January 16, 2011

Grace and Faith – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

We have all heard it said that we are saved by grace. That’s true, but there is more to it. These are the words of the Spirit through the apostle Paul: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) In a similar fashion Paul wrote to the Romans, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2) It would appear that by the grace of God we enjoy the blessing of salvation and hope through and by faith. The word through is a very interesting word. In Ephesians 2:8 it is used in the sense of instrumentality. Faith is the instrument by which we avail ourselves of the grace of God. In Romans 5:1 it is used in the sense of agency. Jesus Christ is the agent by which we have access to the grace of God by faith. In both cases, faith is linked with grace. God has done his part toward our salvation by his grace. Man’s part is faith.

Grace

The grace of God finds its expression in the Savior, the Holy Spirit and the scriptures. In the beginning, everything was perfect. God and man enjoyed a relationship that might be described as heaven on earth. But man destroyed that relationship by his disobedience to God’s commands. From that time until now, God has given man the means to be

reconciled to him. In every case it required obedience on the part of man with God always standing ready and unchanging in his love for mankind. Only man’s sin separated himself from God. But God so loved the world that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to be our savior. (John 3:16) Jesus came preaching repentance to the Jews for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. (Matthew 4:17) God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) Repentance is necessary, but without Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, man could never be reconciled unto God. A savior is a necessary part of God’s grace toward mankind.

So also is the Holy Spirit. Jesus told the twelve that he would pray to the Father who would send a comforter to them. This comforter, the Holy Spirit, would do these five things for them. He would abide with them, He would teach them and call to their memories all things that Jesus had said them, He would testify to them of Jesus, He would guide them into all truth, and He would show them things to come. (John 14:16 and 26, 15:26, 16:13) By the grace of God the Holy Spirit guided Peter on the day of Pentecost as he delivered his great message which pricked the hearts of many of the hearers so much so that 3000 repented and were baptized for the remission of their sins. It was on that day that the blood bought church of Christ was established (Acts 2:14-41) The Holy Spirit guided the apostles during the establishment and growth of the early church. It was through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost that the apostles taught and wrote about our savior, Jesus Christ, and how we aught to live to be pleasing in the sight of God.

It is by the grace of God that we have the New Testament scriptures and also those of the Old Testament. Paul instructs us that the Mosaic law contained in the Old Testament Scriptures is our tutor or schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. (Galatians 3:24). All scripture is profitable to us for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16) Paul told Timothy that the scriptures were able to make him wise unto salvation. (2 Timothy 3:15) Without the scriptures we would not know God or of his grace and mercy toward us

Faith

God in his grace has done his part. He sent us His son and the Holy Spirit. Through his grace we have the Bible. Man’s part is to be obedient to God’s will which he learns from a study of God’s word. The remainder of 2 Timothy 3:15 tells us that Timothy would be made wise unto salvation through faith and we know that faith provides us with access to the grace of God (Romans 5:2). Today faith comes from hearing the word of God as it is contained in scripture. (Romans 10:17) Without faith it is impossible to be please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

God and Christ are the objects of our faith. (John 14:1) If we love Jesus, we will keep his commandments. (John:14:15) It is faith that gives us the will to keep those commandments. As faithful Christians we will first of all seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) We will continually seek those things that are above and set our minds on them. (Colossians 3:2). Seeking carries with it the sense of action, striving to reach a goal or objective. We will do those things that bring us closer to God and not be lured away by the things of this world that lead to eternal death and destruction. We will lay up treasures in heaven and not on earth. (Matthew 6:19-20). Setting our minds on things above we resolve or dedicate ourselves to reaching that goal and will let nothing get in the way.

Seeking those things that are above and setting our minds on them means that we will love God with our whole heart, soul and mind. (Matthew 22:37) Jesus put it into perspective for his followers when he said, “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:36-38) When he spoke those words he had in view those who would accept him as the messiah and those who would not. Those who would believe his words and those who would not. The same is true today. How wonderful it is to have a family that puts God first. If that is the case, then the love that the family has for each other as a reflection of their love of God will be stronger than any other. God has done his part by extending his grace to us. Let us do our part through faith. —— Amen.

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