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Gift of Grace
General James Green
[SELECTED/ENHANCED STUDY EDITION~M.T.W.]
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase,
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.
—Annie Johnson Flint
O K, WE’RE GOING into part 3 in our Bible study on the “Gift of Grace.” The gift of salvation, the gift of eternal life, the gift of Jesus Christ the Lord: those all mean the same thing.
And yesterday, we found that the Greek word “grace” (Strong’s #G5485, χάρις, charis) is synonymous with “unmerited favor.” We don’t merit our salvation. In other words, we do not pay for it, and we do not work for it; but once it’s presented and offered to us, we have to respond humanly to receive that.
So, God doesn’t push it on us, He offers it, but WE HAVE TO RESPOND TO RECEIVE THAT GRACE. And of course there are people that are very unwise in their dealings with their eternal life—their gift:
1. Some people invest it in the work of God,
2. some actually throw it back in the Master’s face, and
3. some people don’t do anything with it.
But let us be wise and put the gift to use. Let’s increase it more and more.
Grace to the Humble
JAMES 4:6: “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
Adam Clarke’s Commentary on James 4:6 says:
“‘GOD RESISTETH THE PROUD’ SETS HIMSELF IN BATTLE ARRAY AGAINST HIM.
‘Giveth grace unto the humble’ The sure way to please God is to submit to the dispensation of his grace and providence; and when a man acknowledges him in all his ways, he will direct all his steps. The covetous man grasps at the shadow, and loses the substance.”
God says He gives more grace to the humble. If you have pride standing in your way, you’re not going to get much grace (He’s setting Himself in battle array against you).
The Word Doesn’t Grow Old
NOW, I WANT to read a couple paragraphs here in two different articles I received in the mail dealing with this subject. These go along with what I’ve been telling you about what modern churches believe. Of course Mr. Billy Graham, the big evangelist, started all this bull, most of it is about how: “there are other paths to God: Jesus is not the only way.” Billy did that to get popular, now other people have picked up on it.
Rick Warren and a thousand others are out preaching that there’s other ways:
* the JEWS have THEIR OWN WAY,
* the MUSLIMS have THEIR OWN WAY,
* the HINDU’S have THEIR WAY,
* the AMERICAN INDIANS have THEIR WAY,
* and NEW AGERS have THEIR WAY,
* EVERYBODY has THEIR OWN WAY to God now: “Jesus is just one of the many ways.”
THAT’S NOT BIBLICAL.
I don’t care what you think or ‘believe’ about the written word, it doesn’t grow old, it’s good for every generation forever. What you find in the Bible is pretty much going to stay the same unless these perverts change it: which they are doing. But, there’s only one way for eternal salvation, and that is the way of the cross.
NOW, THAT BRINGS US to this title that says: “The messiness of the Cross.” Here’s what people are saying about the cross: “The cross is a messy business, why do we have to go that way?” Well, why are people even thinking this? It’s because it’s a politically correct thing to think: “The cross is not needed anymore. Why should God have used the instrument of the cross to reconcile us to Himself in Christ? Couldn’t some better, even less messy, way have been found by God to resolve the conflict between Himself and Adam’s children?” There were and are theologians who argue(d) that: “God could simply will away the conflict between men and Himself”
I agree, God could...but He didn’t, and He won’t.
They go on: “He had and has an omnipotent, that means all-powerful, will, so why not expect Him to sweep the whole messy business under the carpet of His all-powerful decision?...”
I suppose one could argue about what God COULD do until the cows come home, or out here in New Mexico, until the jack rabbits come home.
“...But perhaps it would be more fruitful to consider what God has done for us humans in Christ by grace.” This mentality is why the term ‘by grace’ is so polluted.
WHY so messy?
ANTHONY GARLAND’S Testimony of Jesus Christ Dictionary reveals: “This necessity of blood offering is offensive to man, and we believe intentionally so. For it is a messy business and continual reminder of man's lack of righteousness (Rom. 3:23) and his desperate need of the ‘righteousness of God,’ a righteousness which is freely given rather than earned (Rom. 3:21-26; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9). Yet many prefer to continue in the way of religion rather than relationship, offering up their own puny works in a vain attempt to justify themselves before a perfect and Holy God (Rom. 10:3). Religion preserves our pride, whereas relationship requires us to cast it aside.”
