INTRO: I read a quite a bit. As you might imagine, much of what I read is religious in nature. I have noticed, in most of the books and articles which I have read, a great deal of emphasis on the subject of grace. In fact, there are many writers and preachers in the Lords church who are saying a great deal about this subject. Then, as I study with individuals, I also hear this subject prominently mentioned. It may be that the study will have to do with the subject of conversion ... and in the course of the study this comment might be made, But I thought we are saved by grace. Indeed, our text makes this plain affirmation, For by grace are ye saved through faith... I think, though, that they real question has to do with salvation by grace alone.
I GOD IS SO GRACIOUS!
A. This fact is seen in the Bible over and again
1. Gen 3:21 - a gracious act of God for the disappointing couple
2. Gen 6:8 - in the corruption of humanity one man receives His grace
3. Ex 22:26,27 - graciousness toward those unable to fend for selves
4. Ex 34:5-7 - the Lord proclaims He is merciful & gracious!
5. Neh 9:16,17,31 - a great history lesson - God is gracious & merciful
B. Now, here is the one of the amazing things about Gods grace
1. humankind has been thoroughly rebellious, thankless, sinful
2. Rom 1:28a - ...they did not like to retain God in their knowledge...
3. that statement proclaims volumes about mans relationship with God
4. finally, people killed Gods Son! (that would have been, for me, the straw that broke the camels back!)
5. but listen: But God, who is rich in mercy... (Eph 2:4)
C. The fact is that Jesus came here to die an unjust death!
1. Rev 13:8 - Jesus death was not a spur of the moment event
2. 1 Pet 1:18-20 - Jesus death was not an accident of circumstances
3. 2 Tim 1:9,10 - ...grace ... given us in Christ ... before the world began
4. 1 Jno 4:9,10 - why? why? that we might live through him
5. Eph 2:5 - even when we were dead in sins... - can you hear in this statement the apostles own amazement? while humanity was in rebellion, Gods grace moved ahead with His eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph 3:11)
II BUT IS GODS GRACE TO BE RECEIVED WITH NO STIPULATIONS?
A. This is the question which must be considered ... and answered
1. are there absolutely no conditions to be met to receive His blessing?
2. would a God given stipulation diminish Gods graciousness?
3. if Gods grace is absolutely unconditional, why is salvation not universal?
B. Eph 2:8 - For by grace are ye saved through faith...
1. question: is faith a God revealed condition of salvation?
2. Jno 8:24 - belief is most assuredly put as a condition in this passage
3. is belief (faith) dependent in any way upon the individual? - Rom 10:17 - if faith is contingent upon ones study & hearing of the word of God, it is very much dependent upon an individuals response and actions - a condition
C. 2 Pet 3:9 - ...but that all should come to repentance
1. question: is repentance a God revealed condition of salvation?
2. Lk 13:3,5 - repentance is certainly put as a condition here
3. is repentance dependent in any way upon an individual? Acts 26:20 - repentance is a personal decision, choice - a condition
D. Here are three very definite things: hearing, believing, repenting
1. one cannot be saved without them - they are conditions of the blessing
2. they are personal actions which do not diminish the graciousness of Gods offer of salvation
3. lets take one final step in this process
E. Mk 16:15,16 - He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved...
1. clearly, belief is a condition - but here it is joined with baptism
2. is baptism any more or less a personal decision, action than belief?
3. is baptism a God given stipulation, condition before the blessing can be received? yes, just as belief and penitence are
4. it was Gods grace which made the provisions - it is mans response to the God given stipulations which brings those provisions into ones own life!
CLOSE: Saved by grace? Absolutely. Twas grace that brought it down to man.
Must I accept and conform to the God given and revealed conditions to receive the blessing of salvation? Absolutely. Will you make that decision this morning?
Cecil A. Hutson
11 July 2004
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “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) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)