“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a
wretch like me.I once was lost, but now
I'm found: was blind, but now I see...”
Grace" is a hymn written by English poet John Newton that was published in
1779. Containing a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible
regardless of the sins people commit, it is one of the most recognizable songs
in the English-speaking world.
The word grace is
defined as ”unmerited favor”.We cannot
be saved without the grace of God. Romans
6:23 states, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”There is nothing
that so indicates that marvelous grace as the fact that “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God, in other words, is willing to save man in spite of
the fact that we have sinned against Him.
Grace is not merely
a part of the plan of redemption, but it is the silver cord that runs through
every facet of the work of redemption.
Titus 2:11-12 tells us, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has
appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.”The universal love of God is stressed
here.All souls belong to him (Acts 17:26-28), he loves the whole world (John
3:16), he desires that
all men be saved (1 Tim. 2:4) and that none should perish (2 Peter 3:8).
God's grace is nothing new. The
scriptures tell us:
ØOur God is "the God of all grace" in 1 Peter 5:10 ØHis word, the Bible, is called "the word of
His grace" in Acts 20:32 ØWe are "justified by His grace" according
to Titus 3:7, and by it we
"stand" (1 Peter 5:12) ØJesus Christ is the gift of His grace (Romans 5:15) Ø"Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17) ØHe is "full of grace and truth (John 1:14) ØThe message we preach is "the gospel of the
grace of God' (Acts 20:24)
It is truly
regrettable and tragic that something so wonderful as the grace of our loving
God should be so grossly misunderstood and perverted by the religious
world.There are those that suggest God,
in the end, will save everyone, regardless of how they have lived, because of
the depth of His love.
God, however, instructs us differently
in His Word. His love for man is tremendous, and He would have all men to be
saved (2 Pet. 3:9), but that does
not mean that His grace is without limitations. For example, God's grace will not:
ØSave those who refuse it. Rev.
21:8 The unbelieving "...shall
have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone..."
ØSave those disobedient to it. 2
Thess. 1:8 tells us that the Lord Jesus will one day take “vengeance on them that know not God, and
obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
ØSave the rebellious and unappreciative. Heb.
10:26-27 - “For if we sin willfully
after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more
a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a
fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries.”
But, for those who accept it and live
faithfully by it, the grace of God will save us from eternal damnation (Acts 20:32).
What does the grace
of God provide?So many things that
mankind cannot fathom.This week we
attempt to look at just a few…
vWhat does the
grace of God provide?
1.Jesus - The writer of Hebrews made clear that Christ (by whom
the grace of God is offered to men, John
3:16) is the author of
eternal salvation not to those who say, “I’m saved by the grace of God, so
there is nothing for me to do,” but to those who obey him.Christ is not only the author of eternal
salvation, he is our perfect example.Heb. 5:8-9 states “Though He was a
Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.And having been perfected, He became the
author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” 1.1.The offering of Jesus was a
necessary act of the Divine Nature.It
offered a pardon for the ungodly, which did not deserve it, while (a) being
just in the condemnation of sin and (b) making the sinner hate the sin. 1.2.God’s grace is in Christ.Paul tells Timothy in 2 Tim. 2:1, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the
grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
Therefore, God’s favor is not with men outside of Christ. 1.3.God’s grace provides the blood
of Christ: 1.3.1.In the blood of Christ you find
Remission of sins 188.8.131.52.The shedding of
Christ’s blood is required. 184.108.40.206.1 John 1:7 tells us “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from
all sin.” 220.127.116.11.Eph. 1:7 - In Him we have redemption through His
blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 1.3.2.In the blood of Christ you find
Reconciliation 18.104.22.168.Rom. 5:10 tells us man is reconciled through the blood of Christ. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to
God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall
be saved by His life. 22.214.171.124.The word “enemies”
expresses man’s hostile attitude to God, indicating that until this change of
attitude takes place, men are exposed to the wrath of God. 126.96.36.199.Only the blood of
Christ can pardon sin that produces wrath, and thereby makes peace (Col. 1:20). 1.3.3.In the blood of Christ you find
Redemption 188.8.131.52.The blood of Christ
is the basis of redemption for it is the price paid for man’s iniquity.Col.
1:13 – “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the
kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins.”
2.The Gospel 2.1.When Adam and Eve transgressed
the law of God, sin and death became realities with which men in all following
generations would have to live (Rom.
5:12).Since all men have sinned and fallen short of
God’s glory (Rom. 3:23), and since men do not have the wisdom and strength to
direct their own steps (Jer. 10:23), then without God providing
the gospel, which is God’s power unto salvation (Rom.
