Salvation by Grace
An Indian and a white man were deeply moved by the same sermon. That very night the Indian received the Savior, but for days the white man refused to accept Christ. At last he too repented and enjoyed the sweet peace of having his sins forgiven. Later he asked the Indian, "Why did it take me so long, while you responded right away?" "My brother, " he replied, "I can best explain it by this little story: At one time a rich prince wished to give each of us a new coat. You shook your head and replied, 'I don't think so; mine looks good enough.' When he made the same offer to me, I looked at my old blanket and said, 'This is good for nothing,' and I gratefully accepted the beautiful garment. You wouldn't give up your own righteousness. But knowing I had no goodness of my own, I immediately received the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness." ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
Salvation by Grace
It's Maundy Thursday, 1990 and thousands of Philippinos are re-enacting the last agony of Jesus. Barefoot, over the hot stone streets in scorching sun, they are dragging heavy wooden crosses, flogging their bare backs bloody with glass-studded whips, grizzly Lenten rituals in which at least a dozen people will be nailed to crosses, seeking through pain and suffering, redemption. It is tradition, so in a Moslem shrine in Bangledesh, a woman worshipper offering prayers extended her arms toward one of the crocodiles which live there; it bit off her hand and swallowed it.
People continue to do so many odd,
self-humiliating acts, not understanding how to just receive the free gift of
eternal life. Praise God, Jesus paid it all! -- Associated Press,
The believers who seeks to live the Christian life through self-effort is like the man who, in attempting to sail across the Atlantic Ocean, found his boat becalmed for days. Finally, frustrated by his lack of progress, he tried to make his stalled boat move by pushing against the mast. Through strenuous efforts, he succeeded in making the boat rock and so created a few small waves on the otherwise smooth sea. Seeing the waves and feeling the rocking of the boat, he assumed that he was making progress and so continued his efforts. Of course, although he exerted himself a great deal, he actually got nowhere.
So it is in the Christian life. The source of the Christian’s strength lies in God’s grace, not in exertions of will-power, or in efforts of discipline, or any other self-effort. ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
If you offered to give one dollar to a man whom you knew needed one hundred dollars and if he rejected your one dollar gift, you would doubtless consider his refusal sufficient grounds for declining to give him further assistance. If, on the other hand, the needy man accepted the one dollar gift gratefully, you might try to give him more. The dollar would be insufficient to meet his need, but if refused it would be sufficient to condemn him. That dollar is like common grace which is not able to save but which is able to condemn, if rejected.— Charles C. Ryrie
Example of Grace
An old Indian, after living many years in sin, was led to Christ by a missionary. Friends asked him to explain the change in his life. Reaching down, he picked up a little worm and placed it on a pile of leaves. Then, touching a match to the leaves, he watched them smolder and burst into flames. As the flames worked their way up to the center where the worm lay, the old chief suddenly plunged his hand into the center of the burning pile and snatched out the worm. Holding the worm gently in his hand, he gave this testimony to the grace of God: “Me…that worm!” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
Example of Grace
During the Spanish-American War,
Theodore Roosevelt came to Clara Barton of the Red Cross to buy some supplies
for his sick and wounded men. His request was refused.
“Just ask for them, Colonel,” said Barton.
“Oh,” said Roosevelt, “then I do ask for them.” He got them at once through grace, not through purchase. ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
Example of Grace
Dr. H. A. Ironside in his book 《In the Heavenlies》tells the story of an
attempted assassination of the first Queen Elizabeth of
The would-be assassin realized that her case, humanly speaking, was hopeless. She threw herself down on her knees and pleaded and begged the queen as a woman to have compassion on her, a woman, and to show her grace. Queen Elizabeth looked at her coldly and quietly said, “If I show you grace, what promise will you make for the future?” The woman looked up and said, “Grace that hath conditions, grace that is fettered by precautions, is not grace at all.” Queen Elizabeth caught the idea in a moment and said, “You are right; I pardon you of my grace.” And they led her away, a free woman.
