Monday, April 21, 2014

Understanding the clear message of grace (Pt 5 of 5)

I was so filled with joy to hear stories about your children walking in truth, in the very way the Father called us to live. 2 John 4

Anyone who gets so progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ, walks out on God. But whoever stays with the teaching, stays faithful to both the Father and the Son. 2 John 9 Message

Removing the error from the true and real

We've been in a five part series entitled "Will the real gospel of grace please stand up." In this series we've discovered what grace is not. Grace is not Universalism or Inclusionism (future or historic). Grace doesn't mean we should spout off curse words to prove how "free" we are. Grace also doesn't mean we no longer need the five fold ministry gifts or the local church. So now that we understand what grace is not, lets discover what the gospel of grace is!

1.) Grace defined is unearned, unmerited favor. Its Father God's extension toward us in blessing and love

Grace is not simply an empowerment. Many have attributed this definition to grace. The Greek word for grace is Charis. It literally means kindness and favor. Digging deeper in the Greek and the related Hebrew word Khane we discover grace also means dispose to show favor and blessing. To simply define grace as empowerment can lead one to believe that performance and works are still required to "earn" God's acceptance. Grace then gives you the ability to complete all these "duties". 

Nothing could be further from the truth. Our Father's extension to us in blessing and favor apart from our works or performance or self efforts produces an empowerment in our life.  So what is grace? It is God being disposed to show favor and love and kindness to His children apart from their own efforts or works or performance. 

2.) Grace means ALL our sins are forever forgiven

When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we partake of His finished work on the cross. We receive the complete forgiveness He purchased for us. One major question many ask is, 
"Does this mean only my past sins are forever forgiven?"
No! This perfect finished work paid the eternal price for ALL our sins! He has forgiven us our past and present and future sins. If this only covered our past what would we do about our current sins? 

Does Jesus need to come down and die again and again each time we sin after we are born again? Of course not! Jesus paid for all sin once for all time with His one time sacrifice on the cross.

Every priest stands day after day ministering and offering the same sacrifices time after time, which can never take away sins. But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. Hebrews 10:11-12

Jesus paid for our past sins and failures. Jesus blood was a more than enough payment that also paid the complete price for our current mess ups and sins and even our future failures! The Word of God is clear. He has forgiven us all our sins.

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, Colossians 2:13

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32
I write to you, little children Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. 1 John 2:12

This sounds too good to be true. All our sins? All of them? Allow me to give you a word picture. 

When I was a young man I accompanied my mother to a parade in my home town. We stood street level and we couldn't see the whole parade. We might have seen two or three floats down either side of us. Of course we clearly saw the float directly in front of us. No matter how hard we tried we couldn't see it all. We couldn't see it from beginning to end. All that was visible was what was near. Is this how Jesus sees our life? Only our past mess ups and failures? 

Allow me to complete this word picture. With a desire to see more of the parade, we ventured to the top floor of an open building. From this vantage point we were able to see the whole parade. From start to finish. The whole procession was clearly visible. This is how Jesus sees our life when we come to Him and receive His free gift of salvation.  

Jesus like this rooftop view sees all our lifetime. From our first breath to our last. When we accept Him, He receives us, all of us, our whole lifetime. So when I came to Him and surrendered my heart to Him, He saw my whole life of sins. Even the ones I hadn't committed yet. He forgave me of ALL my sins. So now I am completely forgiven. My past and present and future is cleansed by the blood. This is grace. Undeserved, unearned, unmerited favor and love.

3.) Grace provided a way so that we are now perfectly accepted and in right standing with God

to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6

We have been perfectly accepted by His blood. Grace made the way for us to be completely acceptable by our God and Father. We are loved. We are accepted. We have perfect relationship with our Father through His grace. Through this grace we also received His righteousness. 

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

The great exchange. He became something He never was so we could be something we never were. Now we are in perfect right standing with our Father. No longer plagued by guilt and shame we can come boldly into His presence. We received His righteousness. We traded our sin for His right standing with the Father. If it is Jesus’ righteousness and not our own we received then we are just as righteous as Jesus Christ! 

4.) Grace brings security to all those truly in Christ

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”  John 10:27-30

Grace is proof enough that our salvation is not based upon our ability or efforts to "remain" saved. We could never perform enough to earn God's favor. No amount of good works brought us close enough to meeting God's standards. His standards are absolute perfection. The alarming truth is that His standards of perfection have never changed. Even after we are born again. This is why grace is the essential element of our salvation.

Consider this. When we were unsaved and unrighteous before the Lord, what amount of effort could make us righteous? Could any one righteous act remove our unrighteousness? Was there any amount of giving or feeding the homeless that would've removed our shame and sin? Of course not. 

We received the New Birth and the free gift of righteousness by the grace of God through faith. So now that we have received His free gift of righteousness, what makes us believe one act of unrighteousness removes our right standing before the Lord? In other words our conduct didn't get us into God's family. So our conduct won't get us out of God's family. Now, of course I'm not advocating living in sin. Sin harms us and others and can lead to natural consequences and bring about corrupting influence on our minds. Christ reminds us He has better for us. He continually reveals who we already are in Him through the new birth. We are eternally secure in Him. This is the glad news of the finished work of Jesus Christ. 

But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.  He is now waiting until His enemies are made His footstool.  For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. Hebrews 10:12-14

It states clearly we are perfected forever by the finished work of Christ. It doesn't state we are perfected only until we blow it. We are secure in Christ Jesus. This is all because of the grace of Almighty God.

In summation we can rejoice in the good gospel news of Jesus' grace. His grace supplies us with all we will ever need to fulfill all the will of God for our lives. Grace is super abounding good news. There is no need to try and alter clear Scripture. There is no need for making up strange doctrines to come up with a "new thing". His grace is our sufficiency. 

I pray this series has blessed you. Stay tuned as we go into more detail in future posts concerning eternal security, the supply of grace and our sonship. Please consider sharing if this blog post has blessed you. As always feedback is welcomed. Grace to you all.

"Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/"

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