In last week’s bulletin we established the fact that grace is more than just a gift. It is the
very means by which God enables man to have eternal life. Without God’s grace we are
destined for destruction and there is nothing that we can do to avoid this tragic condition. From
the moment you sin, you are no longer deserving of God’s grace for the wages of sin is death,
not physical death, but spiritual death (Rom. 6:23). As I also mentioned in last week’s bulletin,
God’s grace is greatly misunderstood. Many assume that God’s grace is a “get out of hell free”
card. That is, once God’s grace is given, nothing can remove a person from God’s grace. They
are convinced that such teaching creates a legalist approach to salvation and that salvation is
something you earn, which clearly goes against the teaching of Rom. 4:4. One must examine
the complete word of God to fully understand the nature of God’s grace.
Let us begin by reading John 3:16-17. John 3:16 is a verse that nearly every nominal
Christian is familiar with. “For God so loved that world that he gave his only begotten son so that
whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Christ, however, does end
his point there. He goes on to say, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the
world; but that the world through him might be saved.” While grace is not specifically mentioned
here, we established in the last article that God’s grace is inseparable from Christ and salvation.
According to this verse, God’s grace is not guaranteed to save everyone. God gave Jesus to
the world that the world might be saved. This does not mean that God is not capable of saving
some, but I contend that some will reject salvation. As Christ goes on to say in John 3:19 “And
this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than
light, because their deeds were evil.” Coming to the light (Jesus Christ) is necessary in order
for one to receive salvation. Refusing to do so, and continue to do wicked deeds results in
ones condemnation. Jesus clearly taught that receiving salvation required you to “come and get
it.” So, how does one receive the gift of God unto eternal life?
The penalty of sin has to be paid. As Rom. 6:23 teaches, the wages of sin is death. In
order for God to remain a just God he still has to punish sin. His grace enabled Jesus to pay
that price for us. “But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels,
namely Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the
grace of God He might taste death for everyone (Heb. 2:9).” See again that word might
appears. Jesus might taste death for you, but it again is not a guarantee. This means there
must be more to the grace of God!
The gospel has to be preached. Paul told the elders of the Ephesian church, “And now I
commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you
the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” The word of grace, of the Gospel of Christ
is capable of giving your eternal life. If a person never hears the message how could they come
to know of the grace of God? And if they never hear, then grace cannot possibly be bestowed
upon them from this text. This is why we teach others. Ignorance of God’s grace is not a good
thing. It is fatal condition.
The gospel has to be obeyed. In Rom. 1:5 Paul teaches that we were given grace for the
purpose of obedience. “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to
the faith…” This is something that many lose sight of when they read Rom. 6:14 “ …for ye are
not under the law, but under grace.” Paul went on in Rom. 6:17 to write, “But God be thanked,
that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which
was delivered you.” He did not just thank God for allowing Christ to pay the price for sin. He
thanked God that the Romans were willing to be obedient, not just by going through the outward
motions, but through the inward man. The Romans did not obey because some tradition bound
them to follow an arbitrary law. They were obedient because their faith moved them to keep the
commandment of God. But isn’t obedience in opposition to a grace based salvation? No.
Even the largest of doubters recognize that faith is needed. What they fail to recognize is that
salvation requires a responding faith. (Incidentally any one who teaches the sinner’s prayer
teaches a responding faith. They teach that your faith in God because of his grace should
respond with a prayer confessing Jesus as Lord and admitting your faults). But, the bible
teaches us how one should respond with their faith… baptism. Read Acts 2:38, Acts 8:37-38
and Acts 22:16. Each convert was made by their faith because of the grace of God. Each
convert responded with baptism. This does not nullify God’s grace. Brethren, it is a faithful
response to it!!!