Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Grace Alone

 “For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9

Sola Gratia (“Grace Alone”) means that God’s grace is the sole and sufficient cause of our salvation.  Our God is “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10).  God’s grace is his undeserved favor to sinners.  We must know the difference between God’s justice, mercy, and grace.  God’s justice means that God must punish us for our sins.  God’s mercy means that God withholds the punishment that we justly deserve.  God’s grace means that God bestows his favor in spite of our sin and just desert of his wrath.  So God’s grace is even greater than his mercy.  And God tells us that we are saved by his grace alone.  Salvation is not a combined effort between God and the sinner, God doing his part and the sinner doing his part.  Salvation is entirely the work of God.  God the Father plans it.  God the Son accomplishes it.  God the Holy Spirit applies it.  “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Psalm 3:8).  God does not need help from the will and the works of the sinner in order to save.  He is not dependent on us; we are dependent on him.  He is free to save completely by his own sovereign power.  This is why the Bible says, “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy” (Romans 9:16).  We are not saved “because of works done by us in righteousness” (Titus 3:5); for we are justified us “by his grace” (Titus 3:7).  It is all of grace!  Grace from beginning to end!  We are “chosen by grace” (Romans 11:5), called by grace (Galatians 1:6, 15), “justified by grace” (Titus 3:7), and saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8).  Jesus is “full of grace” (John 1:14), and in him we have received “grace upon grace” (John 1:16).  Jesus is the “grace of God” that “has appeared, bringing salvation for all people” (Titus 2:11).  It was the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that caused him who was rich to become poor so that we, through his poverty, might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).  Jesus tasted death for everyone by the grace of God (Hebrews 2:9).  When Jesus returns in glory, he will bring grace to us (1 Peter 1:13).  Jews and Gentiles are saved “by the grace of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 15:11).  God’s grace enables us to believe (Acts 20:24) for faith is a gift that God grants to his elect (Philippians 1:29; Titus 1:1).  Paul desired to testify to “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) because the “word of his grace” edifies us (Acts 20:32).  God’s promise of salvation rests upon his grace (Romans 4:13).  Christians stand in grace (Romans 5:2).  God gave a law to increase sin so that his grace might increase all the more in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:20).  To be “under grace” means to be “not under the law” (Romans 6:14).  Sola Gratia means that we are saved by grace without any human works at all because “if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace” (Romans 11:6).  Salvation by God’s grace alone excludes all ideas of human merit or cooperation.  The Father chooses by grace alone.  The Son dies for our sins by grace alone.  The Spirit causes us to be born again by grace alone.  By the grace of God we are what we are (1 Corinthians 15:10).  When Paul writes to Christians, he greets them with the phrase, “Grace to you,” because they need grace to understand what he has written by the Holy Spirit.  When Paul sends his readers away to apply what they have read, he says, “Grace with you,” because God’s grace must go with them to enable them to carry out what God requires.  God’s grace produces in us thanksgiving that redounds to God’s glory (2 Corinthians 4:15).  God’s grace is sufficient not only to save but also to strengthen us in our trials.  His grace is sufficient for us; his power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).  “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1).  Our triune God saved us “to the praise of his glorious grace” (Ephesians 1:6).  God’s grace made Paul a minister to the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:7).  Christian conversion is explained as coming to understand “the grace of God in truth” (Colossians 1:6).  Today our Lord Jesus Christ sits on a “throne of grace” and invites us to draw near to God through him (Hebrews 4:16).  Wicked men may “pervert the grace of our God into sensuality” (Jude 4), and men may come to the erroneous conclusion that they should sin that grace might abound (Romans 6:1).  Yet we know that God’s grace trains us “to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:12).  Since then we are chosen, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified by grace, let us grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)!  Glory be to the triune God for his amazing grace!

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