Sola Gratia – Grace Alone For Salvation

sunshine

The Following is the transcript of my recent sermon on Sola Gratia – Grace Alone.

3 Types of Grace:

Common Grace

God shows kindness to all.

Saving Grace

Our topic today.

Sanctifying Grace

Gods Help and Glory in our everyday blessings and victories over sin.

What is Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)?

Grace alone for salvation or

Simply put–when talking about grace it’s

Salvation as a gift of God.

The church needs to remind ourselves of the essential doctrines of the faith– Founded in Sola scriptura– or the Scriptures alone.

These are the distinctions that set us apart from every other faith system on the planet.

Why?

Because they are founded in God, not man.

They are otherworldly and beyond the reasoning of man.

They are godly.

When we talk about…

-Justification by faith alone (Sola Fide)

-The Scriptures alone being the revealed source of truth and revelation of God’s redemptive plan (Sola Scriptura) and

-The grace of God alone for salvation (Sola Gratia).

We are talking about God sharing Himself with us. These attributes and realities are found in Him, not us. Gods Grace is an attribute of God, being shared with us. A true gift that cannot be found anywhere else. No one has it but God himself and if He does not share it with us, we are rightfully dead where we stand in our sins forever.

We are the beggars, and He has the goods.

When we talk about these essential doctrines, we’re talking about things which we would not have known had God not, in his kindness, that is, in His Grace, revealed them to us through his Holy Scriptures.

The gospel is the kindness and grace of God for undeserving man.

God did not have to supply His grace to us in saving sinners.

This kind of grace and kindness is an attribute of God which He has decided within Himself to share with us.

We would not have it (that is His Grace in saving us from ourselves – Daily!) unless He moved Himself to love us in this way–that is the gospel–giving us of Himself, that is His Son to stand in our place and receive the wrath of God, poured out in full upon His body, becoming the curse of sin, that we had earned through our unrighteousness, sin and willing rebellion against Himself.

He laid down His life and we became the undeserving benefactors of His reward – Eternal Life!

Only the righteous may stand in His presence, and Christ is the righteousness of God, and through faith in Christ alone, have we been covered (justified) in His righteousness.

God is freely (graciously) Justifying Sinners Through Faith in Jesus Christ and What He has achieved for us in our stead.

This is solely and purely an act of God by his choosing not ours. We do not have that kind of righteousness within ourselves–to be rebels and yet choose righteousness.

God had to, Himself, intervene and choose us as recipients of this wonderful and amazing gift of God’s grace for salvation through his son.

That is why the Scriptures ascribe salvation as the act of God alone,

John 15:16

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit

John 10

“… but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,[a] is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

Ephesians 1:4-5

“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will..”

John 6:37

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

2 These 2:13

But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

And the psalmist:

Psalm 51:12

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

My Salvation is YOURS! not mine.

It is not my doing.

I did not, could not earn it.

I could not accomplish it.

It is a gift from You, oh Lord, granted by Your Kindness to guilty sinners.

This is foundational to our understanding of Soli deo Gloria:

To God alone be the Glory.

How can we give Him Glory if we ascribe one iota of our salvation to our own doing or earning?

Can we share His Glory?

Isaiah 51:

1Listen to me, you that follow after righteousness, you that seek the LORD: look to the rock from where you are hewn, and to the hole of the pit from where you are dig. 2Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah that bore you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him…

5My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and my arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait on me, and on my arm shall they trust. 6Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. 7Listen to me, you that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear you not the reproach of men, neither be you afraid of their revilings. 8For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation…

12I, even I, am he that comforts you: who are you, that you should be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; 13And forget the LORD your maker, that has stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?…

15But I am the LORD your God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is his name. 16And I have put my words in your mouth, and I have covered you in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, You are my people.

All these things help us obtain a bigger view of God than is popularly taught in our culture.

Though Paul and his readers could not comprehend completely God’s sovereignty, still he understood this, that God alone is righteous and holy and sovereign and he can and will perform his will, his way, for his own sake and glory.

Romans 9:20,21

“But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”

Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”

Who are we to question God?

His ways?

Who He saves or how He saves?

We are simply recipients of His Grace and our response is to be that of Worship and praise and adoration toward Him for His gift of Amazing Grace.

We must see God on the throne Sovereignly (holy/righteous), then we must rightfully see ourselves and our eternal state before this Holy and Righteous Creator God.

God Created all things and He did so beautifully.

He declared that all was good.

And man was in fellowship face to face with God – instructed to not eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, yet woman tempted and deceived by “the deceiver – satan” disobeyed and ate, then offering it to the man (adam), he also ate, yet his was a deliberate act of willful rebellion. He transgressed or sinned against His Friend, His God – Creator and mans nature has never been the same. Though he once chose to walk in the garden with God, now he had chosen to walk in his own ways, whatever the consequence and as a result, his heart would not choose righteousness unless an act of Grace on Gods part would lead him back to God.

