“For by grace you have been saved through faith” – Eph. 2:8a
Paul the apostle writing to Christians, individuals who had already obeyed the gospel.
Grace is mentioned 156 times in the N.T. It is intelligently created and designed to set us free from the bondage of God’s wrath. And It is a word commonly used by Christians around the world. But do we accurately understand the depth of the word?
What grace is? Where can it be found? Who can receive it? How to obtain it? Can we keep it?
It is most important we comprehend these various categories pertaining to grace, “because certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped into the church. They are ungodly people, who pervert THE GRACE of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” – Jude 1:4
We don’t want to be found guilty of that, using grace as a means to sinful living and division. You see a fire can be used for survival, warmth. And it can also be used to burn the house down. “So, what shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” – Gal. 6:1-2
Grace, according to Scriptural description, within the contextual atmosphere, is a tool God uses in order to allow us favor in His sight. Approval and support. Favor that is not merited. We don’t deserve His forgiveness, and we can’t earn it. But His grace, this redemptive equipment He has freely extended through His Son, suffers it our way. “For even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ.” – Eph. 2:5
Grace is presented to us in such a powerful way, that it can conquer any sinful practice and behavior. This instrument of compassion furnishes our ability for faithful endeavors. It is found in Christ, the sole location of our freedom. Whatever sinful thing you’ve done, or are doing, you can receive pardon for it. For “where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Rom. 5:20-21
Grace is also personified in Christ, which acts as a teaching device. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (doing what?) TEACHING us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly (thinking right), righteously (doing right) and godly (God approved), in this present world;” – Titus 2:11-12
Unmerited favor found in Christ, for all mankind. Something you don’t deserve is bestowed upon you because someone died on a cross in your stead. This someone purposely being Jesus, the predestined plan in which His blood washes retrospective to all faithful souls of the Old Covenant, and forward to all living under His Messianic stewardship of time.
So that takes care of the “what, where, and who.” But what about the “how?” How do we receive this grace? Since we can’t earn it with meritorious works. Since it is found in a specific God established location? Since all mankind can have access to it? How do I obtain it? How do I gain entrance into this designed and designated location in which His grace is found?
It is of most important knowledge that we honestly receive the understanding of inspired writ when it declares grace being in fellowship with obedience. This is key in our reception of His grace. Nowhere in the Bible will you find grace at odds with obedience. An honest student of the Bible will realize that James 2 is not contradicting Ephesians of the same chapter.
If we are to obtain the location of grace we must have an active faith. A faith that is not based on meritorious works but rather a submission, obedience, and service of love to Him who first loved us.
To know how to obtain His grace we must look into how people of the 1st century where able to receive it. Faith. Trust in Christ.
Paul the apostle speaking to Christians in Ephesus. Christians who had received the grace of God back in Acts 19:1-7. Had a very specific moment in which that event occurred and was recorded, and that very moment is when they became citizens of the kingdom of God, the church that belongs to Jesus Christ, the location where grace is found. How? When as repentant believers confessing Christ as their Lord and Master, were immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins.
The very moment every single mind in the Bible received grace was through their obedience, their faith in action. Not to meritoriously earn anything, but rather to please God and allow His Son to save their souls.
That is why Paul says there is but one baptism in Eph. 4:5. Because he knows that immersion in water is the very point in which a man is forgiven of sins by the power of Christ, made a Christian, added to the kingdom of God, “saved, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” – Titus 3:5
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” – John 3:5
Grace is the unmerited favor found in Christ, for all mankind. Something you don’t deserve is extended to you because someone died on a cross in your stead. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13. This someone purposely being Jesus, the predestined plan in which His blood washes away the sins of all who participate in obedience.
How? “When you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed.” – Rom. 6:17. The moment you let go self and put on Christ in baptism (Gal. 3:27), born again (John 3:3). When you came up out of that water you were now found in the location of His grace, His kingdom, the Body of His Son Jesus Christ. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places IN CHRIST:” – Eph. 1:3
And now free from the bondage of sin we must remain in His grace and not once again go back to our sinful ways, less we fall from His grace, because “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you go back to your old ways; ye are fallen from grace.” – Gal. 5:4.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” – Eph. 2:8-9
A repentant believer confessing Christ as his Lord and Master has nothing to boast about when submitting to the waters of baptism in order to be forgiven of his or her sins. Why is that? Because you haven’t “earned salvation through meritorious works.” You simply love Jesus and want the grace of God to give you peace and purpose in this life. Anyone telling you otherwise has been lying to you!
If you want the grace of God, you must be born again of water and the spirit.
Now if you’ve done that already but have wavered off the beaten path and find yourself outside the favor of God, you can come back this morning and renew your spirit.
Either, or. Please come forward and make it known.