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154: The Balance of God's Grace (Part 2)


The Biblical Counseling Podcast is privileged to have Kevin Carson (IABC Board Member) in this week’s podcast.

Here Kevin and Jeff extend a personal invitation to everyone to join the International Association of Biblical Counselors Annual Conference (July 28-29, 2022 at Edgemont Bible Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois - just outside of St. Louis, Missouri). This year’s conference is entitled, “Counseling Life’s Most Difficult Issues''.

Register early for the IABC 2022 Conference by clicking here --> https://member.iabc.net/2022-conference-registration-page-Early


*The following blog was Originally posted on KevinCarson.com blog


In an earlier episode, we explored the comfort of God’s grace, the call of God’s grace, the identity of the flesh, and how to put to death the flesh. Today, we consider the balance of God’s grace. Understanding the balance of God’s grace helps the follower of Christ both move forward in personal sanctification as well as when helping others in personal ministry as well.


FOUR CAUTIONS WHEN WE OFFER OTHERS THE SAME GRACE WE HAVE RECEIVED FROM GOD.


As we live together as brothers and sisters in Christ who enjoy all the benefits of relationship in the body of Christ, there is work for us to do personally and corporately. As recipients of God’s grace, we become stewards of that grace. Thus, we need to offer others the same grace we have received. Let me suggest four cautions when we offer others the same grace we have received from God. 


EXPLAINING GOD’S GRACE AS COMFORT WITHOUT INCLUDING THE CALL OF GOD’S GRACE.


As we serve others, we do them a disservice where and when we fail to include the call of God’s grace with the comfort of it. God did not accept us without an agenda. We and those we serve must embrace the forward call of grace while rejoicing in the comfort of grace. 


EMPHASIZING THE CALL OF GOD’S GRACE WITHOUT THE FOUNDATION OF THE COMFORT OF GOD’S GRACE. 


We likewise want to be careful here as well. We do a disservice to others when we explain grace as a call to change without resting that call on the rich foundation of the comfort of God’s grace. While we seek to change, we do so as adopted children of God who are no longer condemned.


CONSIDERING GOD’S GRACE WITH ANOTHER PERSON WITHOUT OFFERING THEM HELP TO EMBRACE THE COMFORT OF IT AND MOVE FORWARD IN THE CALL OF GOD’S GRACE.


As we seek to help others understand grace, we are not simply “explainers” or “teachers” of grace. We must also roll up our shirt sleeves and help them embrace it in life-lived. We walk with the other person along the pathway of sanctification.


ACCEPTING THE WONDERFUL COMFORT OF GOD'S GRACE FOR US PERSONALLY WHILE JUDGING OTHERS SIMPLY THROUGH THE CALL OF GOD'S GRACE.


We must be careful here as well. Along the pathway of life, it can be easy at times to understand and desperately depend upon God’s grace for our personal sins and weaknesses. We rejoice in the comfort of God’s rich and bountiful grace for us. In fact, we may describe God as kind, persevering, and so patient with us as we continue to live imperfect Christian lives. Yet, when we look at others, we judge them through the call of God’s grace. When others struggle in their own weakness and sin, we look at them failing to see our own weaknesses and sin. We accept God’s comfort for our sin while emphasizing the failure of the other person to walk consistent with the call of God’s grace in his or her own life.

The balance of God’s grace includes implications for our own walk with God and how we see, teach, and help others with God’s marvelous grace in their lives as well. May we embrace living a Romans 8 lifestyle with God in Christ through the Spirit.

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acbc, biblical counseling, calvary chapel, counseling, iabc, jeff christianson


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158: Eschatology and Discipleship

158: Eschatology and Discipleship
  • This was a very good Podcast. I truly enjoyed learning more about Grace. The comment, “Grace is made to live together”, really resonated with me. I truly believe we are made to do this Christian life together, and not alone. The four cautions were good. I had never heard them put exactly like that. The other comment that I had not heard, was the one that said, “Grace as a reward for following God and His plan for us.” As Dr. Kevin Carson said, we can’t just tell someone about Grace and not tell them about God’s plan for their life. (Or maybe it was Jeff that said that, sorry:) I love in Ecclesiastes 4, where it says, two are better than one, as two can, have a good reward for their toil, help each other up, lie down together to keep warm, and if one is over powered, the other can help.

  • I enjoyed the reminder to help others, but also to especially help in areas where we may have personally walked and overcome by the grace of God.
    It was also a very good to be reminded to not simply enjoy grace myself while only imposing the call on others.

