Monday, October 26, 2009

Christians and New Testament Grace

Summary Verse: Rom. 6:14

Last week we discussed "Christians and The Law". We are free from the Old Testament civil and ceremonial laws, but NOT from the moral laws. Those have always been applicable. But, just because Christians are not obligated to keep the OT laws (civil & ceremonial), does not mean don't have a master. Christians have a new Master.

This week we're discussing Christians and Grace. Definition of grace - unmerited favor, undeserved blessings.
Examples: you are going 80 in a school zone with kids around - you are given a warning ticket by the police. THAT'S grace. Or, seniors, you don't study all year, just slough off all of your classes and at the end at graduation, you are passed through and given a diploma anyway. THAT'S grace.
Grace is something we don't deserve and didn't earn!

Generally (and properly) it's associated with love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, patience, etc. Example: the woman caught in adultery - John 8:10-11
the thief on the cross - Luke 23:34 a

So, whereas the O.T. Jew hoped to find favor and right standing with God through obedience to the Law---
so, N.T. Christian expects to find favor and right standing with God through grace. (God's graciousness)

Therefore, on one hand, there is a great need to understand grace!!! Eph. 1:6-8, Eph. 3:18-19
It is vitally important to get a grip on God's grace and His love and care for us. How good I am is important, but doesn't determine standing with God.

On the other hand, it's very easy to misunderstand (misapply) the doctrine of grace.

We need to understand:

#1. All people receive some grace.
A. Common grace - life, air to breathe, sunshine, rain, etc. Matt. 5:45
B. Individual grace - good looks, extra smarts, rich parents, etc.

#2. Not all grace is saving grace.
All blessings are intended to direct to and draw to God.
But, some grace is specific in application.
Compare Vs. 1 of "How Great Thou Art" - speaks of common grace
with Vs. 1 of "Amazing Grace" - speaks of saving grace.

Just because you are blessed doesn't mean you are in right standing with God.

#3. Saving grace comes only through Christ. John 14:6

Common grace and individual grace are granted to you without your foreknowledge, without your approval.
SAVING grace comes only through Jesus Christ and with your approval.

#4. Grace offered does not necessarily equal grace received. Mark 6:5-6 Power and grace is available. Point is: you MUST cross the bridge. The same grace was available to both thieves on the cross. However, only one chose to accept it.
Just because the grace is offered, doesn't mean that you automatically have it.

#5. Grace to forgive all sin does not mean grace to remove all consequences of sin.
Example: a person gets drunk, runs over a child and kills him. He confesses his sin, asks for forgiveness and receives that forgiveness. Is he forgiven?? Does it bring back the child? Is the pain the family is suffering removed? Does it eliminate the "feelings" of guilt?
There are consequences of sinful behavior.

#6. Grace does not eliminate the expectation of (or necessity of) good works. James 2:14-18
In fact, grace should lead to gratitude to God which should lead to "goodness". Luke 12:48 b

Which equals
#7. We who receive grace are expected (obligated) to extend grace.
Examples: A. by Giving B. by Forgiving. Eph. 3:12-13

If God has graciously forgiven and given us grace in spite of who we are and were, we should not hold back that same forgiveness and grace from others who may have wronged us in some way.

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