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Sunday, August 3, 2014                            Basics Index

BACK TO BASICS (25)
God’s Plan of Salvation
The Grace of God

 As we continue our study of going back to Basics (Heb. 5:12), today we begin a discussion of our salvation.  Over the next few weeks we are going to discuss some topics associated with our salvation.  We will begin today by discussing grace – God’s part in our salvation. 

 I.                    What is Grace?

a.        Χάρις, charis – to show kindness to someone, with the implication of graciousness on the part of the one showing such kindness.  (L&N, 88.66)
A beneficial disposition toward someone (BDAG)
Vine’s defines the word objectively as, “that which bestows or occasions pleasure, delight or causes favorable regard…subjectively, on the part of the bestower, the friendly disposition from which the kindly act proceeds, graciousness, loving-kindness, goodwill general, etc.”

In simple terms, the idea of grace is favor bestowed upon one that is not earned or even deserved.

b.       The Greek word (Χάρις, charis ) is used some 155 times in the New Testament.
About 24 times in salutations (greetings and concluding remarks).
Around 104 times where it describes action – either by someone (including God) or toward someone.
The word is also translated “favor” some 8 times,
thank(s) 9x; gift – 3x; credit – 3x (Lk. 6:32-34), commendable -2x, benefit & gracious – once each.

c.        From the different English words associated with Χάρις, (charis) we get an idea of its impact in our lives.  Its use can be summarized with the two applications:
1) A gift from another (the idea of a gift is something freely given though not earned)
2) The disposition of the one receiving the gift (cf. 1 Tim. 1:12 “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,”) NOTE: Often times our thankfulness is a product of grace given 

d.       What grace is not

                                                   i.      Permission to sin – when we fully appreciate the grace of God, it prompts some to believe that it is all one needs.  Far too much of our religious world believes that the grace of God removes any responsibility on our part or that we have no control of our lives by the grace of God.  That is contrary to scripture.   A study of Romans 6:1-2 indicates that possibly some reasoned that way in the first century.  Paul clearly dismissed it in the rest of the chapter  

                                                  ii.      Based upon human performance.  The other extreme is to say that we EARN our salvation through our works.  That attitude negates the grace of God – Rom. 11:5-6, 3:23

                                                iii.      Cheap – by cheap we mean, “without cost.”   When we fully understand the depth of the grace of God, if we are not careful, it can cause us to become lazy or indifferent.  It can cause us to reason that it is all about God and we don’t have to do anything.  This can lead to unchanged on half-committed lives.  That is NOT the grace of the Bible.  Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Gen. 6:8), but he obeyed Him.  Understanding God’s grace will prompt us to serve Him with joy rather than regret or compulsion. 

                                                iv.      Exclusive – as we study the subject of salvation, we shall see that grace does not negate other factors such as faith, obedience, baptism, the blood of Jesus, etc.  They are not diametrically opposed to one another.

e.       Grace IS a gift given and/or the gratitude expressed by the one who has received and truly appreciates the gift. 

f.         In this lesson, our primary concern is the grace of God bestowed upon us.  Sometimes we hear the word with the simple definition “unmerited favor.”   That is because we are speaking of the gift of salvation that God has bestowed upon us, even though we do not deserve His favor.

 II.                  The Grace of God Demonstrated – His part

a.        That we are saved by grace is clearly taught in scripture – Ephesians 2:8-9.  Titus 2:11.   As you study scripture you will find that there are many things associated with our salvation.  But ALL of them are subject to the grace of God.  Without the grace of God, salvation would be impossible.

b.       God wants to save us – John 3:16, He so loved the world. 
Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
Romans 3:23-24 – we are justified freely by His grace

2 Peter 3:9, He is not willing that any should perish.
1 Timothy 2:4 tells us that God desires all men to be saved. 
And He did something about it!     WHEN I think of grace and our salvation, I think of God’s part.  We shall see in our study of salvation that there are things we must do to be saved.  BUT everything we do is dependent upon God doing His part – that which we CANNOT do for ourselves.  That IS what the grace of God is about.   It is taught in passages that mention His grace AND in other passages that demonstrate His grace (though the word may not be used – i.e. His love, mercy, goodness, etc.)
Consider some things that God has done by grace.

