Grace Upon Grace | Grace of God Series #6
by Fred R. Coulter—March 2, 1985
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Ok, well, we’ll see if we can finish up the series on grace today, but I just want to mention that sometimes in reading in the English out of the Interlinear, because I’ve studied it and I’ve studied the Greek and prepared for the sermon, sometimes I will just go right through something maybe so fast that you will miss the point. Or, knowing the meaning of the Greek word, I will insert the meaning of the Greek word rather than going through the King James and then stopping and saying what the Greek word means. And sometimes I will pronounce the Greek word, which is Greek to everybody. It’s Greek to me because it’s Greek. But it may be just a little too fast in some cases, and I may do a little creative thinking from the point of view of leaping ahead without filling in the background as I’m going along. So if that occurs, or if I do that please let me know so that I want you to understand.
It is not my intent to do anything other than have you understand and have you learn and to grow in grace and knowledge and closer to God. And that’s certainly the most important thing that needs to be. That will help you to help me. So what I’m really asking is that if I do that I want you to help me, and you can just raise your hand and say, “Hey, I don’t understand, and that’s Greek to me”, or “Where is it in the King James and what does it say in the King James.” Something like that. That would help out an awful lot, and you don’t have to feel that if you ask a question like that, that I am thinking, “Oh, well you don’t know. You don’t understand.” Because that is not the point. That would not be even a thought in my mind toward that. What I’m trying to do is have it so you can understand it.
Part of the difficulties come in, is that it was written in Greek. Some of that Greek has been translated out of the Hebrew into Greek, certain portions of Matthew, Mark, and possibly Luke, so you’re twice removed from what was originally said. And then you come into English and it’s translated into the King James, and the King James is almost 400 years removed from what we’re using today. So when you attempt to get back to what was really said, you can get closer to it when you get to the Greek. You can get the next step closer when you read through the Greek Interlinear. You can come closer, if you know how to use concordances and things like this, and try and put it all together. Now this is where I’ve been coming from in it, so it’s not my intent at all to go so fast. But in just listening to myself on the tapes I can see where I was going so fast on some of these thing, and I assumed that you understood this, or I assumed that you understood that, or I assumed that you understood the other thing, and maybe it really wasn’t as clear as it ought to be.
Now, I know in dealing with people who know more than one language, if you know two languages then you’re in a situation where that you have greater knowledge than other people, however if it gets in a situation where the Greek is really Greek and confusing, then help me by raising your hand and we’ll back up and we will go over it so you understand it, because I think this is really very important that we understand it. So I hope that will encourage you to help me in the situation. And don’t, by any means, ever have it in your mind that if you ask a question I will look down on you for asking the question, because that’s not the point. I would be derelict if I did not answer the question so you would understand. And I know that we’re trying to grow in grace and knowledge, and we’re trying to come to a point of understanding God’s word that will be very helpful to us.
Ok, before we get into the series on grace let’s go to this one place here. 1 Corinthians 12. And I know a lots of times I’ve caught it on the tape when I was listening to the tape, that I will mention things and I will mention a scripture and I’ll give you one clue. Unless you see me turning the page to go to that scripture, don’t go to it. Because I will mention a scripture and start talking about it and you’re busy turning [trying to find it] and I’m only using it as a reference. Now I did that about four times on this last tape, that I started explaining about a scripture and I said, “Over here it says that, and over there it says, this, and over here it says this”, and I could just picture someone there just going like that trying to keep up with it. I didn’t intend for you to turn to all of those scriptures.
Now, 1 Corinthians 12, and I hope that I can try and get this in the proper perspective. Now, let’s begin here in verse 1. “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led” (1 Cor. 12:1-2). Now to some people that would be a very insulting statement. I suppose if I ever had the opportunity to walk into Grace Cathedral there in San Francisco, I never had an opportunity to stand up in the pulpit and say, “You Catholics are led away by these dumb idols”, I don’t think I’d last too long there. (Laughter) They would take that as a very insulting statement. But lots of things that God has inspired to be said when people like that take it in a sense where they might consider it insulting. It really is not meant to be insulting. He’s stating it just as it is.
“Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed…” Now that was a particular problem at that time, because there were a lot of Jews going around, and one of the things they had to do before they could speak in the synagogue… Now when they came to the synagogue you had where the one would read the scripture. Then you could have others who had the authority to read scriptures. They wore a little badge on their phylactery, and the one who was the leader of the synagogue could invite them to come and read some scriptures. Then you had the ones who could get up and they could talk. So when Jesus became such a central figure in Judea and the heavy Jewish populations, what they did to insure the purity of the synagogue was for those Jews to show that they did not believe in Jesus, they had to stand in the synagogue and curse Christ. And by cursing Christ they claimed that they had the Holy Spirit of God because Christ was not of God. So this is not quite the same problem that we have today. That was the particular unusual problem at that point.
