Monday, August 11, 2014

How Grace Saved Us

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:9-10).

When the Lord gave this message, He sounded very pleased, and rightfully so; His coming was great joy to the world and peace to mankind (Luke 2:10-14). This week’s message is at the heart of the gospel and our salvation. As it is, without grace we would all be under God’s Righteous Judgment. In the Bible we read, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 HCSB). Nowadays, many people have falsely presented this message to show that since we are saved by grace, we don’t have to do anything. The general consensus today is that we should just be content with going to church and participating in the Lord’s Supper and other routine rituals in order to complete our salvation. This notion is dangerously false, as the Bible declares: “For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 HCSB).

In other words, we were NOT saved on the merit of good works, but we are saved to do good works and to demonstrate our faith and obedience to Christ (James 2:26). A living faith bears testimony to the transforming work of Christ in us. In like manner, a father expects his son to obey him and the son’s obedience is interpreted as respect and submission to his father’s authority.

God’s Grace in Our Lives

Furthermore, although salvation is a gift of God’s grace and not a reward for our good works, that is not a reason for us to ignore good works. We are not free to live and sin as we'd like. God’s grace is not only “unmerited favor” we receive, but it also WORKS IN OUR LIVES, giving us the inner strength and power to discipline ourselves and overcome the enemy’s schemes. That is to do good, to endure suffering and to triumph over temptations (Romans 6:14-15; 2 Corinthians 12:9; 2 Timothy 2:1). God exercised His grace towards us before we were born; that same grace continues to be active in our lives and the age to come (Galatians 1:15; Romans 5:2, 21; Ephesians 2:7; 1 Timothy 1:12-16).

Grace Brought Forgiveness

Any wrong doing spoils a relationship, and forgiveness is absolutely necessary if a relationship is to be restored. While this is not an article on forgiveness, God granted us His forgiveness to show us His grace and to recognize our wrongdoing. Forgiveness was not a pretense that nothing happened. It meant God recognizing our wrongdoing for what it is, and then in love forgiving us, forgetting it, and restoring our relationship with Him (Hebrews 10:17-18; Psalm 103:12).

Man, being a sinner, has spoiled his relationship with God; we have fallen under God’s judgment. Therefore, man is in need of God’s forgiveness if we are to escape that judgment (Exodus 32:32; Romans 3:23-24). Only God alone can grant this forgiveness (Mark 2:7, 10; Acts 5:31), and sinful man is in no position to demand it of Him! This statement might sound strange, but no person who is a sinner has a right to forgiveness without repentance and faith (Nehemiah 9:17; Micah 7:18; Psalm 32:5; 51:17; Luke 7:36-50; 1 John 1:9). I must stress this: there is no mechanical way of gaining forgiveness, such as offering a sacrifice or reciting a formula. We are dependent entirely upon God’s mercy (Psalm 51:1-4; Colossians 2:13). In the provision of sacrifices in the Old Testament, God provided a way whereby a person could demonstrate his repentance, faith and obedience. Without such attitudes, a person benefited nothing from his sacrifices (Psalm 50:9; 13:14; 51:16-17; Isaiah 1:11, 16-20).

Therefore, the death of the animal in the place of the sinner also showed the sinner clearly that forgiveness of sin was possible only when the penalty of sin had justly been carried out. Forgiveness was costly, and without the shedding of blood there was no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22; Leviticus 4:2-7). Christ’s death is the basis on which God forgives all sins, past – present and future (Matthew 26:28; Acts 13:38, Romans 3:24-26; Ephesians 1:7). Through the cross, God has forgiven our sins and removed it forever (Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 43:25; Colossians 2:13-14; Hebrews 8:12).

Reconciliation

Through our sin, we became God’s enemies. We were separated from God, came under the wrath of God and were unable to enjoy fellowship with God (Romans 1:18; 8:7-8; Ephesians 2:3; Colossians 1:21). Therefore, man needs to be reconciled to God; that is, he needs to be brought back to God from a state of hostility, to a state of peace. As we know, the only way that reconciliation can occur is through the removal of the cause of hostility.

Christ Jesus our Lord brought this reconciliation when He died on the CROSS; He bore man’s sins. God’s holy wrath against sin was satisfied, but only at a great cost to Himself. God was in Christ, reconciling sinners to Himself. In His love He accepts repentant sinners back to Himself (Romans 5:6-9; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, 21). Reconciliation is God’s work, not man's. The fault is on man’s side, but the removal of hostility is the work of God (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

In conclusion, having been saved by grace means sin no longer has power over us and we must show this to be true by the way we live (Romans 8:2; Galatians 3:13-14; Titus 2:14). We should not mistake the grace of God as an encouragement to sin willfully, or assume that once we've been saved we remain forever saved so we can keep on sinning; for sin results in death (Romans 6:1-2; Romans 6:23). We were bought at a price and we are now God’s servants in obedience and righteous living (Romans 6:16-18; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

WARNING

In a vision we received recently from the Lord involving a very prominent woman of God, this sister's work for the Lord was recognized, but she was also held accountable for the false things she proclaimed in the name of the LORD. The LORD is Holy and no amount of lies no matter how well intended should be used to speak in Jesus's name (see Lying in Jesus' Name article). When Charis asked if the person involved was in HELL, the Angel lifted up her shoulders and replied: "You may not know." This implied that the Angel was not allowed to speak on the person's fate.  

In our experience with the Lord, when we have sinned, He shows His displeasure with our sins by giving serious messages, meaning if He was to come or we died on that moment of us sinning it would result in us facing His wrath. This was revealed by the Lord Himself in the recent Rapture Vision - Saved by One Minute. Don't despise your salvation and take the work of the CROSS as cheap; it is our life and the gift of GOD to all who embrace His redemptive plan.

If you are not yet reconciled to God through being born again, here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Grace, mercy and love to you all,

Brother Glenn.