Mixture refers to the mixing of law and grace. A message of mixture combines the unmerited favor of God with the merited wage of human-effort. “You are saved by grace but you maintain your position through right-living.” “God gives you grace so that you can keep his commands.” These sorts of messages contain an element of grace but ultimately push you to trust in yourself and your own efforts.

A message of mixture can be recognized by the presence of carrots and sticks. Carrots are the blessings you get for obedience; sticks are the penalties you pay for disobedience. Common carrots: If you confess, you’ll be forgiven; if you do right, you’ll be accepted; if you act holy, you’ll be holy. Common sticks: Fail to perform and you’ll lose your forgiveness, your fellowship, and your salvation.

The message of mixture is not good news, yet it is the message that millions of people hear every week. They don’t hear about Jesus; they hear about the carrots and sticks. If you have been fed a diet of mixture, you will feel the pressure to perform and smell the fear that comes with failure. You’ll make promises to God and then you’ll break them. You’ll resolve to try harder only to fail again and again. You’ll become burned out and bummed out.

Since a message of mixture puts the emphasis on you and what you have done, your identity will become defined by your productivity. You will start to think of yourself as God’s servant instead of his beloved son or daughter. You will end up lukewarm and fallen from grace.

Don’t swallow any poison that comes with a spoonful of grace. And don’t subscribe to any message that leads you to trust in yourself and your works instead of Jesus and his. The issue is not what you’ll do for God but what you’ll let him do for you. Will you trust him a little bit or will you trust him the whole way? Does his grace merely get you in the front door or does it keep you safe to the very end?

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