Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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Thank God for Grace!

Meditation for the week of January 23, 2011

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

I am so glad that we do not read in Scripture, “For by the law you are saved.”  Instead we read, “For by grace are you saved (Ephesians 2:5).”  The children of Israel had a wonderful leader and deliverer in Moses.  But Moses didn’t get to enter the promised land because the law cannot save, and Moses represents the law.  However, there is a deliverer who can get us into our promised land.  That deliverer is Christ who provides salvation by grace.

The grace of God is usually defined as the undeserved love and favor of God.  While the old testament is not usually seen as the testament of grace, yet the grace of God is illustrated there in profound ways.  In one illustration, Ruth is a Moabite who would be considered unclean by Israelites.  Yet because she has faith in the God of her mother-in-law, Naomi, she was shown favor.  When she follows Naomi back into the land of Israel and begins trying to feed herself and her mother-in-law by gleaning in the field of Boaz, Boaz shows her favor that she doesn’t deserve.  When he is kind to her she says, "Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner (Ruth 2:10)?"  Boaz of course illustrates the favor of the Lord Jesus that we non-Jews do not deserve.

In Matthew 15, there is a woman from Canaan that wants the Lord to heal her daughter.  She understands that she is not an Israelite and that she doesn’t have the same relationship to the Lord that a true Jew would.  But she knows that the Lord can help her and is willing to be called a dog that only enjoys the crumbs from the master’s table in order to have her daughter healed.  And of course, the Lord showed her grace.  She had great faith, but she still got blessing that she didn’t deserve.

One could ask, “Are only non-Jews saved by grace?”  The answer is no.  All, including Jews, are saved by grace.  The Jews rejected Jehovah over and over again.  They rejected their Messiah.  They don’t deserve to be saved.   But they can still be saved by grace. 

We are saved eternally by grace and not by works of righteousness, that is, by the works of the law.  Some think that grace means that we cannot do anything to be saved.  But that is inconsistent with the truth that we are to “strive to enter through the narrow gate (Luke 13:24).”  Also, we are commanded to “repent and believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15).”   However, there is nothing that we can do that will make us DESERVING of salvation.  Grace is often seen as a free gift.  A person might be told to come and pick up a gift, but that doesn’t mean that they did anything to earn it or deserve it.

If we were to be saved by the law, we would be fearful that we might keep the whole law all our life and then one failure at the end of life would condemn us eternally.  James tells us that if we keep the whole law and yet offend in just one point, we are guilty of breaking the whole law (James 2:10).  But because we are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus and because the Lord tells us that the work that saves was finished on the cross, we are set free from the condemnation and burden of the law.  We don’t need to fear failure.   We don’t try to live right in order to go to heaven which is the legal way of doing things.  Instead, we live right because we are going to heaven and we want to please the One who loved us enough to die for us.  Grace removes the burden and gives us liberty and joy. 

We get a little understanding of these truths by looking at the marriage relationship.  Before we were married, many of us lived selfish lives; and we thought only of ourselves.  After marriage we live differently because we want to please our marriage partners.  We don’t have to live the way we do, we do it because we love the one we married and want to please them.  The way we live doesn’t cause us to be married but it keeps our marriages happy.  Sometimes we even take courses on how to live right so that our marriages can be happy.  Christians need that same kind of Biblical instruction if they want to make the Lord happy.

The law is a burdensome thing.  The law sets us up for failure.  Grace frees us from the burden of the law and gives us absolute certainly that our sins are forgiven.  We don’t deserve God’s salvation, and we can’t earn His salvation; but we can say “thank you!” when we receive this great salvation by faith in the promises of God.

Bruce Collins

1 Comment »

Comment by Joel

January 24, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

Great points and scripture to back them up. If you haven’t read, “The Grace of God” by Andy Stanley, it has a lot of the same main points.

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