Now there may be also some pagans who believed in their own saviors, who would call Christ accursed from their religion and claim they have the Spirit of God. You know, things in the world, there’s a multitude of everything. It’s a Babylon of confusion and everybody thinks they have this or that or the other thing. That’s why we have to go by the word of God.
“…And that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy [Spirit] Ghost” (vs. 3). And of course that is not just a statement like a Catholic would say, “Well, I believe that Jesus is Lord.” What he’s saying here and believing Jesus is Lord, by saying it, that means he had His complete absolute control over your life. That’s what that means. Whereas like with the Catholics, as we read here with the Pope, be faithful to the teachings of the church, and the Pope is lord over you.
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operation, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (vs. 4-11).
I just might mention that in some of the things that I’m trying to do, I know that I’m not a worker of miracles. I know that I am not one that goes around laying hands on people and they become healed every time I lay hands on them. God does intervene, and He’s healed people that I’ve anointed - that is true. There are some that I have anointed who have not been healed in the sense that they have physically recovered. I don’t think that I am one who is lacking in faith, but I am not the kind like Stephen who is filled with faith. I am not a person who has a direct revelation of prophecy. I understand certain prophecies. I think some of the prophecies can be understood more clearly than others. I am not necessarily one that can discern spirits. You know, walk in a room and say oh, here’s this spirit or that spirit or the other spirit. I’m obviously not one who speaks in tongues. Although I can read Greek. I can pronounce the Greek and some German, and that’s about it. And you haven’t heard me speak in any so called heavenly tongue, so obviously I don’t do that. And you haven’t heard me stand up and interpret for anybody, so obviously God has not given me that gift.
The only gift that I can see that God has given me in the way of a ministry in portion, I hope that will be helpful, is to another the word of knowledge. The knowledge of God’s word. Now this is what I’m trying to impart to you. So if I go beyond where you are in your knowledge of God’s word so you don’t understand it, I’m not serving and fulfilling a purpose for you. I hope that by the Spirit I’m getting the word of wisdom. I think some of my experiences indicate I’m not filled with wisdom. I’m not lacking in some sense. But if I were filled with wisdom no one could do things to me. I would have it all figured out before they had it done, and such is not the case. So I think it’s good, once in a while, and we’ll see as the apostle Paul did as far as grace and ministry, there is a lot more to the ministry in relationship to grace than maybe we’ve given understanding about. But we’re not to credit ourselves with any great thing. We’re to give glory to God in everything we do. About the only thing I feel that God has given me, has been the word of knowledge concerning God’s word to be able to just put it together. So I’ll let it just stand at that. So if there’s any way that I can be more of help to you just raise your hand and we can always… Sorry for you people on the tape list. You won’t necessarily hear all of it, but we’ll try and get it for you.
I find that with my study, I have to go beyond the English King James version of the Bible to study and to grow in grace and knowledge. Now does that mean that a person cannot have the understanding of God’s word if all they have is the King James Bible? No, it does not mean that because God made sure that in every translation of the Bible there is enough of the knowledge of salvation. There is. So I want us to get deeply into the word of God as we can to understand God’s word as much as we can but I don’t want to do it with a penalty to any of you of not being able to understand and follow along. For example, when I would say in the sermon here concerning grace, that not one work of law will bring you salvation, don’t think as though I’m saying in any sense of the word that we are not to keep the commandments of God. We are to keep the commandments of God. Absolutely, yes we are. But that is not going to give you eternal life. Jesus Christ alone, as a gift, will give you eternal life.
When I say you cannot earn salvation, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have your works. For example, if someone told you that you would inherit, if you did certain things, a fantastic tract of land. What could you do to earn it? A) you can’t buy it. B) there is no hourly wage, or there is no set thing to earn it, but it will be given to you provided that you follow all of the conditions of the will. So it’s the same way with eternal life. God will give us eternal life provided we follow all the conditions of the will, which is the New Testament, showing the will of God which means keeping His commandments. That’s part of it. But what can we do to earn the universe? I mean it’s all we can do to struggle from month to month to earn enough to pay the people we owe. So what could we do to inherit eternal life? How much could we give? Nothing. We could give everything and still not have it. I mean look at Howard Hughes. That’s why God has all these rich people that… I hate to use an example because I don’t want anything like that to happen to me. So I say it very cautiously.
In the world we see so many examples of rich people such as Howard Hughes, who have billions, billions. They can buy this, they can buy that, they do the other thing. They can snap their fingers and Presidents squirm. But look at the miserable, miserable, miserable, miserable life that Howard Hughes led, and became an absolute recluse. Yet, he had control over Presidents of the United States, but look at his life. And that’s just an example of living. That’s why Solomon said, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. So when I say that there is nothing that you can do to earn salvation, does not in any way diminish from keeping the commandments of God. That’s a requirement to receive the gift of eternal life. And too many people look to commandment keeping as the means to eternal life. The tool for eternal life. When the means is through Christ, and the tool is the Holy Spirit. And the condition in which we stand before God is grace. Now to stay in God’s good favor and grace we need to keep His commandments.
