Grace of God in the New Testament | Grace of God Series #3
by Fred R. Coulter—February 2, 1985
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How many have this booklet, Grace of God of the Bible? This is one that I wrote when we first began Biblical. And I would have to say that at this point now we’ve grown a lot in understanding concerning grace, but I think you’re going to be very surprised as why when we were in Worldwide Church of God we did not learn about the grace of God, and I think you’re going to be absolutely floored. And I’ll bring that out just a little bit later here. Let’s just review concerning the grace of God in the Old Testament.
First of all let’s go to Genesis 2, and in studying through concerning the grace of God in the Bible, it dawned on me and I think this is an example of kind of a personal experience in how you feel when you grow in knowledge. Remember the Bible says that you learn here a little and there a little, and precept upon precept, and precept upon precept, and here a little and there a little. Well, this is exactly what it is, and if you want to know how much this part of the Bible has been used by me all you have to do is look at the pages and you can almost see by the color, and that’s from the hand, just over the years, my dirty fingers have left these little marks and the little bit of sweat in the palm of my hands. And I’ve got it marked. I probably have a half a dozen different pens and different times I’ve made major insertions in it. And how many times have I preached sermons on the Sabbath. And how many times have we gone back and gone over the story of Adam and Eve, and I know that the Worldwide Church of God there’s only one version you ever hear and that’s the only sermon you ever hear from one person, so you don’t want to go back to Genesis 1, 2, and 3, but it dawned on me that in Genesis 2 when God made the Sabbath, let’s see what He did to it.
Genesis 2:1, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day…” Now most people think it’s a curse. It’s a blessing. He blessed the day. Now why aren’t people anxious to keep the day that God blessed. That’s strange, isn’t it. Sometimes things become so crystal clear that when you see it in it’s proper light it just… it’s amazing, isn’t it? Now you would think since people would want a blessing from God that they would want to keep the day He blessed. So He blessed it. “…And sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made” (Gen. 2:1-3).
Now when you go through and read the rest of the account, the Sabbath day was given while Adam and Eve were in a state of grace, because they were given permission to eat of all of the trees of the garden including the tree of life. And you cannot eat of the tree of life unless you have a state of grace. So the Sabbath was given not only as a law, as we find in Exodus 20, and Deuteronomy 5, but it was given to mankind as an act of grace.
Now the Sabbath booklet that I’m just about half finished, I’m going to have one section in there “Sabbath keeping-is it salvation by works or is it an act of grace”. And I think that when people read that they’re going to be absolutely surprised that keeping the Sabbath is an act of grace.
Now let’s quickly go to Ephesians 2 and we will see that God has given us good works that He ordained that we should walk in and the Sabbath is one of those good works. You can go back and go over the scriptures where it says in Isaiah 58, “If you will turn your foot from the Sabbath and call it a delight, etc, etc…”
Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Now wasn’t the Sabbath one of those things ordained that we should walk in? Certainly. Wherever you find Sabbath breaking, just go back and reread Ezekiel 20. When they broke the Sabbath He said, “How long refuse you to not walk in My commandments?” You go to Exodus 16, and I think it’s about verse 21 where the fellow went out on the Sabbath to look for manna and He said, “How long refuse you to keep My commandments?” (vs. 27-28). So it’s one of those good works. And it’s a blessing. And I can tell you that I know that from experience from the last three weeks sitting at home, that it is a blessing to keep the Sabbath and to assemble as God has said. And there’s just no two ways about it.
Now, let’s go to 1 Peter 1 and let’s see a reference to the Old Testament, and it’s talking about the salvation and the grace that is given to us. And that even though the prophets of old were under the grace of God by their calling and their message, and their promise to be in the Kingdom of God, they didn’t understand some of the things that we understand. Let’s begin in verse 10. “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you [that is towards you of the grace]” (1 Peter 1:10, KJV). So they didn’t understand but it was one of those things that God gave, they preached it. Now verse 12, “To whom it was revealed, that not to themselves but to us were serving those things, which now are announced to you by those who announce the glad tidings to you in [the] Holy Spirit…” (vs. 12, Berry’s Interlinear New Testament).
Now we are going to see why it is called the glad tiding. And we are going to see why we have been missing the joy of God’s salvation. Partly because of our own sins, partly because of our own weakness and infirmity. I mean when you’re in pain and misery you can’t be jumping up and down for joy. That is true. But I’m talking about the overall why can’t you feel good about being a Christian kind of thing. Why do you have to go around with a guilty conscience all the time? See, the Catholics are the ones who make you have a guilty conscience, because the Catholics have turned the grace of God into justification by Catholic works. And they turned it into lasciviousness. Well, we’ll see that.
