Sunday, January 31, 2010

#6) Saving Grace. Action or Reaction?

Ask congregation if they feel grace is the cause of God or the result of our choice.

Some common themes in my lessons have been righteousness, sanctification, justification, and glorification. Another common theme has been God’s grace. God’s grace is very important regarding salvation because without it, there would be no salvation.

Titus 2:11
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Salvation comes through faith but it is given by grace. Without grace, salvation would not exist. The question to be answered in this lesson is where does grace come from? We can see it is a gift of God but is it a gift God gave us because we asked for it or did we only realize we wanted it once it was already ours?

Romans 8:29-30
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

We can see verse 29 is speaking of the Elect. It tells us God foreknew the Elect as well as predestined them, called them, justified them, & glorified them.

Ask congregation if they feel God “predestined” those whom He knew would choose Him or if we only choose Him because He predestined us to do so.

Over the last few lessons, we have learned a few things.

1) As a natural man we are hostile toward God and will never choose Him
2) Our works do absolutely nothing for salvation and are on par with rags of menstruation when they are of our own self
3) Faith is what saves
4) Faith is a gift from God

How does all this tie into the point of grace? Verse 28 says God foreknew those whom He predestined. It does not say God foreknew who would make a choice. It does not imply God foreknew what actions certain men would perform. In fact, if this were the case, nobody would be saved because He would have seen how hostile we would be towards Him. Our nature does not change until God makes that inward call, causes our old self to die, and regenerates us in the resurrection of Christ.

Romans 8:29 tells us that God foreknew us. The “us” is all past, present, and future Christians. Out of all the people in the world, God chose me. If you are a Christian, He chose you. He knew you before the foundation of the world.

Romans 9:23
And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

Titus 2:14
who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

The purpose of our salvation is not God giving us a gift because it is something we want because, by nature, we are against the things of God. It is meant to bring glory to Him. The loving relationship we have with our Lord is certainly a gift but its primary purpose is the glorification of God. God Almighty has set aside certain individuals for the purpose of purification. This was not our choice that God saw in advance. It was His decision that He set into motion before the very foundation of the world.

Acts 13:48
When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

2 Timothy 1:9
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

We can see that our choice to trust in Christ is the result of the cause of God. It is not the cause of man which resulted in an act of God.

Murray has a great quote on the matter:

“The question would then simply be: whence proceeds this faith which God foresees? And the only biblical answer is that the faith which God foresees is the faith He Himself creates.”

Philippians 3:8-9
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Titus 3:7
so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

2 Corinthians 12:9a
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you….

Our salvation comes from a faith which is given to us by God’s actions and not reactions. There is nothing we can possibly do to change our salvation status with God. This is true for initial conversion as well. God chose us and as an irresistible result, we chose Him. He gives faith. He causes the old self to die and the new nature to be established. It is only after He does all these things will one have a desire for Him through faith.

If you are a fellow Christian, be thankful that God chose you out of His grace when we all deserved eternal death. If you are not a Christian, this does not mean you are not chosen by God. Chances are, if you are here today, He is working in you at this very moment. Listen for His voice and His inward call.

No comments:

Post a Comment