11 October 2020 (Trinity Eighteenth Sunday Morning Prayer) 1 Corinthians 1:4
In 1 Corinthians 1:4, Paul says to the Christian church in Corinth, “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ”. In church, when we share the grace with one another, we say 2 Corinthians 13:14. We say, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.” We refer to the Triune God when we share the Grace. The Almighty Father is well known for His unconditional Love. He loved us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son and saved every one of us from eternal death. Jesus is well known for His Grace. The Holy Spirit comforts and convicts us. Because of our communion with the Comforter Holy Spirit, He is pleading for us with the Father. At the same time, He guides us to live a Holy life in this world and prepares us to inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God.
There are various perspectives, commentaries, arguments and school of thought about the Grace of God. Benjamin B Warfield said “Grace is free sovereign favor to the ill-deserving”. One of the well-known preachers and evangelists Revd. John Scoot mentioned in His book that Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues us from eternal death. In his book, Jerry Bridges said grace “is God reaching downward to people who are in rebellion against Him”. Paul Zahl said, “Grace is unconditional love toward a person who does not deserve it”. Grace is the gift of God to us although we are not worthy or deserving. Let us meditate about Grace based on the Holy Bible.
A common understanding is that ‘Grace’ came into being only in the New Testament period after Jesus came into this world. But we read in Exodus 34:6, “the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth”. This verse says that the Lord God is merciful, gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth. Many Old Testament people found grace in the sight of God. Genesis 6:8 says that Noah found grace in the sight of the LORD God. Abram found grace in the sight of God. Genesis 19:19 says that Lot found grace in the sight of God. Joseph was righteous and ran away from sin and found grace in the sight of God. Even though Moses found grace in God’s sight and led the Israelites out of Egypt. Many other people found grace in the sight of Almighty Father.
Let us look at what the New Testament tells about grace. Titus chapter 2 verse 11 says, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men”. Romans 3:24 says we are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. John 1:16 says, “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace”. In Romans 5:15 we read that the grace of God has abounded unto many. In 1 Timothy 1:14 Paul said that the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
The gracious Lord God sent His only begotten Son to this sinful world to purchase and free us with His precious blood from sin and death. Jesus was offered as the one-time sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. He laid down His life as the Passover Lamb and made a new covenant with us by His blood. He purchased us salvation and eternal life through His blood. He sent us the Comforter Holy Spirit to reprove the world of sin, righteousness, judgment and bring to remembrance whatever Jesus taught. This is the Grace of God.
As said in Titus chapter 2 verse 11, it is true that the grace of God brings salvation to everyone through Jesus Christ. The following verses tell us how the salvation is brought. In Titus 2:12 and 13 we read “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”. The grace of God brings salvation to all man by teaching us that we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world; we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts; we should look for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. John 16:8 says that the Holy Spirit “will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to live, what to deny and what to look for by the Grace of God.
Proverb 24:16 says, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief”. 1 John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” It is the grace of God that enables us to confess our sins with the Holy Spirit’s guidance and strengthens us to rise up again. As said in Romans 3:24, it is grace that makes us righteous by washing us by the blood of the lamb of God when we repent and ask for forgiveness. Grace helps us to rise up again to be righteous. In Matthew 24:13 Jesus said “he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” It is grace that strengthens us to endure to the end.
There are a couple of common misconceptions:
· One is that one-time salvation is sufficient to inherit eternal life. 1 John 1:7 says “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” When our old man is crucified with him, our body of sin should be destroyed and we should not serve sin. We must walk in the light of the Word and have fellowship with Jesus. We must abide in Jesus and bear fruits. We will bear fruits only if we are cleansed with the blood of Jesus Christ and follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. When we endure to the end by renewing of our hearts and minds, we will inherit eternal life.
· Another misconception is that if we are saved once, any sin that we commit will not separate us from God and we will not lose the grace of God. In Revelation 2 verse 6, the Holy Spirit cautioned the Church of Ephesus saying, “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate”. Nicolaitans believed that one-time salvation was enough to inherit eternal life in the kingdom of heaven.
We are in the last days and we the church are waiting for the second coming of Jesus. We don’t know when Jesus the bridegroom will come to receive the bride. Those who are saved and endure till end will be transformed into glory when He comes. The saints who died in Christ will also be resurrected and transformed into God’s glory. We will either experience physical death or face rapture. Either way, we have to be saved, renewed and ready to face Jesus every day. It is the grace of God that guides us to look for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ. It is grace that guides us to inherit eternal and everlasting life with Jesus in the kingdom of heaven.
Noah found grace in the sight of God and his family was saved from the flood. Abraham found grace in the sight of God. He was separated from his family and God made a covenant with him and made him father of nations. Joseph found grace in the sight of God and became a ruler in Egypt. Although Lot found grace in the sight of God, he lost the grace. Even though Moses found grace in God’s sight and led the Israelites out of Egypt, he could not enter the promised land Canaan because of his disobedience. Jesus asked us to abide in Him and He in us to bear fruits. He also said that the branches that do not bear fruits will be cast into the fire.
Revelation 3:20 says, “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”. Is Jesus knocking at our heart’s door? If we have accepted the grace of God, Jesus should be in our hearts. He will not be standing outside knocking at our heart’s door to be let in.
Romans 6:1 says “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” What are we going to do? Are we willing to accept the grace of God that brings salvation? If we do, the Holy Spirit will guide us to live godly, righteous and sober life in this present world and strengthen us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. If we accept this grace of God, we can look for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
I pray that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!