Thursday, July 26, 2012

Our Daily Bread Designs Forum: Bible Verse Thursday Challenge #39 - Points of Grace

"His Grace is sufficient for you..."  ~2 Corinthians 12:9


I wonder how many people sitting in churches today actually believe in salvation by grace? It seems like every article I read or every sermon I hear on the radio, the emphasis is on faith, and not grace. There are a lot of people out there who think that they can manipulate God by faith. They think that faith is some sort of magical cattle prod that can goad God into doing whatever they want. But they seem to forget that they are dealing with a sovereign and omnipotent God.

Grace is a free gift from God. Faith is simply trusting that God will minister His grace, by which we are saved, healed, blessed, prospered, etc… The grace of God is undeserved, unearned, favor. You see, we are all sinners, every one of us. And we all deserve to go to hell, but God, in His grace, forgives us. So when a person wakes up in the morning it’s only by grace. When a person is healed, or recovers from sickness it’s only by grace, and when a person is saved it’s only by grace. Now like I was saying there are a lot of people who put all the emphasis on faith. But the problem with doing that is that your faith is only as good as the object you put it in. You see, I could have a great deal of faith that if I flapped my arms I could fly, and I’ll never get off the ground. On the other hand I might not have any faith in an airplane I’m about to get in but it still manages to get me from point A to point B.

Now forgiveness is the complete obliteration of all of our sins. When your forgiven it’s not only like your record was wiped clean, it was thrown out and you were given a new record, and you are restored to fellowship with God. In forgiveness, the holy God receives sinners. Remember Jesus said, “I am come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. He also said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost”. God longs to blot out our sins. God longs for fellowship with man. He said, “Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden and I will give you rest”. Forgiveness includes justification; justification means just as if you had never sinned. Turn with me to Romans 4:5-7 (read). Our sick and frustrated world needs to hear the truth of God’s Word. Man’s problem isn’t psychological, it’s sin! And men need forgiveness for sins. They need a real relationship and fellowship with their Creator, and by the grace of God we can have these things.

The grace of God is God redeeming us through the death of His Son. We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, but that freedom cost the lives of hundreds and hundreds of men. They paid the ultimate price for our freedom. And salvation is free but it cost Jesus Christ His life.

Some might ask, “What does grace do”? Well in the first place, it saves us from sin. Man had sinned, and needed a Savior.  We couldn’t save ourselves. We were under the just condemnation of God. So Jesus came and paid the penalty that we owed, redeeming us from the bondage of sin, and the second you trust Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior the redeeming power of God begins to operate in you. And you’re given the ability to turn to God from your sins, and are transformed from a condemned sinner, to a child of God. Secondly the grace of God not only saves you, it also keeps you. Jude 24 says that He is able to keep us from falling and will present us faultless before the presence of His glory. Who keeps us from falling, and who presents us faultless? Jesus Christ that’s who! If a person was saved by grace and then falls away then in reality they were never saved. The word “saved” is past tense. It’s a done deal. The same grace that saves us keeps us. It enables us to live in the world, without becoming part of the world. 

So how do you receive the grace of God? Well first the sinner has to realize and admit that he is a sinner. The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There are none righteous, no, not one. One little white lie is enough to keep you out of heaven. One instance of jealousy, or covetousness, or lust is enough to send you straight to hell. No man can meet the holy and righteous requirements of God. So one has to realize and admit that he is a sinner, and isn’t worthy to stand before a holy and pure God. Secondly, the sinner has to put his faith in Jesus Christ. He has to trust in the finished work of the Lord. He has to believe with all of his heart that what Jesus has done, was more than enough to save him, and make him acceptable to God. And when he has done this, he is instantly saved and eternally secure by the grace of God. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God”. Faith is how you receive God’s gift of grace, given in the person of Jesus Christ. And let me just tell you this. God sees the end of time. He knows all and sees all, and I don’t think that God would say that you’re saved if some time in the future you lost your salvation. Turn with me to Hebrews chapter 6 (read Heb. 6:4-6). Now there are many who say that this passage of scripture proves that a Christian can lose his or her salvation, but that’s not what it’s saying at all. In fact it proves that a Christian can’t lose his salvation.

