Should You Be Careful Not To Abuse Grace? NEVER!

I’m committed to preaching the pure Gospel of grace; that means with no mixture of law. As a result I get the same typical responses of people everywhere I go.

If it's not good news its not the gospel

Once pure grace is preached you hear lots of “buts and brakes,” conditions and qualifications, like “Yes, but you better be careful Bas or people might abuse grace. They might use grace as a license to sin.”

Have you ever heard that before?

Or you hear, “Yes, but be careful to not take grace to far.”

Did you know that to say “You can go to far with grace” is to say “you can go to far with Jesus?”

Jesus is Grace personified.

Grace = Jesus.

Thus to say you can go to far with grace is to say you can go to far with Jesus! Likewise, to say “You better be careful or people might abuse grace” is to say “you better be careful or people might abuse Jesus.” Can you see how ridiculous these “concerns” are?

To be straightforward, all these “buts and brakes” are based on fear-based lies!

The very people who are afraid that grace encourages people to go out and sin show that they have a lack of understanding what grace is and what it does in a person’s life.

When God’s grace really takes hold of us, it does the exact opposite of encouraging sin. It causes us to draw near in love and faith to God, which is where we find a a greater desire to walk in a manner pleasing to Him.

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The Fruit Of Grace In Your Life

So it’s the people with a legalistic mindset that are scared that when you preach the pure grace of God people might go out and commit sin.

They reason is that when you tell people all of theirs sins are forgiven and God loves them whether they behave like Jesus or the devil what is going to motivate them to live a godly lifestyle? What is going to prevent them from living a lifestyle of sin?

Oh, how they underestimate the indwelling Presence of Christ in us!

Gods grace is not a license to sin.

Gods grace is the divine enablement by the life of Christ in us, for us, to be all we’re meant to be and do all we’re called to do.

Grace will not empower you to sin, rather it will empower and motivate you to live a godly lifestyle.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions,and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2:11-12)

Paul is saying that “it” – the grace of God trains us to reject sin and live godly lives” Simply put, Grace has set you free from sin, to not sin.

Grace is not a license to sin but to grin

The Forbidden Toy

The way Grace does this is by changing your focus, it’s sort of like controlling a small child.

Picture this…there is a toy sitting on the table in the middle of a room full of other toys, and the child is sitting on the floor happily playing with his other toys…Then you walk up to the child and tell him, “see that toy there on the table? I don’t want you to touch that toy! You understand?”

Before, the child was unaware there was even a toy on the table – he was happily playing with his toys on the floor, but now you just took his attention away from what he was doing and put it on what he was not supposed to do! What happens? Of course, the kid is going to get bored with his toys real quick and make his way over to the table to start playing with the “forbidden toy.”

Isn’t this the way these things play out? It’s the same way with us, whenever someone points out what we can’t do…what we’re forbidden to do…it automatically shifts our attention from God to what we are forbidden to do – and paints it as so tempting.

Paul says in Romans 7:7 he wouldn’t even have known what sin was unless the law had shown it to him.

So how does Grace change all that?

When you realize, “I’m free to do whatever I want” because of the grace of God – it puts your attention where it should be, on God, His grace, and in thankfulness for His grace…finding out more about Him…your relationship to Him…and letting Him express Himself through your life.

You no longer think all the time about what you can’t do…you just automatically are doing the right things, letting Christ express Himself through you by loving people, yourself, etc.

So the idea that grace causes a careless attitude to sin is a lie, grace causes you to focus on what you should be focusing on – Christ!

Gods grace is Christ in you expressing His life through you, living a lifestyle that honors and glorifies Him.

So beware when you hear people say these words, “Yes, Grace, BUT…

When you hear people say “Yes, BUT you have to be careful or else people will abuse the knowledge of grace and use it as a license to sin” you know what to do, ignore them (telling the truth is also a good idea).

This lie that people might abuse grace and live in sin is grounded firmly in fear.

