Grace and Works and Law
Grace: unmerited favor; the showing of godly love towards a person in the form of giving unearned and undeserved gifts.
In the last message: In addition to forgiveness of sins and being saved by grace, we showed many of the other things that came by grace, such as: calling, belief, acceptability, redemption, justification, and etc
But it is still much more than that and it would be nearly impossible to encapsulate all the ways in which grace can be given or shown – because simply stated it is the way that God acts towards us and the way that we should act towards others!
It is an act of love. It is the nature of God – and we know that God is love and that acting in love is defined by His law.
Think about it: God summed up the 10 commandments…and the entire law for that matter of a fact in:
Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’
Matthew 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Matthew 22:39 And the second is like it: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
Matthew 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
This the basis for the entire law
So if love describes God and His law and grace describes the way that He acts ..THEN how can we have grace WITHOUT the law
Grace and Law
In the world’s view of grace, the part that we did not address last time is that a fundamental part of this belief is that it is salvation by grace WITHOUT the Law
Those who are under grace “no longer have to worry about the law”
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Ha! There you have it – see we do not have to keep the law! But wait that’s not all…
Romans 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
He could have just as easily said, “Shall we break the law?” This is same as “shall we sin.”
In :14 Paul is obviously not saying that the law is done away with…it was never the purpose of the law.
The law does not save, BUT it does tell us how we are to live and it regulates our lives now that God by His grace has called us and opened our eyes and redeemed us and justified us and so on and so forth…
Paul is very clearly telling us here that we should have grace WITH law!
Also going hand in hand with most of Christianity’s view of grace is that works are not necessary.
Grace and Works
So it should come as no surprise that we are to have grace WITH works!
1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
So we see a correlation between grace and works. Paul attributes the abundant works that he did to the particular grace God had given him. God gave Paul a specific gift out of His magnanimous love towards Paul. Paul then used that gift.
When God gives us a gift, what should we do with it?
Let it sit there; go dormant; bury it?
He doesn’t grace us with a gift for no reason.
When God out of His grace bestows on us something that we did not deserve nor could we do for ourselves – shouldn’t we put it to good use?
This is growing in grace! Paul labored more abundantly with the gracious [meant in light of the definition of grace] gift that God gave him.
This is what God expects with the grace He has shown us.
When we start acting like God towards others – the more that we do this, the more we grow in grace!
We are to grow in the gifts of grace that God has given us
We see further evidence of grace with works in:
1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a gift[charisma], minister it to [serve] one another, as good stewards [managers; overseers] of the manifold [numerous and varied] grace of God.
God expects us to guard and care for the particular gift that He has given us
There are many different ones that we will see
Not just one conferring of grace AND not the same for everyone;
It is not just one single thing or action.
There is the manifold grace of God
The many and various ways that God can show grace
Also the verse says we are to be good stewards of the grace that God has shown us – the gifts that He was endowed us with.
The way that we take care of what God has granted to us is by growing it – growing in the grace of God.
Parable of talents, that is what it is talking about – taking what has been given to us and growing it.
And lastly, we see that 1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to [serve] one another.
1 Peter 4 Stewards of God’s Grace
The gifts are given so that we may serve one another.
1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:
1 Corinthians 12:4 There are diversities of gifts [charisma; Strongs: divine gratuity, spiritual endowment; gift of grace], but the same Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
1 Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
1 Corinthians 12:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another [someone else] the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts [charisma] of healings by the same Spirit,
1 Corinthians 12:10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing [these manifold gracious acts] to each one individually as He wills.
1 Corinthians 7:7 For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.
Now that we understand that grace is simply the way that God acts towards those that He is calling now, it opens the door for grace to be shown in nearly an unlimited fashion as Peter was talking about.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
Romans 12:5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
[We are to be working together as one and for the profit of all]
Romans 12:6 Having then gifts [charisma] differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; [in proportion to what God has given us]
Romans 12:7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
Romans 12:8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
More qualities that are added to the ongoing list that hopefully now we can see is not just one single thing, but encompasses our whole way of life.
The Grace of Christ
In effect we are to think and act like Christ following the example that He set
Jesus Christ – The Personification of Grace
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
Titus 2:12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Example of Christ
1 Peter 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
We Suffer by Grace
1 Peter 2:19 For this is commendable [charis], if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.
1 Peter 2:20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable [charis] before God.
(LITV) For this is a grace, if because of conscience toward God anyone bears grief, suffering unjustly.
(LITV) For what glory is it if you patiently endure while sinning and being buffeted? But if you are suffering while doing good, and patiently endure, this is a grace from God.
Even when suffering He acted with grace
1 Peter 2:22 “WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH“;
1 Peter 2:23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
We are to act like Jesus Christ in this manner
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving [charizomai] one another, even as God in Christ forgave [charizomai] you.
We are to show Grace to others
If we are humble and gracious then we will extend the grace that we receive to others just as God did to us and for us.
It is a chance for us to act like God
We show good works towards others
God extended grace to us when we were sinners; when we fell short; when we were less than perfect.
God expects us to do the same
We do this in our good works
This is one of the reasons that God has been gracious to us in the first place.
Grace towards Others
[also their grace that they received was extended to others; good example]
2 Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:
2 Corinthians 8:2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.
2 Corinthians 8:3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing,
2 Corinthians 8:4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift [charis] and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
2 Corinthians 8:5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
2 Corinthians 8:6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.
2 Corinthians 8:7 But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.
2 Corinthians 8:8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others.
2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
We Show Grace Towards Others by our Good Works
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
He wants us to use our gifts of grace towards others.
Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Ephesians 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Ephesians 2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Ephesians 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
By these good works, these zealous works, by laboring more abundantly…we are growing in the grace of Jesus Christ. We must heed that admonition of Peter and continue to do this … if we don’t:
We can go the wrong direction
This is a reality
2 Timothy 3:1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2 Timothy 3:2 For men will be lovers of themselves….
– this the opposite of showing grace
…Or We can come up short
Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
Hebrews 12:15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; ….
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.
1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
…Or We Can Completely Fall
Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
If we fail to recognize what God is doing and think/rely on what we are doing [thinking that we are upright in and of ourselves] [Righteousness comes from God as well as a gift]
Romans 5:15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.
Romans 5:16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.
Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
We are to follow His Example
We have the ability and responsibility to show grace/forgive
Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
Philippians 2:2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
Grace that we are growing in, is directed at others. We are to follow the example that Jesus Christ, the personification of grace, left for us.
Philippians 2:6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
Philippians 2:7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
This is the extent to which He was willing to show grace towards us and humble Himself. He was willing to die so that we could live.
Predisposition of Humility to Receive Grace
Proverbs 3:34 ,,, [God] gives grace to the humble.
Finding More Grace
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness being led away with the error of the wicked; “Hold Fast”
2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.