Every so often I will make a decision that leads to someone saying about Tree of Life “I thought this was a grace church!”
Maybe I remove someone from the worship team for sexual immorality, or ask someone not to share a prophetic word that is a bit kooky, or preach a message that challenges people in terms of maybe tithing or loving or world mission.
Then someone says to me “I thought this was a grace church”, meaning I thought anything goes here and I am offended it doesn’t.
So let.me explain and answer. Let me make this every clear: Tree of Life Church is not a grace church. We are not founded on grace and our cultural pillars do not mention the word grace.
Let me explain before you share that all over Facebook with “I knew it”… Tree of Life Church is a Word church. Our foundation is the Word of God. Our first cultural pillar is FULL OF THE WORD.
So, we are a grace church, because grace is in the Word and we are full of the Word so we are full of grace. I wouldn’t know grace if I didn’t know it from the Word.
But here is the big thing: when you are a Word church, your definition of grace comes from the Word. Your grace is balanced and healthy because it comes from the Word. When what you think about grace contradicts the Word you change your opinions on grace, not the Word.
That is what it truly means to be a grace church, to be full of the Word.
The same Bible that says “we are saved by grace through faith, not of works” also says “I beseech you by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice”.
The same Bible that lets us know the.depth of Christ’s unconditional love for the church is the same Bible in which Paul commands the church to walk worthy, instructs Timothy to forbid elders from teaching nonsense, in which there are clear character requirements for leaders.
Let’s be a grace church, but only the pure grace of the Word of God, not some unbiblical substitute because we only know two Scriptures and mistakenly think grace means anarchy!
Let’s be a grace church, where we teach boldly that the grace of God through Christ and His redemptive sacrifice are available freely to all men. But let’s also teach boldly that this grace teaches us to deny ungodly lusts.
Let’s declare that to all who believe are saved, but let’s also declare that those who believe not are condemned.
Let’s leave no one in doubt God loves them. But let’s leave no one in doubt what an appropriate response to that love is.
Let’s inspire people to dream, but let’s challenge them to make the choices that mean they can live those dreams!
I thought this was a grace church – no, we are something so much more: a Word church!