I just want to make reference of Zechariah 3 where it talks about the time of the coming of Christ. Let’s turn there for just a minute and we’ll read one scripture. This is one of the many parts. Of course Isaiah is full of the prophecies of the grace of Christ, the crucifixion of Christ, and all the things having to do with what God was going to do with the grace of God that was to be given to us. Zechariah 3:8, “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth My servant the BRANCH.” Now that’s referring directly to Jesus Christ.
Then you come over to chapter 4 and let’s pick it up here in verse 6. “Then He answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” And how many times have we heard that preached, and yet physical means were sought to bring about salvation. Now it’s by God’s Spirit. “Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone [which is Christ] thereof with shoutings, crying Grace, grace unto it.” (Zech. 4:6-7). And this was a direct reference of the tremendous act of grace of God in sending Jesus Christ.
Now, even though God is a God of grace in the Old Testament and New Testament, He reveals that grace to us as individuals in the New Testament in a very profound way. Now before we get to the New Testament I want to just have you go back and read…we won’t turn there in the study…but Isaiah 55:6-7, Isaiah 61:1-3 and that is quoted in Luke 4 where it says “Come unto Me that are heavy laden and you can buy without money, and you can have bread without price…”. And then Isaiah 66:1-2. Now those are prophecies of the grace that God would give to individuals.
Now let’s get into the grace of God in the New Testament. Remember that I had this where I showed you the number of scriptures that were included in the literature in the Worldwide Church of God, and how that on one page they had one column and two thirds of another column type written page. I’ve gone back and analyzed every one of those and in the entire literature of the Worldwide Church of God they only use 10 scriptures in toto, referring to the grace of God. 10 ! Now is it any wonder that people in the Worldwide Church of God do not understand the grace of God?
There’s one thing that the grace of God does. It sets you free. Not free to sin. But it sets you free from sin, and it sets you free to where you have that direct contact with God the Father and Jesus Christ. And who is the only mediator? Jesus Christ. it’s sets you free from control and manipulation by men. So therefore whichever church wants to control people cannot preach the true grace of God. They cannot do it.
Now, all of the other scriptures… Let me count them (counting from 1-39)…39 scriptures in the booklet that was supposed to teach about grace had to do with either commandment keeping only, or the fear of going into the lake of fire. Now that is really something. And yet, the most important thing that we need to do… Let’s go to 2 Peter 3… And, though I heard it preached from the pulpit from time to time, 2 Peter 3, it was not in any of the literature. It’s not here on the literature list. I was absolutely dumbfounded. I knew it was not too good, but I didn’t realize how bad. Now I don’t want anyone to take this as an attack on the Worldwide Church of God, but it shows an error in their teaching. I mean, do we point out the errors of Protestants? Sure we do. Do we point out the errors of other doctrines? Yes. How do we point them out? Just by making fun of them? No, we point them out by the scriptures and whatever the scriptures say that’s what we go by. And not just one or two but we take the whole thing. And we’re going to go very thoroughly through in the grace of God in the Bible.
Now 2 Peter 3:17, “Ye therefore, beloved, knowing beforehand, beware, lest with the error of the lawless [ones] having been led away, ye should fall from your own steadfastness: but grow in grace, and in [the] knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17-18, Berry’s Interlinear).
Now in studying for this there’s part of it I’m going to have to omit concerning Jesus Christ until we get down toward the time of the Passover. And we can answer the question for sure: why are we to remember the death of Jesus Christ? Why is it that the Passover pictures His death and we are to, as it says in 1 Corinthians 11, we do have a memorial of His death till He should come?
Now the Protestants would say, “We celebrate His resurrection”, with their so called, Easter. Why does God say we are to commemorate His death? Now we’ll answer that before this Passover, and I think you’re going to be absolutely amazed. I know I was in studying it. You’re going to be amazed what God has done for us, and why we should remember His death even though we are saved by His life. We are to grow in the grace and the knowledge of God, and we should be doing that constantly. And that’s something we need to always continually look forward to, which we will do this year.
Now, 2 Corinthians 12. And I know sometimes when we are…I think as far as the group, physically we are perhaps one of the weakest groups you could ever find on the face of the earth. But spiritually let’s hope that we can do as the apostle Paul said. Now remember the apostle Paul said that God did many things with him as a pattern for those who would believe afterwards. Now we would have to say that with the sickness and the illness that the apostle Paul had. I mean there’s just no two ways around it. God called him to preach the grace of God, didn’t He? And yet he himself was afflicted with at terrible eye disease. So bad that he even apologized that he may have appeared repulsive to the Galatians. Now that’s pretty bad.
Let me just give you an example. Have you ever seen someone who was disfigured so much you didn’t want to but the only thing you could do was stare at them. And you felt real bad about staring at them but it was so grotesque that was all you could do. Just kind of out of shock and disbelief. Well the apostle Paul was much that way. And I imagine all of the detractors were saying… What did they say to Jesus? “If you be the Son of God get off this cross, then we’ll believe you.” I imagine there were a lot of people telling the apostle Paul, “When I see you healed then I will believe what you are saying.” Did God heal him? No. See, because it’s not based upon the physical condition alone. And here’s one of the things that the apostle Paul was an example for all of us in.
