GRACE AND MERCY
Scripture Reading: Romans 5:21
The first word we will consider is "GRACE." All that we have in Christ is by God's grace. Though grace is simple to believe, it is more difficult to understand. The characteristic of God's dealing since the cross is grace. Grace is now reigning. Where sin had at one time reigned, now grace reigns, through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:21). Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Romans 5:20). Grace overcame sin and death. Grace is the characteristic word for this present dispensation in which we are living. The apostle Paul was willing to lay down his life for this wonderful message of God's grace. "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received ofthe Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24).
The characteristic way God is dealing with men, though we do not deserve it, is by grace. It is because of the finished work on the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and what He accomplished there, that God now deals with mankind in grace. Grace is not some commodity that can be measured or portioned. Grace must be understood as an attitude in which God is dealing with the world. We have salvation and all the accompanying blessings by God's grace.
Scripture Reading: Titus 2:11
In the Bible the Greek word translated grace is "charis." In secular Greek, grace was the property of an act that inspired joy, beauty, and gracefulness. It came to mean the act itself - the grace, the favor, or the goodness. The act of doing something beautiful became the grace. It was a favor done without expectation of return. A simple definition of grace is unmerited favor. But grace is much more than this. Mercy can be unmerited favor. Grace is receiving from God that which we do not deserve. Mercy is not receiving from God that which we do deserve. God is merciful and loving. His righteousness cannot tolerate sin. Sin is between man and God. God loves the sinner and would be merciful to us. But He cannot be merciful to the sinner at the expense of His own righteousness. So God acted in His grace and sent His Son to pay for sin, and to take care of consequences of sin, forever. Now He can be merciful to the believer because sin has been taken out of the way.
It is by the grace of God that the best as well as the worst and every shade in between are saved. There can be no salvation from the penalty, dominion, or presence of sin apart from the God of grace and the grace of God. With the apostle Paul we can say "But by the grace of God I am what I am ... " (I Corinthians 15:lOa).
Scripture Reading: Romans 11:6
To better understand grace we can look at what grace is in contrast to:
1. Grace is the opposite of debt (Romans 4:4-5). Debt is what someone owes. God is not in debt to anyone. He does not owe us anything. The world not only fell into sin, but murdered the only One who can forgive sin (the Lord Jesus Christ). If I could do anything to earn salvation, then God would owe it to me. That would be the opposite of grace. If I work for wages - the wages are due as debt. But this cannot be applied to salvation. No one ever obtained righteousness by worth or work. Grace then is God giving to the sinner, completely undeserved, salvation. Whatever God gives us inot out of debt, but out of the good heartedness of the Giver.
2. Grace is the opposite of works (Romans 11:6). Works are what man does in an attempt to please God. If a man is saved by grace, then he cannot contribute one thing to his salvation. The minute one tries to add one work, as a requirement for salvation, he frustrates the grace of God. It is either all works or all grace. For if we add works to grace, it isn't grace anymore. This is perhaps the most direct and absolute contrast in Scripture. Grace is God acting according to His purpose. Work is man seeking to present to God a human ground for His blessing.
Scripture Reading: Romans 6:14
Grace is the opposite of debt and works and it is also the opposite oflaw.
3. Grace is opposite of the law (Romans 6:14). The law stands for all man can and should do to meet God's righteous standard. Grace is the opposite. It is not what man does for God, but what God has done for man, in His grace. Grace takes away works legalism. We are not under law today, but under grace.
In summary: Grace is the opposite of debt -- God does not owe us anything. Grace is the opposite of works you cannot obtain righteousness through good works. Grace is opposite of law -- you cannot keep the law to be saved.
We aren't saved because of who we are or what we have done. We are saved by grace. Grace is freely bestowed apart from man's efforts. The believer is under the grace of God and because of this, sin is defeated. Grace is based upon and displayed by the finished work of Christ.
Grace is a way oflife. We live under grace. (Romans 7:5,6) Upon this basis, sin shall not have dominion over the believer, for we are not under law, but under grace. Grace is receiving from God that which we do not deserve freely out of the love and good heartedness of the Giver. Everything we have is by God's grace - justification, redemption, salvation, hope, glorification, etc. We should thank God every day for His grace.
THE DAY OF THE LORD IS AT HAND – TRIBULATION
By Les Feldick
Posted By Cecil and Connie Spivey
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