The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
+ The Grace of God +
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men”
The glorious doctrine of grace is seen throughout the Scriptures. The word “grace” or “gracious” occurs about two hundred times in the Bible. The first reference to grace is in Genesis 6:8 and the last reference is in Revelation 22:21. According to Psalm 103:8, we serve a gracious God, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” In salvation, grace is God’s part and faith is our part. All sinners have forfeited any claim to God’s kingdom. It is only by God’s grace that we have access to eternal life. God’s grace has been described as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”
John Newton, once an infidel, converted and became a pastor in Olney, England, sums up the grace of God very well in the first verse of the song he wrote, “Amazing Grace:”
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.”
The word “grace” basically means, “the unmerited favor of God to the undeserving sinner.” It is the basis upon which God saves men. It is also the opposite of what we deserve. Grace is set in contrast to debt in Romans 4:4,16, works in Romans 11:6, and law in John 1:17, Romans 6:14-15, and Galatians 5:4. In our study of the word “grace,” we must realize that it is one of God’s attributes.
Grace in Salvation
Saving grace is seen throughout the Scriptures. According to Genesis 6:8, “Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord.” Only Noah and his family were saved from God’s wrath that fell upon the whole world at this time. Adam and Eve were clothed in God’s grace through the sacrifice He provided after the fall (Genesis 3). The nation of Israel also understood and experienced God’s grace (Exodus 33:19, 34:6). In John 17:17, we see the fullness of grace through our Savior, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Grace in the Old Testament could be likened to a candle in comparison to a bright light bulb in the New Testament. It is through Christ that grace flows to the believer. The grace of God was fully perfected at Calvary. Salvation is totally by God’s wonderful grace according to Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” From the cross to the second advent, God’s grace is being dispensed to the world (I Peter 1:9-12). Please consider the following verses in the study of grace: Romans 3:24, 4:4-6, 5:1-7 and verses 18-20, Acts 11:23, 15:11, 20:24,32. Be grateful for God’s grace; for, if we got what we deserved we would all be in hell.
Grace In Service
Serving grace is needed as well as saving grace, for we cannot serve God in our own strength. As someone once said, “It is only by the grace of God that men can obey the law of God.” Serving grace enables the believer to live for God and be pleasing to His will. In I Corinthians 15:10, the Apostle Paul said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am…” He realized that his calling, labor, gifts and abilities were by God’s grace alone. According to Romans 12:3-8, every gift of the Holy Spirit is from God, which leaves no room for our boasting. All that we have in the physical realm or spiritual realm is by God’s mercy and grace. Please consider the following verses which show that grace covers all areas of our lives, whether it be talents, victory, etc: Romans 6:11-18, II Thessalonians 1:11-12, II Corinthians 4:15, 8:1,6,7,19, 9:14. In II Peter 3:18, we are told to grow in this grace.
Grace In Suffering
Suffering grace is clearly seen in II Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…” In the context (verses 1-10) of this chapter, the Apostle Paul had prayed three times for deliverance (from Satan’s buffeting) but God had other plans. Instead of being delivered from the thorn in the flesh, God gave him a special kind of grace, for the Lord had called him to suffer for His name’s sake. Other Scriptures which show the extent of Paul’s sufferings are II Corinthians 11:23-33, Acts 9:15-16, and 14:19-25. Throughout Scriptures, many were called upon to suffer for Christ. Also, many throughout this age have gone through much for the glory of God. Only by God’s grace could martyrs go to the stake (their death) singing Psalms and quoting Scriptures. This kind of faith cannot be mustered up, but comes only through God’s marvelous grace. According to Colossians 3:12-16, grace creates a happy attitude and demeanor. Thank God, that we can go to the “throne of grace” in time of need according to Hebrews 4:16. In I Peter 5:10, the Lord is called “the God of all grace.”
Turning the Grace of God Into Lasciviousness
In conclusion, I would like to explain what grace is not, since I have just described what grace is. There is a false grace being preached in many pulpits. According to Jude 4, there are those who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” The word “lasciviousness” means a license to sin, looseness, excess, restraint, lustfulness, and lacking in moral discipline. The Greek word (aselgeia) that is translated “lasciviousness” is also translated “filthy” in II Peter 2:7 and “wantonness” in Romans 13:13. The word “lasciviousness” is also seen in the following Scriptures: I Peter 4:3, Ephesians 4:19, Galatians 5:19, Mark 7:22, and II Corinthians 12:21. The book of Jude is written as a warning against apostasy. The church has been infiltrated by those who pervert the truth of God. These are seeker friendly churches that preach no fear of God, repentance, or the consequences of sin. The lie of the Devil is that there is no personal responsibility for our sins. That is, we can indulge ourselves over and over and be forgiven with no consequences. This is twisting the grace of God into permissiveness. The same grace that saves us also sanctifies us. Biblical grace, according to Titus 2:11-15 teaches us to deny ungodliness and live a holy life. Grace is liberty to serve, not a license to sin according to Galatians 5:1,13. The question is asked in Romans 6:1-2, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid.” Then in verse 15 we read, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” The gospel sets us free from sin, not to sin. Have you received the grace of God in vain (II Corinthians 6:1)? Have you received a perverted gospel that teaches a false concept of Christ? Those who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness are not legalistic Judaizers that reject the doctrine of grace, but are those who abuse grace in compromise and carnality. Amen.
“…I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.” Jonah 4:2
“The doctrines of grace humble a man without degrading him, and exalt him without inflating him.”
- Charles Hodge
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523