BY ANTHONY PORTILLO
There’s a lot of talk about “Hyper-Grace” and the supposed dangers of preaching too much grace. The supposed danger of this message is that it gives people a license to sin and get away with it. I’d like to suggest that there is no kind of grace but “Hyper-Grace” and it has nothing to do with giving license to sin, but everything to do with setting captives free!
If you’ve followed my writing or heard my testimony, you probably have some background on where I come from. If not, (Shameless Plug) you can read it here in my book Sink or Swim http://goo.gl/UsxldI. Long story short, I discovered heroin at the age of 13 and maintained an active relationship with it for the better part of a decade and a half. It led me to rehabs, mental hospitals, and prison. When I first had an actual encounter with grace, I was in a prison cafeteria wearing a yellow jumpsuit serving a one-year sentence for my 3rd DUI in 2 years.
That day, I experienced something I had never experienced before. Acceptance, love, and forgiveness. A junkie kid who couldn’t care less about himself or others. A drug dealer, a hustler, a con artist, I was called a lot of things but a child of God wasn’t one of them. Forgiveness wasn’t something I had a grid for nor was freedom. I was a slave! A slave to addiction, a slave to my own devices, a slave to my emotions. But in that moment I felt free.
You see, the only kind of grace I know is “Hyper-Grace”! Grace extended to a sinner like me, a willing participant in the destruction of lives, not just my own but others.
What do you suppose was my response to that experience? Would experiencing the grace of God in the way that I did make me feel like God was okay with how I was living? Did God just give me permission to sin all I wanted with the assurance that grace abounds where sin abounds? NO! Actually, the response was quite the opposite!
Paul, the apostle, told the Galatian church “it’s for freedom that Christ has set us free”. That freedom wasn’t freedom TO sin, it was freedom FROM sin! It wasn’t a license to do whatever we wanted and get away with it, it was a promise that if we do make a mistake that mistake no longer defines who we are. No longer are we slaves but we are free! Sin doesn’t have us in bondage anymore and that is good news! Does that mean we will always get it right? Of course not! We won’t always get it right but when we slip, grace meets us there.
When we experience the freedom found in the love of God, it doesn’t cause us to sin on purpose. It shows us how valuable we are to God that He would make provision for forgiveness before the sin even entered our mind. There is not a sin that you’ve committed or will commit that isn’t forgiven. When we understand how valuable we are to God, we will see value in ourselves and we will begin to take ownership of our freedom in Christ.
When we value ourselves and our relationship with the LORD we won’t seek to find loopholes to do what we want. We will desire to honor that relationship in all that we do and sin will decrease and decrease. That is freedom! Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed! Live free today!
Anthony had a 15 year love affair with heroin addiction and spent time in prison, but an encounter with God, one night, radically changed his life. Since that evening Anthony has had a desire and passion to serve the LORD and spread the Gospel of the Kingdom wherever he goes. Using Biblical insight, his experience, and street knowledge, he is able to reach people in the darker places of society. Anthony and his wife Tanya currently serve as Senior Leaders of Thrive Church and is the co-host of The Alliance Podcast. He is a gifted preacher and teacher with a desire is to build people up into their destinies, living a supernatural lifestyle, and manifesting the Kingdom of God in their everyday lives. You can connect with him personally or learn more about his ministry and his book at anthonyportillo.org.
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