We are dealing in this series with the Bible’s two classifications of heresies, recorded for us in Revelation 22:18-99. They are:
-ADDITION HERESIES – ADDING TO GOD’S WORD.
-SUBTRACTION HERESIES – SUBTRACTING FROM GOD’S WORD.
And we have dealt with strong examples of both. Because of these rampant, last days ADDER AND SUBTRACTOR HERESIES to and from the Bible, we are living through days of terrible SPIRITUAL SOLAR ECLIPSE in America and the American church. The light of the Word and the “Word” Himself have grown dark in many ecclesiastical fellowships.
So far we have discovered that there are definite breeding grounds for heretics and heresies which produce heresies like swamps produce snakes and mosquitoes. Two breeding grounds for ADDITION AND SUBTRACTION HERESIES have been examined at length, and they are:
-FIRST – REASON OVER FAITH
-SECOND – SELF-INTEREST OVER TRUTH
And now we come to HERESY BREEDING GROUND NUMBER THREE:
“CASH AND CLAIMS OVER GRACE.”
III. CASH AND CLAIMS OVER GRACE
We are talking about the heresy of:
“CASH AND CARRY RELIGION.”
Or if you will:
“LET’S MAKE A DEAL RELIGION.”
They are all the same thing, and have their roots in the heretical prosperity gospel which we dealt with in Heresies – Additions and Subtractions Pt. 2. There we explain why any religion that teaches that God’s goal for us is that we wallow in, horde, and amass riches is a false religion through and through. And that is exactly the heresy that is being taught today. It is a false, sugar-coated religion, and even as sugar delivers hammer blows to the pancreas, so too this sugar-coated gospel delivers hammer blows to the soul.
Moreover, it is absolutely shocking that where this CASH AND CARRY RELIGION is promoted the most, though not exclusively, is in Pentecostal/Charismatic movements that historically have been rooted in the spiritual and not in the material. Even though this heresy has nothing to do with true Biblical Pentecost whatsoever! It is a crying shame! IT IS ADDER HERESY!
Let me assure you that when you get involved with religious television preachers today, they will be inside your billfold before you can count to ten cents. All the while promising you life on easy street. Many of these prosperity-sugar-daddy preachers are overweight with their snouts shoved into HOT FUDGE SUNDAYS (SUNDAES). The true Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is being muffled by whipped cream with cherries on top. And hordes of people are eating it up to the last lick on their spoons.
TV preachers today oten remind me of the story of the sharp lawyer who paid attention to and defined every word. It is said that one time someone came up to him and asked, “If I give you $100.00, will you answer two questions for me?” The lawyer immediately replied, “Sure, and what is your other question?” The questioner already owed the lawyer $50.00 before he knew what hit him. That is how it goes in media religion these days.
On televised “Religious Money-A-Thons” these days, the TV viewers are confronted with this come-on, namely, that if they send in a Divinely and mysteriously revealed and specified amount of money to some religious network – let us say a gift of $59.00 every month for the next 12 months, “GOD WILL THEN PAY OFF ALL OF THEIR DEBTS, AND BRING IN A VERY LUCRATIVE FINANCIAL BREAKTHROUGH INTO THEIR LIVES.” That’s the pitch. That’s the deal!
The television ministers and evangelists then promise the viewers that they will have a “Burn The Debts Ceremony” on their behalf. If they send in their first of 12 checks for $59.00 along with a statement of all of their debts, then on national television at an appointed evening and time, the debtors will see their debt sheets being thrown into a container of fire and going up in smoke, with the promise that God will miraculously pay off all of their debts because of the money they have sent into the network. Walla! Debts go up in smoke. Poof! Money comes in like magic!
Of course, the money which people send in is in many cases money they do not have in the first place, for it is all owed to creditors. It is actually therefore dirty money which they had been told would clean up their indebtedness. That is how it works.
FIRST OF ALL, how awesome all of this sounds to those who are in credit card debt over their eyeballs and can’t see their way out of it? Often this debt is the result of what we read in I John 2:16,
“…the lust of flesh and the lust of the eyes and boastful pride of life.”
And this LET’S-MAKE-A-DEAL-WITH-GOD RELIGION does not at all remove eye-lust and flesh-lust, but only makes them fatter, stronger, and an easy way to continue in both.
Here is being presented by those who supposedly are representing God Himself, a sanctified sounding way of getting yourself out of debt and advancing the Kingdom of God at the same time. The principle however that is really at work is this:
“DESPERATION IS THE BREEDING GROUND FOR DECEPTION.”
America is a credit-card nation which has lost all of its immune system against the temptation of plastic currency. We live in a credit-card economy. Too much on the books, way too much! The consumer has too much on the books, and the issuing bank or organization has too much on the books. It is the modern American money trap.
