Thursday, June 1, 2023

What Is Grace?

 by Guy C. LaMar

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast.” – Eph. 2:8-9.

The Apostle Paul urges us, “Test [or rather, PROVE] all things; hold fast what is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

“’ To the law and to the testimony!’” says the LORD God – the very family of God; which at this moment consists of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ – through the Prophet Isaiah. “’ If they do not speak according to this word [the Word of God; Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4], it is because there is no light in them.” – Isaiah 8:20.

Now, just what IS sin!? What is God’s definition of what SIN is!? “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, AND SIN IS LAWLESSNESS” – 1 John 3:4.

So, since this is what sin is – then the BREAKING OF GOD’S LAW IS SIN!

Satan the Devil and his ministers (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) have been CONFUSING the true meaning of grace in the majority of mankind’s minds!

Sadly, this whole world – according to God’s living word – has been DECEIVED! – Revelation 12:9; 20:3.

So, just what IS grace!?

Grace is Favor, Kindness, and MERCY. It is a DIVINE MERCY OR FORGIVENESS!

Grace is FORGIVENESS! Grace is a PARDON! Grace is MERCY!

The Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of God’s Spirit, says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15) What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” – Romans 6:14-15.

Here, a lot of people use this Scripture to do away with God’s Law (the Ten Commandments) – they say, “Ah! There it is, you’re not under the Law anymore but under grace!” Well, look again at what he says here – he doesn’t say that the law doesn’t have dominion over you, does he!? What does he say!? That “sin shall not have dominion over you.” There's a huge difference there! Sometimes when Paul uses the word “law,” he’s talking about the Old Covenant or the law of the Levites and the temple people – as he is here. He’s talking about that law or that collection of practices that we would normally label under the umbrella as the Old Covenant. We’re under grace – we’re under the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, under the priesthood of forgiveness, hope, help, and love. And you know, that’s what we should do to people. I believe Paul is speaking of the law of the Old Covenant, or the law of the Levites and the temple elite - here.

“Therefore, just as through one man sin [Adam] entered the world, and DEATH [the death penalty] through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned ─” – Romans 5:12.

Now, I feel we should be reminded here of this - some Protestant groups misinterpret, they misapply, they misrepresent the term ‘God’s grace,’ and they make it into the incorrect concept of ‘once saved always saved’ – of which they call “eternal security.” You know, “Give your heart to the Lord, and it’s all said and done!” Well, that’s not correct! Many ministers from the outreaches of the churches of God continue to avoid or detour completely around God's holy grace because they think the word "grace" sounds too Protestant. And yet, the term ‘God’s grace’ – my friends, we have no chance unless God is gracious to us! Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ forever be praised - Amen!

“For the wages of sin is death, but …” – and we always quote this first part here – ‘THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH!’ That is certainly true. But look at the second part of this – I want to focus on that part here. “ … the gift of God is eternal life [through] Christ Jesus our Lord.” That is the grace that God gave! That is the glory of God being expressed through His love – through Jesus Christ – by giving us His Son! ‘ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST!’

Sadly, every human being has – because of our very nature of hostility against the LORD God and Their commands (see Rom. 8:7) – has been convicted of sinning and breaking the LORD God’s commands – summed up in the TEN COMMANDMENTS! And, the penalty is DEATH! – Rom. 6:23. Our Lord Jesus Christ DIED in order to PARDON OUR PAST SINS! – Rom. 5:8.

UNMERITED GRACE is the ultimate mercy of the LORD God – the unearned, undeserving PARDON of our great and loving God when we properly and completely repent of our past sins.

“In Him [our Lord Jesus Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” – Eph. 1:7.

GRACE, then, is the LORD God’s loving willingness to FORGIVE US of our past sins!

Even before the ink was dry on the pages of the New Testament, Almighty God inspired the Apostle Jude to write, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” – the keeping of the TEN COMMANDMENTS and ACKNOWLEDGMENT that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Master! “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God [God the Father] and our Lord Jesus Christ” – Jude 1:3-4.

This, remember, was a prophecy of many centuries ago! The Apostle Jude went on to describe these ungodly men as those who were resentful and hostile toward any government, the laws of any government, and any in authority.

“Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, REJECT AUTHORITY, and speak evil of dignitaries” – Jude 1:8.

What is in the minds of the majority of professing Christians concerning their relationship with God today?