Let’s just pick it up in 2 Corinthians 12:1 and get the full story flow. Sometimes it’s good to get the full story flow here. “To boast in deed is not profitable to me; for I will come to visions and revelations of [the] Lord.” Now it seems to me that we heard people boast about how many of this and that that they have done and published and printed and preached to, and countries they went to, etc., etc. The apostle Paul didn’t. He did it out only out of foolishness. It says, “I know a man in Christ [about] fourteen years ago, (whether in [the] body, I know not, or out of the body I know not, God knows,)…” And this is when he was being taught directly by Jesus Christ and he was in such a condition that he didn’t know whether he was in the body, whether he was out of the body, or what. So he said, “God knows.” “…Such a one caught away to [the] third heaven. And I know such a man, (whether in [the] body or out of the body, I know not tell: God knoweth:) that he was caught away to Paradise, and heard unutterable sayings, which is not permitted to man to speak.” (2 Cor. 12:1-4, Berry’s Interlinear). And I’m sure a lot of those things he didn’t understand some of the things that he heard. What language do they use at the throne of God? Now if anyone wants to speak in tongues let them try that on for size. The Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. In other words the Holy Spirit translates it into whatever language God receives it in. Though God can understand all languages because what? God confounded the languages so He invented it.
Verse 5, “Concerning such a one I will boast, but concerning myself I will not boast, unless in my weaknesses. For if I should desire to boast, I shall not be a fool; for truth I will say; but I forbear, lest anyone as to me should reckon [or calculate, or esteem] above what he sees me, or hears anything of me. And by the superpassingness of the revelations that I might not be exalted, was given to me a thorn for the flesh, a messenger of Satan that me he might buffet, that I might not be exalted” (vs. 5-7). So there are certain things that God does just to humble him. Now the messenger of Satan, some people say, well it was a demon. Well, I don’t think that it was a demon, I think it was just an affliction that Satan was allowed to put upon him like Satan did upon Job. But just as Job was afflicted he was not Satan possessed, nor was he bothered with a demon. So I would have to conclude it would be exactly the same. So He allowed him to have that, actually caused it that it might or he might “…buffet me that I might not be exalted.” “For this [three times] the Lord I besought that it might depart form me. And He said to me, [Sufficient to you is] My grace…” (vs. 8-9). And I think the longer we live the more we’re going to see about the grace of God, that that is the most sufficient thing we could have.
Now why is that the most sufficient thing that we could have? Because it doesn’t matter what we are in the flesh. It doesn’t matter who we are or what we are in the flesh if we have the grace of God. Now is there anything greater than the grace of God? Can there possible be anything greater? No there can not be. So that’s why the Bible says when you compare physical things among physical things you’re unwise, or compare yourself with others. You’re unwise because you’re not looking to the Spirit of God or the grace of God, which is all encompassing. And so that’s what I can certainly say with us, the grace of God is going to have to be sufficient for us. And God will take care of us physically in His own way and His own time as God sees that it’s going to be. And sometimes God uses that as a tremendous example and witness to other people. Because they will say, “How can you believe in God when you suffer like that?” And you give the simple answer, “Well, the grace of God is sufficient for me.”
We’re all not going to live forever in the flesh, and yet somehow there’s a strange quirk of human nature that we want to perpetuate in the flesh forever and ever. It just doesn’t work that way. And it isn’t going to. You know, when time marches on and we either weigh more or less, have more gray hair, or less hair. Our children get older. Like my wife was saying about Jonathan, in a year he is going to be going to Phoenix. Chances of him coming home other than to visit after that is going to be very remote. He’s a man. So is David. They are young men. They are not little babies any more. I mean we can remember when they were born. I remember when all of our children were born because I was there when they were born. And I remember especially when David was born. Brought him out, put him on the table to clean him up, and there’s Grandpa Henshaw and he said, “Woah look at that back, look at that back.” (Laughter). And David to this day has got a good strong back, and a good stand, and enjoys track and so forth. Now here he’s a man. He’s going to be making his own way. He’s going to be earning his own money. And at that point we can say, thank God. (Laughter). After all the cost and everything that goes into it. And that’s just part of life. And so we need to understand about the grace of God and let it be a sufficiency for us.
Now I’m going to use the blackboard here for a minute. Now what I’m going to write on the blackboard I’m going to try and get typed out. I have several definitions of grace and what it means and so forth. Charisma, it means the physical gifts that God can give. It means the spiritual gifts of God. And it also, the word is pronounced charisma and it is the isma in it is also charismatos with the atos on the end. Let’s look at some scriptures concerning that.