In the light of all of this, there are many very savvy religious TV ministers, evangelists and motivational speakers who promise the hugely indebted and desperate masses that God will spring them from their financial plastic prison if they send in their non-existent funds. Add to all of this the sad fact of P.T. Barnum’s observation that there is a sucker born every minute.
The entire ADDITION HERESY is a reproach upon the name of Christ and the Christian Church. However, given the freedom of speech and freedom of religion guaranteed by the United States Constitution, they continue to get away with it year after year, as religious TV personalities pad their purses and upgrade their luxurious lifestyles with the monies of frantic debtors.
SECOND, Cash and Carry Religion undermines the true foundation for serving Christ, and that is:
“OUR PURE LOVE FOR HIM AND OUR DEEP GRATITUDE TO HIM FOR ALL THAT HE
HAS DONE AND CONTINUES TO DO FOR US IN JESUS CHRIST.”
CASH-AND-CARRY RELIGION does not produce pure, selfless worshipers. It produces CUSTOMERS. LET’S-MAKE-A DEAL-RELIGION does not produce pure, selfless thankers. It produces SHOPPERS.
It is the old “Polly Wants A Cracker” routine. Polly goes through the motions and says the right words only because there is a cracker at the end of the deal. Seals will clap their flippers too but let’s face it, their instincts are telling them that there is a fish to clap for.
Christians do not give to God for what they can get out of God, but because of Who He is and what He has so graciously, undeservedly and enormously given to them in Jesus Christ! This is captured so beautifully in the case of David when he asks in Psalm 116:12,
“What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?”
If you will,
“What on earth can I give to Him who has given so immeasurably to me?”
The Psalmist David has a real dilemma going on in his heart. Nothing that he wants to gratefully give to God seems adequate! Here is a person overwhelmed with such enormous gratitude to God for the great kindnesses that God has showed him. David sounds like a woman in the travail of birth pangs. He is trying to bring forth an adequate expression of love, and no matter how hard he pushes, what he brings forth all seems so painfully miniature and inadequate. Not a hint in his thinking of giving to get, but rather a strong sense of his grossly inadequate giving.
When people are told that if they send in X amount of dollars, God will get the creditors off from their backs, as well as bring them into great financial advancement in their lives, then something deceptive and destructive begins to happen to the grateful heart of Christianity. It is this:
“THEY MAY THINK THAT THEY ARE THANKFULLY FOLLOWING CHRIST, BUT WHAT
THEY ARE DOING IS FOLLOWING AFTER THE LOAVES THAT THEY
HAVE BEEN TOLD CHRIST WILL MULTIPLY FOR THEM.”
Children are so very impressionable. Kids brought up in such a give-to-get environment will learn to think about Christianity as a package deal – what’s the price of a ticket to get the big payoff from God? If you will, giving will become to them a matter of bargaining with God.
And lo and behold, when the bread truck doesn’t come up their driveways, and their ship does not come in, the falsely taught and disillusioned will dump Christ and turn against the church. Then often their behavior can be described by the words of Isaiah 8:21,
“…and it will turn out that when they are hungry, they will be enraged and curse
their king and their God as they face upward.”
In short, RENT-A-CENTER-RELIGION corrupts the spirit of love for and gratitude to God. The very heart of Christianity is being poisoned. What makes it even more lethal is that we are not born as giving beings. We are born as takers! Then on top of it all are these contemporary religious heretics who are retarding people’s spiritual growth and keeping them immature by luring them backwards into self-seeking, self-satisfying, and perpetually sucking infancy.
“PURE GRATITUDE, UNMIXED THANKFULNESS WITHOUT AN AGENDA OR AN ANGLE,
IS BEING ECLIPSED IN THE MODERN CHURCH.”
THIRD, we cannot buy or rent one blessed thing from God, not one. Simply because absolutely every blessing we receive from God was paid for in BLOOD NOT CASH – yes the precious blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There is a powerful truth recorded for us in II Corinthians 1:20, and the powerful words go like this,
“For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him (Christ Jesus) they are YES;
wherefore also by Him is the AMEN to the glory of God through us.”
First of all, every merciful promise that God makes to us includes every physical, material, spiritual, temporal, eternal blessing that come from God. Jesus paid for, and His blood alone merits all of the promises of God’s Word to us, for by nature we deserved none of them. In fact we deserve the opposite.
Second, and hear it good:
“ALL OF THE PROMISES OF GOD ARE YES TO US AND AMEN (Sure) IN CHRIST JESUS,
NOT YES AND AMEN IN OUR BILLFOLDS.”
“Every promise that God makes to us in the Word would without Christ
be “NO” and “FORGET IT.”
