Presentation on theme: "Based on “Sufficient Grace” By Jim O’Conner. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2."— Presentation transcript:
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Passages of scripture from the Bible such as, “For by grace are ye saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8), and “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men” (Titus 2:11), should make us aware of the importance of this tremendous subject, and form within us a deep desire and eagerness to know all we can about it.
Abuses of grace False restrictions, making laws where God did not make them and requiring things which God does not require (Acts 15, Jeremiah 23:32, Proverbs 30:5-6, Galatians 1:8-9, Revelation 22:18-19). Some lift restrictions God has placed on grace (Romans 6:1) Commonly defined as: Unmerited favor Unmerited love and favor of God toward man Divine influence acting in man to make him pure and morally strong God’s gift to man which was not, and could not be, merited. “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”
What grace is not Grace is not law. Grace is not license. Grace is not salvation. Grace is not mercy. Grace is not unconditionally received. Grace is not unconditionally retained. Grace is God’s love in action!
The ultimate source of grace is God, the Father. The phrase “grace of God” is found 24 times in the New Testament (i.e. Titus 2:11, Hebrews 2:9). Peter referred to the Father as “the God of all grace” (I Peter 5:10). Knowing this should encourage us to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Grace also comes to us from, and through, the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul stated in Romans 1:7, “Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The apostle John declared, “For the law came by Moses, but grace and truth by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Paul’s wish, “Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Galatians 6:18) was an expression of good-will and desire for their blessing.
Grace comes to us through the word of God, the Bible. Paul, in closing his earthly fellowship with some Christians at Miletus, said; “And now brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). It is also called “ the word of his grace” in Acts 14:3. Grace reigns through righteousness (Romans 5:21) and the gospel reveals the righteousness of God (Romans 1:16-17).
We cannot overlook the fact that grace comes to us as individuals through those people of God who practice what the word of God teaches. To teach the word of God is to open the way whereby the grace of God may do its work. To fail to teach the word of God is to withhold grace. Many hard hearts, and obstinate minds, have been penetrated by the good life of a godly man or woman (1 Peter 3:1-7).
God’s grace permits him to be “just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23) “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) Therefore, all are worthy of death; Justice demands it! However, grace provided the vicarious death of Jesus for all men (Hebrews 2:9). Paul was very plain on this point in Romans 3:23- 26. With Paul we say, “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).
God’s grace influences man away from sin. It teaches us to leave one life and live another. Titus 2:11-14 II Corinthians 5:21-6:1
The grace of God motivates man to become “servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:18). The motivation of the great apostle Paul as a servant of righteousness is a great example for us. I Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was in me.” Hebrews 12:28 “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved; let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”
God’s grace gives man strength. Paul prayed for a removal of his “thorn in the flesh.” The answer he received was, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…” (2 Corinthians 12:9). But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (James 4:6). Paul encouraged Timothy, “Thou therefore,my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 2:1).
Grace causes God to be praised. “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many abound to the glory of God” (II Corinthians 4:15). The Bible says God’s adoption of us by Jesus Christ is “to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). For this reason we are encouraged to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Herein we have the: Motivation = Love Exercise = Gave Cost = His Only Begotten Son Jesus said: “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38).
The immediate cost in leaving heaven to come to earth. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” Philippians 2:6-7. Jesus paid the ultimate price in dying for us as prophesied some 800 years before it happened. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did not esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6). The Lord Jesus himself said, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
Jesus came with the cost of grace in mind! He, the innocent, came to suffer for the guilty. The apostle Peter reminds us that material things, such as silver and gold do not figure in our redemption, but we were redeemed with “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). Jesus “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). The sacrifice Jesus made was “once for all” (Hebrews 9:26-28). He “tasted death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). One cannot look at the cross and say “grace is cheap.”
Denial of Self Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Crucifixion of Self Paul spoke of his experience in these words, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Our “old man” is to be “crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).
Sacrifice of Self Paul expressed it this way, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). Our old man is put to death, and our new man, “created in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:10), is dedicated to the service of God – a living sacrifice! Discipline of Self Peter wrote, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in you ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:13-16).
There must be a NEED. Sin separates man from God. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2). James warns us that, “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Sin creates a universal need because “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans3:23), “there is no man that sinneth not” (1 Kings 8:46).
There must be SOMEONE TO SEE THE NEED. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). “For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings” (Job 34:21). There must be an ABLE BENEFACTOR. To borrow the words of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us” (Daniel 3:17). “He is able to save us” (Hebrews 7:25).
There must be a GIFT. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). There must be a RECEIVER. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and there were added unto them that day about three thousand souls…and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:41,47)”
Change in Knowledge Recipients of grace have experienced change in knowledge through having heard the word of God, which produces faith (Romans 10:17). But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” (2 Peter 3:18). Change in Will Recipients have experienced change in will, producing repentance. This follows hearing the gospel; you do not know to repent or what to repent of until having heard the faith producing gospel (Romans 1:16-17; 10:17). Change in Allegiance Recipients of grace have experienced change in allegiance. Announced as we make the good confession, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37).
Change in State Accomplished at baptism Galatians 3:26-29; Romans 6:3-4 All spiritual blessings are found in this new state of “being in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Stand in Grace “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). “…stand fast in the faith…” (1 Corinthians 16:13; 2 Corinthians 1:24). Grace Can Be Lost Warned about falling from grace in Galatians 5:4. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God…(Hebrews 12:15). The “crown of life” is promised to those who remain faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10).