So as far as what I’m trying to do here, please help me. Because I don’t know when I ask a question, “Do you understand?”, I look around and everybody… Well, I think, “Ok, you’ve got it.” Fine, I’ll go to the next one, when maybe you don’t have it. So you can help me to help you if you just raise your hand and we’ll get everything all clarified that way and that will help our. Because once you learn and you go forward the way God wants you and God’s knowledge, it becomes very exciting. It becomes very uplifting. It becomes very positive because you have an extra tool of the knowledge of salvation through which the Holy Spirit can work, the Holy Spirit can lead you and help you. And that’s what really the whole goal is.
Now we will get into the Grace of God, #5, The New Testament #4. So let’s review just a little bit what we’ve covered. First of all let’s go to John 1:14. And it’s very interesting, especially getting through the situation with the series in the Gospel of John, that John does not spend much time on the grace of God. But he prefaces his whole gospel here in John 1:14. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…”, as it says in the King James, and the Greek there means tabernacled among us. “…(And we discerned His glory, a glory as of an only-begotten with the Father,) full of grace and truth.” So he’s prefacing everything that he is saying here in the rest of the gospel of John based upon: a) that Christ was the God of the Old Testament and He was God; b) that He’s the light of all men; c) that He was full of grace and truth.
Now why did Christ have to be full of grace and truth? Because He was the very Son of God. He was God on earth. He was bringing the gospel of grace. And as we’ll see, one of the things that the apostle Paul said concerning grace, “This is the true grace of God.” And I think that if we take those statements for what they are and think about them, if he says this is the true grace of God, then that means that there was a false grace called the grace of God, which was not the grace of God because it was not the true grace of God. You see, we live in a confusing world. And who is the author of confusion? Satan is, and he loves to counterfeit everything that God does. So he comes along with a grace, which allows you to do anything you want to do, and that’s called the grace of God, but that is not the true grace of God.
Now, I don’t know how many of you saw the news last night, but I saw on the news that they ran a test of U.S. currency in Florida. And what they did, they just went around asking, “Do you have a ten dollar bill?” “Yes.” “Would you exchange it for this brand new ten?” “Certainly.” So they did this to a lot of people. They took the money and they analyzed it and every bit of that money had traces of cocaine on it. Just the money that’s in circulation in the general population, which tells you that the drug trading down there is so massive, that it is so commonplace, that you can go at random and you can pick up currency from anybody and it’s tainted with cocaine. Now that’s really something, isn’t it? So it is just like what Satan does. He will take the word of God, part of it you see, and he will use it to his own advantage although it’s tainted. Just like that currency is tainted with cocaine, the doctrines of Satan are tainted with his way and it is not the true grace of God.
Now we have the example of Matthew 4 and Luke 4, where Satan does use scripture to his own advantage. So when John writes and says that the Word became flesh and He was full of grace and truth, he’s prefacing everything that he says about Christ all through the rest of the gospel of John based upon that grace and truth.
Ok, let’s continue. “John witnessed concerning Him [that’s speaking of John the Baptist] and cried [it doesn’t mean he was weeping, that means he heralded or spoke saying], This was He of Whom I said, He Who comes after me has precedence over me, for He was before me [that means that He existed before me]. And of His fullness we have received…” Now notice what it says. What have we received and what is the fullness of Christ that we receive? “…Grace upon grace” (John 1:15-16, BGI, paraphrased). Now what does the term “grace upon grace” mean? Grace upon grace. Remember I had the one definition there for the definition of grace, that is grace that increases to more and more. And it was very awkwardly phrased and it kind of left you dangling. Well this is what it means. Grace upon grace. By grace we are saved. By grace we are called. By grace we stand before God. By grace we overcome. So it is grace upon grace, and all of these things are a gift. All of these things are given to us so that we don’t boast in what we can do, but we boast in the glory of God. So when we come before God, we don’t do as the Pharisee in saying, “God, I thank you I am not as other men, or as this publican down here. I fast twice in the week. I tithe of all that I possess. I’m not an extortioner. I’m not unjust. I’m not an adulterer.” But he missed the whole point. He missed the whole thing of the grace of God. See now, he was trying to receive salvation by works. “God I do all of this, I must be in good standing with you because I do this.” No, it is grace upon grace. That’s why the publican down here, and he beat on his chest and said, “God be merciful to me, a sinner. The sinner. I’m a dirty wretch.” God gave grace to him. He said, “I tell you, that man went to his house justified rather than the other.” So this is what it means, grace upon grace.
Now notice verse 17, “For the law was given through Moses…”, which is true. And the law is important. Now let’s stop here and ask the question. The apostle Paul likens the law in Galatians 3 to a tutor while we were children before we became adults. Now I want to ask you a question in parallel to that. Is it important that you had a childhood, whether for good or whether for bad? Sure it is, because you couldn’t be an adult unless you had a childhood, correct? Do you cast away your childhood? No. Did you learn from your childhood? Yes. So it’s the same way. The law was given to lead us to Christ. Christ did not do away with the law. He specifically said so. But He came to bring something greater than the law. Something greater than the law could give. Because the law could not give eternal life. The law cannot give grace. That’s why when a person is hauled before a judge on account of breaking a law, the judge must make a determination. In some cases he is bound by the law because the law doesn’t speak. And he can do nothing.
