Written by Jay Yeager
Sunday, 15 February 2015 01:38


     When you think about grace how does your thought process work? There are many people who think about grace in ways the Bible never intended. In this lesson we will look at abuses out of necessity, in that way we can see what grace is not. But our focus will be primarily on what grace is, and what it does for the lost and for the saved.

     The word grace has a variety of meaning in the Bible:

  1. Gracious words: “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt…” (Colossians 4:6).
  2. Gracious acts: the Good Samaritan, while the word grace is not in the text, the acts of grace fill the story (Luke 10:30-39).
  3. Gracious feelings: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).
  4. Grow in grace, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” (II Peter 3:18).

     But in this lesson we want to look at grace as it relates to the grace of God. The scriptures teach that grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Does that mean that grace was absent in the Old Testament? No! Jonah complained bitterly after God spared Nineveh, “And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repented thee of the evil” (Jonah 4:2). BUT NOT LIKE THIS GRACE!

     “For the grace of God which bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). The grace that brings salvation, that came by Jesus Christ. Sadly, that grace has been misrepresented to the harm of many souls.

     Tragically, many teach that grace is a blanket… don’t worry grace will cover that. They do not tell you how big the blanket is, nor do they define it. Each person is allowed to interpret it for themselves. Denominational preachers make the blanket so big no one is lost, despite the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 7:13-14).

     Years ago in Kansas a man passed away that everyone knew, religion was never a part of his life, he never darkened the door of a church building a single time. This man sold many things, not the least of which was alcohol. Knowing his lack of spirituality, I was curious as to how the denominational preacher would have him at the pearly gates, and I must admit he surprised even me.

     Well, what did he say? He said this man could have worshipped God, but he was so humble he didn’t feel worthy. Now, do you mean to tell me that God would not welcome into heaven a man as humble as that? Why, of course he would. The denominational preacher believed that he earned his fee; the family and friends were reassured that their loved one was in heaven.

     Further, no doubt many were feeling comfortable in their own present condition. Like the loved one who passed away, obedience to the Saviour of the world was unnecessary, despite the scriptures (John 14:15; Matthew 10:32-39). Worship was an option, but only if they felt worthy, despite the scriptures (Matthew 4:10; John 4:23-24). Would they end up in heaven? Of course, the preacher just told them that they would.

     Bring to mind that old song, “row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream”. Folks, that is what that is, just a dream. Grace is not a blanket! 

     Grace is not a feeling, better felt than told. One major religious denomination in describing their philosophy stated that, “we are more concerned with what we feel in our hearts than what we think in our minds”. Beloved, does feelings of the heart matter in religion? Absolutely! Religion without the heart is not religion at all.

  1. We must love God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind (Matthew 22:37).
  2. We must love Jesus above every person in our lives (Matthew 10:37).
  3. We must love the brotherhood (I Peter 2:17).
  4. We are to love even our enemies (Matthew 5:44).

    However, truth must govern our emotions, for feelings can be wrong. Truth never is! For example, Saul felt that in persecuting Christians even to death (Acts 26:10-11), he was doing God’s will (Acts 22:1). That forever changed while on the road to Damascus when Jesus said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest…” “And he trembling and astonished (now knowing that what he felt was so wrong) said, Lord, what will thou have me to do...” (Acts 9:4-6). It was no longer what I feel, or what I think, it was “Lord what will you have me to do!”

     Learning the truth, Paul would then preach the very thing he once persecuted (Galatians 1:23). Years later he would pen, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, That Jesus Christ came to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (I Timothy 1:15).

The grace of God for all

     Grace, is the unmerited favor of God, God doing for us what we are unable to do for ourselves. Grace is not by virtue of what we have done or deserve, God’s grace was given despite what we have done and deserve.

      “But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste of death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). Why did Jesus have to taste of death for every man? The answer is sin. Jesus died for all because all have sinned (Romans 3:23).

     Sin separates man from God. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear you” (Isaiah 59:1-2). Sin brings spiritual death (Ephesians 2:1). Yet, God loves all men (John 3:16), and knowing that sin has no place in heaven (Habakkuk 1:13), Jesus came and died to make heaven a possibility for all.

     “And he is the propitiation (payment for penalty) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2). In perfect harmony II Corinthians 5:14-15 says this. “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live (made free from sin) should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again”.

     Now, what have we seen? Every accountable person has sinned. Alone, hopeless and helpless, unable to remove the stain of sin ourselves, God sent Jesus to die in our stead, that through his blood we might be made free from sin, to live for him who died for us!

     Did Jesus die for every person? Yes sir, that is what the Bible says. Does that mean that all are going to heaven? No sir, the Bible does not say that, in fact, it says the opposite. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that findeth it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

     “Well” says one, “if by God’s grace Jesus died for me so that my sins can be forgiven, why am I not going to heaven”? Listen please, by God’s grace Jesus died for all. He is the Saviour of the world (John 4:42; I John 4:14). The blood shed on Calvary makes forgiveness of sins possible, heaven a reality. God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves, without excusing those things which we can and must do for ourselves.

     Faith is necessary. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). The Bible is the source of faith “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

     You must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). “Well”, says another “what if you only believe in God?”  Friends, you cannot truly believe in God the Father and not believe in Jesus the Son. To reject Jesus is to reject the Father.

“That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him” (John 5:23).

“He that hateth me hateth my Father also” (John 15:23).

“Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father; (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (I John 2:23).

     The apostle John certainly knew how important believing in Jesus was. He wrote to provide the evidence to make that faith possible. “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book” (John 20:30). Why were they not all written in this book? Listen to John 21:25, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written”.

    John did not write everything that Jesus did, because if it all was written, the world itself could not hold the books. But there was a specific reason behind the book of John. “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31).

     The might is there for a reason; you have to believe on Jesus Christ the Son of God, but that in and of itself is not sufficient, more is required. “I tell you nay, but, except ye repent, ye shall all like wise perish” (Luke 13:3; 5). Now, who is to repent? “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30). Repentance is a universal command.

     You must hear, believe and repent, but that is not all, you must confess Jesus before men. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). Before we go on it is needful for me to point out the obvious, namely, there is a big difference between the words unto and into, more on that in a moment. Now, what if one does not confess Christ before men? Then he will not confess them (Matthew 10:32-33).

     You must hear, believe, repent and confess Christ, but more is needed. Jesus shed his blood that our sins could be remitted. “For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

     On the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two, Peter proved point by point that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, he was their King reigning at the right hand of God (Acts 2:22-36). “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38).

     Ananias would say to Saul, “And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

     Again, the grace of God:

  1. Came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
  2. The grace of God which bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men (Titus 2:11-12).
  3. By the grace of God Jesus died for all men (Hebrews 2:9).

     Where is the grace of God? It is in Jesus Christ. “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 1:4). Now, this question, “How do I get into Jesus Christ?” There is only one answer; you must be baptized into Jesus Christ.

     “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:3-5).

     When a person obeys the gospel, they die to themselves, are buried with Christ in the watery grave of baptism, to rise and walk in newness of life, their sins remitted. That from henceforth, they should not live for themselves, but rather live for him who died for them (Galatians 2:20; II Corinthians 5:15).

     Then we can say as did the apostle Paul, by the grace of God, I am what I am (I Corinthians 15:10).

Jay Yeager