Pure Abounding Grace
by Shawn Brasseaux
[12 August 2008]
Humans are wicked, undeserving creatures. God owes us absolutely nothing, and we are in no position to demand anything from Him. So, if humans are so unworthy of salvation, how can salvation be free and be available to everyone? One special attribute of God is His grace, which is defined as His “unmerited favor” toward us. God’s grace has prompted Him to pour out mercy on undeserving humanity (God had to pour out His wrath on Christ Jesus at Calvary; see Isaiah chapter 53).
Had it not been for God’s grace, the Lord Jesus Christ would have never gone to the cross, and we would have all been eternally condemned with no hope whatsoever. Because of God’s grace, very person will have at least one opportunity to hear of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of the Grace of God.
Consider John 1:7-10 KJV:
“7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”
Look at Colossians 1:23 KJV: “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;” Titus 2:11 KJV says: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”
In the Bible, the first instance of God’s grace can be found in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis chapter 3, Adam and Eve made use of their free will, eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when God forbade them. Adam and Eve heard the LORD walking in the garden, so they hid in shame. God called to Adam, “Where are you?” Obviously, God knew exactly where Adam and Eve were, but He was calling Adam in order for Adam and Eve to admit that they had sinned and disobeyed Him.
Even when Adam and Eve deliberately disobeyed, it was God’s grace that moved Him to go to them. Adam and Eve had no intention of going to God on their own. God’s grace drew God to them, and God’s grace drew them to God. If God’s grace were absent, then Adam and Eve would have been just left alone in their sin, and humanity would have abandoned. There would be no chance of a Saviour. God’s grace moved Him to promise a Saviour, to redeem Adam and Eve and all future generations of humanity (Genesis 3:15). Adam took that promise to heart, and called his wife “Eve,” meaning “life.” Adam knew that even though they would (spiritually and physically) die because of their sin, God promised they would still live forever because of their faith in what God said.
Another example of God’s grace can be found in the book of Acts. Before his conversion, Saul (later on, renamed the Apostle Paul) was a persecutor of the Jewish believers, and he was an enemy of Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry (Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13,14). Read 1 Corinthians 15:9: “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” Shortly after the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts chapter 7, we find in Acts chapter 9 that Saul is heading to Damascus, to seek and arrest the Jewish believers in Jesus Christ. On his way, Saul gets the shock of a lifetime…
“3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” (Acts 9)
Until now, Saul never realized that the LORD of the Old Testament was the same Jesus Christ whom he hated! Saul hated Jesus, and wanted to destroy anyone claiming to be a follower of Jesus of Nazareth.
God could have just rightfully and righteously taken Saul out of this world, and sent him off to hell. It was grace that allowed God have mercy on Saul, and save him by that grace. Paul later wrote in Galatians 1:15,16 KJV: “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen….”
As evidence that Paul never forgot about the grace that saved him, most of Paul’s letters open with the phrase: “[God’s] Grace to you.” The Lord took Paul’s pathetic, iniquitous life of destroying the Jewish church, and by means of grace, God transformed Paul into the apostle of the Gentiles (Acts 9:15,16; Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; Galatians 1:16; 1 Timothy 2:6,7; 2 Timothy 1:11). Paul went on to be the greatest man of God. Amazing? Indeed, but it all depended on God’s grace alone!
In today’s world, God’s grace is still functioning as it did with Adam and Eve and with Paul. Despite our unworthiness, God is freely offering salvation to every single person on the planet. The Lord is opening people’s hearts and minds, and opening their eyes to His truth (people are accepting the Gospel of Grace by faith, thereby being saved). God opened Lydia’s heart in Acts 16:14,15 so that she was willing to listen to Paul’s sermon and receive salvation through the Gospel of Grace. God is still doing that today with the unbelievers as they hear the Gospel, either from our lips and our “pens,” or from reading the Bible themselves. Once God’s grace influences them, they have a chance to freely receive salvation. God does not force them, He simply introduces them to a chance to have a knowledge of salvation, and they have the free will choice of denying or accepting it. Again, God has not selected some for hell and the rest for heaven; we can choose to believe Jesus Christ, or we can refuse to do so.
Without God’s grace opening the person to the Truth, it would be impossible for that person to get saved. The reason for this is found in 2 Corinthians 4:3,4, where the Apostle Paul writes that Satan has blinded (or veiled) the minds and hearts of the unbelievers, so that they do not understand or believe the Gospel. God must intervene (by means of His grace), and open this person’s understanding by removing this spiritual blindness. Every person who has ever been saved is saved simply because God was gracious enough to save them….
God’s grace compelled Him to take our place. What wondrous grace it was!!!
