But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.
(Psalm 130:4 AKJV)
There is a lot of fear in the Body of Christ and I have personally been influenced into error because of it.
In one camp, you’ll find a group of people who see Christians slipping into worldliness through what they refer to as “greasy grace”. They are burdened with a desire to see people walk in holiness, flee sin, and shun evil. They hear the message of grace and sometimes wince, fearing that it will lead to more ungodliness. Their burden is a right, biblical burden, but their approach of minimizing grace is risky ground (see Galatians).
In another camp, you’ll find a group of people who absolutely magnify mercy and see Christians who are in many ways still stuck under the weight of the Law. This group is burdened to see people walk in the freedom of God’s grace and be released from all condemnation and oppression. They hear messages about the “conviction” of the Holy Spirit or fighting for holiness and purity and often wince, fearing that it will lead to more condemnation and bondage. Their burden is a right, biblical burden, but their approach is also often risky ground that brushes off sinful behavior to the detriment of people (see Jude).
I have personally tended to veer more toward the second group – having been set free from heavy tons of unnecessary guilt and shame. However, my reaction to the problem has caused me to hold back at times on the importance of fighting hard against sin out of fear that it would bring legalism and/or feelings of condemnation. It can be easy to see the blunder in the opposite camp, but both fear-filled reactions are equally erroneous. If we tend toward either, we are ultimately walking in our own strength to try to prevent something we know to be contrary to the heart of God.
This verse sums it up well. There is forgiveness with God that He may be feared. We don’t have to fear abundant forgiveness, because it causes the fear that we desire. When we really receive forgiveness through Jesus, the Holy Spirit of grace comes to live in us. I said Holy Spirit.
Holiness and grace cannot be separated. In the same way you can’t separate Jesus from the Word, which brings us to the other camp directive. We don’t have to fear being honest about sin’s grievous effects or pointing to wholesome living found in the Word.
If we minimize sin, we cheapen the gift of grace. If we minimize grace, we diminish the work of Jesus. Satan loves both. Let’s just choose to trust God for prevention and protection as we persevere in prayer and boldly exalt that sweet spot of grace and truth together, amen?
Recommended: United for Truth