―Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected.‖ Jonathan Edwards Articulating the gospel one word at a time odnimslovom.org | 2012
―In the New Testament, ‗grace‘ is a word of central importance – the keyword, in fact, of Christianity. The thought of grace is the key that unlocks the New Testament; and it is the only key that does so. However well we may know the New Testament, we cannot get inside its meaning till we know something of what grace is.‖ J.I.Packer http://www.fbccs.org/resources/papers/grace.asp
Grace is the lens through which all Scripture can be properly understood. Loveis the lens through which all Scripture can be properly put into practice.
Grace is the last message of the Bible. Grace is the last message of Paul‘s letters. A count of the word grace demonstrates that it is a major New Testament theme. Here is the top 10 list: • Romans (18) Note: Romans is the “book of grace”. 2 Corinthians (11) Acts (11) Ephesians (8) 1 Peter (7) Galatians (7) Hebrews (5) 1 Corinthians (4) 2 Timothy (4) Colossians (4)
Inthe New Testament the word ―grace‖ is always a translation of χαρις (charis), primarily signifying the unmerited operation of God in the heart of people through the Spirit. Charis does not exist in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament the word ―gracious‖ is used (―chen‖) to denote ―beauty, favor or good-will‖. http://www.bible-researcher.com/grace.html
Often last words are profound. Typically they are significant. Sometimes they are inspiring. Sometimes they are just plain odd. “Good bye. If we meet-” Who: Mark Twain (Note: Spoken to his daughter Clara.) “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” Who: Steve Jobs, Apple CEO (His last statement recorded by his sister on his death bed.) http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Last_words
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with Gods people. Amen. Revelations 22:21
2 Corinthians 13:14 “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Galatians 6:18 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.” Ephesians 6:24 “Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” Philippians 4:23 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Colossians 4:18 “I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:28 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:18 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” 1 Timothy 6:20 “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you.” 2 Timothy 4:22 “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” Titus 3:15 “Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.” Philemon 1:25 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” Hebrews 13:25 “Grace be with you all.” (The Hebrews author is uncertain)
Romans 1:5 ―Through him and for his name‘s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.‖ Romans 1:7 ―To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.‖
The first lesson in the grace of God, from Romans, the book of grace, is that grace is linked together with apostleship and with peace. We cannot separate grace from our Christian duty, nor can we do our Christian duty without grace. The grace of God is not divisive or contentious, but fully linked together with the peace of God. We need grace and apostleship, grace and peace. These are not opposite concepts.
Romans next mentions grace in 3:24, after a discourse on the wrath and judgment of our righteous God in chapters 1 and 2. Romans 3:21-26 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
The Jew did not wish to be judged according to his works, but only according to his parentage. ―We are the children of Abraham‖ was their cry. Their possession of the Law was proof to the Jews of their favored status. The fact that the Gentiles did not possess the Law was evidence of their rejection. While the possession of the Law was vitally important to them, the practice of the Law was quite another matter. Therefore, there were few legalists among the Jews—those who believed that by keeping the Law, without failure, they could merit God‘s blessings. There were many, however, who felt that being a descendant of Abraham was their ticket to heaven, all they needed for God‘s blessings. http://bible.org/seriespage/righteousness-it%E2%80%99s-not-what-you-know-or- who-you-are-romans-11-326
As one person put it, ―The argument of the Book of Romans is not the development of one single idea; it is more like a musical composition, in that it is the development of a number of themes, all intertwined.‖ (source) Romans 4:16-17 ―16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham‘s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: ―I have made you a father of many nations.‖[c] He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.‖
The promise given to Abraham has several facets. The promise had personal, national and historical significance (Genesis 12:1-3). Primarily, God promised to make Abraham a father of many nations. This promise was God‘s grace to Abraham and his wife Sarah. The promise reveals God‘s desire to build a new nation– a nation built on grace. Romans 4:17 explains the grace of God in two all-critical ways: God ―gives life to the dead‖ and God ―calls things that are not as though they were.‖ I believe that an understanding of grace in these two ways is critical to the sanity and happiness of our life. We need to understand God’s grace to give life and to give identity through his promise which comes by faith.
Romans 5:1-2 ―1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.‖ The past, foundational grace of Jesus‘ death on the cross justifies our faith for God‘s grace to be given today. Believers stand daily on the grace of God, rejoicing in the future hope of the glory of God, not in our glory. Access is a one-way path: grace flows from God to believers. Never can we live today‘s life on yesterday‘s grace. Our good deeds today can never add to God‘s infinite store of grace. Each day we seek more of God‘s grace newly.
