Misunderstood Grace in Sanctification
One of the most common scriptures with the word ‘grace’ is Eph. 2:8,9 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.
GRACE is most commonly called "unmerited favor", or undeserved favor of God. Grace is what God offers to fallen sinners through the salvation. The forgiveness we receive in Christ is through no works we ourselves can do, it is why we call it "unmerited favor".
It is said that "Grace" has been a much used, much misused, and much abused word and concept in Christian theological thinking. The Biblical word "grace" for many Christians is an almost meaningless word, or a word with misconceptions and inadequate definitions.
When we become saved God gives us one or more gifts. These gifts are given to us to use for His glory. As we see in Eph. 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. He has before-hand planned out good works which we are to do, especially with the gifts He has given us.
Grace is something we have the responsibility to develop by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let us consider Grace in Sanctification
How Big is our God?
We know He is all knowing, powerful, everywhere present, etc. The Bible said in Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Consider how big the earth is, then think about the size of our solar system and all the galaxies out there. Then consider how everything is intrically perfectly timed together.
Now consider the great works God has done down through time, with the Flood, parting of the Red sea, Consider the stories of Moses, Abraham, Joseph, Daniel and many others and how God orchestrated many events. Also that Jesus came as a baby from the virgin Mary and died for our sins. This is a big God and how big is His grace toward us; that we should take grace so lightly.
God’s great purpose for His people is conform them to the image of His Son and every Christian is intended to represent the Lord Jesus here on this earth. We are not only to follow God's commands; but seek to imitate his holiness.
Is Salvation Easy as promoted by some?
1 Peter 4:18 Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
Scarcely saved points to the fact that there is difficulty to salvation. If it is not difficult then why are so many unsaved?
The Bible says in John 5:40 "But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
Psalm 146:8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous.
We see that the natural eye is blind to Heavenly things, but God alone can open man’s eyes.
We are dead in trespasses and sins, meaning we cannot make the fist move toward God unless he draws us. John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Also see John 6:37 "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out, and John 6:65 And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."
God works out salvation like in Rom. 8:30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
All that God predestined, those are whom He saves; then He calls them by drawing them to Himself. All those He calls, all these He justifies or saves and these will also in the end by glorified to Himself.
Matthew 7:14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it
Luke 13:23~28 Then one said to Him, "Lord, are there few who are saved?" And He said to them, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able
To strive literally means to agonize. If the unsaved person really knew where they were heading they would be literally kicking and screaming for God to open their eyes, to save them from eternal damnation. Because people are spiritually dead and their eyes are blind to spiritual things, they do not see or understand; that is why no one reaches out to God to save them; why there are so few that are saved. It is only when God draws and calls someone that they see the truth and call on Him to save them.
Matthew 7:23 "And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Depart from me, a phrase you will not want to hear; but you will if you never come to the Lord.
Matt. 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
Some aspects of Hell as found in the Bible are, It is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, an everlasting fire, weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is said in the story Jesus told of the rich man & Lazarus in Luke 16:19~31; that He was tormented in this flame, there is a great gulf fixed, meaning there was way of escape, it is permanent and forever.
Also there is remembrance; all those there will remember all the times someone told them about Jesus but would not listen. They will also remember all the things they said and done against the Lord and His chosen people.
John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
Consider these verses about holiness. to your left
The fear of God should be a powerful motivation for holiness; but it seems the expression ‘the fear of God’ has been so toned down today that it barely holds respect or reverence. Sanctification and Holiness are translated from same word in NT and have same meaning. To be holy or sanctified is to be set apart.
Seeking the holiness of God is by grace not the law. ‘I have saved you by grace; now out of love, go out and live in a manor that is consistent with this. James Spink said ‘More evil is done to the cause of Christianity by its adherents than its opponents’
The distinction between the world and the Church is often blurred. This explains why someone said. ’I looked for the church and found it in the world; I looked for the world and found it in the Church’
How do outsiders see the Church today? Do they see us singing all the right hymns, having messages preached, and have all the right programs. But do they see evidence that God is working a great work, is there reverence and respect toward God in actions and deeds, do they see a people that are set apart; or do they see no more than they would in any business enterprise.
Is there evidence of the Ephesus Church as found in Rev. 2. Are we doing a lot of good things; but have lost our first love. If so we need to get this back. Or is there evidence of the Laodicea Church as found in Rev. 3. Have we become so worldly, that it is difficult to distinguish us from the world. Are we seen in dress, deeds and actions no difference than you would find out in society today.
Throughout the Bible, God gives commands and principals and requires Christians to demonstrate faith.
Rom. 12:1~2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Rom. 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Ephesians 4:22~24 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness……
Also consider Col. 3:1~17 and Gal. 5:13~26
Putting off of the old man, with his deeds, several of which are mentioned
Putting on of the new man, is the exercise of graces and gifts given to us
Holiness is like putting off (away) our old natures and putting on the new which glorifies Christ.
Christ askes us to imitate Him, 1 Cor. 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. We are also to be ambassadors, which is one sent to do what the sovereign would himself do were he present,.2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
We see here that in Grace we are to love God, serve God and follow Gods commands and principals. We see Grace working itself out in 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
Grace is not something to be taken lightly; it cost our Saviour His life and we should desire to give back to Him. What does the scripture say?
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid.
Romans 6:14, 15 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
Titus 2:11-14, ESV For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Grace is the process that begins at salvation and continues until we stand before the Lord. Grace trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions. Grace trains, disciplines, and instructs us in godly living, as Paul mentions in three ways by living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives.
For example, consider when someone does you a great favor, how often we will tell them that we will repay them by doing something for them sometime. Now consider what the Lord has done for us and little we often do for Him I return. In the Church body if everyone used their gifts, the body would function very well with all parts of the body working together. When some do not use their gifts then it is like a person with a broken leg; only part of the body is working good and other parts not. Some people become over worked trying to take up the slack of others who do little.
As believers we will all be judged at the judgment seat of Christ 1 Cor. 3. All the worldly things we done that have no eternal value will be stripped away and we will rewarded for all we done for Christ and have eternal value. Will you have any rewards or will you feel shame when you bow before the Lord.