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Sunday, November 13, 2016 pm

SOME THINGS GRACE WILL NOT DO

We often discuss the importance of grace where our salvation is concerned.  Grace is the prime factor in our salvation, meaning that were it not for the grace of God, we could not be saved.  Realizing that has caused a great deal of misunderstanding with many.  In fact, it causes many to teach error concerning God’s grace.  Consider Jude 4, where he speaks of some who have turned the grace of God into lewdness and deny the Lord.  Some teach grace is all we need (irresistible grace) while others appeal to God’s grace to excuse sin in one form or another (continual cleansing, you cannot fall from grace, etc.)  So tonight, we want to address the grace of God by noting some things that grace will not do.

 I.                     We need the grace of God

a.       Ephesians 2:8-9, by grace you have been saved

b.       Titus 2:11-12, the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men…

c.        As Paul said, “By the grace of God, I am what I am!” – 1Corinthians 15:10, 1 Timothy 1:14

d.       Romans 3:23-24 – by grace we are justified freely

e.       Ephesians 1:7, Our forgiveness is “according to the riches of His grace.”

f.         In these passages and many others, that we need God’s grace is not denied.  And I am convinced it is subject that we could study more and ought to seek to understand it to the best of our ability.

g.       Romans 5:20, where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.  BUT, just because we need the grace of God is not an excuse to keep sinning.  In fact, Paul is adamant about in Romans 6:1-4.  BUT, this too demonstrates how our understanding of grace can be misunderstood or abused. 

 II.                   What grace will not do:

a.       Grace will not negate our need for obedience
We understand clearly that we cannot earn our salvation!  But does grace really have to negate obedience?  Certainly not! 
Ephesians 2:8-9 – saved by grace through faith.  A study of the text concludes that grace is God’s part (His gift) in our salvation.
Also, the book of Romans, which emphasizes the grace of God as opposed to works (of the law, meritorious) clearly calls for obedience – see Romans 1:5, 16:26.  Note also Romans 2:4-8 where Paul begins with “do you despise the riches of His goodness” (i.e. grace) and how that leads to repentance and obeying the truth.
Consider also John 1:17 – grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Yes, there is debate over what faith involves in this text, but the fact that faith is mentioned calls for a response from us.   NONE of the above passages, or any other passage teaches that there is nothing for us to do.  In fact, the result of such a doctrine dismisses the need for the Bible at all. 
Hebrews 5:9 tells us that Jesus became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. 

b.       Grace will not make it impossible to sin and fall away
This is most obvious by the fact that we, even though we have been saved by the grace of God, do still sin from time to time.   John even warns against the arrogance of denying this – 1 John 1:8-10.
- Galatians 1:6-7 finds Paul marveling that they are turning away from the grace of Christ so soon.  After challenging their behavior and explaining the relationship between faith and works we find in Galatians 5:4 – you can fall from grace! 
- Hebrews 2:1- warns us to give the more earnest heed to what we have heard, lest we drift away. In verse 9 we notice that Jesus, “by the grace of God” tasted death for everyone.
Later in this letter, the writer will warn us to 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;…” (Hebrews 12:14-15)
- James 5:19-20 – speaks of one wandering from the truth and thereby is in danger of his soul dying. 

c.        Grace will not turn sin into righteousness - 
There are some, even among brethren, who are teaching that God, through His grace, is going to overlook some of our sins.  Many theories are espoused to support this, including some who say the righteousness of Jesus covers our unrighteousness (as if to say, God doesn’t see our sins because the blood of Jesus is a barrier, e.g. an umbrella).  In reality, these are “once saved” always.
This is not what scripture teaches.
Romans 6:1-2 – we should NOT continue to sin so that grace may abound.  Paul proceeds to remind them that they obeyed the gospel (were baptized, 6:3-4, 17) and put to death the man of sin.  They CANNOT continue to live in sin and be pleasing to God.  Notice Romans 6:11-14 – Do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies – why? Because you are not under law but under grace!
- It will not turn false worship into true worship – John 4:24.  Matthew 15:8-9 where Jesus quotes Isaiah (29:13) he addresses vain worship when we teach “the traditions of men” over the commandments of God.  This is why it matters HOW we worship! 
- It will not turn immorality into purity – far too many are appealing to sincerity (which is clearly important) OVER obedience.  The result is the acceptance of immoral relationships (i.e. MDR, homosexuality, pre-marital relations, etc.) and immoral behaviors Sincerity will not nullify one that is in error.  Rev. 9:20-21
It will not turn error into truth – as with moral purity, saying “God knows my heart” is not going to be sufficient to dismiss following truth.   We have many who are hesitant to call a false teacher a false teacher. 
Acts 20:32 – it is the word of His grace that is able to build us up.  Gal. 2:20-21 Paul told these brethren, I do not set aside the grace of God…
I have learned that the rule (maybe there are exceptions) with justifying sin is that to whatever degree one seeks to overlook sin, it is usually the degree to which they continue in sinful behavior without a desire to repent.

d.       Grace will not sanction fellowship with sin and error – yet another area of concern.   How do we deal with those in error or in sin? How do we deal brethren who are in error?  Many today are advocating, that even if one is clearly teaching error, we should still have fellowship with such – because God’s grace is greater.  They might appeal to Romans 14:4 which speaks of God making one able to stand who differs with you.  However, in examining Romans 14 it is clearly dealing with a specific type of difference – it is not speaking of one teaching false doctrine or caught up in immorality.  Where do we find such in the text?  This text is addressing matters about which God is indifferent (Note: That doesn’t mean its not important to you, but God has not declared a side either way).  That is FAR different from saying grace is sanction for fellowshipping those in error.   HOW FAR will we take this?

2 John 9-11, warns us to have nothing to do with such. 
Ephesians 5:11 is also clear on this – we do not fellowship with works of darkness, which would include sin and error. 

Jude 22-23 – calls for us to deal with those in error

James 5:19-20 also calls for us to deal with the brother overtaken in trespass.   NOT to fellowship with him.

 Yes, we need the grace of God.  But when we understand His grace, we realize there are things it will not do.  Understanding these things must help us ensure that our hearts are established by TRUE grace – Hebrews 13:9