
- Saving grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and wordily lusts.
- Saving grace teaches us to live soberly, righteously, and godly.
- Saving grace teaches us to do these is anticipation of the coming of Christ.
- Jesus gave himself for us to purify us to be zealous for good works.
- These things about grace are to be instructed with all authority.
It is unfortunate that there are people who take a truth like grace and read their own thoughts into a text while ignoring other texts which disqualify such notions. Attempting to qualify the errors within the hyper grace movement by claiming that Paul referred to grace as “super abundant” is a far stretch from the truth.
Whenever a doctrine is based on taking isolated words, phrases, or singling out certain texts while ignoring the volume of other scriptural texts, error quickly ensues. A good example of this is the very loose interpretation of Romans 6:14 cited above: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace”. Yet if those who interpret this text as meaning complete freedom from any obligation would simply read the next verse (or even the entirety of the chapter) it wouldn’t take much to understand that they have misunderstood Paul’s intentions in verse 14. Consider verses 15 & 16
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? ~ Romans 6:15-16
The entire theology of hyper grace can be refuted by these two verses, which by the way is Paul’s clarification of what he has said in verse 14. God’s super abundant grace is not super abundant in leading us into no obligation to obedience, and godliness.
On the contrary, God’s grace is superabundant in saving us from our sins and leading us into holiness by godly living and obedience to righteous.
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ Romans 6:17-23