THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE

 

 I want to speak on  the subject of Grace for this period of study  

     I begin with a single verse Acts 20:24

 

      24But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God

 

  These are the words of the apostle Paul at Miletus in his farewell to the elders of the church at Ephesus. He was on his way to Jerusalem. At this time Paul's experience was that of communication with the Holy Spirit that bonds and afflictions awaited him .

       The sky was dark with gathering clouds of trouble, yet he did not count his life dear to him, but did count it of supreme importance that he should fulfill his ministry of the gospel of grace of God.  He had received that ministry in personal experience, and by the direct command of the Lord:


>      This is his own account of how it was received.   Acts 26:15 —

         The Lord said: " I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 16But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

 

         Thus in his own account of communication with the risen Lord, he had been called to testify to   the Gentiles and now after a period of well nigh a generation of faithful service he was looking back over the way,  he expressed the burden of that  wonderful  responsibility of  apostolic  ministry  into this phrase to "the gospel of the grace of God",

 

          We could stop  right here with this passage examining Paul's commission  VERSE 18 ¾ which he himself says is The gospel of the grace of God  and this would be a profitable study for us.    The gospel of the grace of God, not a sentence, but a phrase, but what a phrase, and is in itself  a theme.

The gospel of the grace of God

 

     The gospel is the good news, it is the good news of grace

 

          The gospel is the good news for the Greek word so translated eujaggevlion means so by definition. Grace defies definition as surely as love defies definition. There is no definition of grace save by the way of the activity of grace.   PHILO – defined grace as: Favor conferred freely with no expectation of return, finding its only motive in the bounty and free-heartedness of the giver.

          I know what grace is when I observe what grace accomplishes. In Titus chapter 2 beginning in verse 11 we have this statement concerning the Grace of God

      11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly,  righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

 

         The gospel is the good news as to the things that are possible to sinning humanity . And grace expresses the attitude and activity making all things possible  to the sons of men.

    Brethren where is there a more beautiful verse concerning Christian Living.

      The grace of God has appeared in the Son, He came to reveal God to man. In Christ, we have what God had in mind when in Genesis 1:26 it is said, "Let us make man "  His first words "Know ye not that I must be about My Father's business?"  The last words uttered before dying on the cross was "Father into Thy hand I commend My Spirit." And every thing in between was about the Father's will.

    But again,  John 1:17-18      17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

          Let it be remembered, that the gospel of the grace of God is centered in the Son of God.  "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." So opens one of the gospel stories.  

    As I observe nature I discover God in His might, and in His infinite wisdom.   I so discover God in nature that I am quite able to sing with the Psalmist in profound astonishment:

         3When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

          The glory of God revealed in nature is such that I am amazed. And looking within I know my sin, that I myself have chosen to do contrary to God's good will, even when I have know to do good.

           But there is no good news, no gospel in nature. If I would have a good news concerning sin and how to rid myself of it. I must come to the Son of God.

     To speak on GRACE one must go to Eph. 2:8-10

 

      8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them

     It seems strange that though this passage is one of the best known verses in the Bible

 

          It is one of the most misunderstood scriptures in the Bible. Much of the  teaching  we hear today has captured this verse and other verses,  as John 3:16 —   Lifting them out of their proper setting and often misrepresented their actual teaching simply to perpetrate the doctrine of "Justification By Faith Alone." based upon Grace.

         8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

          Of course they do this to neutralize the essentially of baptism. But those of us in the church have often reacted in an  argumentative way,  and  we have missed the beauty and the power of  them we've let the religious world rob  us of this and other passages.

       Still another passage we hear to justify faith only is Acts16:30-31 the background of this passage is this: Paul and Silas had been arrested and imprisoned,  for healing a  certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination —  -About midnight one of the strangest earth-quakes you ever read about,  the record states:  Acts 16:25

    

     The accounts continues

>>      27And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

          

          The denominational world have lifted these and other passages out of their natural setting in order to draft a  salvation of grace through faith alone —  John Wesley and others have fathered this position.

          And so I hope we can put  it back into a proper perspective in your heart and thinking¾ and in your resolution to live for God.

      Well there are those  who neither believe in “grace only” or “faith only”  but have difficulty in trying to place both  grace and faith properly  in God's plan to save man.

