October 26, 2009

Grace, Faith, Invitation and Salvation

Grace, Faith, Invitation and Salvation

Dear Friends in Christ,
We often think of the idea of Grace as a New Testament idea that was first expounded by the Apostle Paul in passages like:

Eph 2:8-9 (KJV)
{8} For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
{9} Not of works, lest any man should boast.

The truth is, though, that grace rightly understood is the basis for all creation by God, and is the key operating principle by which God has dealt with us since He first created Adam. What then is the meaning of the word "grace" ?

In the Hebrew language, the language of the Old Testament manuscripts, the root word for grace means, " to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior"; "to show mercy or have pity upon another". This then is a beautiful description of how God has always dealt with His creation, by stooping low or humbling Himself so that He can show kindness to us. We as the recipients of this act of God's kindness have done nothing to deserve the kindness, because Grace is an inherent quality of God's character. When He displays grace, He is just acting according to Who He is.

Here is a Bible passage that clearly displays God's grace as personified by Jesus Christ. Notice that Jesus didn't have to do this, nobody forced Him to do it, He just of His own volition did it:
Phil 2:5-8 (KJV)
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
{6} Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery{Grk=someting to be eagerly grasped}
to be equal with God:
{7} But made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:
{8} And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross.

Compare the act of Jesus putting aside His Heavenly Glory to humble Himself to become a man, and allow Himself to be put to death on the Cross, with Satan's attitude of pride and self-exaltation which caused him to fall and be cursed by God.

Isa 14:12-15 (KJV)
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
{13} For thou hast said in thine heart,
I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:
I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
{14} I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will be like the most High.
{15} Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

So Satan, who was an annointed Angel, aspired to exalt himself and to be God, while Jesus Christ, Who already was "in the form of God", ie, the visible expression of the invisible God, agreed to put off the glories of Heaven to humble Himself to become the sacrifice for sin. Halleluia! What a Savior !

And as a further comparison between Jesus willingness to humble Himself and Satan's aspirations to glorifiy himself to be like God, while Satan's destiny will be to be brought down to the pit of hell, Jesus will be glorified for all eternity:

Phil 2:9-11 (KJV)
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him{Jesus Christ},
and given him a name which is above every name:
{10} That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
{11} And that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

This then gives us a clearer picture of our salvation by "grace" through "faith". The fact that we can even be saved is an undeserved gift from God as a demonstration of Who He Is, and His inherant Generousity. And so we are back to the first verses we looked at about Grace and Faith:

Eph 2:8-9 (KJV)
{8} For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
{9} Not of works, lest any man should boast.

The fact that we can even be saved in our fallen state of sin starts with the inherent Goodness and merciful character of God. If God were not this way, we would be forever doomed, because God is also a Holy God, and He can not look upon sin or for that matter, sinful people.

Psa 34:15-18 (KJV)
{16} The face of the LORD is against them that do evil,
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

Psa 7:11b (KJV)
...God is angry with the wicked every day.

And yet we all start out as "wicked", sinful people.

Rom 3:23 (KJV)
For all have sinned,
and come short of the glory of God;

So how do we go from being someone that God is angry with everyday, to someone who is forgiven and is a recipient of the Grace of God? Paul answers this question in Romans:

Rom 3:24 (KJV)
Being justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

What is it that we are to do in response to the Grace and mercy of God?

Rom 3:28 (KJV)
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith
without the deeds of the law.

Heb 11:6 (KJV)
But without faith it is impossible to please him:
for he that cometh to God must believe that he is,
and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

What is then the proper attitude we are to have when we come to God?

Psa 34:18 (KJV)
{18} The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;
and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Isa 66:2b (KJV)
but to this man will I look,
even to him that is poor{Heb=humbled} and of a contrite{Heb=smitten, depressed} spirit,
and trembleth{Heb=fearful, reverential} at my word.

Isa 57:15 (KJV)
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,
whose name is Holy;
I dwell in the high and holy place,
with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit,
to revive the spirit of the humble,
and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Psa 25:15-18 (KJV)
Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD;
for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
{16} Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me;
for I am desolate and afflicted.
{17} The troubles of my heart are enlarged:
O bring thou me out of my distresses.
{18} Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.

1 John 1:8-10 (KJV)
If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
{9} If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
{10} If we say that we have not sinned,
we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

John 3:14-18 (KJV)
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
{15} That whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have eternal life.
{16} For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life.
{17} For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved.
{18} He that believeth on him is not condemned:
but he that believeth not is condemned already,
because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

(Rev 3:19-20 KJV)
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
{20} Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
if any man hear my voice, and open the door,
I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.


Dear Jesus, have mercy on me, I am a sinner.
I have failed you and myself throughout my whole life.
and I know that there is nothing I can do to undo the things I did wrong,
or make my life right now either.
I ask you to forgive my sinfulness, and my sins.
Give me a new heart on the inside.
take away all the filth and failure of my old life,
and let me start over with your Holy Spirit in my life.

I know that you died on the cross to save me,
and then rose from the dead so that I could one day be with you in heaven,
and so that you could always live inside me.
Please come into my heart and let me know that you are there.
I want to give you the rest of my life,
so that you can do with it what You want to do.

I thank you that you have heard me,
and I thank you that you have come into my heart, and will never leave me..

I promise that I will read and study the Bible,
so that I can renew my mind with your thoughts and attitudes.
I am also willing to tell others about you, and what you have done for me
with my friends and family,
and all who will listen...

Lord, I know that you created everything that there is,
and that you are high and lifted up,
and that you are the Lord of the universe.
I praise you for hearing me and answering my prayer...
I know that now I am on my way to Heaven when I die....
Thank you Lord Jesus for saving me.
I am praying in your name and for your sake....
God Bless you in your walk with Jesus.
In Christ......brother bob......<><
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