“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sola Gratia Part 3 - The Glory!

In the last post we examined the condition of man, and, in this final post, I want to illustrate the beauty of sola gratia. Think about this; sinners do not seek God; God seeks sinners. What a wonderful reality!

Here are a few closing Scriptures to illustrate God's work in salvation - a salvation wrought solely by HIS grace!

Ephesians 2:1 – 10 -- And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

John 6:35 – 40; 60 - 65 -- Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day… ...When many of his disciples heard it, they said, This is a hard saying; who can listen to it? But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe. (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.

The work of salvation is God's - we are justified by grace through faith, and that not of our doing. What a staggering thought that the Judge of the Universe would look upon the helpless estate of mankind and stretch out HIS right arm to save us!

With David, I exclaim - O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? [Psalm 8:1 - 4]

Because of the truth of sola gratia, I can proclaim, with Horatio Spafford:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

To close out this series on sola gratia, I would like to lay out the grand and glorious gospel; (the few folks who read this blog are familiar with the gospel, however I love saying it again!).

Adam, our federal head, fell, and his fall was devastating to mankind, separating Adam, and by extension all mankind, from God. There is none righteous – we are conceived in iniquity, we are inherently sinful.

God then chose a people to proclaim His glorious plan of salvation, Israel. And in His Grace, He gave them a ceremonial system of animal sacrifice so that, working through faith, they might be made right before God. While the blood of goats and bulls was only a temporary covering of sin, they foreshadowed the great and perfect Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice would once and for all save the redeemed.

Throughout all of time, God promised this deliverer, who would once again make God’s people right with Him. Then, two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ came to this Earth to fulfill the Father’s plan of salvation. Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience, fulfilling all righteousness and then He took upon Himself our sin and nailed it to the cross. He imputed His life of righteousness to us, and took upon Himself our sins. Three days later, He was raised; the perfect, acceptable sacrifice, who, once for all time, removed the stain of sin from His people! He then ascended to Heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father and makes intercession for His people. Truly, with Paul we can say: 2nd Corinthians 4:6 - For God, who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

And all those who, by God’s grace, not by their own actions or merits, come to Christ in faith, are redeemed.

The beauty of this gospel is that our salvation does not depend on our faithfulness in doing the right things; it is God who is the faithful one. Nor does it depend on our good works; it is through the finished work of Jesus Christ, nor does it depend upon our knowledge, but rather upon the Spirit’s work in our life. Truly it can be said that we are chosen by the Father, Redeemed by the Son, and born of the Spirit! Praise God for His amazing grace in saving a wretch like me!

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