Now there is a recent case of that. I forget exactly what it was right now, but I think it had to do with a murder, and since it was not specified in the law about a certain thing the judge could not allow a certain thing to come into evidence, and therefore the man was released. So the law is very specific, whereas grace is broad and general. Grace is a whole area and arena of living with God, which is greater than just living with the law.
So he said, “For the law was given through Moses and the grace and the truth through Jesus Christ came” (vs. 17). Now for those of you who have your interlinear. The word came is the same Greek word which means “came into being”. The same word used over in verse 3, that all things came into being through Him. So the grace and the truth came into being so it would be manifest to men and for God to man through Jesus Christ. Not that God didn’t have it. Not that God was not gracious. That’s not the point. But it did not come into being for mankind until Christ came. Now for example you can take many different chemical things, and until you have the right mix of it and come up with the right formula, you have not brought something into being. So the same way with Jesus Christ. Eternal salvation was not open to all men until Christ came bringing the grace and the truth. It came into being through Jesus Christ and in His very person.
And then the next one says, “No one has seen God at any time…” (vs. 18). So this tells us the whole basis of what God is doing. And God is interested in grace, not sacrifice. And that sacrifice means animal sacrifice, or the sacrifice of human endeavor or deprivation so that you can prove to God how good you are.
When “Shogun” came on we recorded it this last time. We got some of our old tapes and wiped out some of the things we really didn’t want and we recorded “Shogun”. But there’s one part in there that really shows the attitude of works. And this is where the Jesuit priest, Father Albeto, and the Japanese Jesuit candidates were together and there was another Catholic priest. And before they would let them continue in their Jesuit training, each of these Japanese candidates would have to confess their sins. This one Japanese fellow confessed his sins and asked forgiveness and then came the word. Yes, you are going to go without food and you’ll have only rice and water for 30 days, and do this, and furthermore you are going to be scourged. And the fellow said, “No, I’m Samurai and I cannot be scourged.” And just would not relent. The priest would not relent. He was ready to come over and kill him rather than let the guy get off from being scourged. But if a person has repented and asked forgiveness and they really believe it was to God, what on earth good would a scourging do? See, that is salvation by works. The works of so many of this, and so much of that. That’s salvation by works. That’s forgiveness by works. Whereas when it is by grace, it is God’s free gift.
Now let’s go to Acts 20, because here is the whole basis of the apostle Paul’s ministry. Let’s begin in verse 24. “But none of these things move me…” Or that is, none of the warnings that he would be in trouble if he went into Jerusalem. “…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, KJV). Now that’s the whole basis of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is about the grace of God. Now I don’t want anyone to take me to task because I may say that it has been emphasized in the past concerning the Kingdom of God, which is true. The gospel of the Kingdom of God must be preached in all the world as a witness, that is true. The Kingdom of God is coming on the earth, that is true. Jesus Christ is the King, that is true. But no one is going to get into the Kingdom of God without grace. That’s why there is the gospel of grace.
And he says here concerning that, “…that I might finish my course…which I received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Now that is fantastic good news, isn’t it? And gospel means “good news”, or as you will read the English in your Interlinear, it says “glad tidings”. You know, the proverb says that good news from a far country is like a well of spring water, which rejoices the person. Now if someone comes up to your door and knocks on your door and they say [knock, knock, knock] “Your car has been burned down in the driveway.” What happens? Your heart sinks and you look out there. Sure enough here is the cindering hulk of your car. It is gone. Or as some people just recently in San Jose, they smelled a little smoke and they had to get out their apartment and it burned everything they had. And some of these people were just new immigrants to the U.S. They lost everything, everything. That’s bad news, bad, bad news. Now it’s the same way when we find out about how sinful we are as human beings. That’s bad news. That’s terrible bad news. But what is the good news? The good news is that if we repent to God and accept the sacrifice of Christ and the grace of God, that is the good news and that is the glad tiding that we are accepted of God.
Now I suppose that if we receive the telegram, which says, “This telegram is from Heaven saying that you are in good standing with God.” Boy, we would hold on to that and say that is great, but it doesn’t come that way. It comes by faith and belief. And the grace of God is the good news that God isn’t going to hold your sins over you if you repent. That is fantastic good news. And then the gospel of grace also has to do with receiving eternal life. That’s great good news. So that’s the gospel of the grace of God.
Now verse 25, “And now, behold, I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the Kingdom of God [so see, he relates the gospel of the grace of God and the Kingdom of God right together], shall see my face no more.”