Now, the writer of this article before me is countering the false: “the cross is too messy” mentality and asking some questions: “Why should the death of Christ not have come to pass? Why should that specific death been chosen above others while bypassing other innumerable ways which He who is omnipotent or all-powerful could have employed to free us? Why does God choose the death in which neither was anything diminished nor changed from His divinity and so great benefit was conferred upon men from the humanity which He took upon Him in that temporal death?”
So, He did it because He wanted to do it, and it was necessary. That means Jesus died as a human being, not as God. His body died, but the divinity in Jesus did not die, because JESUS IS, AND WAS GOD—He was the Son of God, He was of the same essence, the same character, so He was God the Son.
“TEMPORAL,” ACCORDING to the applicable WordWeb Dictionary definitions means:
1. Not eternal
2. Of or relating to or limited by time
3. Characteristic of or devoted to the temporal world as opposed to the spiritual world
4. Of this earth or world
“He took upon that temporal death (fleshly and not lasting) which was not due, and was rendered by the eternal Son of God who was also the son of man.”
It was the son of man that died, not the Son of God—in the sense of humanity. He was divinity in one being: “by which He might free all from eternal death which was due.”
In the Blood
THEN AT THE END of the article he says: “That BLOOD was a such price.”
Matthew Henry’s comments on the blood and death of Christ include:
"Now observe what Christ saith of his blood represented in the sacrament.
[1.] It is my blood of the New Testament. The Old Testament was confirmed by the blood of bulls and goats (Heb. 9:19, Heb. 9:20; Exo. 24:8); but the New Testament with the blood of Christ, which is distinguished from that; It is my blood of the New Testament. THE COVENANT GOD IS PLEASED (yes, He chose THIS covenant!) TO MAKE WITH US, and all the benefits and privileges of it, are owing to the merits of Christ's death."
Now, I see nothing offensive or nothing messy with that. In fact the Bible says: “In the blood is the life” (Lev. 17:11). If you drain the blood out of a human being, you die! Thayer's definition (1b) of blood (Dictionary #G129, aima) is: "refers to the seat of life." SO NATURALLY, JESUS HAD TO SHED HIS BLOOD AND DIE. The blood being drained from His body is not what killed him, but blood was shed in the process, because in the blood is the life.
Most Prized Possession
I WAS THINKING OF JESUS shedding His blood this morning, and I’m going to ask you this: WHAT IS THE MOST PRIZED POSSESSION A HUMAN BEING HAS? It has to be LIFE, because if you’re dead, you have no more human life to live. Even if you have riches, they’re only temporal riches, and they can be taken away from you (maybe even swindled from you). But, the most valuable thing you, as a mortal, have is your LIFE.
So what’s the most prized possession that God could have given to redeem men from their fallen state? It had to be the life of His Son. I don’t find that offensive, unlike some people today who are getting into this philosophy of: “Ha! Come on! Why would God kill His own Son? that’s a messy business! Why would God have so much hatred for His Son that He would kill His own Son!?!” They are looking at it entirely in the wrong way. Jesus’ death was necessary, it was the most prized possession that Almighty God could have given.
AN ANALOGY would be someone were a millionaire, and they wanted to redeem a family that was millions of dollars in debt, and they gave every single penny of their money to redeem that family starving to death. What else could they have done to relieve their pain and suffering besides giving EVERYTHING they had for them? That’s how I view it, and that’s how God views it. It says “He GAVE His only beloved Son” (His most prized possession). He didn’t kill His Son...men killed Jesus, men killed Jesus out of hatred for Him, God lovingly gave that eternal life in exchange for your eternal death!
“What Does the Atoning Sacrifice Accomplish? It was the Father Himself who presented His Son as ‘a sacrifice of atonement’ (Rom. 3:25, NIV; Greek, hilasterion), ‘a propitiation’ (KJV, NKJV), ‘an expiation’ (RSV). The New Testament use of hilasterion has nothing to do with the pagan notion of ‘placating an angry God’ or ‘appeasing a vindictive, arbitrary, and capricious God’...God in His merciful will presented Christ as the propitiation to His holy wrath on human guilt because He accepted Christ as man's representative and the divine Substitute to receive His judgment on sin” (28 Fundamentals Extended).
OK, THE TITLE of the next article I received is: “Unlikely to change sin and forgiveness.” It says: “There is reconciliation with God through the forgiveness of sins. Theologians have often tried to decouple the change in our status in the presence of God from the forgiveness of sins.”
So, theologians are trying to think of a way to ‘decouple’ (def. 1. Disconnect or separate, 2. Regard as unconnected [aka. get away from]) sin and forgiveness. We cannot separate those two words.
