Acts 20:32 “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” This week we will continue our series on the word of God’s grace. Last week we covered the fact that: God’s grace is abundant; That His throne is a throne of grace; That Jesus brought God’s grace to us; that it is available to all; And that only the humble are able to receive it. Let’s get further into God’s Word on grace!
How is God's grace received? Only by faith. We are justified (declared righteous by God) by faith. Only by Jesus, do we have access into God’s grace by our faith (Rom 5:1-2). We are only saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-10, Acts 15:11). God’s grace is a gift, and it can only be received by trust, confidence, & belief in and upon Jesus Christ. Grace cannot be of works. It is not possible. Why?
Rom 11:6 “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” This means justification, or right standing with God, is either by works or by grace; but it cannot be a combination of the two. They are mutually exclusive. By definition, works cannot be of grace; and grace cannot be of works. It is black or white. There is no gray. There is no 50-50, 80-20, or 99-1. “It is finished”, or it is not. BTW - it is finished!
Notice Rom 4:3-5 “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” If you could work for grace, God would owe it to you. It would be a debt He had to pay. God owes us nothing, and never will. He gives grace as a gift, and you can either humble yourself and simply believe it and receive it; or you can persist in your pride, doubt it, and do without it. Your own works, or righteousness, is filthy rags (Isa 64:6) to God.
We frustrate (set aside) God's grace when we try to attain righteousness by our works.
Gal 2:21 “I do not frustrate (reject, nullify, refuse, do away with, disregard) the grace of God: for if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain (For no reason, for nothing, without a cause).” If you try to be in right standing with God by your works, you reject the grace of God. You are saying, “Christ’s death served no purpose. It was useless. I can do this without you, Jesus.” You would probably never say this with your mouth, but by your attitude and actions concerning God’s grace, your still saying it!
We can fall from God's grace by trying to attain righteousness through works. Gal 5:1-4 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, (or, try to be right with God by what you do) Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the WHOLE law. Christ is become of no effect (entirely useless, ineffective, deprived of power & influence, & made void) unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen (loosed, let go, fallen away) from grace.
Are you fallen from grace? Then repent (Rev. 2:4-5)! Has Christ become of no effect to you? Does Christ profit you nothing? These are sobering and frightening words! Read them over and over again! You cannot work for righteousness! You cannot work for justification! You cannot work for grace! You cannot work for salvation! You cannot work to be acceptable to God! Righteousness is a gift! Salvation is a gift! You CANNOT work for gifts!
Does this sound radical? It is! Yet, it is the truth. It is God’s Word. It is the Gospel. The Gospel is radical. The Word of God’s Grace is radical. It has the power to turn the world upside down (or, in reality, right side up)! But it is not what many Christians have heard, understood, or believed. If we ever do - whoa Nelly! Next week - the fountain and function of good works. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!