It is simply – they have been convinced that a person should live a “righteous life.” They have been taught that they have been a “sinner” – which usually means “a person who has lived an unrighteous life.” And, to the majority, an “unrighteous life” is merely participating in and having various “worldly” habits, and interests – such as attending a movie theatre, dancing, music, drinking alcohol, or gambling. It may even include various trends and fads of clothing. There are literally THOUSANDS of categories in the minds of men which constitute their definition of SIN. However, whether it involves a lifestyle choice, habits, indulgences, or “worldly acts” – the majority of professing Christians would say that conversion, to them, means “living for God.” That it means living a “good life,” rather than an “bad life.” It means to “do good” rather than to “do bad.”

So, in vague terms, the majority of professing Christians realize that there must be a certain change in their life when they “repent” or “give their heart to the Lord.” To most – GRACE is the state of a Christian who is “living for God”! Grace has come to falsely mean A CONDITION of the INDIVIDUAL, rather than A QUALITY OF THE LORD GOD!

In other words, instead of properly understanding the true meaning of GRACE as revealed to us in God’s living word, the majority come to believe that GRACE is merely a biblical term that vaguely means that the Christian is “eternally saved.”

Have you ever been clear on this subject!? Have you been able to discover, in your Bible, your beliefs regarding your present state!? Have you been able to prove – beyond a shadow of a doubt – the true meaning of just what is SIN!?

Let’s clear the cobwebs! Let’s not be confused anymore! Let’s come to properly understand!

What Is Repentance?

“ … ‘REPENT, and let every one of you be baptized.REPENT therefore and be converted, …’” – Acts 2:38; 3:19. To be converted means to be CHANGED!

And, this CHANGE of which the LORD God speaks is far from any vague sort of change. It means a complete and total change, a change in direction, a change that the LORD God requires in every facet of our lives! Our Lord Jesus Christ says to us, “ … ‘ unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’ – Luke 13:3. And He said it twice for grave IMPORTANCE!

To repent means to be deeply and heartfelt broken up over having sinned! Of having disobeyed the living CREATOR OF ALL LIFE! The Apostle Peter continued, “ … ‘ that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.’”

Certainly, nearly everyone knows that our Savior, Jesus Christ, was tortured and died for the express purpose of taking upon Himself our sins!? Certainly, we all know this, as a matter of basic Christianity 101, that a sinner must call upon God to apply the sacrifice of Jesus in order to forgive sins!? Sadly, a large majority do not! Catholics, as an example, will repent to Mary. Or, if there is a priest available, they will repent to their priest.

King David, experiencing a real depth of repentance cried out unto God, “’ Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. 2) Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.’” – Psalm 51:1-2.

King David was calling for the UNMERITED MERCY of God! He was pleading to God to extend GRACE because of his past sins. Later, King David says, “’ Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.’” – Psalm 119:97.

So, when you REPENT – you are repenting of having SINNED AGAINST THE LORD GOD! And to repent from sin means not only to be completely and totally broken up over having sinned – it also means to come to a deep determination, with the glorious help from the Spirit of God, to NOT SIN AGAIN!

Let us never forget just what is sin. “ … sin is lawlessness.” – 1 John 3:4.

WHEN you have heartfelt repented and been forgiven by the LORD God, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13) And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves TO GOD as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness TO GOD. 14) For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under GRACE” – Romans 6:12-14.

Do you understand!?

A truly repentant person is someone who is truly SORRY that he has sinned against the LORD God!

It means that the person is totally convicted of having broken the relevant and very holy COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, and has now determined, with the loving help of God’s Spirit, never to break the COMMANDMENTS OF GOD again.

What the Apostle Paul is speaking of here, “you are not under the law, means that you are not under the penalty of the law. He did not mean that we are not under the obedience to the law.

Recall, he says to us, “ … I would not have known sin except through the law. …” – Romans 7:7. To obey the law is to be “within the law.” To sin, to disobey the LORD God is to be “under the law.” Capiche?

Why do you think that the majority of professing Christians DO NOT KNOW the truth in regards to “grace,” “justification,” “sanctification,” “redemption,” “conversion,” “dedication,” “confirmation,” and other religious sounding terms!?

Well, to be FRANK, it is because there has been a GREAT DECEPTION by Satan the Devil to deliberately confuse these terms in the mind of mankind – keeping the precious Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God obscured behind DARKNESS!

