08 Mar 2020

What is Grace?

GRACE

What is grace

 

  • The word grace in English means “smooth”, “pleasing” or “good will”
  • Usage of word grace in English is as follows
    • She handles her problems with grace and dignity
    • He has shown remarkable grace during this crisis
  • The above grace is a product of human goodness or of human spirit.
  • The original word “grace” taken from French mean “favor”
  • In the bible “grace” however means the goodness that comes from God’s Spirit “favor for undeserved”, “unworked for favour” or “unmerited favor”  from God to mankind.

 

What is the source of grace

  • Source of grace is Jesus Christ : John1:16&17 – Out of his fullness we have all received grace. For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
  • Grace is gift from heavenly father given to us through Jesus Christ
  • Grace enables us to not only full fill the law but also to live a much higher standard of life enabled only by the Spirit of God who lives in us.

 

Grace explained through parable

  • Jesus explained grace through the parable of the Prodigal son

The Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15)

  • 11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
  • 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
  • 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
  • “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
  • 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
  • 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
  • This story represents a good family, father had two children elder one obey the father in everything, keeping the house clean, but the younger one, after playing football come in the and throw sox here and there, as he seems convenient. Father’s instruction on cleanliness, not able to spend enough time the way he wants, might has made younger son feel suffocated at home so he finally he said to himself enough is enough, and said to his father “give me my property, let me have the freedom”. Father being gentle, has given half the property to him, he went away, called friends “common guys” let us enjoy life. He went ahead and lived wild living satisfying his senses. But then famine struck unexpectedly, he was not prepared, no more money, no friends, he was forced to take the job of feeding pigs. He struggled, starved, one day he thought to himself “even servants at home are much better of than his present stage”, he came to his senses, decided to go back to the father. But while he was still far away, his father sees him, filled with compassion for son he ran to him, hugged him, ordered the servant to cut the calf, prepare the meal, celebrate son’s return, this shows heart of the father full of grace given to the undeserving son.
  • But the elder son who came in from field just could not take it…continue reading from verse 25,
  • 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
  • 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
  • 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
  • The elder son obeyed the father in everything all his life, so what was the problem? Since he has given all his energy to obey and honor the father as per the his order, he could not reconcile with this free welcome to the undeserving younger son, free party, he just could not accept it, he blamed and accused the younger brother as one who spend the money with prostitutes. This is what obeying the law does to us, it makes us proud and demanding and judgmental. Where as response to grace can only be “gratitude”.
  • What if the elder son demanded that father you have given half the property to the brother already remaining half belongs to him?
  • What flashed through my mind was that the father, being so gentle would have given the property to the elder son and now left with nothing to give to the younger son would have told him “ I have nothing else to give, I will give myself to you”, Abraham when Lot took the better portion of the property was discouraged, God told him “Abraham I am your reward, your great reward.
  • That is what Jesus did. He has given himself to us. John 3:16, God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son so that who so even believes in him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life.
  • Salvation (Rom 3:23). All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
  • We are saved by grace through redemption on the cross of Calvary

 

What grace is NOT

  • Grace is misunderstood greatly today.
  • Grace is free but not free since Christ did pay the price
  • Grace is not lawlessness. Lawlessness is sin not grace.
  • Grace takes away pride and does not boast of self.
  • Law was given for man to obey and pay the price if he can’t obey.
  • Grace is not work: But Grace is given by God himself making the payment so that man may go free !!. So If “God is not making the payment” and “you are making the payment” then it is not grace at work in you.
  • Grace does not promote sin: Should you use the freedom to indulge in sin so that grace may abound? Certainly “NO”. If that which is in you make you indulge in sin then it is not grace.
  • Grace not only make man go free but it also make him like Jesus in his image back again !!. As he is so are we in this world.
  • So grace in us is complete only when this transformation work of becoming like Christ is complete.
  • If that which is working in you, is not making you like Christ, then that is not grace.

  • Picture above represents todays Christians operating in mix of Law and grace
  • X-Axis is Law and Y-axis is grace
  • Many Christians give all their effort like the elder son to do things that the father want them to do and live along the D box
  • Many depend partially or 50% on God’s grace and 50% put their on effort to live good Christian life acceptable to all. This is good but we become partially judgmental with half God half me approach.
  • What about Box A ?. Looks Good but we put minimum effort to do what is right, possible that we may live so called believer life with almost 90% God and 10% our own effort.
  • We should live in the Y-axis which is the correct place to live where we know 100% grace and nothing of ourselves, it is possible only when we die to ourselves, as Paul said “I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live but Christ lives in me”. This is where supernatural can become natural. This is where the Church should be, all of Christ.
  • Now should we obey the law when we live by grace ?. No, God want us to live Christ like living, anything less than that is not living by grace, It is a life much above law, since law does not say pray for your enemies, forgive, pray for those who persecute you. As he is so are we in this world. We don’t live to full fill the law but we are here to reflect Christ in everything we do.

 

How grace work in us ?

 

  • Grace of God teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness.
  • There are two ways to say no to ungodliness – by our effort or by applying the truth in the bible.
  • We are justified through grace (Rom 3:23) : Col 2:13-15 Christ took away everything that stood against us and nailed it to the cross
  • There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Rom 8: 1-12
  • Rom 8:2 “Law of the Spirit” which frees us is grace
  • Rom 8:3 Law which is supposed to give life was weakened and made powerless by my flesh
  • Rom 8:4 Christ did by sin offering. Sin is condemned on the cross so what Law requires is fully met in Christ hence I become free of wrong doing.
  • Rom 1:17 This belief imparts righteousness to us. So I know I am made righteous by grace
  • Rom 5:1-5 Therefor since we have been justified through faith we have peace with God
  • No only that we can live free of sin by the grace of God “PS 23 He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name sake”.
  • Rom 8: 33 Who will bring any charge against us ? (If you are feeling guilty, or accused of wrong about a sin that we have already said sorry to God, Tell the devil Rom 8:1 or 32/33 no more guilt and shame.
  • Rom 8:34 Jesus is interceding for us at God’s right hand.
  • Ps 32 : Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him, don’t be like the mule or horse which have no understanding but be controlled by bit and bridle, be a child , be a son, reflecting God’s glory

 

Conclusion

  • Grace is God’s unmerited favor to us
  • We are justified by grace
  • We are transformed by grace
  • No more condemnation because we are under grace
  • God himself intercedes for us (Rom 8:34)
  • If God does not condemn us we will not condemn ourselves
  • Psalm 23:3: He will guide you in paths of righteousness
  • Psalm 32 God will counsel you and watch over you

James Raj worshipping at New Hope Community .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

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