Why do religious people hate the grace message?
And I mean hate it.
They don’t just think it is wrong, but damnable heresy, and oppose it at every turn.
The Philippians faced that kind of opposition to grace. Paul warned them against legalists he called “the dogs” and “evil workers” (Phil 3:2). They put confidence in the flesh, which, in that context, means their standing under the law. They were comfortable in their own righteousness. By contrast, Paul hoped “to be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith” (Phil 3:9).
Can there be better news than that?
What better news is there that God provides the very righteousness He demands?
Why do so many despise that message of grace?
I’m not the only person to notice this. So did Michael Eaton:
“Religious people do not like a free salvation that comes purely by trust in the faithfulness of Christ. They want a religion of ‘good works,’ salvation by an imitation-Christianity which is a mixture of national religion, ritual and moralism. But such people are opposing the cross of Christ. It is the death of Jesus upon the cross which is our only hope of salvation. The only real ‘good works’ come from faith in Jesus. They are works of faith. They spring up in the lives of those who cling to the blood of Christ as their only hope of salvation” (Eaton, Branch Commentary, p. 766).
When you attack the freeness salvation, you are really attacking the cross because that is what made it possible for salvation to be free. If you reject free salvation, you are really rejecting the sufficiency of Christ’s death to be the complete basis of salvation for any and all who believe. And when you do that, you become an enemy of the cross (cf. Phil 3:18).
Never forget—salvation is free to you because the cross was costly to Jesus.
Send your questions or comments to Shawn.