INTRO: Some years ago I began hearing preachers and professors complain that they had never heard about the grace of God as youngsters in the Lords church. They made broad, general statements decrying the failure of gospel preachers of earlier years to preach of the grace of God. From these people has ultimately come a salvation by grace alone proclamation. In an initial response I would say that apparently these preachers and professors did not worship with the churches in which I was reared. I knew, from early years, the simple definition of grace: unmerited favor. And I heard of the grace of God often. I realized that my salvation was not merited! In todays religious environment it really does matter what you believe about grace.
I. WE ARE UNDENIABLY SAVED BY GODS GRACE
A. We are totally undeserving of His favor
1. sin, the violation of His law, has made us undeserving
2. Rom 3:10,23 - here is the human condition
3. Rom 5:6 - without strength refers to our inability to improve situation
4. from a legal perspective God owes us nothing
B. Thus, anything God has done to make salvation possible is by His grace!
1. any initiative by God can only be called unmerited favor
2. Eph 2:8 - salvation can only be considered to be the gift of God
3. nothing, nothing you or I can do would merit Gods favor, His salvation
4. Eph 2:4,5 - three critical words are mercy, love and grace ... it would be hard to think of one of them without thinking of the others ... but grace is the word of such relevance here
II. WE ARE NOT SAVED BY GRACE ALONE
A. Grace alone advocates assert theres no human participation in salvation
1. the extreme position some preachers/professors in the church
2. how they have gotten to this assertion in view of scripture I do not know
3. they teach that baptism is not necessary to ones salvation
4.in fact, many have adopted the denominational view of baptism as perhaps obedience or symbolism ... but not essential to salvation
B. Salvation from an initial point of view?
1. Jno 6:29 & Jno 8:24 - belief is, in fact, human participation!!!
2. or, Titus 3:5 with Jno 3:5 - what can this washing of regeneration be? - in scripture one thing corresponds to washing - N. T. baptism
3. Acts 22:16 with Rev 1:5 - here is undeniably human participation which leads to ones being saved
4. that God defines such conditions in no way detracts from His grace - we are still undeserving and in no way merit salvation - Acts 2:20save yourselves (this to people still in their sins - unsaved)
C. Salvation beyond conversion?
1. Acts 2:41,42 - does v. 42 suggest ongoing human participation?
2. Phil 2:9-12 - work out your own salvation with fear and trembling
3. what could the words work out mean? human participation!
4. Phil 4:9 - what could the word do mean? human participation!
III. GRACE IS A POSITION WITHIN WHICH THE SAVED ARE
1. Rom 5:1,2 - By whom also we have access...into this grace...
2. 1 Pet 5:12 - ...that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand
3. Gods grace is not a one event thing - we abide in His grace
4. Titus 3:15 - Paul concludes every letter with a similar blessing - indicative of his understanding that Gods grace continues to be a very real blessing and goes with us moment by moment, day by day
B. But there is this reality ... one can fall from the grace of God
1. it really does matter that you understand and believe this
2. Gal 5:1-7 - at v. 7 the apostle clearly defines the circumstances under which one would fall from grace - ...that ye should not obey the truth
3. eternal salvation is conditioned upon faithfulness! Mt 10:22
4. 2 Cor 5:21 & 6:1 - the plea of the apostle ... receive not the grace of God in vain
CLOSE: Few things can give me more pleasure than to speak to others of the grace of God. His grace drew salvations plan ... His grace brought it down to man ... His grace teaches us. The conditions God has revealed cannot be ignored ... nor can our response to them in any way be meritorious. So, what will you answer to the grace of God?
Cecil A. Hutson
20 November 2005
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)