Third, Jesus paid the price for every blessing, which only means you can’t pay for them twice. Here is the hell of this LETS-MAKE-A-DEAL RELIGION:
“IT BLASPHEMOUSLY MIXES THE BLOOD OF JESUS WITH OUR BUCKS FOR THE
BLESSINGS FROM GOD.”
These ADDITION-CASH-AND-CARRY HERETICS have lost their ever-carnal-loving minds. They have destroyed the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and have added a false gospel in its place. It will not go well with them.
This brings us to the second half of the:
“CASH AND CLAIM HERESY.”
And that is the HERESY OF:
“CLAIMING YOUR RIGHTS FROM GOD.”
“DEMANDING YOUR RIGHTS FROM GOD.”
“DECLARING YOUR RIGHTS TO GOD.”
First, you must realize by now that this heresy of CLAIMING, DECLARING, DEMANDING, COMMANDING RIGHTS has spread like a metastasizing contagion all through Christendom, but especially through Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches, though by no means confined to them. Even though again it has nothing Scripturally to do with Pure Bible Pentecost! Biblical Pentecostalism has undeservedly gotten a black eye because of those who attach this junk to it. It hurts me no end to say these things because I am a Biblically Pentecostal Christian through and through. Terribly painful!
Second, and listen good:
“CLAIMING, DECLARING, DEMANDING, AND COMMANDING RIGHTS FROM GOD ARE WORDS
NOT FOUND IN THE BIBLE – THEY ARE HERESY ADDITIONS TO THE BIBLE.”
Believers in Christ don’t CLAIM – THEY ASK. We read in James 4:2,
“You do not have because you do not ASK.”
The Bible does not say:
“You do not have because you do not CLAIM.”
It is not only TV that gives people brain damage, it is modern, heretical religion. It turns them into spoiled children who think that they have everything coming to them from their parents. So do these CLAIMERS think they have everything coming to them from Abba. Really now, it is sick by any healthy standard, let alone by Bible standards. Dear God, help us please!
Or again, believers in Christ do not DECLARE AND PRONOUNCE – THEY BESEECH. We read in Malachi 1:9,
“And now, I pray you, BESEECH God that he will be gracious unto us….”
It does not say,
“And now, I pray you, DECLARE to God that He be gracious unto us.”
“Beseech” comes very close to PLEADING, not PRONOUNCING. It is a cry for GRACE, much like the Publican in the temple beat upon his breast and cried out, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” PRONOUNCERS and DECLARERS stand on high pedestals barking at God, while BESEECHERS and PLEADERS bow in the corner humbling themselves before God.
DECLARERS AND PRONOUNCERS produce “smarty announcers,” while BESEECHERS produce”humble askers.” Why do I say that? Because these PRONOUNCERS and DECLARERS are the same people who state:
“WHEN WE PRAY, WE DON ‘T TELL GOD THE PROBLEM, WE TELL HIM THE SOLUTION.”
Can you imagine where this heresy has gone? Listen:
“IT ENDS UP PRESCRIBING TO GOD, NOT ASKING, BESEECHING, OR PLEADING.”
Well then, where does all of this phony-baloney CLAIMING-DECLARING-DEMANDING-PRONOUNCING come from? What’s the deal with this stuff? It is very simple really and here it is:
“WHEN PEOPLE CLAIM-DECLARE-DEMAND-PRONOUCE, THEY ARE
IN CONTROL OF GOD.”
“WHEN PEOPLE ASK-BESEECH-PETITION-CRY OUT-SUPPLICATE-INTERCEDE,
GOD IS IN CONTROL OF THEM.”
Man, even religious man, wants to be in the driver’s seat! He wants to be in charge! He wants to rule and not be ruled! Therefore:
“HE CLAIMS RATHER THAN CRIES OUT – HE PRONOUNCES RATHER THAN PRAYS – HE
DECLARES RATHER THAN DEPENDS – HE ANNOUNCES RATHER THAN ASKS – HE
BARGAINS RATHER THAN BEGS – HE BARKS RATHER THAN BOWS –
HE INSISTS RATHER THAN IMPLORES – HE BELLOWS RATHER
THAN BESEECHES – HE SHOUTS RATHER
“IT IS RELIGIOUS HUMANISM ABOVE BIBLICAL THEISM.”
Third, and here the rubber really hits the road! How on earth did so much of modern evangelical Christianity get so perverted? By losing sight of the fact that the Christian life is all about God’s GRACE in Christ from beginning to end, and that not one promise of God would be fulfilled in our lives if it were not wrapped up in Divine grace and bathed in Jesus’ blood. That is why we read in John 1:16,
“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.”
There it is! Do you see it? Listen:
“CHRISTIANS DO NOT GO FROM RIGHT TO RIGHT, BUT THEY GO
FROM GRACE TO GRACE.”
