I've heard a song on the radio A LOT recently. Entitled "Grace Wins," the chorus goes something like this...For the prodigal son, grace wins… For the woman at the well, grace wins… For the blind man and the beggar, grace wins… For always and forever, grace wins… Singing hallelujah, grace wins every time… Every time
Since these are catchy lyrics put to a catchy tune, one can quite easily find him or herself singing right along. I know I did...but then I started to think about the words. "Grace wins every time...every time." Is that really, and iblically, true?
What about Moses begging the Lord to allow him into the Promised Land? God's response, "That's enough! Speak of it no more" and the prophet was denied entry. (See Deuteronomy 3:23-29) That doesn't sound like "grace wins every time."
What about Achan who took what he should not have from Jericho? God's response was to have Joshua condemn Achan, and his entire family, to be stoned. (See Joshua 7:19-26.) Again, is that an example of "grace wins every time"?
Then there is King David. He committed adultery with Bathsheba then killed her husband, Uriah, as part of an elaborate cover up. Though David pleaded for forgiveness, and was forgiven, the son born of his union with Bathsheba died and the Lord promised that the peace would never again be part of David's line. (See 2 Samuel 12). Another example of "grace wins every time"? I think not!
You can also consider Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Both struck dead by the Lord after the Apostle Peter confronts them about lying to the church. Think also of Hymenaeus and Alexander. Of them, the Apostle Paul states in 1 Timothy 1:20, I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God.
And finally, what about Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, pleading with the Father to allow the cup of suffering to pass from Him? Christ came to understand that God’s justice, not grace, must win that time if there were to be any real chance for us to ever have grace.
Picking and choosing to create a theology of God is dangerous. It is nice to dwell on, and sing about, God's love and grace. But He is NOT just full of love and grace, He is also full of truth and justice.
You certainly wouldn’t want to babysit a kid whose parents only ever allowed grace to win. "What’s that? You tried to set the dog on fire little Johnny. Well that’s alright. Let’s go out for some ice-cream."
Any child whose parents are "grace only" would have kids who are spoiled at best or, at worst, end up like the affluenza teen in the news recently—totally immature and unable to deal with the difficulties of life.
When we say God is grace and love only, we develop a mistaken and misshapen theology--one where God does not demand or require anything of us, and we can be and do whatever we want to be and do.
We cannot base our theology on what the culture thinks or on what singers sing, however. Our theology has to be based on the Scripture. Not just parts of Scripture, however. It must be based on ALL of scripture.