History tells us that from that moment Queen Elizabeth had no more faithful, devoted servant than that woman who had intended to take her life. That is exactly the way the grace of God works in the life of an individual—he or she becomes a faithful servant of God. ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
An elderly woman was standing in the checkout line ready to pay for her merchandise: a quart of milk and a loaf of bread. She opened her purse. No money was there, neither was her checkbook. As she was about ask the clerk to put her things back, suddenly a gentle voice said, “It looks like that is your lunch.” A gentleman was standing right behind her, smiling. “Don’t worry,” he continued. “Today I want to treat you. Take your things with you.” Then the man paid for her merchandise and his own. A week passed by, and the woman came back to the store. The checker knew about the incident and recognized her. She approached the woman and whispered, “Ma’am, maybe you’d be interested to know. That gentleman’s check—it bounced!” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
Grace vs. Justice and Mercy
Grace is getting what we do not deserve.
Justice is getting what we do deserve.
Mercy is not getting what we do deserve.
── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
Grace and Law
An Indian pastor in Oklahoma was going to a pastors’ conference. He went to the train station and caught a train to a mansion where the conference was being held. The theme of the conference was “Law and Grace.” The Indian pastor listened intently to the lengthy theological discussions and arguments presented by each seminar leader. Finally, in a group-discussion period, he said, “It seems to me the train station we all came in at demonstrates law, and this house we are meeting in, grace. At the station was a sign ‘Do not spit,’ yet the men there did. Here there is no sign, yet no one spits. ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
Grace and Law
The Law says, “Do this and live.” It commands but gives us neither feet nor hands.
Grace bids us to fly and gives us wings. ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
While attending Wheaton College, one of my roommates, Kimberly Long (Wyckoff), and I would sing "His Loving Kindness" while we walked the six blocks to campus in the morning. In the evenings when we walked home, we sang heartily, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." The idea came to us from Psalm 92:2: "To show forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night."
Ruth Bell Graham, Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, 1991, Focus on the Family Publishing, p. 104.
During the building of the Golden Gate Bridge over San Francisco Bay, construction fell badly behind schedule because several workers had accidentally fallen from the scaffolding to their deaths. Engineers and administrators could find no solution to the costly delays. Finally, someone suggested a gigantic net be hung under the bridge to catch any who fell. Finally in spite of the enormous cost, the engineers opted for the net. After it was installed, progress was hardly interrupted. A worker or two fell into the net but were saved. Ultimately, all the time lost to fear was regained by replacing fear with faith in the net. As we paid nothing for God's eternal love and nothing for the Son of His love, and nothing for His Spirit and our grace and faith, and nothing for our eternal rest...What an astonishing thought it will be to think of the unmeasurable difference between our deservings and our receivings. O, how free was all this love, and how free is this enjoyed glory...So then let "Deserved" be written on the floor of hell but on the door of heaven and life.
Richard Baxter, The Free Gift.
You're worried about permissiveness--about the way the preaching of grace seems to say it's okay to do all kinds of terrible things as long as you just walk in afterward and take the free gift of God's forgiveness. . .While you and I may be worried about seeming to give permission, Jesus apparently wasn't. He wasn't afraid of giving the prodigal son a kiss instead of a lecture, a party instead of probation; and he proved that by bringing in the elder brother at the end of the story and having him raise pretty much the same objections you do. He's angry about the party. He complains that his father is lowering standards and ignoring virtue--that music, dancing, and a fatted calf are, in effect , just so many permissions to break the law. And to that, Jesus has the father say only one thing: "Cut that out! We're not playing good boys and bad boys any more. Your brother was dead and he's alive again. The name of the game from now on is resurrection, not bookkeeping.
Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon and Three.
When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day's pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award--yet receives such a gift anyway--that is a good picture of God's unmerited favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God.
G.W. Knight, Clip-Art Features for Church Newsletters, p. 53.
Ⅰ. God is able to make all Saving Grace to abound toward us, in its sufficiency to deliver us at all points. “ God is able to make all grace abound towards you “ (2 Cor.9:8).
Ⅱ. All Sanctifying Grace in its hallowing all our being. “Seen the grace of God ……exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart” ( Acts 11:23).
Ⅲ. All strengthening Grace in its empowering us to delight in suffering. “ My grace is sufficient for thee……I glory in mine infirmities ” (2 Cor.12:9).
Ⅳ. All Sustaining Grace to uphold us at all times. “ God is able to make all frace abound…always” (2 Cor.98).
