Preach the gospel; not legalism, not hyper-grace

My first week of work in Fairfield Methodist Secondary School as a Christian Ministry Staff has flown by in a flash! It’s been crazy busy but fruitful. On Friday, I had the opportunity to share why the Bible is God’s Word with two girls and encouraged them to read the Bible for themselves. I was particularly gratified when one of them said something like, “You say like that, I understand.”

Later that night, one of them asked me another question, “Why did God have to die for us, did He do something wrong?” Open doors for conversation. But something bothered me. Here was a girl who had been in the school for 3 years, attending chapel, and had no concept of some of the most basic Christian doctrine.

I’ve had one week in school and perhaps it’s too early to make a fair judgment, but it seems to me that Christian virtues are being highlighted without the equivalent emphasis on the gospel. The danger is legalism, an external obedience without the necessary change of heart.

I was glad to step into church today and be reminded of God’s grace in the sermon, and yet be warned against the danger of hyper-grace. Since this post is not about hyper-grace mainly, you would have to do your own homework. Suffice to say this: some of these texts (which I read recently in my quiet time), you’ll never hear in a hyper-grace church…

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God…” 1 Peter 4:17 – because the errant belief is God never judges His own people.

“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will…” 1 Peter 4:19 – because the errant belief it is never God’s will for His people to suffer (failing to recognise the difference between God’s moral will and God’s sovereign/permissive will).

But what hyper-grace teachers do get right is this: legalism (obedience without conversion) is not Christianity. The solution is the gospel… good news! And people desperately need to hear the gospel.

God has been speaking recently to me that my focus is preaching the gospel. Now that I’m here at FMSS, I begin to see why. May He grant me grace to be faithful to His calling.

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