To a great many peoples, JUSTIFICATION just means the same as GRACE. The majority of our peoples believe that “once justified” they are “once saved always saved.” But this is simply NOT TRUE.

Again, let us always turn to the SOURCE OF TRUTH – God Almighty!

“(for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified).” – Romans 2:13.

It is just as God Almighty says! It is ONLY those who not only hear, but those who also DO and KEEP the holy laws of God, just as our Savior, Jesus Christ says, ’ Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom [from] heaven; but whoever DOES and TEACHES them, he shall be called great in the kingdom [from] heaven.’ – Matthew 5:19.

The LORD God will not save a single being who will not OBEY THEM!

Those who God the Father is calling out of this world, who have come to stand in awe, respect, and righteous fear of the holy immutable LAW OF GOD, and who now realizes has been convicted of sin in the sight of His LAW, have repented of breaking His LAW, shall be – as the result of their heartfelt repentance – justified.

Justification is not a permanent “condition” of a Christian. It has to do with the removal and forgiveness of past guilt.

The Eternal God plainly tells us that the works of the law – any law; whether HIS TEN COMMANDMENTS or civil laws – will not justify anyone. “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from deeds of the law.” – Romans 3:28.

Now, the LORD God did not say that it is the doing of the law that people can be justified. It is those who are willing to DO His holy immutable and relevant LAW who are now eligible for such justification.

Justification comes as the LORD God’s FREE AND LOVING GIFT, through the quality of God which is called GRACE. Notice –

“being justified FREELY by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:24.

Yet, neither justification nor grace is a “condition” of a Christian which shall be perpetually to him or her.

The Apostle Paul, foreseeing this confusion and the deliberate deception to hide the living TRUTH of this doctrine, went on to say, “whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance [His loving GRACE] God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.” – Romans 3:25.

So, grace is not some permanent condition of a Christian. It is the glorious quality of the LORD God – expressed toward a REPENTANT sinner who now realizes their guilt before the LAW OF GOD, and now wants ─ with all their heart, soul, and mind ─ to obey ALMIGHTY GOD!

Neither justification nor grace comes by the works of the law.

Rather, God’s living word clearly shows us that the LORD God will extend His unmerited PARDON, GRACE, to those who have been completely and heartfelt REPENTANT unto the family of God because they have disobeyed.

They are now PARDONED to begin OBEYING!

Once an individual has made this resolve in their mind, the LORD God says that such an individual can be justified.

“For by GRACE you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the GIFT OF GOD, 9) not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for GOOD WORKS, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:8-10.

We are the handiwork of God, created as new creatures, once we have been converted “in Christ Jesus” for the express purpose of living every word of God! And, living by every word of God means living IN OBEDIENCE to HIS HOLY LAW! Living in humility. Living a “good life” ─ but it is the LORD God who tells us what a “good life” is.

And the LORD God tells us by the perfect EXAMPLE of the life of Jesus Christ! He OBEYED PERFECTLY all of His Father’s Commandments!

The Apostle Peter says, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us AN EXAMPLE, that you should follow His steps: 22) ‘Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth.’ – 1 Peter 2:21-22.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, by ‘committing no sin,’ OBEYED ALL OF GOD’S TEN COMMANDMENTS. He set all of us an example to follow!

God’s holy and immutable Law MUST BE OBEYED!

Our Lord Jesus plainly tells us, “ … ‘ if you want to enter into life [eternal life], keep the commandments.’ – Matthew 19:17.

The Apostle Paul says, “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” – Romans 7:12.

And, he went on to say, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.16) If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.” – verses 14, 16.

Here is the New English Translation of verse 16 – “But if I am doing what I do not desire to do, I agree with the law that it is good.”

“For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.” – verse 22.

“I thank God ─ through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” – verse 25.

A brother to our Lord Jesus, the Apostle James says, “If you fulfill the royal law according to the Scriptures, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; 9) but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10) For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” – James 2:8-10.

“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4) He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, IS A LIAR, and the truth is not in him.” – 1 John 2:3-4.

So, GRACE is being granted forgiveness of our past sins – our past transgressions against GOD’S TEN COMMANDMENTS!

Simply put ─ grace is the LORD God’s mercy due to an individual repenting of breaking God’s Law. Sin is the breaking of God’s Law. God’s Law is God’s Way. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect example as to how to live within His Law.

When you think of GRACE ─ think of Christ Jesus! □

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