According to a minister I heard recently, salvational grace has no limits because God is unlimited. That may sound logical, but it is not a biblical reason.
Presumably this idea comes from a rendering of the protestant emphasis of “faith alone”. When taken exclusively and removed from the fuller context of the New Covenant gospel it becomes something the Lutheran pastor and martyr Bonhoeffer denounced as “cheap grace”.
Claiming that God’s nature equates to his methods, may appear as a convenient way of justifying popular variations of unconditional grace, but the same logic produces scary conclusions when compared to Old Covenant commands of genocide for example. It is the same mistaken theology that leads libertarians to reject the doctrines of Hell and Final Judgment as inconsistent with a loving God.
Who God is certainly produces what he does, but what he does is not the same thing as who he is.
This is a classic example of confusing the Nature of God with the methods of God. It is the type of problem that Dispensational theology attempts to resolve, something our study has begun to consider through the book Wineskins.
The view of Dispensationalism mirrors in several respects the same recognition detailed in Wineskins. Just as there have been multiple unique covenants between God and man over the millennium, so also there are significant shifts in how that same God has chosen to interact with his image-bearers. Dispensations are about different administrations in the methods and expectations as defined in Scripture.
For example the innocence of Adam prior to sin allowed for a relational interaction unique in human history. God remains unchanged, but the requirements upon his followers has shifted in relative sync with the various covenants. Thus, the current Christian reality under the New Covenant of Grace is the same as the Grace dispensation.
Those who miss this tend towards a significantly loose view of what Scripture actually says, a predominately allegorical and even mythical generalizing of all commands, prophecies and miracles. The bible essentially becomes a book of suggestions with wide variance in interpretations. In fact, the only literal views are applied to promises of wealth and millennial inheritances for the righteous right now in this life.
Dispensationalism allows for variety in method while maintaining unity in Person and character. It prevents the idolatrous redefining of God into descriptions of “what my god would do” and ensures that our belief remains firmly grounded upon the Rock of Ages described by the one and only legitimate authority: the Word of God as preserved in the print of Scripture.
It may seem like a big word beyond the realm of our common interest, but the sad reality is that the same minister that tried to promote his unconditionalism by unifying method with Nature, revealed his inclination towards human logic rather than Scripture as his justification because in his view “Scripture is often at odds.” By that he went on to explain that we just can’t trust what the Bible actually says anymore.
There are consequences for dismissing the uniqueness of the New Covenant and blending it with former divine covenants in contrast to the guidelines cited in Scripture.
We may not always like what God does, but it is imperative that we trust his Nature, which Jesus tells us is truly “good”.
So would your God do the exact same thing that the God of the Bible has always done?