WHY have a chapter on ‘GRACE’ following a chapter on ‘OBEDIENCE’? Is OBEDIENCE opposed to GRACE? Good questions, which we intend to try and answer in this short chapter.
(Before I get into this, let me encourage you to the study “Amazing Grace Bible Study” which is a series on this website. It is longer and goes a good bit deeper into the subject.)
My Dad said some things which I think are important here…
“I do not believe in believing. I Believe in God!” Faith without proof of faith is “dead” according to James 2:24-26. Real or genuine faith is seen in obedience (Hebrews 11). Faith, in order to be powerful must be anchored in something else… not in itself! Faith must be firmly anchored in God and real faith will be seen in actions of a surrendered life. The important thing here is not how much faith you have, for it will grow… it is the object of your faith.
“I do not believe in repentance, I believe in God!” “I do not believe in confession, I believe in God!” “I do not believe in baptism, I BELIEVE IN GOD!” – “He commands these things…. that is good enough for me!”
Radical statements? Yes! But very necessary, sense we often tend to miss the whole point, which is to surrender our life to JESUS in the process!
Salvation is BY GRACE.
No one FORCED our Father to send His Son to this earth to die for us! No one twisted His mighty arm and made Him cry “Uncle.” No powerful politician, or king, or dictator, forced the God of this universe to allow His Son to give his life for us… SALVATION IS BY GRACE!
Things to consider.
Paul says, we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).
“ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF SALVATION IS BY (God’s) GRACE.” This means, everything God has done and does in saving man, is GRACE. Think about it… God is not under ANY obligation to us! He is not in OUR DEBT! We are in ‘debt’ to HIM! Even when we obey his commands… HE IS NOT IN OUR DEBT! Because even our obedience is imperfect. When we become a Christian, our Christian ‘walk’, is not a 50/50 proposition! We were not saved and given a Bible and told, “Good Luck!” It is by “ONE HUNDRED PERCENT GRACE.
Add to this…
IT IS BY ONE HUNDRED PERCENT (Man’s) FAITH THAT BRINGS ONE HUNDRED PERCENT SALVATION.” One is either saved or lost. There is no ‘in-between’
ground. The Bible knows nothing of, “kinda saved”, “sorta saved”, “probationary salvation”, “maybe saved”, “I hope I’m saved” systems. These come from a misunderstanding of GOD’S GRACE. It stems from the belief that His grace is tiny, narrow, and almost not there. THIS IS AS ABUSIVE OF GRACE AS GOING TO THE OTHER EXTREME AND USING GRACE AS A LICENSE.
To hear the Gospel, believe and embrace it’s truths, and turn to Jesus from self and sin,
confessing his name, and being baptized into Christ, are the simple terms of salvation offered by His grace. This obedience in no way EARNS SALVATION… that just cannot be done! Paul said, “5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7).
Why do people ‘pit’ what comes from grace against grace? The Bible speaks of saving grace, singing grace, strengthening grace, praying grace, giving grace, forgiving grace, growing grace, powerful grace, wonderful grace… amazing grace. We cannot buy it, earn it, or re-pay it. We can receive and stand in it… that’s it.
Put all this together and you have a marvelous God who loves us so much that He was willing to take the first step and send his only Son so we sinners could be saved!
God’s plan of salvation, is a plan of grace. It is grace from beginning to the end. A Christian is covered by His grace from beginning to the end, as long as he stays in Christ. The “good works” of the Christian, are not TO BE SAVED, but BECAUSE WE ARE SAVED. Paul says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). These are not, NOT, works of merit… but natural fruit and results of true faith, and love in and for Christ and the sacrifice on the cross which he provided.
Grace is the MOTIVATOR. Grace is also the INHIBITOR (of going back into sin). For after leaving the “pig pen” of sin, why on earth should I long to go back!!! Grace is ROOM TO MAKE MISTAKES (not an excuse to make them), REPENT, AND GROW. Grace destroys guilt and motivate us to a life in Christ.
Works (fruit) of righteousness are altogether different from works (of merit) which can be boasted about. Our works are the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).Jesus said, 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you” (John 15:5, 8, 16).
CONVERSION: THE NATURE OF GOD IN MAN
Conversion changes the nature of a person. God is enthroned – Jesus becomes Lord – the Holy Spirit dwells within and “guides, guards, directs” the life of the Christian. Yet the Christian still has the power of choice… whether or not to follow the Spirit of God.
Does an orange tree eat it’s own oranges? Would an orange tree produce oranges, if no one ate them? So it is with the child of God… He produces fruit (a life, actions, works), not from guilt, or threats of intimidation, but because it is his new nature!
Attending the assembly of the saints, praying, giving, singing, studying the scriptures, being kind, loving, patient, long suffering, joyful, etc… are products of the new nature… not the result of a CHURCH PROGRAM. It is who (who’s) we are, that we produce fruits of righteousness. It is the very purpose of the believer, and as he produces fruit, he is assured of even greater ‘crops’ to come.
SAVED! What a glorious sound. Redeemed, by the blood of the Lamb. Justified by a most marvelous grace of God. Born again, all things become new. All this and heaven as well.
Now, let’s review REFER TO THE CHART: (1) Adam sinned… prophecy of a coming Savior, (2) Abraham’s call… a promise of a coming Savior, (3) The Law of Moses given… the need for a coming Savior, (4) The cross of Christ … The sacrifice of the Savior, (5) Simple New Testament Plan of Salvation, (6) Saved by grace – the ultimate gift of God and conversion… the nature of God in man.