  • I’m so thankful that God extends His grace to me without it being about works, but it’s His grace that makes me want to live a life pleasing to Him. I want to share this with others and help guide them along their walk with Christ. I grew up with so much legalism that I never want another person to feel that way. I am so thankful for the people that the Lord placed in my life, that helped to support me in my walk with the Lord. It is now my job to carry that on to others.

    • Angela, I couldn’t agree more. I grew up the same way. I could never stand up to what they wanted me to do. Not knowing that it is what God wants for my life, not man. I am also thankful for the people God has brought into my life. Thank you for sharing. May God richly bless you. (I’m sure He will 🙂

  • Grace comes to us first and sets us free from a merit system, grace should spur us onto more. This will lead us onto a bit of work to be done in our life and in encouraging others. But for me I have to be really careful to not get it twisted and by habit put the works first, because then I will find exhaustion and frustration.

    • I grew up in a church where some would make it about works and it was so discouraging. I knew I could never be perfect, and always questioned whether I was truly saved or not. I am so thankful that God’s grace is given freely, yet makes us want to seek more of Him and to do His will.

      • Yes isn’t wonderful to recognize that righteousness is a positional truth that we have in Christ. Knowing that sets us free precisely to work on sanctification.

  • I liked 2 comments that Dr. Carson Made with regard to the 4 cautions…. when we communicate the Grace we’ve received to others. The first was “Grace as a comfort not as a calling.” The second, by logical extension “Grace as a foundation AND an enabler for my call.”
    God’s comforting grace is very attractive and otherworldly (i.e. the world is baffled by true grace because it is steeped in merit) but, as Jeff pointed out, God has an agenda for our lives ( our calling – He loves us too much to leave us where He found us). Phil. 3:10b states His true intent for all our lives….That we may be conformed to the image of His Son! Our ability to fulfill our calling is enabled and fueled by this same Grace.
    I also appreciated the insightful caution of our myopic tendency to receive God’s grace generously but to meter it out sparingly to others.

  • “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.””
    ‭‭James‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

    It is through our daily living that we experience Grace. We are receiver’s of Gods Grace and in so, we are to be givers to others of Gods Glorious Grace. In doing so, our life in Christ is so much easier, easier to love others, forgive others, walk with others, and see others as Christ sees them.

    • This is my prayer each day—that the Lord would help me to see others as He sees them, and that I remember the grace that was extended to me, and share that same grace with others.

  • 1 Peter 3:8
    “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters.”

    The third point about explaining grace and the gospel to someone then leaving them to walk the rest of the path alone reminded me of this. We wouldn’t leave a member of our family on a trail and tell them to just follow the path. In the same way, we shouldn’t abandon our brother or sister in Christ. We are called to give counsel to one another and encourage each other. We are all part of the body of Christ.

    • I appreciated this third point as well. As I understand scripture we are called to know Him and make Him known. Therefore, whether I am a biblical counselor or a “garden variety” christian Jesus calls me to MAKE DISCIPLES……FULL STOP!
      This, by definition and Jesus’ example, entails that I join the discipled on their path.

  • Caution number three offering the help to move forward in the call of grace, coming alongside, putting in the sweat equity ( I like that term) captured my attention. I am processing this one as I think about the analogy that Pastor Carson used when him and his son were walking the trail to the peak. While the guide left him to struggle to the top he had a desire to get to the top. My challenge is how do we help persons who are not desirous of getting to the peak of mountain. As a Counsellor we truly need the balance as we seek to help those we counsel but we can’t give people a desire to please God or walk with the Lord. We come alongside and we guide and we encourage and we model and we pray and we teach and we bear burdens but that individual without a desire to follow, to obey and letting the Holy Spirit work the process of sanctification it becomes a difficult journey. How do we know when there is nothing else more we can do to help?

    • Jocelyn,
      I too have that question, if a counselee is coming with a heart to share but maybe the burden is to painful, and work is being done, and change is not maybe happening. What more can we do if we have prayed, read scripture, pointed them to scripture, allowed the Spirit to lead and still see no movement with the counselee? This brought me to think about Matthew when Jesus is walking on water and asks Peter to join him, Peter looks and starts to walk to Jesus, but then looks down, then he falls in. Completely taking his eyes off of the Lord. Not to say that we are Jesus, because I know that we merely a vessel being used for HIS glory. What I believe is that we keep loving, encouraging and guiding the counselee in a way in which Jesus did and does for us! He gracefully pulls us up and holds our hand in all of it.