The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:20-21 ―Romans 5 begins and ends with two infinite realities that are needed to explain each other and help us sense the magnitude of God‘s way of salvation. The chapter ends in verse 21 with the infinite reality of eternal life: ―So that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.‖ God‘s aim in the work of redemption is the triumph of grace over sin and death unto eternal life through Jesus Christ. The ―eternal‖ refers to life that never ends. It is infinite life. Life of infinite duration.‖ John Piper http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/the-triumph-of-grace-through- righteousness
After speaking so highly of grace, Paul in Romans 6 immediately qualifies that grace. The grace of God does not lead to sinning any way we want. Romans 6:1-4 1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don‘t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Grace is not a license for immorality (Jude 1:4). Grace is far more powerful than sin. Where sin once reigned, grace now reigns in its place. Grace is sufficient to enable and empower me to live a new life! Sin was my master. Now sin has no power over me because of grace. Romans 6:12-15 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
Romans chapter 7 through 10 continue to expound on multiple themes like a Mozart symphony. The word ―grace‖ next appears in chapter 11. Romans 11:1-6 ―1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don‘t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah–how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 ―Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me‖? 4 And what was God‘s answer to him? ―I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.‖ 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.‖
Elijah worked hard for the Lord. Yet all his hard work only led to depression, and failure to see God‘s chosen remnant of 7,000. When I lived by works, I came to the point, like Elijah, where I thought I was the ―only one left‖, the only one who really worked for the Lord. When I let the flood of grace enter my heart, mind and soul, I saw God‘s chosen remnant. I contend that Christians must be reminded daily of the correct order of grace and works in Scripture. Grace always produces good works, never the other way around. Ephesians 2:8-10 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are Gods workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Who is worthy? None beside Thee. The mountains shake before Him, the demons run and flee, at the mention of His name, King of Majesty! There is no power in hell or any who can stand before the power and the presence of the great I AM. The power of the I AM is not for a select few super apostles. That same power from the same God in Ephesians is available to every believer in Jesus. Worship Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWbEpiZ8IMs&featu re=related
How do I view myself? Some say, ―Be a wounded soldier‖. Others say, ―Be a noble man.‖ Some say, ―Be a strong man.‖ Others say, ―Be kind and mind your own business.‖ What does grace say? Grace is not conformance to a set of ideas, but God‘s transformation process in human hearts, minds and souls. Grace produces good works, but good works do not produce grace. This is the only truth that invokes a willingness to suffer and die. Romans 12:1-3 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God‘s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God‘s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
Romans 12:4-8 ―4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man‘s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.‖
Differences. Wouldn‘t it be so great if we didn‘t have any differences? How peaceful the world would be… if everyone would just think and act my way? Isn‘t that how we think? The reality is humanity is full of differences; it‘s in our DNA. In fact, the fabric of life would be extremely dull without differences. So why do we fight so hard to find unity by removing differences? Why do we think we will find peace when we drive away people who think differently? The grace of God opens the way to unity, not by removing differences, but by putting our differences to use. Just as one body has many parts, the body of Christ has many people who do not all have the same function. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
Romans 15:14-16 ―14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. 15 I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.‖ May we remember the bold, beautiful, God-pleasing effect of the grace of God.
Grace. What image comes to mind? Beauty? Charm? Elegance? Gentleness? What about boldness? Courage? Certainly grace is all those things, including boldness and courage. In the book of Romans, Apostle Paul wrote boldly. Throughout his mission journeys, he acted boldly, risking his health and life to minister the gospel in the Gentile world. Why? Because of the grace God gave him. When we hear bold words or see bold actions, we need to be careful not to quickly dismiss them as ―graceless‖. And when we see someone‘s charm or elegance, we should see beyond the surface and find out whether God‘s grace produced such charm or not.
Grace is last mentioned in Romans in the last chapter. Romans 16:19-20 ―19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.‖ Accepting God‘s grace is not just for our initial meeting with Jesus; it is for our entire life. To know God‘s grace means we let God be God. Our job is not to crush Satan. Let God crush Satan. God is not our ―co-pilot‖. God wants to be our ―pilot‖. Our job is not to ―crush‖ anyone, even Satan. Our job is to live by faith in God‘s grace.
Apostleship and Peace Justified Freely By Faith and by Grace Access by Faith Grace Reigns Power over sin No Longer By Works God is the great I AM (worship interlude) Sober Transformation Different Gifts of Grace Bold Words, Bold Actions God crushes, we have Grace
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with Gods people. Amen. Revelations 22:21