The Pendulum Swings

21 Nov 2013 by Lim Poh Ann-


What happens when one truth—grace—is given overwhelming emphasis at the expense of other equally significant truths?
Being sinners, we all need grace. In fact, lots of grace. No right thinking believer questions the need for grace—before or after conversion.
And what's positive about a teaching which emphasises grace is that it has welcomed with open arms many sinners into church. Many deemed and judged as “spiritual misfits” by a legalistic church would otherwise be unreached.
However, the danger is when the pendulum swings too much to one side—when grace is overemphasised at the expense of other equally significant truths.
Harbouring an image of God that is agreeable and attractive—that He is always gracious, loving, merciful—has its dangers.
A wrong picture of God may have deadly consequences. Thinking erroneously that He is always meek and mild may prove disastrous when we’re confronted by God the judge at the end of our life journey or when Christ returns (Hebrews 9:27, 1 Peter 4:7, 17). 
Rightfully, the pendulum should swing back and forth. On one side, God’s love and mercy and on the other: His justice and righteousness.
Right through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, these two contrasting aspects of God’s character are juxtaposed against one another.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you (Psalm 89:14).
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 103:8).
This truth is reinforced in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. But He is also a holy God who cannot tolerate sin. And there is a limit to His tolerance for sin for He is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29, 1 Corinthians 10: 6-12).
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
God requires of us righteous living; we will be judged on the basis of the truth in His Word. Having His grace on our side does not mean we can violate the laws He has laid out in the Ten Commandments.

Jesus told the woman caught in the act of adultery: “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:3-11).

Overemphasis on grace leads to the following assumptions.  Do check out for yourselves whether the following premises in red are valid:
  • Once we are saved, we will remain saved (OSAS, once saved always saved, eternal security).
  • All our future sins are forgiven at conversion.
  • There is no need to confess sin as we merely need to rest in the imputed righteousness of Christ.
  • We can afford to banish sin consciousness from our lives as the sin issue is a thing of the past, being settled once and for all when we believed in Jesus.
  • Repentance is merely changing our way of thinking
By examining the whole Bible, we do not dwell on half-truths or emphasise one truth at the expense of another equally fundamental truth (Acts 20:27). It is wise not to “cherry pick”.

So let us dwell on the whole counsel of God, not half-truths. Because truth has wings. 

Love and mercy are important attributes of God. But He is also a God of justice and righteousness. 









How can we be positive about disagreement?


Note: Dr Lim Poh Ann is a medical practitioner. He was the former editor of Asian Beacon magazine (December 2008 – October 2011).

Porridge For The Soul By Dr Lim Poh Ann


Disclaimer: The views or opinions expressed by the columnists are solely their own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Christianity 


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