Let’s go to 2 Corinthians 1:11, “…Laboring together ye also [laboring together] for us by supplication, that by many persons [for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf]…” Now the word gift you can see in the Interlinear is charisma, and this is just the physical gift of goods. It’s just a blessing, a gift. Refers to the spiritual gifts…let’s go to 1 Peter 4:10.
Now it says, “…each according as he received a gift…” Now there are gifts of the Holy Spirit. There’s another Greek word for gifts which is dorea, and there’s even the female word Dorea, which means gift of God. Dorea means gift of God. And when it talks about the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 it is dorea. Here we are talking about a gift in the way of charisma “…to each other [in] serving it as good stewards of [the] various grace of God” And we’re going to see quite a few instances where we have the grace of God, which here is cheritos and charisma both of those. “If anyone speaks - as oracles of God; if anyone serves - as of strength which God supplies; that in all things [God] may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the might to the ages of the ages. Amen” (1 Pet. 4:10-11).
Now let’s go to Romans 1:11. “For I long to see you, that some spiritual gift I may impart to you…” So here charisma is referring to a spiritual gift. Now what is one of the most important spiritual gifts that can be imparted to someone? The understanding of God’s grace. The understanding of God’s word, “…to the end that you be established.”
Now let’s go to 2 Timothy 1:6, where the apostle Paul says, “For which cause I remind thee to kindle [or stir up, that is relight] up the gift [there it is to charisma] which is in thee by the laying on of my hands.” Now this obviously then was with the ordination for the ministry. There are certain gifts that are imparted at that time. “For God gave us not a spirit of cowardice, but of power, and of love, and of wise discretion [or of a sound mind]” (2 Tim. 1:6-7, Interlinear).
Now let’s go to Romans 5:15. “But [shall] not as the offence, so also [be] the free gift?” Now the receiving of the gift of grace comes from the same word charisma. We receive the grace of God charis or charite or charitos, either one, but we get the free gift. “For if by the offence of the one the many died, much more the grace of God, and the gift…” Now there it is. See the word gift? Dorea. There’s the other word for gift. “…The gift in grace, which [is] of the one man Jesus Christ, to the many did abound.” Now we’ll get into that in just a minute.
Now, let’s look at the word charis or charitos, which we have the English word charity. Now I’ll try and get these typed up and get some copies to you. I know that you’re taking notes and you’ll want to write some of these things down so I’ll repeat them twice.
Now here are the meanings of the definition of the word charis or charitos. It means:
#1. Graciousness, or attractiveness. It can also mean pleasant. Graciousness or attractiveness.
#2. It can also mean, thanks or gratitude.
#3. It means favor, grace, gracious care, or help of goodwill. And a broad definition means the gracious intention of God. The gracious intention of God. And what God is doing for us is really a fantastic thing.
#4. On the part of God and Christ to us the possession of divine grace as a source of blessings for the believer.
Now we’re going to go through this very thoroughly, and since so few people have really had the grace of God expounded, we’re going to go through every scripture. I know it’s going to take a little while to do it. It may prolong the series in the book of John but there certain needs that we have and especially with the Passover coming up we are going to really be benefited when we understand this very thoroughly. And it really helps you in your relationship with God. I guarantee one thing, that if every day you put your life under the grace of God and thank God for His goodness and His grace, you’re going to have a much better day. Any you’re not going to have to be overcoming and working on yourself. I’ve heard many ministers get up there and say, “You have to just beat the flesh and work on yourself. Pray an hour and study an hour”, in the most hateful way. So you do it. Boy, at Ambassador College the students when I was there would be hours in the prayer booth. And just every little thing was regimented because we were doing it rather than letting God do it for us. I mean we accomplished certain things. We did accomplish. You can do certain things that way. But you end up with a salvation by works because it’s what you do rather than what Christ in you does. And when you put yourself under the grace of God what Christ in you does then is accomplish without having to just beat the flesh. You try it. What’s that old saying, “Try it you’ll like it.” Try it that is exactly true.
#5. A store of grace that is dispensed.
Now remember the scripture Romans 6:1, “What, shall we sin that grace may abound? God forbid.” That shows that you can draw on that store of grace when you sin. But you don’t go out and sin so that more grace can come.
#6. A state of grace, or standing in God’s grace.
#7. A deed of grace. For example God the Father sending Jesus Christ with His death and resurrection and so forth.
#8. A work of grace.
Now we’re going to see that there are works of grace. That’s almost contradictory, isn’t it? God’s work in us is a work of grace, isn’t it, if we’re called by grace, if we are saved by grace. And if we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus, then it is God’s work in us which is a work of grace. A work of grace that grows from more to more. That’s an interesting definition, isn’t it? It grows from more to more.