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Christianity is a taught religion. Cannot become a Christian by accident or by an influence outside the gospel of Christ. Religion built upon knowledge, not feelings or guesses. Paul informs us that “the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us…” (Titus 2:11-12). Grace teaches! The gospel also teaches. “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations…” (Matthew 28:19).
Active Religion Man is not passive in God’s plan of salvation. Both grace and the gospel are spoken of as figuring into the plan of salvation. We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:5). We are saved by the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:2). Both grace and gospel demand a response. Neither grace or the gospel benefits the unbeliever. Religion of Commitment “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13). We stand both in grace (Romans 5:2) and in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1). We are called into the grace of God (Galatians 1:6) by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14).
Hope is Our Anchor Christian commitment is motivated by hope. Romans 8:24-25 Hope is the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19); it is our purpose for going on. We are not to be moved away from hope of the gospel (“continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel,” Colossians 1:23). The gospel brings faith, and “faith is the substance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1). Hope also comes through grace 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17. We are charged to be “good stewards of the manifold grace of God” in words and in deed “that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever” (1 Peter 4:10-11).
The “old testament” is the law of Moses, or the law of God given through Moses to the nation of Israel. The covenant with Israel, given at Sinai, became “old” at the cross when it was fulfilled and taken out of the way (Matthew 5:17, Colossians 2:14). The apostle John wrote, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). This text has been taken to mean that the New Testament contains no law and that the Old Testament contained no grace. Paul wrote, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). The new covenant in Christ does contain law! Our Saviour said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). On the other count Exodus 33:17 says, “And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken; for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.”
There was grace in the Patriarchal age (from Adam to Moses). The Bible clearly states in Genesis 6:8 that, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” The writer of the book of Hebrews said, “By faith, Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7). When Lot, Abraham’s nephew, was taken from the city of Sodom by the angels, he said, “Behold now, they servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life” (Genesis 19:19).
There was grace in the Mosaical age (from Moses to the cross of Christ). The Psalmist said, “For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant. But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not; yea, many a time he turned his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath” (Psalm 78:37-38). But for grace, Israel would have perished at Sinai! “The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him rest” (Jeremiah 31:2).
Forgiveness is only possible where grace exists. We have record of the promise of forgiveness, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). We also have record of forgiveness, “Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word: but as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord” (Numbers 14:19-21). The cross was in view when forgiveness was granted.
Forgiveness was promised at the shedding of the blood of animals (Leviticus 6:1-7), but the blood of animals was not sufficient (Hebrews 10:1-4). God had something more (not something else) in view. Micah wrote, “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, o man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:6-8). The blood sacrifices were merely the figure of the blood sacrifice to come. Spiritual characteristics had to accompany the sacrifices then, looking forward, as they must accompany our service to God, and appropriation of the blood of the cross now, looking back.
Hebrews 9:15 says, “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Grace was present, and available, before, during and after the law of Moses (so argue the scriptures in Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, etc.); the penalty for sin, all sin, being paid by Jesus Christ in his death on the cross (Jeremiah 31:34, Hebrews 10:10, Isaiah 53:5-6). Let us be thankful that we live on this side of the cross, where the emphasis is on grace; but let us not charge God with being uncaring, incapable of grace, in former times. May he ever be praised for his “sufficient grace.”
The phrases “by grace ye are saved” (Ephesians 2:5) and “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47) clearly affirm that a close relationship between the church and grace does exist. The “saved” are both recipients of grace and members of the church and both by divine action. One cannot be saved without being a member of the church.
The church is a product of grace. It is the grace of God that motivated the provision of the plan, the promise, the price, and the proclamation, all of which, working together, fulfilled the purpose. God’s plan for the church began before creation (Ephesians 3:9- 11). The provision of this plan began to unfold when he revealed to his holy apostles and prophets, by the Spirit, “that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). Of the provision Peter wrote, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but now are the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).
The prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 2:2-4), Micah (Micah 4:1-2), Daniel (Daniel 2:44), Nathan (2 Samuel 7:12- 16), and David (Psalms 2:6-8) all spoke of the coming kingdom, or church, to be established by the Messiah. When Jesus made the promise, “upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18), he was promising the same thing God had promised through the prophets. The promise to build the church was an announcement of the coming of grace for all men!
The writer of Hebrews calls our attention to Jesus by pointing out that it was God’s will “that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). The church “was purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). It is for this reason that Paul reminds us, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:20). Nothing but the blood of Jesus could fulfill the demands of justice. It was a sacrifice that had to be divinely offered, a price that had to be divinely paid, and it was.
It was also the grace of God that provided the proclamation. As Paul saying farewell to the Ephesians elders at Miletus he said, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).
To believe that people of all nations could be brought together into one body and enjoy peace in that association would surely stagger the imagination of the man. And yet it happened! This is the purpose of Paul’s statement, “to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10). In Acts 11:19-23, Luke records these words, “Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. The tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, the he should go to Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.”
Calvinism: T-U-L-I-P T otal depravity U nconditional election L imited atonement I rresistible grace P erseverance of the saints “Join the church of your choice” is a common expression. The very spirit that permits denominations to exist is anti-grace. God’s will is that we be “all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). He sent his son to die that he might “gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” (John 11:52). Jesus prayed for those who believed on him through the apostles’ word, “that they all may be one” (John 17:21). How can one please the “God of Grace” while practicing that which destroys his plan for unity? How can one receive the gift while showing utter disregard and disrespect for the will of the giver?
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10). Let us be thankful for God’s grace (Colossians 3:15), and strive always to remain faithful to him who loved us and gave himself for us (Galatians 3:20).