     And to this task we give ourselves.   The grace of God and the grace of Christ are joined together  In Romans 3:23-26

 

      23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;   26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

 

      This passage points out many different things.   First, man has sinned.   that man needed to be punished for there is a  penalty for sin.  "The soul that sinneth it shall die." Again Romans 6:23 "The wages of sin is death"

          But because of God's great love wherewith He hath loved us- Though we were sinners, God provided a sacrifice in the giving of His Son to take man’s place and finally, by means of a satisfactory sin offering.  And this is the  meaning of Paul's words in EPHESIANS 1:5-7

         5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. 6To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. 7In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

         God not overlooking the penalty of the law, for it had to be respected.    It is not possible to find an earthly illustration that will do justice to the idea of atonement.  It is beyond our comprehension, but let’s hope this illustration  will help.

         An earthly monarch was exceedingly troubled because of his kingdom was becoming a nation of thieves. In an effort to overcome this national weakness, he passed a severe law that one caught stealing would be beaten with one hundred stripes on his bare back in the presence of a multitude. To the king’s dismay the first to violate the law was his SON. He was greatly distressed for he loved him dearly. He went into seclusion to decide what could be done to spare his SON and at the same time uphold the dignity of his law. Finally the day came for the inflicting of her punishment and people had come from far and wide. As the officer raised the whip to lay the lashes on the king’s son, the king stepped from his throne and said, “stay your hand, I will take his place.” He pulled off his royal robe and bared his back. He commanded the officer to lay the stripes on him.

          He took his Son's punishment, and she went free, as the  dignity of the law was upheld, the penalty was paid in full, but mercy and grace were granted. So Jesus took our place on the cross, he bore our sins in his body, and through faith in him we are now justified by means of his blood and His death.

 

     One of the most beautiful passage in the Bible John 3:16-17

 

      16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 

>>      Think about  "grace" in view of Calvary. All the human race could expect in view of sin was the righteous wrath of a holy God, and eternal banishment from His glorious presence. But God stepped down from His judgment seat and took upon himself at Calvary the guilt and penalty of sin, thus satisfying His justice and making possible the bestowal of His mercy. This he did not for friends, but for enemies.  Romans 5:8-10

 

         8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

     No Wonder We read in 1 John 3:1 

      1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

 

       "manner of love" [potavpo"]a Greek word which means  one of a foreign kind. Unheard of in humanity, action  beyond the ordinary course of what might be expected.

&nbssp;;;<<

 Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

 

 

      Well that the Bible certainly teaches "We are   saved by grace through faith."   No student of Bible would willingly deny, for the evidence is not lacking.

 

          But by grace alone, or by grace irresistibly we emphatically deny. There are many things  which the  Bible contributes to justification and salvation INCLUDING WORKS OBEDIENCE and CHOICE.      

        

     1 Corinthians 6:11  Paul speaks of former conditions 

      And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of  our God.  

        

     Romans 5:1

              Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with  God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

     Romans 5:9

    Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved  from wrath through him.

 

     James 2:24

>>      Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

    

         So there are many things to which salvation  or  justification is ascribed, and we should not be remiss in recognizing these, But faith being alone can not save.  James 2:26

     for as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith with works is dead.

 

     Salvation or justification by grace: what  does it include?  First The Agency of Choice:

 

      Man has always had a choice in his decision to serve Jehovah or no.   You see God wants sons not slaves. In

      Deuteronomy 30:19

         19I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:     

 

     Joshua 24:15

     And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose  you this day   The Pentecostians were told on that memorable day Acts 2:40 Save yourselves from this untoward  generation.

   

     Acts 10:34-35

      34Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I  perceive that  God is no respecter of persons: 35But  in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh  righteousness, is accepted with him.

 

          Serving God is a choice, and brethren when the choice is made, we need to serve with diligence.   BECAUSE!  Salvation by grace includes obedience to  our Heavenly Father.  Men of every age have walked with God obeying His  voice and have  been blessed and justified   (Abraham  Job)  Enoch walk with God and was translated:    

 

     These words are recorded of Noah! Genesis 6:22

      Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. 