c.        He put a plan in place -
2 Tim. 1:9, “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
1 Peter 1:10, “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,

He has called us with a holy calling; Eph. 1:3-10

d.       He sent Jesus to die – (cf. John 3:16, Rom. 3:24)
Hebrews 2:9,   But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

Romans 5:6-8 – God demonstrates His love toward us.  Rom. 5:15, But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

e.       Jesus by grace came to us -
John 1:14-18 – in Christ we have received “grace for grace.”
2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

Hebrews 2:9. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”

f.         He revealed His will through His word
Consider how God put forth a plan and sent Jesus to die for our sins.  How do we know this?  How do we know what our part is to affect this salvation?  God needed to reveal it to us and He did. 
1 Corinthians 2:9-12 – the Spirit has revealed to us the deep things of God. 
1 Peter 1:10 again speaks of the salvation the prophets inquired about.  They prophesied of the “grace that would come”
Ephesians 3:2-4,
 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),
Acts 14:3 at Iconium Paul bore witness to “the word of His grace.”  Acts 20:24 Paul spoke to the Ephesians elders of “the gospel of the grace of God.” In vs. 32 we read, ““So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

 III.                Grace and our salvation

a.        Because of sin we need the grace of God – Romans 3:23-24 tells us we are sinners.  Romans 6:23 tells us that because of sin we deserve death (spiritual separation from God).

b.       God through grace offered us the gift of salvation – Romans 6:23, Eph. 2:5-8. Titus 2:11 – the grace of God that brings salvation.

c.        But that does NOT mean we have no part in our salvation. WE  ARE saved by grace, but we must accept His gift.  In Eph. 2:8-9 it is called “faith”.  There are far too many passages that call upon us to act to dismiss the importance of obeying the gospel.  (In our next lesson we will discuss our faith, and following that we will discuss obedience). 

d.       Even in this, we have NOT earned our salvation.  That is why salvation is NOT of our own works.
See Ephesians 2:9.  Luke 17:10,
So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”
AND even as children of God, we depend upon His grace for further forgiveness (cf. 1 John 1:5-9).  Consider Romans 5:20-21, “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.   We have hope, because the grace of God is greater than our sins!

e.       Furthermore, we must remain holy.  Paul continued His discourse in Romans 5-6 after exalting the grace of God by saying, ““What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1–2)   He proceeds to describe how through baptism we put to death the man of sin (6:3-6) and how we no longer live in sin. 
Titus 2:11-13 says, “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, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” This text clearly calls upon us to remain faithful (cf. Rev. 2:10). 

f.         We must realize that we can fall from grace. 
2 Corinthians 6:1, “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.  We can make the gift of God void in our lives.
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;” (Hebrews 12:14–15)
It is folly to think that because God has saved you, it is impossible for you to lose that salvation.  It is emphasized in scripture that we must remain faithful. 
YET, many abuse the grace of God (or so they think).  There are some who:

                                                   i.      Seek justification outside of God’s word.  This might including twisting and abusing scriptures.  Paul told the Galatians who were seeking to return to (or to accept) the Old Law, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:4) “

                                                  ii.      They use God’s law to justify lawlessness.  Jude 4 says, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” I think of brethren who have twisted clear passages of scripture to justify unscriptural relationships (i.e. marriages, homosexuality, etc.).

                                                iii.      By willfully refusing to repent of sinful behavior.  Hebrews 10:26-31 speaks of one persistently living in sin.  He won’t repent!  Of such persons, the writer said they had trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant a common thing and “insulted the Spirit of grace.”  No wonder they face the wrath of God UNLESS they repent!

 

And there you have a study of grace as it relates to our salvation.  In summary, grace is God’s gift to us.  He has done everything for us that we cannot do for ourselves.  Let us therefore reach out to Him (in faith and obedience) and accept His grace.  And when we do, let us live with hearts established by grace (Heb. 13:9).  Let us also continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)  What does the grace of God mean to you?