Tullian, Grace, and the New Life in Christ
Pastor Tullian Tchividjian of Florida (the grandson of Billy Graham) was removed from another pastorate following revelations that he had had another affair.
Yes, another pastor who has fallen into disfavor because of an affair.
Let us not mince words about the truth:
1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (1 Timothy 3: 1-7)
Tullian no longer has a good report with the world in regards to his behaviors.
Does this exposure make light of the Gospel? Does his failure diminish the Gospel of grace?
Let us recall Tullian’s mission:
“In an announcement last month, the Liberate board said they had relaunched the ministry “whose mission was to connect God’s inexhaustible grace to an exhausted world through books, conferences, television, radio, social media, and a variety of other mediums.” It was suspended last year after Tchividjian’s troubles began.”
Now, is the Message of God’s Grace at fault? Not at all, for grace is what gives us the power to reject sin!
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2: 11-14)
Grace is never an excuse for sin! Grace does not produce sin!
So, what’s going on? Tullian was another preacher expounding upon and expanding out the revelation of the Gospel in its fullness: “Through this Man [JESUS!], you are justified from all things!” (Acts 13: 38)
Yes indeed, when Jesus died on the Cross, He declared not just to the whole world, but for all eternity: “All sins are put away.”
Do not take my word for it. Jesus said, and He is our High Priest forever.
John the beloved disciple affirmed this truth about Jesus, not just what He did for us at the Cross, but what He does now and forever:
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation [lit. Mercy Seat] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2: 1-2)
So, once again. What’s going on? Tullian is preaching about the grace of God, and yet he sinned.
Some of Tullian’s own testimony will reveal what is going on:
The process of repentance is progressive and painful. It involves ongoing confession, not just of what’s going on in my life at the present but what’s happened in my life in the past.
Whoa! We do not confess our sins to be forgiven. There is only one thing that cleanses away our sins: the blood of Jesus.
But … but 1 John 1: 9, critics will charge.
The Apostle John was writing to unbelievers in the first chapter. Consider this passage:
“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:” (1 John 1: 6)
Now, John is not saying that he is walking in darkness. This is an editorial “we”.
Then John writes:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1: 9)
Throughout the Old as well as New Testament, confessions of sins did not relate to itemizing every wrong thing we have done.
Sin is deeper than what we do. It’s about who we are. Are we dead in Adam, or alive in Christ?
For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5: 15-17)<
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