Now let’s go to 1 Peter 5:10, because this again, is one of the very key things concerning the grace of God that we have to keep in mind. And this is why regardless of whatever happens, don’t get discouraged. Or if you do get discouraged, don’t let things weigh in on you so much that it overwhelms you because God is the God of grace. Now notice what he says here in verse 10. Remember how we read that we received of Christ, of grace upon grace. Now that refers to the grace that we stand in. That refers to the grace that we continually receive of God, continually coming.
Verse 10 says, “But the God of all grace…” Now that’s a very interesting statement, isn’t it? The God of all grace. “…Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, may Himself perfect you, may He establish you, may He strengthen you, and may He found you…” (1 Peter 5:10, BGI). May He found you, that is may He establish you. That’s what that means, to establish you in His grace. So that’s quite a very inspiring scripture. This is the one I turn to when things get tough. I always turn to that. That one always encourages me. You know that hold out some hope. Even if things are tough, God is there. Even when things look kind of bad, God is there and He will help in every circumstance.
Now, let’s continue on in our study concerning the grace of God. Now rather than go through every single scripture as I said I would, I will go through the main scriptures and then send out a typed written list of all of the scriptures that we have not covered so far. However I will mention concerning the grace of God that all of the scriptures from Romans 3:24 clear through Romans 8:4, I have not put in this scripture that we’re going to go through today because I covered that in detail last time. So we have all that. You don’t hear me go through those it’s because we’ve already gone through it. And let me just say if you’re taking notes, you can put the note there, Romans 3:24 through chapter 4, 5, 6, and 7, up to chapter 8:4 explains the entire operation of the grace of God. That explains the entire need of the grace of God. That explains why God has to give His grace. That explains why salvation by works cannot bring you eternal life.
Now let’s go back and see some of the other scriptures, and I will take these in sequence as I have them written down here, which will be a progression through the New Testament in each particular case where I have a lot of scriptures. So let’s go back to Acts 15:11. Now I think we need to also refresh our memories that the New Testament Church was not without it’s problems. It had its problems. And obviously those problems were created because of the Jew/Gentile conflict. We don’t have exactly the same problem we have today as they had back then. But here Acts 15:11. Let’s go back to verse 6 so we can get the story flow. Let me just mention before we begin in verse 6, that the Jews were saying that a man had to be circumcised in the flesh in order to be saved. When they said it was necessary that means that it was obligatory, that there was no eternal salvation without circumcision. That’s what was being preached, and that’s what the problem was.
So the apostles in verse 6, and elders came together to consider the matter. And when there had been much disputing [that is talking and discussion], Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe” (Acts 15:6-7, KJV). And that is true. Peter was the first one to speak to a Gentile about the salvation of God and in the person of Cornelius and his household and God had to send him there by dream and vision and revelation. Otherwise he wouldn’t have gone there because the Jews couldn’t even be in the same room with a Gentile. That was a Jewish law, not a law of God.
Verse 8 now. And God, which knoweth the hearts…” Now that’s the key important thing concerning grace. God knows the hearts. “…Bare them witness, giving them the Holy [Spirit] Ghost, even as He did to us…” Now, very important point here. That when they said it was obligatory to be circumcised to receive salvation they were saying in effect it was obligatory to be circumcised before you can receive the Holy Spirit. Because if you don’t receive the Holy Spirit there is no salvation. That is self-evident. So he gave them “…the Holy Spirit even as He did to us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith” (vs. 8-9). And that purification of the heart by faith is an act of grace. That’s part of grace upon grace.
“Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” (vs. 10). Now let me be sure and just interject here what he was talking about was not just circumcision alone but all of the traditions and rituals of Judaism, which they could not bear. And even Jesus corrected the Pharisees and Sadducees for that. And what it was, it was that there was, as you will read in verse 5, a certain sect of the Pharisees. So you had the problem of the Pharisees coming in there and saying they have to do this, and after they’re circumcised they have to do that. And they have to do this, and they have to do the other thing, that have to do that. No, that puts a yoke of bondage of salvation by works. That’s why God dramatically gave the Holy Spirit to Cornelius and his household before they were baptized because God was teaching them that the Holy Spirit is going to come with repentance. Purified their hearts.
“But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” (vs. 11). So you are saved through grace. That agrees with what we already covered in Ephesians 2:4-10. By grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Now notice what it says here. Let me read it again. “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved…” That’s a future salvation. That’s not just being saved from our sins and from Satan the devil and the present time. That is, shall be saved in the future, even as they. So then they went on and talked about the agreement that they would have there.
One thing I just want us to know is that in verse 21, the very last sentence says in Acts 15:21, it talks about that Moses was read in the synagogue every Sabbath day. So we are not talking about non-Sabbath keepers. We are talking about Sabbath keepers.
Let’s go to Acts 18:27. Now it’s talking about the preaching of the Lord and so forth. “And when He [Apollos] was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace.” So you believe through grace. And what we’re going to see is that the grace of God is the main vehicle that God uses in everything relating to us. We believe through grace. We are granted repentance (Romans 2:4) through the grace of God. We then stand in grace and this brings us in contact with God all the time. So we see this grace upon grace as we’re continuing.
