For By Grace
By Jim Murriner
"For by Grace are Ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"
For every Christian God is to be thanked. Salvation is of grace both in its planning and working. God who made the plan also works the plan. It is all of grace, the unmerited and unmeritable favor of God. God sets the gospel table and gives appetite for the bread of life, or we might say God makes the sinner willing to receive the gospel. We who believe in Jesus Christ as our personal savior, do so through grace.
Acts 18:17 speaks of those who believed through grace.
"And when he was disposed to pass into Achai, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:"
We have not believed in Christ as Savior by our own natural instincts or desires.
Eph. 2:9 reminds us that faith is not even something which we can earn or accomplish through our workings.
"NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST."
But what is this grace which God has, and which God shows to us; and which brings us saving faith? The word grace basically means unmerited favor.
God's attitude or disposition of love and favor towards a sinner is grace.
In Gen. 6:8 we see God showing grace towards Noah.
"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord"
This has to do with God's attitude of love towards Noah, and had nothing to do with Noah's attitude towards God. God showed His love towards Noah who did not deserve this love any more than you and I deserve the love of God.
Also when God does something for the sinners good, that is grace There are many times when God extends His grace unto those whom He never does cause to believe on Christ as Savior.
Act 17:20 reminds us of God's grace in providing even the breath of life to all men.
"For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also or your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring."
This speaks of blessings from God even unto those who ultimately burn in hell as well as blessings from God unto those who are saved.
When God extends the ultimate blessing of quickening a sinner and causing that sinner to trust Jesus Christ as Savior, that is grace, or might we say that is the greatest example of grace.
The good works performed by the children of God are also called grace. II Cor. 8:1-2 speaks of the Macedonians ' liberality in giving, and calls it grace.
1 "Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;"
2 "How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality"
Sometimes that which we get so upset over not getting credit for doing, is something we don't deserve credit for, but must proclaim that we have only done the good deed, whatever it might be, by the grace of God.
The best way in which ewe can understand the meaning of the word grace is to see how it is contrasted in the Bible with other things. John 1:17 shows a contrast between grace and the law, in origin and nature.
"For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ"
The law which was spoken by Moses by nature makes demands, while grace which was spoken by Jesus Christ by nature bestows blessings. The law puts man at a guilty distance from God; grace brings the sinner near to God. The law condemns the best of men, while grace saves even the worst of men. The law demands righteousness, grace provides righteousness. Rom. 10: 4 Tells us that Christ the one who gave us truth and grace, is the end of the law for righteousness.
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth."
The Bible also shows us a contrast between sin and grace. Rom 5:21 show this
"For as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
Sin has such power because of the law; grace robs sin of its power
I Cor. 15:56-57 shows us this
56 "The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law"
57 "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ"
Grace is contrasted with works in the plan of salvation Eph. 2:8-9 shows us this.
8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God;"
9 "Not of works, lest any man should boast."
If Grace and works are set at a contrast by God's word, how then can works take part in saving a sinner?
The Bible also sets Grace and Debt at a contrast to one another.
Romans 4:4-5 is a good example of this.
4 "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt."
5 "But to him that worketh not, but beliiveth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
If salvation is by works, then God is in debt to save those who do the works, and those who draw the wages of a heavenly home have no grace shown unto them, but have a debt or obligation paid to them. There can be no grace when a man gets that which he deserves or earns. Salvation by grace means that God is not obligated to save. By nature of what grace is, all grace comes from the Father.
IIPeter 5:10 tells us that all grace is from God.
"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
The Father purposed the fact and plan of grace. In Eph. 1:4-9 we can see this plan.
4 " According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:"
5 "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will."
6 "To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath make us accepted in the beloved."
7 "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."
8 "Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;"
9 "Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself."
No one compels God to be gracious. No one has done anything, which would warrant God being gracious unto them. If they had, then God would not be gracious He would not have made know unto us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure but because He was forced to.
Though the Father purposed the plan of grace, the Son is the channel of grace. ITim 2:5-6 tells us that the only mediator between God and man is the same one that gave Himself a ransom for all those who are ransomed.
5 "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"
6 "Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
You cannot reject God's Son and be pleasing to God. If you reject the Son you are not saved. Psm. 85:10 tells of Grace and Justice being reconciled and it is only Jesus Christ that can reconcile the two.
"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other."
It is the Son through the offering of Himself upon the cross that satisfied the justice of God, and extended the grace of God unto men.
The Father planned and purposed grace, the Son is the channel through which grace comes to men, but the Holy Spirit is the administrator of grace. It is through the gracious work of the Holy Spirit that sinners are converted. John 6:63 tells us that it is the Holy Spirit that quickens the lost sinner and causes that sinner to come unto Christ as savior.
"It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life."
The bible speaks of this work of the Holy Spirit under several different terms. One of these terms is regeneration, which is make necessary because mans nature is at enmity with God. John 1:12-13 tells us that we who believe in Christ as our savior, do so because God gives us power to do so, at the time the Holy Spirit regenerates us.
12 "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on His name."
13 "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
In John 3:27 John the Baptist emphasizes that we only receive Christ or trust in Christ as the Spirit gives us that ability.
"John answered and said, a man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.'
II Peter 1:3 tells us that we did not earn anything which pertains to godliness but that it is a gift of the Holy Spirit.
“ According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue."
This administrative work of the Holy Spirit fits the definition of grace, which we gave at first. When the Holy Spirit extends love unto us who are unworthy sinners and who deserve to hell, and causes us to become new creatures, and changes us from hating God and spiritual things to loving God, that is grace.
May God give you grace today to trust Christ as your personal savior.