Well, Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, and thousands of others out there in la-la land THINK they have found another way, and guess who’s the saviour? They are! They have become a god, with a small ‘g’. They have:
* became the saviour, themselves
* taught false doctrine to get men and women to believe in their damned insanity
* cut off potential converts to Christianity by false teachings
* loved watching the deterioration of Jesus’ standard
* blasphemously stated that: “The cross is not necessary, Jesus didn’t really die on the cross, and it would be stupid for God to kill His own Son. It’s stupid for Jesus or anybody else to suffer;” and on and on it goes!
They’re not happy with what God did for humanity. Well, you know where those mockers are going to go? They’re going to go to Hell’s fire—the Hell they don’t even believe in (read 2 Pet. 3:3-7).
Principles Grouped Together
BACK TO THIS WRITING, it says: “Redemption, the bloody death of Christ, and the forgiveness of sins, all belong together, and are central to the Biblical Gospel.”
You must preach the Gospel, and this is what is included in that Gospel:
• The Gospel is preached to the unsaved
• Teachings and instructions are given to the Christians
• In that Gospel, talk about both forgiveness AND redemption
• God, because He loves us, offers us salvation (that is His mercy)
• We have to respond humanly to that to accept that gift of grace/eternal salvation
• We are bought with a price, and that price was/is Jesus Christ
• The divine exchange was that God/Jesus, gave His life that we could have eternal life
• He took it upon Himself, temporal death in exchange, that we would have eternal life
These Biblical Gospel concepts greatly differ from the falsities that are being preached today—self esteem and self love. Modern preachers (?) teach everything that the Bible condemns!
In finishing this article, he says they need forgiveness: “There is a great deal of pressure on theologians to reduce that implication, or to soft-pedal it;” and that’s exactly what they’re doing—they’re soft-pedaling the cross: that messy, bloody, painful, cross.
AS JESUS’ DISCIPLES, what we need to dwell on is how sinful men are—take a look at the world and see there’s a NEED FOR US TO REACH OUT IN SALVATION. Now, we know that humans can’t save anybody.
Why do you think there are insane asylums? They can’t deal with these people! Why do you think there are hospitals? and why do you think there are so many facilities out there to take care of humans’ problems? Why do you think there are prisons, and jails? Why do you think there are all these things? because MEN CANNOT SAVE MEN.
So, when you lose the focus of the cross, you’ve lost Jesus Christ the Lord; when you start preaching any other way than the ONE WAY found in the Bible, you are teaching false doctrine, heresy, and are leading the hearers to damnation.
Faith and Obedience
IN MY LAST MESSAGE, “Gift of Grace Pt. 2,” I left off talking about how grace and faith are connected, found in Romans 5:21. I went over points A and B, and now we’re going to talk about C and D, in What Saving Faith is.
C. “Faith includes obedience to Jesus Christ and His Word as a way of life inspired by our faith, by our gratitude to God, and by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.”
So, we all have to be coupled together in this work. You don’t do it yourself, and they don’t work on you without ‘you’ being involved: we work together with them for the regenerating power. It’s like a dead battery that needs to get a jump start. So, when we accept Christ, and the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, it jump starts our dead battery and we get a source of power; that regenerates the elements that at one time had power—a battery that once worked before the fall.
Adam and Eve were created by God; they were never born—they were created mature people, they already had the battery operating in them. But we were dead because of their sins, and our spirit was dead towards God. Our spirit needs to be regenerated, it’s just that simple. WE NEED TO BE BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE, WE NEED TO BE RESURRECTED. Actually, eternal life is resurrection life.
James Hasting’s Great Texts of the Bible comments: “To live this higher life is to be obedient to the word of God. Jesus, the author of Christian faith, lived from beginning to end, without deviation or exception, by the words proceeding from the mouth of God. In His passion-baptism He bore the penalty of the disobedience of the race, and in His resurrection He took again His life, that He might communicate it to sinful men, that in its energy they also might obey the law of God. He conquered at the last, as He conquered at the first, by obeying every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God; overcame by His human faith and obedience, and not by His Divine power; made Himself known in His highest glory to men, not by exempting Himself from the lot of humanity, but through a fellowship with their miseries.”
OBEDIENCE OF FAITH
“BUT NOW IS made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith” (Rom.16:26).
Ok, then in the article it says: “It is an obedience of faith (Romans 16:26), hence faith and obedience belong separately together;” you can’t separate them, they need to be together. “Saving faith without the commitment to sanctification is impossible.”