  • After listening to this podcast I think that I have experienced all four cautions in my walk with Christ. Some of them lasted longer then others. The caution I can still struggle with is the fourth caution. During my early walk with Christ I gave my heart to Christ at a church that emphasized the call of grace without the comfort. I will admit that I became a Pharisee. Over time God showed me the error of my theology and I began to walk with grace as both a comfort and a call. However, now I am quick to see the Pharisee in another believer’s walk. Recognizing this tendency in my life I have asked others to hold me accountable when they hear me or see me judging others. I would urge everyone to have an accountability partner who can come alongside you. Dr. Carson urged us to have a heart check concerning grace but I know at times I do not see my own issues. There are some guidelines to having an accountability partner but before you go deep into counseling I would urge everyone of us to find one.

    • Donald, I couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing how you feel and what you’ve been through, I too believe it is very imperative to have an accountability partner to keep us in check. I love how The Holy Spirit is the Best one! Always convicting when need be.

  • The third caution given by Dr. Carson regarding giving comfort and call, but neglecting to offer the guidance to receive them is an area that I have failed in. I remember giving an invitation to a family member to accept the Lord, and receive His grace, but then I failed to come alongside them, and encourage them in their walk with Him. I expected them to go to church, read their Bible, pray, but didn’t offer guidance, or come alongside them in those things.I thought it was the “churches responsibility”, but forgot that I am the church. In the book of Matthew, Jesus commanded the disciples to go out and make disciples…”teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” Jesus continued, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Jesus is our example, He called His disciples, and through His grace towards them, they repented of their sins, and followed Him. He was with them daily, teaching them, encouraging them, and guiding them.And then, before leaving them, He promised to send the Holy Spirit to be their Counselor (Helper). It is so true that we do a huge disservice to those we counsel if we only tell them “about the path, but don’t guide them on it”.

    • Ilene, this is huge. It seems much of the church as a whole has neglected the this call when it comes to evangelism. We seem to think that simply sharing the Gospel is enough without encouraging and laying the foundation of living in the call of grace in our daily lives. May we be committed to turn that around as we offer counsel in our local church capacities.

      • Yes and that call to encouragement is precisely the role of the body of believers. Without it the body suffers and so does our witness.

  • I love the idea that we were never intended to climb that hill by ourselves, we are tethered to God and to our brothers and sisters in Christ. In our culture we are taught to be self-reliant. To be strong we should be able to do it all our selves without help. God has been teaching me over and over that I cannot do anything without him. I must live completely dependent on him. I used to act like “Mortifying the flesh” – by the Spirit putting to death the deeds of the body was something I was expected to do, even though it says “by the Spirit”. Now I think, I am asked to choose the right thing, and I must choose the right thing, but I depend on the Holy Spirit to do it through me. Any ability or strength I used to assign to myself when I was successful in doing the right thing, was really the Spirit of God. It was never me. And being tethered to each other – I have been watching how God is always using the church body to encourage and help the church body. Christianity is a team sport. We depend on God completely and God also enjoys working through Christians to help everyone.

    • I agree Charles we were never intended to climb that hill alone. Jesus sent out His disciples in pairs and He gave us His Spirit to be with us and a church to walk with us.

    • Charles, I think this is a big distinction between what the world teaches and what the Bible teaches. Secular thinking is to be as completely independent as you possibly can. You should be self made and rely on no one for help. But that’s not how people are meant to be. All our strength comes through Christ and we are nothing apart from Him. We also have a family in the Church and are called to counsel and be counseled by one another.

  • I appreciated the wise warning to guard our hearts from claiming grace to cover our own shortcomings while understating the grace available to others. There is such a need for discernment from moment to moment to balance our view of grace, such as is possible only through the Holy Spirit’s help.

    • Yes, God reminds me to remember to give that grace to others. To not expect other people to be where I want them to be in their journey of sanctification. But be gracious and encourage the call of God’s grace without judgment or condemnation.

    • For me this was also a warning that I see my shortcomings. It’s easy to view our failures nestled in the comfort of Gods grace and others only with the call of grace. As Jesus would have said we see the mote in someone’s eyes but overlook the beam in my own eye. I pray that I would maintain God’s balance and not be so quick to pass judgement but understand the depth of His grace.

    • Totally, to see the difference in a person, some are in a struggle and others in defiance. But we can do a lot of harm nitpicking everyone especially when it is grace that helps those who are in a struggle out of a rut.

  • I truly appreciated when Pastor Kevin mentioned the danger of viewing ones own life through the Comfort lens, while looking at other’s through the Call lens. It is such a danger, and I would say most Christians live in this manner. I know that I have been guilty of it.

    To be able to have a balance of the Call and Comfort when viewing both our lives and the lives of others is where we can and will find a better unity; while bearing with one another and helping with burdens.

    • I agree Tim and judging from other comments on the site I think many of us deal with this issue in our lives. Finding someone you can meet with who you give permission to hold you accountable is a great way to help us overcome this issue in our walk with Christ.

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