Grace license to sin

You Can Never Abuse Grace

Here’s another way of looking at it. The idea that you can abuse grace is based on a irrational fear. Is it possible for you or anyone else to abuse grace? The answer is: “NO!” The truth is that you can never abuse grace! Let me explain.

Once you’ve abused grace it stops being grace. People who commit sin walk in disgrace. And you can’t walk in disgrace and grace at the same time. It’s either or. Either you walk in in disgrace or you walk in grace. Therefore there is no such thing as “abusing grace.”

You can delete that term from your dictionary. Why? Because it is impossible to abuse grace. Simply put, if we sin we walk in disgrace but that does not mean we abuse grace.

To say “be careful or people might abuse grace” is to say “be careful or people might abuse Jesus.” We are not capable of abusing Jesus (He never changes; He remains who He is). So you are not capable of abusing grace. Ever.

Likewise, you are who you are in His grace. Since you are safely and securely nestled in His grace you are never in danger of abusing grace. Mr. Grace Himself sustains and protect who you are as a grace-filled person.

Even tough we are grace-filled people who are incapable of ever abusing grace, we are capable of walking in disgrace – that happens when we choose to live after the flesh and not by faith. In other words, when you walk after the flesh (e.g. commit sin) you are not abusing grace, but you are walking in disgrace.

If you go out and commit sin and say “I am under grace,” then you’re not appropriating grace in your life, you are appropriating disgrace.

Again, grace is the divine enablement by the life of Christ in us to be all we’re called to be and do all we’re called to do. So if you are not allowing this divine influence to work in your heart chances are that you’ll be walking in disgrace.

But in the midst of your fumbling and stumbling the Gospel remains to be the hilariously Good News – that is that even if you are walking in disgrace you can never abuse or misuse grace!

Even in your darkest moments you can’t abuse grace because when we sin, we are not abusing grace but we are merely acting in a disgraceful way. We are contradicting the very essence of the grace of God.

Grace empowers us to honor our Father through our actions, not to dishonor Him. So it is possible to walk in disgrace, that is when you stop walking in grace, but it is impossible to abuse grace or to that you can go too far with it.

Yes, but

A Worry-Free Life!

How will understanding this truth help you? You’ll be able to live a worry-free life!

You never have to worry that by teaching the grace of God strongly, you will encourage people to abuse grace and that they’ll use it as a license to sin!

Nor do you ever have to worry whether or not you are abusing grace in your life or if you take grace to far in your preachings or in your thought life and imagination. The truth is that you can never exaggerate Grace enough.

If you feel you’re exaggerating grace, know that you’ve not even started to scratch the surface of the astounding, boundless grace you possess in Christ.

We have yet to understand and proclaim what took place in the finished work of the Cross. So, lets exaggerate it as much as possible and maybe begin to scratch the surface – A.W. Tozer

Even if you spend every second of the day the rest of your life imagining the wide open spaces of God’s grace you still will never exhaust it!

That’s why Ephesians 2:6-7 says that we have the coming ages to explore and enjoy our Creators incomparable riches of His grace, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

Even tough Paul tells us here that we’ll need billions and billions of years to gain somewhat of an understanding of God’s boundless grace, he also says that we have the ability right now to already start to comprehend how wide, how long, how high and how deep God’s love and grace is.

You have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. (Eph. 3:18)

God’s love and grace is wider, is longer, is higher, is deeper then you can ever imagine.

God’s grace reaches further than you’ve ever dreamed it to be.

Grace has no limits.

Grace is as wide, long, high and deep as God Himself is wide, long, high and deep. There are simply no boundaries to God, thus there are no boundaries to Grace.

Rom. 5:2 explains it like this,

We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand – out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise (MSG).

Can you go to far with grace? There’s no way!

Most people haven’t gone far enough in their understanding of it. In fact, many people give lip-service that they are not under the law but under grace, but they’re scarred to death of what they think is the grace of God. That’s why we need to teach them what it really means.

