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Scripture Reading: Psalm 107:1-9
God's Grace and You
1. We must have God’s grace, or we are all condemned by our own sins.
a. charis: “the friendly disposition from which the kindly act proceeds, graciousness, loving-kindness, goodwill generally... stress on its freeness and universality, its spontaneous character” (Vine, II:277).
b. “as in the case of God’s redemptive mercy, and the pleasure or joy He designs for the recipient” (Ibid).
c. God’s redemptive mercy: Lovingkindness, goodwill, freely offered (gift that is undeserved, not merited, not earned).
2. Grace: Gift, favor, goodwill, lovingkindness that is given without merit, undeserved.
3. False views: Catholic; Wesley (Methodists); Calvinist, Universalist.
4. We want the Bible view, so we will stand in the “true grace” of God, 1 Pet. 5:12.
I. GRACE CAME TO THE WORLD IN JESUS CHRIST, Jno. 1:14-17 (Lk. 2:14); Tit. 2:11.
A. God’s Grace has been Revealed in Jesus and Proclaimed in His Word of Truth, Jno. 1:14, 17; Acts 14:3; 20:24.
1. Grace is not defined by our feelings, it is offered from heaven to mankind in the truth of the gospel, Col. 1:5-6.
2. Grace is preached in the gospel, Gal. 1:6-7.
B. It Made Salvation Available to All Sinners, Titus 2:11.
1. Believers have a right to become children of God, Jno. 1:12.
2. Grace in Christ Jesus is based on (conditioned on) faith in Him.
II. THE SINNER’S RELATION TO GOD’S GRACE.
A. God Offers Grace to Everyone (you, too!), Tit. 2:11; 1 Tim. 2:3-4.
B. Lost Sinners are Saved by God’s Grace, Jno. 1:16-17; 14:6; Eph. 2:4-5, 8-9.
1. Sinner deserves death, Rom. 6:23.
2. All have sinned, Rom. 3:23.
3. Therefore, all deserve death.
4. Yet, justified freely by His grace, Rom. 3:24; Tit. 3:5-7; Acts 15:11.
C. Faith is the Condition We Must Meet to be Saved by Grace, Eph. 2:8-9.
1. “Of the faith of Abraham,” Rom. 4:16 –- Heb. 11:17; Jas. 2:21-24.
2. Access grace by faith (the gospel produces personal faith, Rom. 1:16-17), Rom. 5:2.
III. THE CHRISTIAN’S RELATION TO GOD’S GRACE.
A. Christians Stand in Grace by Faith, Rom. 5:2.
1. Stand: Our abiding place (cf. 1 Cor. 15:1) (1 Pet. 5:12).
2. Living by faith (following gospel) does not negate the sufficiency of grace, it seizes it, Gal. 2:20-21.
B. Christians Continue in Grace, Acts 13:43 (11:23).
1. Choose to no longer serve sin, Rom. 6:1-2, 6, 11, 14.
2. Grace that condones sin is corrupted view, Jude 4.
C. Christians Grow in Grace, 2 Pet. 3:18; cf. 1 Cor. 15:10.
1. God’s grace supplies what we need to grow (Acts 20:32).
2. As God favors us, we are to favor others (cf. Col. 4:6).
D. Christians are Strengthened in Grace, 2 Tim. 2:1-2 (be strong).
1. Grace supplies us for good works, 2 Cor. 9:7-10.
2. Grace supplies us with strength to endure trials, 2 Cor. 12:8-10.
1. God loves us and has given us “everlasting consolation and good hope by grace,” 2 Thess. 2:16-17.
2. By the gospel, God gathers a remnant of grace today, as in days of Israel’s exile, Rom. 11:5.
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, and gathered out of the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.” (Psalm 107:1-3)
3. “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:8)
“Grace is a sharing in the divine life. It is the infused presence of God, a presence that is supernatural, not merely natural. Human persons are not born in a state of grace. And there is nothing we can do ourselves to earn grace. Rather, divine grace is favor, and it is freely bestowed. It is true that we can reject grace. (“What Does Divine Grace Do For Us?,” Deacon Douglas McManaman, )
John Wesley (Methodist)
Grace is a process of three-parts: Wesley taught grace as “three well defined formats, prevenient, justifying and sanctifying grace. God’s grace is a unity, but for understanding, John Wesley wisely defined it in three aspects.” (“Grace as Viewed by John Wesley,” Alvin Petty, blog).
Grace is irresistible and is given only to those unconditionally elected (chosen, predestined) by God from eternity past. Its reception and retention are not conditional. (The Westminster Confession of Faith, X, 1, 2, 3; The Book of Confessions, 6.064-066)
Grace is the place/space where everyone belongs (is accepted).
“What can Grace mean in the shadow of fear and destruction? What can Grace mean within a liberal religious community where reason and science temper our understanding of that which we call Holy? Is it not present when we sense that there is a space or a place where we are accepted and belong?” (Rev. Charles J. Stephens, “What is Grace to a Unitarian Universalist?”)
“Grace is feeling accepted. Grace is having the deep and strong feeling that you are OK and have a place in the universe, no matter how small that place may be. Grace is feeling accepted just as you are by something grater (sic) than your individual life. This need not be a personal god or even an impersonal god for that matter. And this definition of grace does not exist because someone’s life was sacrificed for us. And best of all, we don’t even need to wrestle with what that something is or isn’t. We do not need to try to do anything about it, nothing more than simply accepting the fact that we are accepted. We don’t even need to think of it as being accepted, that may be way too anthropomorphic for some of us. Grace is experiencing the joy of being alive in the here and now. Grace is - being present in the here and now, alive and conscious of being alive and in relation to the larger interconnected web of life.” (Ibid)