Now God is called the God of all grace, 1 Peter 5:10. Let’s go back in 1 Peter 5 and let’s talk a little bit about humility, because humility there’s a false humility too. There’s a human humility that people… I heard someone give a sermon recently on humility. And there again we must all make ourselves humble. What is the most humble act you can do? Is it that you make yourself humble and week? Is it that you take a very contrite position? Is it that, as I was watching this TV report on AIDS, there wasn’t one man there that had a man’s voice, even including the straight guys who were there just interviewing. And the society has been so feminized that a man can’t speak as a man anymore because everybody’s offended. Should we all speak humbly and softly? Does that make us humble? What makes a person humble? What is the most humiliating act you can do? Repentance and standing in God’s grace. That is true humility. Not something you put on. Not something that you do or work up. I mean a person can work up superficial humility out of vanity. And I think maybe the case of the poverty vow, that’s a superficial case of humility out of vanity. “Oh, we have given up everything.” But we lust after it all.
1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise, [ye] younger [ones]…” Now that is not necessarily referring to younger elders vs. elder elders. That means younger people in age. “…Be subject to [the] elder [ones], and all one to another being subject bind on humility…” Now how do you do that? How do you bind on, or put on humility? “…Because God…sets Himself against [the] proud, but to [the] humble gives grace. Be humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God…” (1 Peter 5:5-6, Interlinear). You submit yourself completely to God. That is the most humbling thing you can do. And that doesn’t necessarily make you humble before people, because you are humble to God. Look at the example of Moses. He was called the most meek man on the face of the earth, but how did he treat those who rebelled against him. He prayed to God and then he stood up and told them what they were. A pack of sinners. What did he do when he first saw all the Israelites sinning when he came down off the mount. In anger he threw down the Ten Commandments that God wrote with His own hand. And then he had the humility to ask God to spare them. He had the humility when God said, “Hey, I’ll fulfill my promise through you. You’re of Abraham’s seed, I’ll destroy them and I’ll fulfill it through them.” He said, “No God, please. If you’re going to do that blot my name out of the book of life.” And He said, “Ok I won’t do that but I will do with whom I have to do with whom.” And He spared them because he was humble. But he sure didn’t appear humble before the people. They came up and said, “Who are you to take all this to yourself?” So the most humbling thing you can do is submit yourself to God.
“Be humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God, that you He may exalt in [due] time; all your care having cast upon Him…” And that’s how you put yourself under the grace of God, casting all your care upon Him. “…Because with Him there is care about you. Be sober, watch, because your adversary [the] devil, as a roaring lion, goes about, seeking whom he may swallow up.” And that is sure true. “Whom resist, firm in faith, knowing the same sufferings are being accomplished in your [brethren] which [is] in [the] world” (vs. 6-9).
Notice verse 10 now. “But the God of all grace…” Now that’s why we need to come to God. Now I think we can safely say that the difference between a religion of men and the truth of God is when the people are pointed to the grace of God to trust in God and have that relationship with God verses trust in a man or trust in an organization, or trust in numbers or trust in past works or whatever. “But the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, a little while [ye] having suffered, may Himself perfect you, may He establish [you], may He strengthen, may He [be] found [of you]: to Him [be] glory and the might, to the ages of the ages.” And then it says down here in verse 12, “By Silvanus, the faithful bother to you, as I reckon, briefly I wrote, exhorting and testifying this to be [the] true grace of God, in which ye stand” (vs. 10-12).
Now let’s look at another scripture that’s very, very important concerning the grace of God.
Now let’s go to Acts 20. Now I want to ask you one thing. What is the gospel? What is the gospel? And everyone would unanimously answer, the gospel of the Kingdom of God, correct? Well, we’re going to see that there are two parts to that. The gospel of the Kingdom of God and the gospel of the grace of God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Now which one is more important? Since they’re stated together they are both important. You’re going to be amazed. We’re going to learn some new things. Acts 20 is where Paul came to Ephesus, or Miletus rather and he called for the elders at Ephesus and had them come down and Paul was preaching to them. Let’s pick it up in verse 18 after Paul got the elders of the church of Ephesus down there.
“And when they were come to him he said to them, Ye know, from the first day on which I arrived in Asia, how with you all the time I was, serving the Lord with all humility and many tears and temptations, which happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how nothing I kept back of what is profitable so as not to announce [it] to you [in other words, he did announce to you], and to teach you publicly and from house to house…” Now this is not going from house to house banging on the doors like the Jehovah Witnesses do. I know a couple Sabbaths ago…they always descend on our place on the Sabbath. And there was a whole gang of about 20 out there on the street corner, and I think it was about the last Sabbath that I came up here. I know I drove out there and I said, “Please don’t go to this house over here.” Cause they come around and bang on the door every Sabbath. It doesn’t mean that. He taught them publicly, he taught them in the church, and in different houses, from house to house wherever the people were. “…Earnestly testifying both to Jews and Greeks repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, lo, I, bound in the Spirit, go to Jerusalem, the things which in it shall happen to me [I don’t know, or not knowing what’s going to happen]; except that the [Holy Spirit] in every city fully testifies, saying that bonds and tribulations await me.” That is when he got to Jerusalem. “But I make account of nothing nor hold I my life dear to myself, so as to finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify fully the [gospel] glad tidings of the grace of God” (Acts 20:18-23). The glad tidings.
