Ephesians 2:8-10, John 3:16, John 10:28-30, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Revelation 22:17, Matthew 11:28-30, Ezekiel 18:23
Summary: Our series on Bible doctrines continues with a look at the definition and characteristics of the grace of God.
Grace is defined as the love and mercy of God in action. He showed His mercy and love for us, unworthy and undeserving as we are (Romans 3:10-18, 23, 6:23), when He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to willingly bear upon Himself our sins and transgressions, which was the punishment we should have had to bear.
He did not have to undergo the trials and agony of the cross. He did not have to bear our unpayable sin debt, yet He did. Even though our sins and rebellion had made us His enemies (Romans 5:6-11), His grace and mercy are such that He chose out of His love for us to endure a literal hell on earth. He did this, physically and spiritually, so that we did not have to endure the eternal hell which is reserved for the devil, his angels, and all who reject this gracious offer of Divine love (Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:43-38; Luke 16:19-31; Revelation 20:11-15). Jesus’ death on the cross for our sakes was the truth and fulfillment of what He taught (John 3:16).
God’s grace endures forever upon the ones who have trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation (John 10:28-30, 19:30; Romans 8:37-39). I have absolutely NO idea where the idea of “losing one’s salvation” originated, but it isn’t in the Bible.
If we are genuine and sincere in confessing our sins and repent before the LORD, trusting in Christ’s finished work on the cross for our redemption, He then takes control of our lives from that moment on (Luke 14:25-33). When we DO sin, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is there to convict us of our wrongdoing (John 16:7-15). He directs us back to the cross where we confess before the LORD what we have done or said, seek His forgiveness, and then carry on with the tasks He has given us to do (Psalm 103:6-14; Philippians 3:13-14; 1 John 1:9).
Our security in Christ is not some kind of “license to sin,” as some brethren tend to believe. However, if someone continues to live in sin and still confesses that he or she is a follower of Christ, yet shows no signs of remorse or sorrow over sins, the issue is not that they have somehow “lost” their salvation, but the truth is that they were never truly saved in the first place (Matthew 7:21-23; Mark 7:6; Luke 6:46; Titus 1:16; Hebrews 6:4-6; James 3:14; 1 John 2:9, 3:18).
The Scriptures instruct us to examine ourselves as to whether the faith we profess is real or fraudulent and to come before the LORD in humbleness and surrender to His mercy and saving grace (Matthew 7:5; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 6:4).
God’s grace carries no conditions on our part. In other words, we do not bring anything before Him in some kind of “deal” or “partnership” where we try to do our best and He puts in the rest of the work on our behalf. He makes it clear in His Word that we are totally unable to make ourselves righteous or acceptable in His sight while we are in our depraved, sinful, and rebellious condition. Our righteousness is as a filthy leper’s rag or menstrual pad in His sight (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 1:18-32). Apart from His intervention, none of us can even be redeemed and freed from our sins.
Ephesians 2:1-3 tells us that we are not just sick with sin but dead in sin. It is His Sovereign election, that is, His gracious and merciful choice to bring us back from the dead through the finished work of Christ on the cross that we are given eternal life (John 10:9; Acts 4:12, 15:11; Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Hebrews 5:9, 9:28; 1 John 5:11). We cannot add nor delete anything in our own power to improve or add to Christ’s work of salvation and redemption. The task is complete and finished, period. (2 Corinthians 12:9).
God’s grace makes no discrimination (Revelation 22:17). Even in the final book of Holy Scripture, the Lord Jesus calls upon all who have read and heard His Word to come to Him for salvation (Ezekiel 18:23; Matthew 11:28-30; 2 Peter 3:9). The ground at the foot of the cross is always level. His grace is the means by which we are justified (Romans 3:23-24). We are made righteous through Christ by faith in what He did for us at Calvary and by His resurrection from the dead as validation that His sacrificial mission was complete and never to be repeated again.
Justification is accounting us, the guilty in sin, as just before God, not by the Law (Romans 3:20, 28), nor by our self-righteousness (Romans 10:1-4), nor by our works (Romans 4:1-5), and not faith plus works (Galatians 2:16). The work that we do for the LORD is the product and fruit of our salvation, not a condition for salvation (James 2:14-16).
By His grace, we are made heirs of his love and eternal riches (Romans 8:17; Galatians 3:29; 4:7; Titus 3:7). Finally, the grace of God instructs us on how to live as His children (Titus 2:11-12; 2 Peter 1:3, 3:11).
The Scriptures and the privilege of approaching Him in prayer (Hebrews 4:14-16) are treasures that many of us take for granted. We need to see this as the gracious, merciful, and open invitation to have fellowship with Him and to have more of His will and nature in our lives than that of this futile, limited, and corrupt world (1 John 2:15-17).
The best way to end this sermon on the basics of God’s grace comes from the Apostle Paul, who received this undeserved grace on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:1-6). He writes the following words of praise for God’s saving grace:
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be repaid to Him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever, Amen” (Romans 11:33-36, NKJV).
You can’t top that.
My YouTube broadcasts titled “The Reality City Review” will be posted on Facebook, GETTR, Parler, and on my website when completed. My main area of discussion will be on the basics of the Christian faith but will also deal with prophetic issues and other topics as the Lord impresses upon me to handle.