Ⅴ. All Stablishing Grace in making us steadfast. “ It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace ” ( Heb.13:9).
Ⅵ. All Serving Grace to enable us to minister. “ And His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured ” (1.Cor.15:10).
Ⅶ. All Supplying Grace to meet every need. “ And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
Ⅰ. The grace that is in Christ Jesus is a saving grace. “ By grace ye are saved” (Eph.2:5).
Ⅱ. The grace that is in Christ Jesus is a sufficient grace. “ My grace is sufficient for thee” (11. Cor.12:9).
Ⅲ. The grace that is in Christ Jesus is a stimulating grace. “ By the grace of God I am what I am” (1. Cor.15:10).
Ⅳ. The grace that is in Christ Jesus is a serving grace. “Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably” (Heb.12:28).
Ⅴ. The grace that is in Christ Jesus is a stablishing grace. “ It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace” (Hebrews 13:9).
Ⅵ. The grace that is in Christ Jesus is a sacrificing grace. “ Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He because poor” (11. Cor.8:9)
Ⅶ. The grace that is in Christ Jesus is a supplying grace. “ Of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
Ⅰ. Justified grace. “ Justified freely by His grace” (Rom.3:24).
Ⅱ. Standing in grace. “ This grace wherein we stand” (Rom.5:2).
Ⅲ. Saved by grace. “ By grace ye are saved” (Eph.2:5).
Ⅳ. Elected by grace. “ A remnant according to the election of grace” (Rom.11:5).
Ⅴ. Strengthened by grace. “ My grace is sufficient……My strength is made perfect” (11. Cor.12:9).
Ⅵ. Working by grace. “ I laboured……yet not I, but the grace of God” (1. Cor.15:10).
Ⅶ. Growing in grace. “ Grow in grace” (11. Peter 3:18).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
“ I WILLS” OF GRACE.
God’s action is grace is seen in the Gospel. Under the law it was “ Thou shalt,” but under grace it is “ I WILL.” The following seven “ I wills” of the New Testament illustrate the action of grace:--
Ⅰ. The “ I will” of forgiveness (Heb.10:17).
Ⅱ. The “ I will” of cleansing (Mark 1:41).
Ⅲ. The “ I will” of rest (Matt.11:28).
Ⅳ. The “ I will” of security (John11:37).
Ⅴ. The “ I will” of impression (Heb.10:16).
Ⅵ. The “ I will” of service (Matt.4:19).
Ⅶ. The “ I will” of indwelling （11.Cor.6:16）.
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
"GRACE AND THE CHRISTIAN"
1. There is a word that conveys wonderful hope and comfort to the
a. The word is "grace"
b. It is a word that Paul loved to use
1) Every epistle that he wrote (with the possible exception of
Hebrews), begins and ends with mention of this word
2) E.g., 1 Th 1:1; 5:28
2. What does this word actually mean?
a. How is it used in the N. T. scriptures?
b. What important things should we keep in mind concerning "grace"?
[In this study, we shall spend a few moments focusing our attention on
this wonderful word, and its relationship to the Christian. Let's
begin by noticing..]
I. THE DEFINITION OF "GRACE"
A. THAT WHICH GIVES JOY, PLEASURE, DELIGHT...
1. This is the original idea of the Greek word "charis"
2. It is used in the N.T. in this way in reference to SPEECH...
a. The words of Jesus were spoken with grace - Lk 4:22
b. The words of the Christian are to impart grace to the
hearers - Ep 4::29; Co 4:6
B. GOOD-WILL, LOVINGKINDNESS, FAVOR...
1. In this way, it is used ...
a. Of the kindness of a master towards his inferiors or
b. And especially of God towards men
2. THAYER points out that:
a. "CHARIS contains the idea of kindness which bestows upon
one what he has not deserved."
b. "The NT writers use CHARIS preeminently of that kindness by
which God bestows favors even upon the ill-deserving, and
grants to sinners the pardon of their offenses, and bids
them accept of eternal salvation through Christ." - e.g.,
3. It is this particular definition of grace that prompts us to
think of it most often as "unmerited favor"
OR CONDITION IN WHICH ONE ENJOYS GOD'S FAVOR... SPIRITUAL STATE
1. When one accepts God's grace, they are in a "state of grace"
2. Cf. Ro 5:1-2; 1 Pe 5:12
D. AN EXPRESSION OF GRATITUDE FOR FAVOR BESTOWED...
1. E.g., 1 Ti 1:12 where the English word is "thank" ("I thank
2. This is what is meant when people ask someone to "say grace"
before eating a meal
[Such are the main ways the word GRACE is used in the NT. In connection
with this word, there are some things that Christians should always
keep in mind...]