Now, why is it called the glad tidings of the grace of God, or the gospel of the grace of God? Because one of the most profound things that can happen to an individual in the grace of God is to not have sin imputed to him. And even though the law of sin and death is still in us, God does not look to that law of sin and death that causes us, when we sin, to serve the flesh. Now that’s fantastic when we really understand that. In other words, if we sin a sin that is a sin not unto death, as John said there in 1 John 5 about verse 14, God is going to forgive that. A sin unto death is the unpardonable sin. We can have the confidence in coming to God and claiming that grace because we stand in that grace. Now that’s why there needs to be the joy of the salvation of God. And the happiness and the faith in the assurance that that is so. Because if God, Who put the law of sin and death in us, condemns us because it is there, then we have no hope. And every time we do some little thing that we don’t want to do, or maybe even some major thing that we don’t really want to do or we’re sorry we’ve done it, if God condemns us for that and beats us over the head all the time there’s no hope for anybody. There is no hope of salvation for anyone. That’s why we need the grace of God. That’s why he said…notice this, “And the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify fully the gospel of the grace of God.” Now that’s really tremendous.
Now notice, “And now, lo, I know that no more ye all will see my face, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom of God” (vs. 25). So there it is together. He preached the Kingdom of God, but the Kingdom of God much preach the grace of God. And how we missed that for years. Isn’t that amazing. I mean we’re going to see so many things that have been missed for so long it’s going to be incredible. That’s why there are so many misunderstandings that come along. And I will tell you another thing. That’s why people, when things don’t go right, become so disillusioned because they blame themselves for everything that happens. And when you blame yourself for something that happens and you don’t think that God is going to help you out and you carry that guilt around with you it’s a terrible burden to carry. And there have been too many people put into that position. I have been there. You have been there. Others are there now. We need to understand about the grace of God and what He’s doing more than anything else.
Now I’m going to read some other definitions.
#9. Jesus Christ is the only means by which the grace of God is mediated to men.
Now can you think of a scripture which says that? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He is the only. And it’s through His birth, death, and resurrection. What God has done and still does for man in Jesus Christ His Son is God’s outstanding act of grace. That’s why, and this sermon is based upon remember, John 3:16, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever should believe on Him, or into Him, shall not see death, shall have everlasting life. And how that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. Of course that’s in God’s time.
#10. God the Father is the source from which grace comes to man.
What’s a scripture that verifies that? “None can come to the Me [Christ said of Himself], except the Father draw him.” And that’s the first act of grace. Do you believe that God has called you? If you believe and know that God has called you then be confident and happy in that grace that God has given, that God the Father the Supreme Being of the whole universe reached down and called you. Now He didn’t call you because you were righteous. He didn’t call anybody because they were righteous because the Bible says, “There is none righteous, there is none that does good, no not one.” So God calls us because He calls us. And we virtually have no say-so about it. Look at Paul. He was trooping off on the horses or donkeys, whatever they were on, going over to Damascus and he was trudging along and probably figuring what he was going to do to string up those Christians and bam he got knocked off the horse. Now did Paul have anything to say about his calling? Not a thing. Now it doesn’t happen that dramatically to everybody, believe me, but it happens to us never the less. So that is tremendous. God is the source from which grace comes to mankind.
#11. Jesus Christ is the God ordained, means by which the grace most effectively reaches man in his need.
We are going to see that we have need. Grace is quite the reverse of a reward for good conduct. Now Bill Cosby one, I think it’s the Noah one…I forget the whole sequence but I remember this where Bill Cosby says, “I been good. I been good.” And that’s the way most people view things. You do something good and God is supposed to what? Recognize the good that you do. So salvation by works is doing good things to make God recognize what you’ve done that is good. But you see that’s impossible because in the law of sin and death you cannot truly aside from God do a Godly act. We can do good things in the community. We can be upstanding in the community. That’s in the community level. That’s on an individual level. But as far as God is concerned it’s the same difference as between not stealing to pick up the goods, and lusting. Now there are a lot of people who have never stolen. But I’m sure would love to have had the opportunity, and to have gotten away with it. Because it’s there. The lust is there. Or it could be of adultery. Or it could be of other things.