Now let’s go to Romans 4:16. I tried to make it this way so we would progress through all the scriptures without having to go back and forth so much. I just wanted to mention in this one scripture out of Romans in particularly, that’s not to exclude the others as I mentioned from Romans 3:24 through chapter 8:4. Romans 4:16 says, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace [that is, salvation, the promises of God, belief in Christ]; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” So it is by faith. It is by grace through faith. And those go hand in hand. It’s very much like, if I could use the analogy which I have before of water. You have to have hydrogen and oxygen to make water. You need them both. You need to have faith so that you can have grace. And you need grace so that you can increase in faith. You have to have both.
Let’s continue. Let’s go to 2 Corinthians 2:14. What I’m covering now is the grace of God having to do with faith, with belief, with salvation, with redemption, and hope. That’s quite a bit. It has to do with the grace of God concerning faith, belief, salvation, redemption and hope. “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place.” Now the scripture I wanted was 2 Corinthians 2:14 where it says “Thanks be to God. The word thanks there actually is “grace be to God”. Remember one of the definitions of grace is thanks. This is grace be to God for all that He has done, is the summation of it, so that we can be in God’s sight pure.
Now let’s continue here in verse 15. “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life.” And what he’s saying to the world, if you really believe in Christ it’s like death unto death, but before God it’s like life unto life. We are a sweet savor to God because of God’s calling. We may appear to a foul stench to the world because they don’t understand us or Christ. And I think that would be self evident, especially in a public setting if you really had to say what needed to be said. You would become an absolute foul stench in their nose.
Let’s continue in verse 16 now. “And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God…” Now that’s an interesting statement. Lot’s of times we read it “not as many which corrupt the word of God”. Were there a lot of people corrupting the word of God? Why sure there were a lot of people. We’ll see in a little bit some of the other categories here. “…Not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (vs. 16-18).
Now just to give you an example. In some of the dealings that I’m having now, I’m in contact with a man who is a minister of a church in San Francisco. And he’s a black man and he has his own church. And we were discussing several things concerning some project he is working on, and I said, “Well, maybe I can come up and have a conference with you. But I’ll make you a deal…”, because he knows I’m a minister too. I said, “Maybe I could come up on your Bible study night and I would cover the topic “What you will look like in the resurrection”. And he said, “Oh boy, that sounds good. Yeah, I’d like to know what we’ll look like in the resurrection. You’ve got yourself a deal.”
And I thought to myself, if I had to stand up there and really lay everything open the way it is in the word of God I would be just like this - a savor of death unto death and might not escape with my life. [Laughter] So I think the best way to do is do like the apostle Paul when he was in Athens. He wanted to tell them something about God that they didn’t know anything about. So I think that’s the best approach if I have that opportunity. But notice what he said. He said, “Boy that is interesting. I would like to know that.” And here he’s the pastor of the church and has regular Bible studies and so forth.
Let’s continue on. 2 Corinthians 6:1. It has to do with salvation. Now let me turn to the Interlinear because some of these are not evident necessarily in the King James. This talks about the day of salvation, and this is why I wanted to be sure and have this here. “We then, as workers together with Him beseech you also that you receive not the grace of God in vain” (2 Cor. 6:1, BGI, paraphrased). Now why would he say that, that you would not receive the grace of God in vain? Because it could be misused. And I think that if you read all of 1 and 2 Corinthians you will see that obviously they were misusing the grace of God. If, and as I have mentioned before, 1 and 2 Corinthians were not there you would not realize what could happen in a Church of God. It becomes very mind-boggling. It really does. And it becomes very, very hurtful the things that go on. Let’s hope that we can learn the lessons from that. So let’s not receive the grace of God in vain. Let’s receive it in profitability and in truth.
2 Corinthians 8:5, KJV. “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” Now this is about helping and serving and relieving the brethren who were in deep poverty, and so forth. “Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also” (2 Cor. 8:5-6). Now this, if you have a King James you will see the word gift in the margin, if you have a marginal reference. This is the gift of helping someone in distress. So this is part of your belief in helping people who are brethren in the Church, that is brethren indeed. Not brethren in wolves clothing who come along just to take. But those who have need, that when you help them this is an act of grace on your part as motivated by God’s Holy Spirit. So this is part of our salvation in helping each other.
Now, it blends in, continuing on now, into the spiritual salvation rather than just the physical salvation of food to eat while you are hungry, or food to eat because there’s a famine. “Therefore, as ye abound in every thing [now see, he carries this on into the spiritual aspect], in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also” (vs. 7). In other words, let all of the physical things that you do show the grace that God has given to you. Not that you use it as a gauge or a measuring stick, but as the scripture says when you do your alms don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing. In other words just do it abundantly from the heart as you are led from God’s Holy Spirit. That’s what it’s mainly speaking of here.