Pure Abounding Grace II
by Shawn Brasseaux
[28 March 2009]
In August 2008, I wrote a study titled “Pure Abounding Grace.” In it, I discussed God’s unmerited favor toward the human race. I pointed out that God showed no reluctance to die in order to save us, His enemies, from something we deserved—eternal isolation from Him, suffering in the lake of fire forever and ever. Instead of wiping Adam, Eve, and Saul of Tarsus from existence, He saved all three of them when they had no interest in Him or His grace! There are no “good sinners” or “bad sinners”: all humans are sinners, all BAD sinners to be precise. Because of the Ten Commandments, we are ALL guilty before God, no exceptions (Romans 3:19,20). We are all sons of Adam, despite our good works or our “outstanding (?) performance” in religious rituals.
Instead of being moderate by speaking out against sin in a LOVING manner (as Christ would), we have those who are saying absolutely nothing, and those who are saying too much. Some people claim to adhere to Christianity, but have no interest in upholding God’s standards and they compromise with the worldview. Others use God’s Word to promote hatred (and even violence) toward unbelievers. Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas is the prime example of a “ministry” that professes to be serving the God of the Bible, yet they are acting contrary to God’s instructions! Their picket signs contain hateful messages that disgrace, not promote, the Gospel of Christ. “We are ambassadors for [the risen] Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). When we come in the name of Christ, we should be representing Him, not misrepresenting Him.
Earlier this month, there was a very wacky guy preaching on my college campus. Although I was not present, some of my classmates heard what he said, and they were asking me what I thought. I told them I was not there to hear it all, so I could not say whether he was right or wrong. When I went to his website a short time later, I found his beliefs were greatly perverted doctrinally. According to him, “Catholics, gays, and all kinds of other people he had grouped were going to hell because of their lifestyles!” People are not going to hell because of their sins, they are going to hell because their nature is the root of the problem—we go to hell, not because we sin, but because we are sinners!!! This “servant of God” emphasized repentance for salvation, and all sorts of other religious (denominational) doctrine. From the video footage I saw on the internet, his words were only angering people at my college—God’s Word angers people, but this guy was preaching religion, not “Christ crucified” in a meek and gentle manner. Remember Titus 3:2-7?
People do not go to hell because of their religious affiliation: they go to hell because they are lost and dead in their trespasses and sins! As one Bible teacher aptly explained, “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.” In other words, our sin nature causes us to sin; us sinning does not create our sin nature.
Gay people go to hell because they are sons of Adam, not because they are gay.
A drunkard goes to hell because he is lost, faithless in God’s Word, not because he drinks alcohol.
Rich people do not go to hell because they are wealthy; they go to hell because they oftentimes have faith in their fortune instead of in God’s Word!
Smoking cigarettes, getting drunk, and committing adultery does not lead to hell—just being a sinner leads to hell! We are all HUMANS, descendants of Adam, disobedient to God’s Word, and headed for a devil’s hell if we do not believe what God’s Word says to us regarding salvation.
If I were not in Christ tonight, where would I be right now? Dealing drugs? Committing fornication? Vandalizing? Perhaps murdering someone? Maybe something worse? We all have the potential, but as members of the Church the Body of Christ we have the indwelling Holy Spirit who shows us what sin is (using His written Word) and who empowers us to have lives that are pleasing in His sight. Let us remember to never get a self-righteous, goody-goody Pharisaical attitude, “lest we fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12,13). We could be end up where those ungodly people are in a moment’s notice.
The contents of 1 Corinthians 6:9,10, Galatians 5:19-21, and Revelation 21:8 are filthiness and ungodliness in God’s eyes, but all sin is covered by God’s grace (Romans 5:20). In 1 Corinthians 6:11, we actually read that the Corinthians “were” (past tense) once pagan, immoral Gentiles. Now that they were saved, they were justified, sanctified, and washed! Forgiveness is being offered to everyone, whether you are black or white, rich or poor, church member or atheist. [Remember, this is never license to do as you please!]
The only prerequisites to salvation are God’s grace and forgiveness, and you already have both! You do not need to beg for God’s mercy, for He already proved (and provided) His grace to you through the Lord Jesus Christ. Again, you have nothing to do but place in what the Lord Jesus Christ has already done for you. It is that simple, basic so that even a small child could have the assurance of salvation.
According to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the Word—the Creator God, the Lord Jesus Christ—took on flesh to die as a man, to shed His sinless blood to forgive you of all your sins: past, present, and future. On the third day, He resurrected in great power in order to justify you. He was under no obligation, but He did it because of His grace, when you were not interested in reconciliation with Him. When you were on your way to hell, He threw out a lifesaver. Trust in Christ Jesus alone, and He will save you forever. Set aside your pride, and take it by faith… God’s pure abounding grace….
arC Quote: “You cannot look down on the world if you are humbly kneeling at the foot of the cross.”