Grace is quite the reverse of a reward for good conduct. It is rather a means of rescuing man from his own deep failure. And that’s why we need the grace of God. We can be successful in the world, can’t we? Even Jesus said a man can gain the whole world, but what is the profit if he what? Looses his soul. So we’re talking about spiritual failure that human beings cannot measure up to the righteousness of God on their own. Rescuing him from his own deep failure and harm and helplessness to overcome it alone. And I tell you try to overcome something alone and by your own works, it is futile. Now how many have ever done that? You’ve had something…and I’ve heard it preached too. “You work on that sin and you overcome that sin.” That’s the wrong advice. You go pray for God’s grace and mercy and pray for God’s gift with Christ in you that you can overcome. It’ a totally different situation because you beat the flesh to overcome if you do it yourself, and you get absolutely frustrated. A good example of that is you can do it to a certain extent but for example someone who’s an absolute confirmed alcoholic cannot stop and cannot help themselves, and though they resolve, though they hate it, though they detest it, they are completely helpless. So it’s the same way spiritually. We cannot save ourselves. If we can save ourselves by our good works we wouldn’t need Jesus Christ. That’s why Galatians 3 says, “If there were a law which would give life then truly salvation would come through a law.” But it has to come from God through His grace.
Obedience to the law to gain acceptance with God equals under law for justification. One’s acceptance with God is not something we can achieve by his own merits or works, but is chosen and called and made accepted, forgiven, blessed with the Holy Spirit of God, made heir of eternal life, made sons of God as a gracious undeserved gift from God the Father through Jesus Christ. Now that’s what the grace of God has in the way of meaning.
Now I’m going to read to you the first part of the book, The Grace Of God In The New Testament that I wrote about five years ago now.
“To understand the GRACE of God is to comprehend one of the most wonderful attributes of God; and is the KEY to a deep, personal relationship between God the Father and every Christian, through Jesus Christ.
The GRACE of God expresses the GREATNESS OF HIS LOVE and the richness of His mercy! To live within and under the GRACE of God is to experience and appreciate the fantastic LOVE of God and His merciful kindness.
Contrary to religious speculations, grace is not just a theological tenant or topic of argument; drawing denominational battle lines; in fact, the GRACE OF GOD means LIFE ITSELF! Without grace there would be no salvation, NO CHRISTIANITY…NO ETERNAL LIFE!
Indeed, GRACE IS THE FOUNDATION of true Christianity. The New Testament reveals that God the Father’s GRACE is an ALL ENCOMPASSING quality.”
We know that God is love. The first extension of that love is God’s grace and everything else that God does comes under this umbrella of God’s love and grace as we will see.
“The GRACE of God has tremendous meaning to those who really understand it. through, Jesus Christ, God’s gift of GRACE is granted so we may spiritually GROW UP unto Him, Jesus Christ [who is] the SON OF GOD---who is the HEAD of God’s Church, in ALL THINGS.
The [Biblical] TRUTH is that God the Father, through His GRACE and salvation, will share His eternal life, existence and glory with all human beings who truly love Him with all their hearts, and minds and beings.
The potential of our destiny to become the literal sons of God through the GRACE of God is the most INCREDIBLE and least understood TRUTHS of the Bible.”
“Love is the basis for the relationship and fellowship between God the Father, Jesus Christ and the person who God has called.”
And we know the Bible says God is love.
“Our relationship with God MUST be based on LOVE!”
Of course we know it says we are to love God with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and being.
“GRACE is the primary quality or attribute; the first extension or expression of GOD’S LOVE. Therefore, GRACE, is the primary quality and function of the spiritual relationship and the fellowship between God the Father and the person He calls through Jesus Christ.” (The Grace of God In The New Testament, p. 17-18)
Now let’s see a couple examples of God’s grace in intervening in our lives. Luke 1:28. And the salvation that was given, so we need to state it this way: the first one to receive the grace of God in the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ was Zacharias and Elisabeth his wife, with the birth of John the Baptist. The very next one to receive direct grace and favor was Mary.
“And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, favoured one!” Now if you look at that long Greek word “favoured one” you will see charitee [charitoo]. It is kacharitee o mene is the way you pronounce that long word. Do you see charitee right in there - favored one. “…The Lord is with thee, blessed [art] thou amongst women. But she seeing [him] was troubled at his word, and was reasoning of what kind might be this salutation. And the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour [but that should be “you have found grace”] with God…” It’s the exact same thing. Noah found grace. Exact same thing. Mary found grace with God. And it says, “…thou shalt conceive in [thy] womb and bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus” (Luke 1:28-31, Berry’s Interlinear). Direct message from God. Mary found grace.
Why did she need to find grace? Contrary to the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, there had to be two immaculate conceptions for the Catholic doctrine. One for Mary, as the Catholics believe so she would not receive the stain of Adams sin on her soul, and two, the immaculate conception of Jesus Christ. Well the fact is, and I’ll give you one hint, Jesus did have the law of sin and death in Him. And He did receive that from His mother Mary, as part of His physical inheritance. Otherwise He could not have died. And one other thing. Why the death of Jesus was so profound was because He didn’t have the law of sin and death in Him, just as a person, He bore in His body our sins. So I’ve given you a couple things to think about to understand more about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Now let’s go to Ephesians 1, and here is a tremendous verse which ought to just really bring you a lot of peace of mind and happiness and joy. Now that’s aside from the daily frustrations we have to go through in this life.