You have to want to be saved to get saved. Jesus doesn’t come along like Benny Hinn and throw a white coat on someone, they get knocked down (supposedly slain in the ‘spirit’), then they’re saved, but they didn’t even want it!
We need to love the Lord for what He did! There’s all kinds of weird things going on out there in church la-la land. In some statistics I read about Jimmy Swaggert ministries, 10,000 at one of his big meeting got saved; 6 months later, half those people have gone back, and only a year later only a handful were remained saved.
We’ve been to India, the Philippines, and other places where there are what we call “rice Christians:” you offer them a bag of rice for salvation, or some ministers even pay people to get ‘saved,’ so they can have numbers.
“I have been told that many of these ‘faith healers’ emphasize salvation. I don't think they emphasize salvation at all. Instead they put it on the end of their services like a caboose...Christ was delivered for our offenses. He was raised for our justification. Not until we are justified by faith in Christ can we be forgiven...I BELIEVE IN FAITH HEALING—NOT IN FAITH HEALERS—I know God can heal” (Thru the Bible Commentary with J. Vernon McGee).
Now, we all lose souls as we work in this harvest field, but to make such a big to-do over that is ridiculous, these big mega-ministries, and especially stunts you see on TV—televangelists throwing coats on people, and buckling their knees like they’re slain in the spirit. I have a video of Mr. Benny Hinn’s workers—two of these big brutes, one on each side kicking his knees back where he would bend them, and then throw him on the floor.
That’s not faith, that’s stupid asinine idiocy—that you have to do that to make it look like you have some power of God. We’ve seen more power of God at a little prayer booth, than we do watching those TV shows, when it’s all fakery and put on.
Do people really get saved? Do they really love the Lord? Are they really taught what salvation is? Do they really get the REAL THING? Are they really born again? Are they really regenerated? Do they really have a vision? Are they really inspired? Or, are they just watching a good show because the evangelist is popular? There is so much of this stuff going on. What’s wrong with the market place, and what’s wrong with getting to the sinners in the streets? That’s what Jesus did!
What’s wrong with just meeting people face to face and telling them about Jesus Christ?
Faith and Love
D. FAITH INCLUDES a heart-felt personal devotion and attachment to Jesus Christ that expresses itself in trust, love, gratitude, and loyalty towards Him. Do you have that?
I am also talking about faith in terms of an attitude one has. Ultimately, true faith cannot properly be distinguished from love. So faith and love are very similar things. If you love the Lord, you’re going to have faith in the Lord, because those attributes work together. It is a personal activity of sacrifice and self-giving directed towards Christ.
Today we have Churchianity, not Christianity. It’s hard to find people that really love the Lord, really sacrifice—that have a real and loving faith towards the saviour. And even most preachers are this way: they think working for the salvation of souls is beneath them. ***
We’ve met this attitude in all the places we have been and we’ve been a lot of places. We have found that the most critical people are the church people. So, you wonder why I am anti-church? it’s for that very reason—they have lost their salvation long ago.
In Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, it says “Vessel: ...5. Something containing.
Vessels of wrath, in Scripture, are such persons as are to receive the full effects of God's wrath and indignation, as a punishment for their sins.
Vessels of mercy, are persons who are to receive the effects of God's mercy, or future happiness and glory.
Chosen vessels, MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL, AS APPOINTED TO BEAR THE GLAD NEWS OF SALVATION TO OTHERS; called also earthen vessels, on account of their weakness and frailty.” The glad news of the Gospel is meant to be borne by all true Christians, no matter what age or time we are in.
SO, THERE ARE hungry people, and you can’t afford to water this down and say: “You don’t really need that messy cross business, just believe in yourself, muster up some more self esteem, and philosophize the Gospel.” You don’t need to philosophize the Gospel. They need the good old blood upon them. They need to repeat the sinner’s prayer and get them saved. And what they do with it is between them and God.
The Biblical Illustrator clearly points this out:
“PREACHING THE GOSPEL...We might preach the sciences from our pulpits, but Agassiz would beat us at that. We might philosophize, but Emerson would beat us at that. But he who with faith and prayer takes hold of the Gospel sickle, however weak his natural arm, shall gather deep swarths of golden grain.”
People trying to soft-pedal the Gospel in an attempt to make it less messy is an ongoing thing. IT IS A BLOODY SACRIFICE THAT JESUS GAVE, AND IT’S ALWAYS GOING TO BE THAT WAY BECAUSE THE LIFE IS IN THE BLOOD. Amen.