We read in Hebrews 4:16,
“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the THRONE OF GRACE, that we may
receive MERCY and may find GRACE to help in time of need.”
It does not say:
“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the CLAIM OFFICE and STAKE
YOUR CLAIM for help in time of need.”
“GOD’S SITS ON A THRONE OF GRACE, NOT ON A CHAIR IN A
“GRACE GIVES US THE FAVOR WE DO NOT DESERVE, AND MERCY STOPS
JUDGMENT THAT WE DO DESERVE.”
“OUR CONFIDENCE IS NOT IN CLAIMS AND RIGHTS, BUT IN GRACE AND MERCY.”
Just think about STAKING YOUR CLAIM and CLAIMING YOUR RIGHTS in front of the God of GRACE AND MERCY. Trying it OUGHT TO MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE THE WORLD’S BIGGEST JERK! Do you think that you could even get into God’s throne room that way? Why, you won’t even get past the front porch.
This ADDER HERESY OF CASH AND CLAIMS is a most noisy, loud, and dangerous heresy, because it drowns out GOD’S GRACE. That is the ultimate destructive heresy, because Ephesians 2:8 tells us that,
“WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE.”
It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who warned us about what he called, “CHEAP GRACE.” By that he meant a concept of grace that many people have that does not take the judgment of God seriously. “I sin, God forgives,” is their attitude. Easy sin, easy forgiveness!
That is the concept of Christianity that people had in the Apostle Paul’s day as well. Cheap grace! This very attitude was warned against and soundly rebuked by the Apostle Paul in Romans 6:1-2,
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?
May it never be!…”
Many then have the feeling that if they miss a deadline, God will graciously extend it. If they fail to keep a promise, God will graciously overlook it. If they constantly fall back into the same old sinful patterns, God will graciously ignore it.
Cheap-grace type people treat sin exactly how they treat credit-card spending. It is so easy to buy things today when you are told that you are not going to see the statement for another 30 days. And then you have another 30 days to pay off your debt. If you do get up to the limit on the card, no big deal! Just get another card. You get offers all the time. So with sin! No big deal! Sinned again? Just get another dose of grace to cover it. Tomorrow affords another whole new supply of forgiving grace. The Apostle Paul said, “May it never be.” The King James Version of the Bible says, “God forbid.” (Romans 6:2)
Today, under the influence of Religious Humanism, we are seeing something that is equally tragic. It is “CHEAPENED GRACE.” Grace is God’s amazing, unmerited and totally undeserved favor that is made available to us only in the inestimably costly death of Christ for ours sins. As if you can buy one of God’s gracious and blood-bought blessings in Christ for $71.21 or $66:12 a month for twelve months! Cut-rate grace! Cheapened grace! Or, as if you can CLAIM GOD’S GRACE BY RIGHT.
Listen, the Christian life is in a state of perpetual free grace. I know that “Free Grace” is a redundancy, but sometimes you have to be redundant to make your point. The very thought of grace being retailed, or wholesaled, or claimed by right, or deserved by merit are not only complete contradictions, but a grievous disgrace to the God of all grace.
No grace-promise of God is ever fulfilled in our lives because of monies being given, or from some fictitious meritorious earnings, or from claiming our rights. Let no one be duped into thinking that they can buy what Christ has already graciously purchased for us. Let us get this deep into our spirits, namely that no benefit or blessing from God in the Christian life is on a co-pay or claim-your-rights basis. Only on the AMAZING GRACE OF GOD IN JESUS CHRIST.
“THE CASH-AND-CLAIM-YOUR-RIGHTS HERESY IS NOT ONLY CHEAPENING THE GRACE
OF GOD, IT IS ECLIPSING THE GRACE OF GOD, AND THEREBY ECLIPSING
TRUE CHRISTIANITY IN THE CHURCH.”
If we allow these heresies to have their way in modern Christianity, we can say goodbye to Sola Gratia – By Grace Alone; Sola Christos – By Christ Alone; Sola Fide – By Faith Alone; and Sola Deo Gloria – Glory To God Alone.
Before our very eyes and in our very ears, GOD’S GRACE FACE is being turned into a BANKER’S FACE, and GOD’S MERCY FACE being turned into GOD’S STAKE-YOUR-CLAIM FACE.
And on Sunday mornings as we ride by American churches, even though a few of them are called “GRACE CHURCH,” we now wonder what they are selling in there today, and what rights the people are claiming today.
The Christian churches used to sing on Sunday mornings and evenings:
“NOTHING IN MY HANDS I BRING, SIMPLY TO THY CROSS I CLING.”
Now they are singing, and if not singing, then they are saying, and if not saying, surely thinking:
“CASH AND CLAIMS IN MY HAND I BRING, PARTLY TO THY CROSS I CLING.”