Ephesians 1:5, “Having predestinated us for [the] adoption…” Now that means sonship, and this word is pronounced huiothesia, which means sonship. “…Through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to [the] praise of [the] glory of His grace…” Notice there it is cheritoos, God grace. “…Wherein He made us objects [or recipients] of [His] grace in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:5-6). You think about that. We have been made the objects of God’s grace. So once we are called through God’s grace we are the objects of God’s grace.
Now we have a little thing in language called what? The object of the preposition, correct? And that is the one that receives the action. So we are receiving the action of God’s grace. We are the objects of that grace in Jesus Christ. Now that is mind-boggling when you really think of it and really put that together. We are recipients. We are made recipients or objects of His grace in the Beloved. “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of [sins] offences, according to the riches of His grace” (vs. 7). You just think upon that for a minute. How rich is God’s grace? Why did the apostle Paul say, “What, shall we sin that grace may abound?” He said, “God forbid”, because God’s grace abounds more than we have ever comprehended or understood, and we stand in that grace and were recipients of that grace. We are objects of that grace. And that is a tremendous thing. You talk about mentally and spiritually helping you approach God, that should help an awful lot.
And it will help us in our relationship with each other. And it will help us overcome the greatest sins that Christians do unto another. That is judging one another and judging one another’s hearts. That’s why Jesus said, “Judge not lest you be judged” when you judge to condemnation. And isn’t that what has happened to everyone of us. We’ve been judged to condemnation by others in the name of Christ when we ought to have it understood we are the recipients of the grace of God so therefore who are we to judge the servant of God? If you are all under God’s grace and His servants then to judge you to condemnation is to judge a servant of God. I’m not referring to just ministers. Do you serve God? If you serve God you are a servant of God. You may not be a minister but you are a servant of Him. Now you see how that just clears the air? It just clears the air. Therefore we don’t have to snoop in people’s lives. Now when you understand that isn’t it ridiculous how many grilling sessions that people had to go through, ministers coming over to their house and wanting to know what was going on. “What were you doing? I heard this.” Then we’d get tongues plowing into everybody’s lives. Can you see what happens when a whole church bases their doctrine of salvation on ten scriptures, when there are literally 151 to tell us about the grace of God. And that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is the gospel of Grace which Paul put ahead of the gospel of the Kingdom of God. So let’s keep all of these things in perspective.
Now let’s go to Ephesians 2 and we will end there. We’ve gone well over two hours now, but since we haven’t been here for three weeks I guess we won’t worry about a few minutes overtime.
Ephesians 2:4, “But God being rich in mercy, because of His great love wherewith He loved us, we also being dead in offence [trespasses], [He] quickened us with the Christ (by grace ye are saved)” (Eph. 2:4-5, Interlinear). And the Greek is…remember the sermon that I gave at the Feast of Tabernacles about salvation. I won’t go into great detail on it except refer you back to that tape if you want to refresh your memory. This Greek word here is sodezo menoi, which means “having been saved”. Right now we are in a state of having been saved from the prince of the power of the air, and saved from the penalty of death from our sins. So in that sense we have been saved, but we are in the process of being saved, 1 Corinthians 15:3, if we stand in the grace, and we shall be saved at the resurrection. By grace you have been saved.
“And raised [us] up together, and seated [us] together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, that He might shew in the ages that [are] coming…” And that’s when we are going to sit down on those thrones, Revelation 21:4. “And I saw thrones and they that sat on them…”, that’s when we will be there in the heavenlies.
“…The surpassing riches of His grace…” and there it is again “surpassing riches of His grace.” Now that’s a phrase I really want to understand. I can tell you this right now, I have a sense and a feeling for it but I don’t fully comprehend “the riches of His grace”. How rich is God? How great is His grace? How fantastic is His mercy? Well we can only understand that as we grow in grace and knowledge. I think we understand it to a certain degree but that’s what I want to work on and understand more.
“…In kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace ye are saved through faith; and this not of yourselves; [it is] God’s gift…” The saving the faith and the calling, every bit of it’s from God. “…Not of works, that not anyone might boast.” If there were a law that we could keep perfectly, which would be the key that would compel God to give us His grace, just think of the boasting that there would be when a person finally did it. God doesn’t want anyone boasting. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God before prepared that in them we should walk” (vs. 6-10).
This is a good logical place to go ahead and break it off and we’ll pick it up next time getting into the rest of the grace of God. I’m sure it will take us two more sermons to do it, but I think if we are going to do it we should do it right rather than just kind of skim over it, get a little here and get a little there, because it’s very important. This is such a fundamental thing that I think is going to help us all grow closer to God and each other and have more love for God and each other when we understand how God has treated us. He hasn’t dealt with us after our sin. You know the wages of sin is death. He hasn’t dealt with us after our sins and we can be thankful for that.