1:16), all men would be
helplessly lost. 2.2.The new covenant – the gospel of
God’s grace – replaced the law that God gave through Moses (Hebrews 8:8-13). 2.3.Peter teaches, in 1 Peter 1:10-12, that what the prophets had in mind when they “prophesied of
the grace that should come unto you” was indeed the gospel of Jesus Christ. 2.4.This gospel, which the grace of
God gave us, teaches us to live for the Lord (Tit.
2:11-12). 2.5. 1 Peter 1:22-25 - Since you have purified your souls in
obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one
another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible
seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
because "All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of
the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the
LORD endures forever.Now this is the
word, which by the gospel was preached to you.”
3.Strength (Power for living) 3.1.Grace frees us from the
past. 3.1.1 Phil.
3:13 - Brethren, I do not count myself to have
apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and
reaching forward to those things which are ahead 3.2.God forgives and forgets (Heb. 8:12).Grace helps us to
get over preoccupation with the past and past sins. 3.3.The heart that serves best is
the heart that overflows with an awareness of God’s grace (1 Cor. 15:9-10) “But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than
they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” 3.4.Grace provides the strength to
persevere and prevail.Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 12:7-9, “And lest I should be exalted above
measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to
me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.Concerning this thing I pleaded with
the Lord three times that it might depart from me.And He said to me, "My grace is
sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of
Christ may rest upon me.Therefore
I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in
distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”Whatever the “thorn in the flesh” may have
been, it must have been a great trial for Paul.We need to learn that often strength is generated, not in spite of the
thorn but because of the thorn.
4.Abundant life - When the Son of God
came into the world it was suffering from spiritual malnutrition. Men were
trying to feed their spirit on the husks of human philosophy, traditions and
legalistic observances of the Law of Moses. All of these had failed.In the midst of man’s moral and spiritual
bankruptcy, Jesus announced, “I am come that they might have life, and that
they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The life of which Jesus spoke was
eternal life. But His grace in providing the abundant life manifests itself in
this life as well as many ways. Christ is the Water of Life (John 4:10). He is
the Bread of Life (John 6:33-35). He is
the True Vine, through which the branches (disciples) derive their nourishment
(John 15:1). This
abundant life provides children of God with many blessings such as: 4.1.Faith - “For whatsoever is born of
God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world,
even our faith” (1 John 5:4) 4.2.Forgiveness – “bearing with one another, and
forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as
Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col. 3:13) 4.3.Fellowship
- The lives of men never will be spiritually satisfying outside of fellowship
with God and His children (1 John 1:3). 4.4.Joy and
peace - Real joy and peace in this life comes only by learning to live above
circumstances (Phil. 1:12-18). The
abundant life provides victory over things that may have been intended to
discourage us.Paul learned to live
above all the circumstances of life for the glory of God. If only we could
learn that lesson today. Circumstances come and go. We can live through and
above them due to the abundant life as revealed in the grace of God. 4.5.Hope - “The eyes of your
understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his
calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints”
5.The Lord’s church 5.1.Ephesians 3:1-11.This passage
plainly sets forth the fact that the grace of God made possible: 5.1.1.Paul’s apostleship 5.1.2.Which involved his being a
minister of the gospel of Christ 5.1.3.Which gospel made necessary his
special work among the Gentiles 5.1.4.God’s plan certainly involved
the church.This was according to God’s
eternal purpose. 5.1.5.The very existence and work of
the church came about as a direct result of the grace of God. 5.2.Salvation which is in the
church, proves that the church was provided by the grace of God (2 Tim. 2:10) 5.2.1.We are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8) 5.2.2.The grace of God brings
salvation (Tit. 2:11) 5.2.3.Salvation is in Christ (2 Tim. 2:10), which is in his body (Eph.
5:23, 28-30), which is the
church (Eph. 1:22-23).To be in Christ is to be in his church which
he purchased with his blood (Acts 20:28) which was shed by the grace of
The grace of God has
provided for us a blueprint in the scriptures that show how we might have
God’s grace is conditional.The principle is illustrated by the example
of Noah, who “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8); and yet, as the writer of Hebrews shows, the patriarch
and his family were saved by preparing an ark in obedience to God’s instruction
(Gen. 6:13-22). Jehovah proffered the grace.
Noah, by faith, obeyed the Lord, and so was blessed. While God extends grace,
human beings must be willing to “receive” the favor (2 Corinthians 6:1).
Grace is accessed at
the point of obedience to the Gospel.Eternal
life is the result of grace.One
experiences that “life” when he is raised from the water of immersion (Romans 6:4).Heaven’s grace
plan system includes obedience.
Christ “saves us, through the washing of regeneration
[acknowledged to be a reference to baptism], and the renewing of the Holy
Spirit” (Titus 3:5).Obedience and
grace do not stand in opposition to one another.
May we always desire
to obey God rather than listen to man.