Grace

Positonal Statements

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Definition. (1) Favor (Romans 2:2, 10). (2) The free, unmerited eternal salvation of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). A spiritual gift and empowerment (Acts 14:26).

There are chiefly two ways grace is used in the Bible - saving grace and serving grace:

SAVING GRACE is the free, unmerited favor of God, sovereignly bestowed. Biblical grace means the unmerited eternal salvation of God that comes freely to the believing sinner through the atonement of Jesus Christ. It is receiving the opposite of what we deserve. It is the free forgiveness of sin and the offer of free imputed righteousness which was purchased by Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:24 - 4:6; 11:6; Acts 15:11; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:16; Titus 2:11; 3:4-7; Hebrews 2:9; 4:16). Salvation by grace means salvation is not attained or maintained by human works; rather, it is the free gift from God through faith in Christ's blood. This is the gospel of the grace of Christ (Galatians 1:6). It is Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone.

Salvation by grace alone through faith alone is the Gospel preached by the Apostles and revealed to us in the Word of God. Paul described the Gospel in Romans 3:24 - 4:6. It is the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone without works of any kind. Paul also carefully described the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Again, there is not one word about works or sacraments. The Gospel of salvation through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Period. It is Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone, no works, now sacraments. Praise the Lord!

When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Barnabas, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" they replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:30, 31). There is nothing here about works or sacraments or church or priests.

The Lord Jesus Christ taught the same thing, of course. When the crowd asked Christ, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" he replied, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:28-29). Again, nothing here about works of sacraments. John 3:16 says, "whosoever believeth on him shall not perish but have everlasting life." Salvation is through Christ alone by grace alone via faith alone, plus nothing and minus nothing.

The common error made by false teachers is to attempt to mix grace and law, faith and works. They do this by redefining grace. Many who profess to believe in salvation by grace actually teach that salvation is achieved by a mixture of grace and works. This was the error of the false teachers in Galatia (Galatians 1 - 5). In rebuking their error, the Apostle said that by attempting to mix faith and works, law and grace, these teachers had placed themselves under a divine curse (Galatians 1:6-9). This was also the error of the Jewish legalizers whose teachings the Apostles condemned in Acts 15. These false teachers admitted God's grace was necessary for salvation, and they spoke much of the necessity of the blood of Christ and for need of His power in order to live a holy life. They went beyond this, though, by teaching that grace is to be mixed with obedience to the law in order for a person to be saved. A great number false teachers today promote the same heresy. The Apostle Paul vehemently fought against this error. He emphasized repeatedly that salvation is by grace ALONE through faith ALONE (Romans 3:21-28; 4:4-6; Acts 15:7-11; Galatians 2:15 - 3:29; Titus 3:3-7). He also taught that true faith produces good works, but the fruit of salvation - works - is never to be confused with the root of salvation - grace (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:3-8).

SERVING GRACE is the enablement God gives Christians to make them able to serve Him (Acts 14:26; Romans 12:3, 6; 15:15; 1 Corinthians 1:4; 3:10; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 9:8, 14; 12:9; Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 3:7, 8; 4:7; Hebrews 12:28). God gives the Christian everything he needs to live a good live and to fulfill God's will. A person cannot receive serving grace until he receives saving grace. God offers to believers serving grace for everything in the Christian life (2 Corinthians 4:15; 8:1, 6, 7, 19; 9:14). As a Christian grows he should learn more and more to lean fully upon God's grace for the ability to live his Christian life, instead of trying to serve God in his own strength.

Saving grace comes through the blood of Jesus Christ and is received by trusting that blood (Romans 3:24, 25). Serving grace comes through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and is received by prayer and by walking in obedience to the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:7; Galatians 5:16; Hebrews 4:16).

Randall Runions, Pastor

317 Church Street

Po Box 161

Clifton, Tn 38425