II. GRACE AND THE CHRISTIAN
A. WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE!
1. Salvation is first, foremost, and always a matter of grace!
- Ep 2:5-8
a. God doesn't owe us anything
b. What we deserve is eternal damnation, because all are
sinners - Ro 3:23; 6:
c. Salvation is a gift, which God in lovingkindness offers to
man - Ro 6:23b; Ti 3:3-7
2. No matter what God may call upon us to do in order to receive
His grace, when we do those things (cf. believe, repent,
confess Jesus, be baptized)...
a. In no way can we ever say that we earn or merit salvation
b. We are still "unworthy servants" - cf. Lk 17:10
3. We must forever remember that only by God's grace is salvation
B. GOD'S GRACE REQUIRES HOLY LIVING!
1. Some people reason that since we are saved by grace, we are
free to do whatever we wish
2. Yet Paul wrote that the "grace of God...teaches us" to:
a. Deny ungodliness and worldly lusts
b. Live soberly, righteously and godly
c. Look for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of Jesus
Christ - cf. Ti 2:11-13
3. As he continues, Paul explain why Jesus in grace gave Himself
a. That He might redeem us from every lawless deed
b. That He might purify for Himself His own special people,
zealous for good works - cf. Ti 2:14
4. The unmerited favor of God is no excuse to go on sinning!
C. HOLY LIVING REQUIRES GOD'S GRACE!
1. To live "soberly, righteously and godly" requires the grace of
2. We cannot do it on our own, but with God's help we can!
a. He works in us to do His good will - Ph 2:12-13
b. By His strength we can do all the things He desires of us
- Ph 4:13
D. WE MUST GROW IN GRACE!
1. This is especially true if we are going to live holy lives
2. Peter commands us to grow in grace - cf. 2 Pe 3:18
3. Dear brother or sister, it is not enough just to experience
God's grace in forgiving our sins
a. God has so much more to share with us, both in this life
and the life to come - Ep 2:7
b. This explains Paul's salutations and benedictions - cf.
1 Th 1:1; 5:28
4. We can grow in grace through:
a. Heeding the Word of God - Ac 20:32
b. Drawing near to God in prayer - He 4:16
E. WE CAN RECEIVE GOD'S GRACE IN VAIN!
1. Paul pleaded with the Corinthians that they might not receive
God's grace in vain - 2 Co 6:1
2. Having received God's grace, it is possible for it to have
been in vain!
a. By seeking justification for sin elsewhere - Ga 5:4
1) In the immediate context, Paul has reference to the Law
2) But if we seek to be justified by any system of
salvation by works alone, we will fall from grace!
b. By using God's grace as an excuse for licentiousness - Ju 4
1) Some were using grace as an excuse for shameless
2) And yet we have seen that God's grace requires holy
living - 2 Ti 2:11-14
c. By willful and impenitent sinning, thereby despising the
Spirit of grace - cf. He 10:26-31
1) For such a person there no longer remains a sacrifice of
2) Only a fearful expectation of judgment
3) Why? Because through such willful and impenitent sin
a) Tramples the Son of God underfoot
b) Counts the blood of the covenant (i.e., Jesus' blood)
by which he was sanctified (i.e., saved) a common
c) Insults the Spirit of grace
1. What a terrible thing it would be, to have received God's grace in
a. To have received God's grace at one point
b. But then to make it all vain (useless)
2. But it is just as terrible...
a. Not to receive it all!
b. Or having received it, not to grow in it!
3. So I encourage you all, in the words of the writer of Hebrews:
"look(ing) diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of
God." - He 12:15
"let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with
reverence and godly fear." - He 12:28
"For it is good that the heart be established by grace..."
- He 13:9
"Grace be with you all. Amen" - He 13:25
Have you received the wonderful grace of God in your life?