          This verse I believe a divine commentary as to Noah's salvation — Paul in writing to the church at Rome

        

          Romans 16:25-26

    25Now to him that is of power to stablish you according  to my gospel, and    the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was  kept secret since the world began 26But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets,  according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations[WATCH IT] for the obedience of faith:

 

    

 

 

      2 Thess 1:7-10

          7And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,  8In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  9Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

 

      Salvation by grace through faith is one of choice, and one of obedience to God….

 

      But! objects one-  salvation is a gift- and  it  excludes  our doing anything:   In Joshua 6:  God had given the Israelites the city of Jerico a gift doesn't necessarily exclude our doing something to appropriate the same.  In  Ephesians 2:10 we read -

>>       For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus  unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

     

       Belief is a work - to which no one  objects          John 6:29

>>       Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that   ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

         

      Belief is a commandment of God,    1 John 3:23 

>>       And this is his commandment, That we should believe  on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

 

      Repentance is a work- Yet all agree we must do it:    Jonah 3:10

>>       And God saw their works, that they turned from their  evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did    not.   

     Yet in Matt. 12:41  Jesus styled this as Repentance:    FAITH AND REPENTANCE ARE WORKS

         YET NO ONE OBJECTS

 

     But mention Baptism and right away someone  cries out! "Salvation Is Free- Can't Do Anything" Can’t work.  Did you know that nowhere in all of the Bible is baptism said to be a work.  People will freely submit to belief and repentance (called works in Bible) and even to confession.  which is commanded, and must be obeyed; But mention baptism and right away "can't do that,  can't work for our salvation"

 

      I'm about to make a radical statement:   Without  fear that anyone can prove the  falsity thereof:

 

         Justification, salvation by grace includes the plan of salvation  Namely  Hear- Believe - Repentance Confession - And Baptism: And someone says let me see you prove that statement,

         In Ephesians 2:8-10 these Ephesians were saved by grace, no doubt about it for our text so states and I believe it..   So I ask... What did the Ephesians do, if anything in  order to obtain salvation? If we can find that out, we  learn what we need to do to be saved by grace.

 

     First they heard the word of God:

      Faith Comes By Hearing  Word:   Rom. 10:17  And            They Believed It.   Ephesians 1:13

>>      In whom ye also , after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom   also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that  holy Spirit of promise,

   

       Hearing produces faith and you and I must hear the word, for we are saved by grace through faith…   James warns us : James 1:22-27 not to be hearers only so - there is more.

 

      Next the Ephesians who were saved by grace  repented :  Acts 20:17-21

 

      17And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the  elders of the church. 18And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have    been with you at all seasons, 19Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and  temptations, which befell me by the    lying in wait of the Jews: 20And how I kept back nothing that was    profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have  taught you publicly, and from house to house, 21Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks,  repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus   Christ.

 

     And God commands all men everywhere to repent:            Acts 17:30-31  Jesus said Luke 13:3  That we must repent or all likewise perish. To perish is to be lost!

 

 

 

 

 

 

     The Ephesians confessed:  Acts 19:17-18

 

>>        17And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also  dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds.

 

     Likewise Jesus says: Matt 10:32-33  that we must confess Him before men,  or He will deny us before the Father.

 

 

      Lastly the Ephesians were baptized: Acts 19:1-5

>>      1And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to  Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2He said unto  them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?   And they said unto him, We have not so    much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said,  Unto John's    baptism.  Then said Paul, John verily  baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should  come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.[WATCH IT VERSE 5 .]  5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord  Jesus.

 

     Conclusion:  The Ephesians were saved by grace, but grace included God’s Plan  Of Salvation

 

      Look at Noah (the old patriarch and preacher of  righteousness)

 

      Noah was saved by faith:   Hebrews 11:7

 

      By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved  with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is  by faith.

 

      Noah was saved by grace or favor of God: Gen. 6:8

     Noah found grace

 

      Noah was saved by water: 1 Peter 3:20-21

>>      20Which sometime were disobedient, when once the  longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the  answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the  resurrection of Jesus Christ:

     But Noah's salvation is summed up in Gen. 6:22

 

     22Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.    These words are so important, that they are repeated a few verses later ¾   Genesis 7:5 

     5Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him,

 

         Are you willing to do that very thing?  Salvation by faith through grace.  There is the matter of choice, you can chose to be saved or  choose to be lost  it is a matter of submitting to God's will. As the Ephesians,  who were saved by GRACE.


Ron Cope minister Chestnut Mt.church of Christ

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