Verse 8, “I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others [that is who have already given for this relief going to the brethren in Judea], and to prove the sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” Now what he’s saying here is that you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. And then with the background, with that thought, what he’s really saying is, Who was God before He became Christ in the flesh, Who came to this earth, Who offered Himself in sacrifice, and that is the grace. He became poor. He gave up everything so that we could become rich, that is that we could receive eternal life.
Now let’s continue on. Galatians 1:6. Now here’s where the apostle Paul was also having trouble and he makes this statement. Let’s just go back to verse 3 so we can pick it up. “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now that is interesting. We’ll talk just a little bit about the openings because I’m only going to cover a few of those. You will notice in almost every one of the epistles of Paul in either verses 1, 2, 3, or 4, and in one occasion it was in verse 5, where he says, “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ”. Now that’s really a very comforting statement when you read it and understand it. If you take away the grace from our Lord Jesus Christ and from God the Father then you have what? You have friction. You have hostility. Isn’t it much better to be in harmony and be in the grace of God? Yes. So when he’s saying grace and peace, now that’s the peace that comes from God. Because before we are called, we were what? What does it say in the New Testament? We were enemies of God by wicked works in our minds. Which means that if you were an enemy you were what? You were at war. You were at war with God through your sins. So here is peace from God. You are no longer an enemy. There is peace. That’s what reconciliation means. You are reconciled. You have peace. So that’s quite a thing.
He says you have “…peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world [and that is through grace, by grace have you been saved], according to the will of God and our Father: to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Now verse 6. “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him [the Father] that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel” (Gal 1:3-6). We’re going to see a little later, as I mentioned before, he talks about the true grace of God. So here’s the warning, that if you get into another gospel you are falling or removed from the grace of God. Now that is very profound when we think about it. Because we have all experience what? We’ve all experienced the process that happens when you are being removed from the grace of God by a change in the gospel which rejects Christ. And you can see what happens, “…unto another gospel.”
I think I’ve heard another gospel preached. Verse 7, “Which is not another…”, which he’s saying there is not another. There is not another gospel. There’s only one gospel, see. “…But there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” How does one pervert the gospel of Christ? We’ll just make a little summary.
1). You leave off the name of Christ. You cannot preach the gospel of Christ without the name of Christ.
2). And you cannot preach the coming Kingdom of God as an unseen hand from nowhere coming to save everything everywhere. That is perverting the gospel of Christ.
3). And you cannot say that it is in the person of one being, human being, like the Pope or some other person who claims something, because that is perverting the gospel of Christ.
The gospel of Christ and the grace of God, as it says here, notice verse 3. “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.” And the gospel of Grace is that you have access to God the Father and Jesus Christ directly. Anything else is a perversion of that.
Ok, let’s continue. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God…” Now how could you frustrate the grace of God? Or that is, to make or to render not as effective, the grace of God in your life. How can you make the grace of God not as effective in your life, but by relying on the do’s and don’ts, rather than relying on Christ. Where he said here when they withdrew themselves, when Peter came down. They separated themselves, all the Jews. Did that make them better before God? No. Did that frustrate the grace of God? Yes, because it gave two stages of salvation. Gentiles over here and Jews over here. And that Jewish attitude is still a problem in the world today. Not concerning salvation, but just that attitude in general. So he doesn’t blunt the grace of God. “…For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:20-21). His whole act of the death and resurrection and His act of grace is a thing in vain. So this refers back to what he was talking about perverting the gospel of Christ.
Now let’s just drop back to Galatians 1:8. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” There’s the penalty for changing the gospel of God. I think we’ve seen in the lives of people we know what happens when they change the gospel of God. Have they not been under a curse because they’ve done it? Yes, sure.
Now, what he’s saying very strongly here, even if we - any of the other ministers under the apostle Paul, and even the apostle Paul himself came preaching any other gospel than that which was given to him by Jesus Christ, that you’re cut off from God. Or even if it be an angel from heaven or a purported angel from heaven it isn’t true because God’s way and God’s grace and God’s salvation is absolutely set through Jesus Christ and through the grace of God. Can’t come any other way. So that’s what it’s saying there.
Then verse 9, “As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (vs. 9-10). So that has to do with the grace of God. We just read in Acts 15 where God put no difference between Jews and Gentiles, and then how dare Peter come down there and some of the other Jews and then separate themselves and say, “Well, we’re not going to sit down with these other Gentiles and fellowship with them. We’re going to go into another room here because we are better than they are. And so therefore because we are better than they then we stand before God better than the Gentiles, so we are justified by separating ourselves.” That’s the whole rational in what they were doing, see. That is not the case and that’s why he was so hard on Peter.
Ephesians 1:6-7, which we’ve covered before but I just want to touch on it having to do with salvation and redemption. “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Now that is very profound verse there, that we have been accepted of God in Jesus Christ, and we could also say as Jesus Christ. That’s why the grace of God is so fantastic. “In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence…”, so that’s what it is, grace upon grace. And what we’re doing today is going through and seeing all the aspects of grace upon grace that is given to us. Now we are not going to cover these verses in Ephesians 2:4-10, but I just want to put them on the tape so if you’d like to stop the tape and go back and restudy that, that would be fine.
