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Glorious Grace

by David Johnson

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

DavidJohnson   Good morning, listeners. This morning’s lesson is entitled, “Glorious Grace.” And our study text for the lesson this morning is found in the New Testament in Ephesians chapter one beginning in verse six. To the praise of his glorious grace which he has freely given us in the one he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood and forgiveness of sins in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. What a wonderful text.

I read about a Texas school district that chose a young lady to receive the school bus driver of the year award. She was accident free and she was even honored to drive a bus load of the nomination committee to the awards ceremony. And then the incredible happened. On the way she turned a corner too sharply and actually flipped the bus. True story. And she sent 16, including herself, to the hospital. This was her first bus accident. And it was on the way to receive the school bus driver of the year award for perfect safe driving record. Do you think she still got the award? Not on your life.

Awards are usually based on an earning, deserving performance and she failed miserably. Rewards rarely and usually are never given by grace, getting what you don’t deserve. Grace is a gift. It is not performance. The same is true regarding our salvation. We get what we don’t deserve. It is a gift. It is not according to our performance or earning it. Salvation is a free gift from God. Grace is a concept that few of us really grasp. It is grace. It is God’s riches at Christ’s expense. His performance on the cross grants us God’s gift of grace. It was not free to Christ. If salvation was awarded to us by our performance to an absolutely holy God, then just one failure, one sin, one mistake, one error, one moral error would doom us. We would be lost without hope.

But the sinless Savior performed perfectly as a human being. He became one of us and redeemed, he won for us our salvation. He won it on the cross. Therefore, God’s grace is extended to all the human race. Saving faith on our part means we personally receive God’s gift of grace. It is only effectual to human beings, accountable human beings if they receive God’s gift and believe in Jesus Christ as their, as our personal Savior and Lord. It is by grace by which we are eternally grateful. God’s grace is glorious to us because it is eternal glorification with God when he comes for us in the air.

In Ephesians chapter one verses six and following it reveals some of the splendor of the glorious grace that God offers. In verse six it says, in part: To the praise of his glorious grace. This should prompt us to worship, to praise, because the giver is God. He is the object of our worship. Salvation is by grace and it is to the glory of our God. We don’t deserve it. It is to bring glory to him.

Do you realize that grace which is God’s free gift that we don’t deserve separates Christianity from every other spiritual faith belief system? Every other system of faith demands performance to earn salvation. Not so with Christianity. Jesus Christ earned our salvation and it was on the cross at Calvary. Jesus Christ alone made it possible for God’s glorious grace to be offered to us. Someone had to pay the penalty for our sin to an absolutely holy God. God the Father provided his own Son to take our place. His life, his body, his blood as God man, as part of the creator godhead, in his sinless, substitutionary sacrifice on the cross paid the price in full for the entire human race, we, his creatures. The creator for his creatures paid, redeemed, ransomed once and for all. But it is only effectual for all who receive the gift of God of his glorious grace and receive him by genuine, saving faith, receive Jesus Christ by faith. And we need to share this truth of the grace of God.

In Ephesians chapter one and verse six it also says that his glorious grace is freely given to us. It is free. We need to get that through our thick skulls. It is not performance based. We cannot earn our salvation. Our performance as a Christian in our sanctification, not our salvation is because we are already saved and because we are already saved, we already receive this salvation as a gift from God. In our sanctification we want to please God and therefore there is a performance. But it is sanctification. It is growth in Christ. It is developing in Christ. It is maturity. It is not for our salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith.
In Ephesians chapter one and verse seven it says we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. We cannot redeem ourselves. It is not by our blood, sweat and tears, but only by the blood, sweat and tears of Christ on the cruel cross at Calvary.

Ephesians chapter one and verse seven also refers to the riches of God’s grace. God sent the riches of heaven to earth even Jesus Christ. And it is not about our riches. It is not about our richness in character or conduct or works. It is not about our riches and abilities and performance. Salvation is all about the riches of God’s grace.

We often mix up, again, our sanctification performance with the need for salvation performance. Salivation is only about Christ’s performance. He earned our salvation and it is about our faith in which Jesus is Lord, which means we do perform. But that still points back to our faith. Jesus must be Lord. It is an obedient faith, but it points back to faith, not to earning our salvation.

This is emphasized, also in the Ephesians letter chapter two beginning in verse four. But because of his great love for us God who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. It is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus in order that in the coming ages we might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and not from yourselves. It is the gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast.

Do you notice how many times the writer here, the apostle Paul, wrote the word grace? It is about grace. Salvation is by God’s glorious grace. This could be illustrated, for example, by a city judge, a municipal judge who had his own son brought in for speeding. He had broken the law. Justice must be served. Justice is getting what we deserve under the law and the verdict was guilty. He was speeding. The son had to pay the fine or face jail time. But the son didn’t have the money to pay. The judge loved his son and he passed judgment, guilty. He had broken the law. Justice needed to be served. The son could not be let off. But the judge in his love and grace—the son didn’t deserve it—but as a gift the judge paid the fine in full himself. Justice still prevailed. The son’s offense was paid in full. That is grace. And every one of us is like that son. The offending son was guilty of breaking the law yet participated in no way regarding paying the fine. We are all law breakers, breakers of the law of God. We are all disobedient. We are all guilty of lawlessness, of sin. We all deserve eternal jail time, separated from a holy God forever. But God’s glorious grace is offered to all in Christ Jesus. And you can be sure Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation.

But we must personally receive the gift. The gift is offered, but we can leave the gift on the shelf. We need to receive the son, which is the gift personified which is grace personified.

Even at the cross, God’s glorious grace was magnified. Do you remember one of the criminals, one of the evil doers, one of the malefactors dying on a cross beside the Savior? We find this in the gospel of Luke chapter 23 and verse 42 and following. Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth. Today you will be with me in paradise.” That is incredible grace. And not only incredible grace, but incredible faith on the part of this dying criminal. He was dying. He was guilty. He had lived a godless, immoral life. But he believed in Jesus as coming into his kingdom and, therefore, he believed that Jesus is a king. Yet Jesus was also dying on a criminal’s cross. That is incredible faith. Believing that Jesus was whom he claimed to be.

Now this was certainly not by sight. He was dying as a criminal just like he was. No, that was faith. He said, “Remember me,” me, personal pronoun. This was personal faith. He personally received Jesus as his Savior and King.     And obviously there was also repentance. In Luke chapter 23 and verse 41 this same criminal said that they were getting what they deserved. He knew he was a sinner and he knew he needed a Savior and that is what it takes to be saved. That is incredible grace. He was a criminal dying in his sins and he was nailed to a cross and therefore he obviously could do nothing, nada, nyet to earn, to perform, to deserve salvation. What could he do? He was nailed to a cross. Was it too late for him? Was he too evil? Was his faith fake? Was his faith enough? It was not too late. He was not too evil. His faith was not fake and it was enough.
Do you believe Jesus where he answered him and he said, “Today you will be with me in paradise”? And, by the way, he did not need Christian baptism at this time, because it was an Old Testament saint. Christian baptism is an ordinance of the Church and the Church age hadn’t even begun yet. No, he had saving faith and it was a repentant faith. That is God’s glorious grace. Believe it. Live it. Share it.
Have you receive Christ by genuine faith? Have you accepted his glorious grace? You can do that. You can do that today. You can receive Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord. Confess him as Lord, as the Son of God. Today in the Church age be baptized into him and persevere into Christ Jesus and God’s grace is there for you.

 

David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN                      




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Philippians 4:13