Let me just give you a little bit of an example of how this passage in Hebrews proves that a Christian cannot lose his salvation. Let’s take two of the Lords first disciples. Peter and Judas, and let’s say that they were both saved. Now “if” they were both saved then they both fell away, because they both, in a sense betrayed the Lord. Now according to this passage in Hebrews there is no possible way that Peter could have been restored to salvation. So what is that passage in Hebrews chapter six saying then? Well, it’s simply a hypothetical statement saying that IF it were possible for a Christian to fall away then there would be no hope for him. In other words, every Christian who has ever backslidden in their lives would be eternally separated from God and bound for hell, but we know that isn’t the case. 

When you receive Jesus Christ you are eternally secure. Now some would say, “What if you lose your faith”? But they forget that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. He takes control of your faith the second you place it in Him, and He didn’t die on the cross almost 2000 years ago to shipwreck your faith and send you to hell. No He came so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. Some people say that Jesus’ death only paid for the sins of one’s past, but not the future, but let me tell you, when Jesus died, all of our sins were in the future. Jesus Christ is our Savior, not our faith. If your trusting in your faith to keep you saved, then you have taken the focus off of Jesus and placed it upon yourself. And if it is up to us to maintain our salvation or our faith then we are no longer saved by grace but by works. Many of those who claim that one can lose their salvation lack understanding. They take a lot of different scriptures out of context, and misuse the Greek to get their point across. The apostle Paul dealt with such men throughout his ministry. Men that do not understand grace, men who think that they have some part to play in their salvation. 

Where is the boasting if we have some part to play in our salvation? Is it with us or God? How can a spiritually dead man save himself? How can one spoil the righteousness of God in Christ? (which we have become by the way.) How can a mere man thwart the plans and purposes of God? Salvation by works and the loss of salvation is a doctrine of secular humanism that places the emphasis upon man, and not Jesus Christ.

Salvation is a one-time act. You don’t have to get saved all over again if you go through a period of doubt. When you’re saved by the grace of God you’re placed into the hands of Jesus and the Bible tells us that nothing can pluck us out of His hands, and that includes the one in His hands. I have two daughters, and my daughters may rebel. They may disobey me. They might even denounce me as their father, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are my offspring, and I was the one who fathered them. When you are born again, God is your father and you are His child. When you’re saved by the grace of God, heaven becomes your home. Now continuing to sin will bring judgement. Pain, anguish, suffering, and maybe and early grave, but not a loss of salvation. There’s no return policy on God’s gifts. The Bible tells us that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.

And finally, grace is available to all mankind. Salvation is available to all, to whosoever believes on Jesus. It’s God’s will that none would perish but that all would come to repentance. “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.” The writer of that song knew exactly what he was talking about. He knew that it was God who found him, not he who found God, for in Romans we're told that there are none who seek after God. He knew that it was God who opened his eyes and healed his spiritual blindness, not he who opened his eyes because he was dead in sins and trespasses. He was in darkness, just like all of us were, but then the light of the world chased away that darkness in our hearts and now we can see.

I want to ask you a question today. Have you received God’s gift of grace? Have you been washed and redeemed by the blood of Jesus? If you have never received God’s grace. If you’ve never received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you can do it today. You can be sure that your sins are forgiven and that you’re going to heaven. If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior then I would invite you to come forward right now. Just get out of your seat and come forward.

Your challenge this week is to create a project using this scripture or another sentiment that gives us points of grace to live by.  When uploading your project, please use Keyword ODBDBVT39 and then drop over to the Our Daily Bread Designs forum and show us what you've done!

Cardstock:  Bazzill - Black, Olive; Truly Yours White Card base
Stamps:  Our Daily Bread Designs - Grow in Grace
Inks, Stains, Paints:  Staz-On - Jet Black
Accessories & Other Stuff:  American Crafts Twine

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