Earning in Hypergrace – By Dr Chris Kang (Dated 13 Sep 2021)
Dallas Willard, noted Christian philosopher and writer on Christian spiritual formation, wrote: “Grace is not opposed to effort; it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action.”
Hypergrace teaching promotes an “effortless” pseudo-Christianity that de-emphasizes works of sanctification in Christian life. Instead, it claims that since Christ has done all the work necessary for salvation, there is nothing we need to do but receive all the blessings (usually material) that flow therefrom.
Joseph Prince’s notion of “resting” in Christ’s finished work effectively results in a lukewarm Christian spiritual life for devotees with little to no discipleship and zero formation. This is not the gospel at all, in my view.
Biblical grace is not opposed to effort, which is action. Grace is opposed to earning: earning one’s salvation through works and self-generated merit. Rather, we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone.
Once justified by faith in Christ, we engage in the effort of spiritual growth and sanctification by grace in the power of the Holy Spirit – a life of discipleship and spiritual formation where Spirit-empowered action is paramount.
As such, grace is saturated in action and effort but without self-centred striving or earning. If effortlessness applies at all, it is this: “effortless effort” – action powered by the Spirit engaging one’s whole being towards Christlikeness liberated from any sense of self-driven earning of merit. But action it is.
In contrast, while hypergrace teaching ostensibly preaches against effort, it is ironically riddled with earning.
Hypergrace devotees are urged to declare and decree their prayer requests; name and claim their desired outcomes; tithe 10% to the church for abundant return on investment; eat the Lord’s Supper for healing like prescribed medicine; apply anointing oil on anything and everything for blessings of protection, prosperity, and success and so on.
What we see here is a list of superstitious acts designed to earn or elicit God’s supposed blessings and breakthroughs. It is evident that the attitude and activity of soliciting blessing is none other than “earning” by any other name.
Ironically, a hypergrace ideology promoting “effortless” Christianity ends up conflagrating a wildfire of covetous earning. This fact refutes and negates its claim to grace. For grace is not opposed to effort; it is opposed to earning.
In short, hypergrace is not grace at all in my view. On the contrary, hypergrace opposes effort but encourages earning. It pretends to be the gospel and casts aspersions on non-hypergrace teachings as false. What an inversion of truth! Sad indeed.