Let’s continue on to the book of Colossians 1:6. Now as we’re going through this will maybe give you an example of how you can do a word study in the Bible or a concordance study, because this is literally what we are doing. We are going through every place that has the word grace in reference to the grace of God.
“Which is come unto you [that is the word of the truth of the gospel] as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.” There we have the grace of God in truth, which means as we can see in the book of Jude…
Let’s just go back to the book of Jude right now, and there are no chapters so it’s just verses 3 and 4. And Jude is the very last little book before the book of Revelation. Jude 3 and 4, and this would be showing the grace of God not in truth. So let’s pick it up here in verse 3. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” So here again is this attack upon the truth of God. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness…” Now I wanted to tie that in directly with this verse in Colossians 1:6, to tie that in with Jude 3 and 4 because this shows that the grace of God in truth is going be the message the Christ brought, whereas there may be a counterfeit which turns the grace of God into lasciviousness or license to sin, which goes against what the apostle Paul taught when he said, “What, shall we sin that grace may abound?” He said, “God forbid. Don’t let this thought even come into your mind. Don’t even let it come into existence.” But here they were “…certain men crept in unawares ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ok, we’ll finish this section here, I hope. Now let’s go to 2 Thessalonians 2:13. Now 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 is a real key section because this, in addition with Romans 3:24 through Romans 8:4 shows the process of salvation. “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation…” Now that is a gift, isn’t it? That is grace. The very calling of God is grace. So He chose us to salvation, and salvation is grace. “…Through sanctification of the Spirit [and we receive the Spirit by faith through grace, don’t we?] and belief of the truth [we believe the truth of God]: whereunto He called you by our gospel [which is the gospel of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God], to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:13-14). Now that’s quite a statement isn’t it?
Now how do you obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ? There are two ways you obtain it. Number one, remember just before He was crucified He said, “Now am I glorified. Now is the Father glorified.” You receive the glory of Christ by accepting His sacrifice for you, which was an act of grace that God brought to the world. And that is called a glorious thing. And that is why we observe the Passover so you receive the glory of God that way. And it also has to do with the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ at the resurrection, referring to what we will be when we are resurrected. So these statements here, though you read through and they sound very beautiful and flow right along, they are jam packed with meaning, aren’t they?
Verse 15, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught…” Now these were obviously then the things that they were to carry on traditionally based upon God’s word, not some new tradition that they could invent. “…Whether by word [as they were taught], or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace…” Now, if you follow all the way through everything the apostle Paul is talking about in verse 13 about your calling, about your salvation, about the sanctification, about your belief in truth, the calling to the gospel, the obtaining of glory, the standing fast in what were taught, that God has directly dealt with us and has loved us, given us an everlasting consolation and good hope… All of that is through grace. That’s why this is a very key section in understanding the operation of grace. All of that is through grace. Then he says verse 17, “Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work” (vs. 15-17).
Let’s go to Titus 2:11 now. This also talks about grace and salvation. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” The grace of God that brings salvation. And that is the whole operation of salvation. You are saved through grace. There again, and again, and again.
Let’s go to Titus 3:3. Here again it shows another part of the operation of grace. Now when I have said that you cannot overcome on your own, but the grace of God in you with God’s Spirit will do the overcoming if you are led of the Spirit of God. I do not mean in any sense that we are not to do anything. We are to do all we can. Just like it says here in verse 3, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers [different] lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” That sounds like some churches I know. “But after that the kindness…” Now the kindness here refers to the grace of God. “…The kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared.” The kindness of God refers to the grace of God. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done…” In other words if you got every good person together everywhere and had them all doing good, would that constrain God to appear to you? No. Christ appeared because it was the time that God had determined, not because anyone was doing good. So that’s what he’s talking about. “…But according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy [Spirit] Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace…” (Titus 3:3-7). Now notice, I went through several scriptures before we came down to this of justified by grace, showing again the whole operation of grace depends upon the love of God, the kindness of God, and that’s how we are justified - by grace.
Ok, I think we are going to be able to… No, I don’t think we’re going to be able to finish it. We’ll have to have one more on grace. So we’ll go ahead and end it here. I won’t end it just exactly here. I will go to two more scriptures. Hebrews 12:28-29 and then we will end it there.
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace…” Now it’s interesting if you have a King James version you will see in the margin, if you have a margin, “…[let us hold fast the grace] whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Now notice we have something here very interesting. That we still serve God with reverence and godly fear though we are of the family of God, though we are the friends of Christ, etc. “For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:28-29).
One more verse. Hebrews 13:9. Let’s just back up to verse 8 because this carries the thought. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” So what we’re talking about, the grace of God as received by God the Father through Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace…” So we are established in the salvation of God and our hearts are established with grace. With God’s goodness and kindness and mercy. “…Not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
Ok, we’ll pick it up next time at this point so we will actually end up with six tapes in the New Testament on grace and seven on grace altogether.