To Sum Up

You can know when you preach the pure grace of God; it’s when you hear lots of “buts and brakes.”

  • “Yes, but you can take grace to far.“
  • “Yes, but you have to be careful or else people will abuse the knowledge of grace and use it as a license to sin.”
  • “Yes that’s true, but be careful how you share that or else some people might abuse it.”

To have people come against you and say these things is a very good sign! It means you’re preaching the same Gospel of grace as Jesus and Paul.

And just rest in the knowledge that the very people who are afraid that grace encourages people to go out and sin show that:

1) They have a legalistic mindset.

2) They have a lack of understanding about what grace is and what it does in a person’s life.

Grace is not a license to sin, but to grin 🙂

Gods grace is the divine enablement by the life of Christ in us for us to be all we’re meant to be and do all we’re called to do.

Grace will do for you what you cannot do on your own – that is to live a holy and happy life not based on your zeal and efforts but Christ’s zeal and efforts.

So should you be careful not to abuse grace? There’s no way!

Can you go to far with grace? There’s no way!

To abuse grace is to abuse Jesus.

To go to far with Grace is to go to far with Jesus.

Abuse grace - grace a license to sin

Beloved, may you never forget that you are never in danger of abusing grace and that you can never take grace to far!

The Gospel of grace is called hilariously Good News for a reason.

Enjoy the wide open, boundless spaces of God’s grace!

Drunk on Grace,

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  1. very very right Bas. We can’t abuse grace while living under grace.When we think grace is a license to sin we are looking at it from human perspective and not as the new creation we are in Christ. Because in the new covenant its our very life, since Christ is grace personified and now He lives in us. To think otherwise is to put walk under law or live as unbelievers.

    • Bas Rijksen says

      So well said Jehan! Man, I’m thrilled how you’ve joyfully received revelation from the Holy Spirit, since it’s so obvious that you’re grounded in the Gospel of grace. You are an example to many Jehan. Keep shining. Greetz, Bas

  2. Brian Midmore says

    Is not Universalism an exaggeration of grace?

    • Bas Rijksen says

      Hi Brian,

      No I don’t think universalism is an exaggeration of grace. It’s a misunderstanding that God won’t violate free choice.

      Let me quote F. Capon which summarizes the answer pretty well I think:

      “I am and I am not a universalist. I am one if you are talking about what God in Christ has done to save the world. The Lamb of God has not taken away the sins of some — of only the good, or the cooperative, or the select few who can manage to get their act together and die as perfect peaches. He has taken away the sins of the world — of every last being in it — and he has dropped them down the black hole of Jesus’ death. On the cross, he has shut up forever on the subject of guilt: “There is therefore now no condemnation. . . .” All human beings, at all times and places, are home free whether they know it or not, feel it or not, believe it or not.

      “But I am not a universalist if you are talking about what people may do about accepting that happy-go-lucky gift of God’s grace. I take with utter seriousness everything that Jesus had to say about hell, including the eternal torment that such a foolish non-acceptance of his already-given acceptance must entail. All theologians who hold Scripture to be the Word of God must inevitably include in their work a tractate on hell. But I will not — because Jesus did not — locate hell outside the realm of grace. Grace is forever sovereign, even in Jesus’ parables of judgment. No one is ever kicked out at the end of those parables who wasn’t included in at the beginning.”

      Trust that makes it clear,



  3. karen blanton says

    I think this is the best article I have ever read on grace! I was one of the ones a little scared of extreme grace teaching, because I thought it was giving folks a license to sin or just be plain lazy, not pray, do the Word or anything. God showed me the same thing He showed you, folks who are living in sin in the name of grace are not receiving His grace. Grace always brings us up higher, not reduces us to a life of sin or laziness! I am understanding the grace message more now, and your article has really helped me. God bless!

    • Bas Rijksen says

      Hi Karen,

      Thank you for commenting. Very encouraging to hear how this article has blessed you so much.

      Grace upon grace,