In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve went through various processes in attempt to deal with the shame of their sin. They first grabbed for the fig leaves to cover themselves, something we still do when we try to deal with shame in our own human strength. One of the manifestations of our human effort to deal with shame is modern hyper-grace teaching.
It goes like this: The grace of God has removed all law; as a result, Christians can't sin. No matter what you do, you are already forgiven; therefore, don't even be conscious of sin. They teach that the Holy Spirit never convicts a Christian of sin and that Christians, once born again, never need to repent.
This teaching redefines biblical grace simply to keep people from feeling shame. Just like in the garden, it will never work. These teachings actually hinder saints from doing the only thing that can defeat shame, which is looking unto Jesus. The Word tells us to "strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14, AMPC). And it says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).
Repentance is required when we sin. Our efforts to remove the pain of shame by denying we have sinned or have any need for continual repentance is doomed to produce the opposite of freedom over time. Instead of truly producing a freedom from shame it will only drive people further and further from the true holy presence of God and His Word preached by His anointed servants.
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (1 John 1:8-10).
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Just meditate on that for a moment. There are those who try to claim that John was not talking to the saved in 1 John 1, but this is false. They claim this because their false grace message collapses under the weight of this truth.
I remember when I was teaching on true and false grace in my church. As I read quotes from one of the leading voices of this hyper-grace message, the congregation was in shock at what he was teaching. However, when I then told the church his name everything changed. Seventy-five people left my church that day. They had been watching this preacher on TV, and his messages made them feel so good. They believed falsely that this message was going to once and for all alleviant them of their shame and condemnation, but that just isn't true.
The problem is this false grace message will not stand when the glory of God returns to the church. Just like in the Garden of Eden when the Lord came to Adam and Eve in the "Spirit of the day," we too will discover that our fig leaves don't work, and we will be faced with the reality of our nakedness.
One of the most difficult parts of our Christian experience is knowing what to do when those who have been redeemed, delivered, miraculously set free and living radically for God fall majorly back into their old life. The shame of such a "fall from grace" can be so overwhelming that it can keep them from ever returning to Christ. How we see shame, deal with it, and help others overcome it will be the difference between eternal life and eternal judgment for some. In my experience, shame has kept more people who have fallen from returning to Christ and the church than any other single issue.
I have seen many such cases through my more than 35 years in ministry. I remember one extreme case in which a young man had been miraculously delivered from heroin addiction and two years later fell into crack cocaine addiction. I went into intensive prayer for him, and he returned repentant just five minutes after I prayed. The next day, after I spent hours more in prayer, the Lord told me to call him, even though I was overseas at the time.
The Lord told me to tell him that he was totally restored. As I spoke this to him over the phone, he responded with disbelief. He was truly repentant but filled with shame, fully expecting to be kicked out of the Christian home in which he was living. He had always been rejected by his family, and now he had failed this Christian family who had accepted him into their home as a son. However, this family didn't kick him out but instead forgave and restored him.
I was personally involved in his restoration process, and when I prophesied over him that he was fully restored, it took a while for him to accept it. When I got off the phone, the Lord spoke to me, saying: "Do you want to know why I fully restore when someone returns to me? This is how I defeat Satan. Satan will take sometimes years to tear a life away from me, but I will restore in an instant. I never make people crawl their way back. The second reason I fully and instantly restore them is because if I don't, they are vulnerable to the enemy's attacks. I fully restore to defeat Satan and to protect my people from Satan."
Even though God may have truly delivered and redeemed a person, they can always fall away. We live in a fallen world with many temptations and demonic strategies. No matter how high we climb, no matter how powerful in the spirit we are, no matter how many gifts of the Spirit flow through us, we are always vulnerable to fall again. When we get our eyes off Jesus, even for a little bit, the dung of the world can begin to consume us.
He fixed you once, but then you failed. Return to Jesus. Confess your sins. Be fully restored. Walk free from shame, for His blood removes all shame. Get your eyes on Jesus. He is closer than you think.
The preceding is an excerpt from chapter 6 of Steve Foss' book, Satan's Big Fat Lie (Charisma House, 2022). For more information or to order the book, visit charismahouse.com.
Steve Foss has traveled the nations of the world for over 30 years. He has trained hundreds of thousands of pastors and leaders in schools of ministry. He has pastored three churches and discipled over 500,000 through his Zadok discipleship course. A senior associate evangelist with Morris Cerullo World Evangelism, a multiple-time guest on Sid Roth's It's Supernatural! TV program, and a best-selling author, Foss is known for powerful revelation and preaching with an explosive display of the supernatural.
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