Here is our human condition before God: Romans 3

“…both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,

10

as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;

11

no one understands;

no one seeks for God.

12

All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;

no one does good,

not even one.”

13

“Their throat is an open grave;

they use their tongues to deceive.”

“The venom of asps is under their lips.”

14

“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”

15

“Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16

in their paths are ruin and misery,

17

and the way of peace they have not known.”

18

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being[c] will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

It is through Scripture Alone that we come to know who we are and what we are in need of. We need God.

Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

And so God intervened (though He did not have to), promising a savior who would once and forever conquer deception, sin and death. God had set Himself on a mission to reveal His kindness through patience and long-suffering – showing us how good and wise and glorious and loving He is and has been to us.

He spoke through Noah and Enoch and Revealed Himself and made covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and David.

He spoke through Judges, Prophets, Kings and Priests until He finally stepped into the timeline and spoke as Himself – Savior.

He who had once operated as creator, would now become savior to all who would believe.

If we are to understand grace, we must understand God as Holy, Sovereign, Righteous Judge.

If we are to receive Gods gift of Grace, and experience its Joy as a result, we must understand our desperate need for saving grace because of our sin and its deadly consequences.

Christ had come to die in our stead.

To take our place.

To bring a once and final acceptable offering to God of a perfect righteous spotless sacrifice (the lamb), in order to appease the wrath and justice of God toward sinners.

John Said it perfectly as he saw Jesus approaching:

““Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Who else could offer themselves as such an offering but God Himself in Christ.

Revelation 5

1Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

6Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spiritsa of God sent out into all the earth. 7He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll

and to open its seals,

because you were slain,

and with your blood you purchased for God

persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,

and they will reignb on the earth.”

11Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength

and honor and glory and praise!”

13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb

be praise and honor and glory and power,

for ever and ever!”

14The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

No one is worthy but Christ.

No man can stand before the presence of God except the God who became man in order that we might be made holy in His eyes through the sacrifice of the lamb of God – Jesus Christ.

This is Justification.

Made through Christ, Just as if we had never sinned in the eyes of a holy and righteous judge.

This is the love and Grace of God toward sinners, that He would choose us, sinners to be His bride. Not because of our righteousness, but because of Christ’s Righteousness for us in our place.

Romans 3

“21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Ephesians 2

2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

The reformers rightly defined grace as:

Gods Unmerited Favor

Gods

Riches

At

Christs

Expense

You never earned or deserved it, don’t you dare try now to earn or be deserving of it.

It began in the heart of God as a gift of grace and it will always be that – Gods unmerited favor.

You were never worthy and yet God chose to save you.

Simply accept and enjoy the gift.

Your only worth now is through Christ and Christ alone.

You are not and will never be your own savior.

Sola Christos – Christ alone is Savior.

END.

For more from Jeremiah, Check out his podcast here: The 3M Show

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– Bloody God – and – Undeserved Grace-

1 Peter 2:24,25

 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

How lost we must have been, that to God Himself, it seemed necessary to clothe himself in His own creation that we might be bought back; redeemed. Purchased by Gods blood! God bled. He subjected Himself to pain. “For you were straying like sheep…” I love the gentleness of Gods mercy displayed here in this verse. He equates us, His children to sheep. Gentle and frail. Unable to fend for themselves in the face of their adversaries; ours being sin and its eternal reward. Scattered we were, unable to defend, vindicate, or rescue ourselves. All we could do is run lost in vain. We were in need of a Shepherd. One who would sacrifice His time, energies, sleep, sweat, blood, and I must say, even His life to protect that which belonges to His Master: you and me. And a shepherd we have. We got the best. The Master Himself became our Shepherd. No one cares more about His sheep than the Master. The sheep are His posession and prize. They are of great value in His eyes. But must i say, they are dumb and ever so needy. They would perish without His care. Certain death is inevitable without the Shepherds care.

We are His sheep and we had gone astray, and death had become inevitable. We are those spoken of here: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” And what a horrific way! The end of our way is death, and that eternal. We are those about whom God has spoken: “[There is] none who does good, No, not one.” “They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” “There is none righteous, no, not one.” If this is us, than “God! Who can stand before you!?” Who can dwell in your presence!?” “Who will You welcome into your glory!?” and as if heaven stands still awaiting His perfection-answer…. God Speaks in His great justice: “There are none… no… Not ONE!”
We are the none, the no-ones. And to the no-ones God in His great mercy and grace has sent to us Someone; namely, Jesus Christ. And just as was spoken of us, to this one it is spoken: “and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” This is the one who will be ushered into the throne room of God. This is the one who will sit on the throne of God forever, judging grace-saved-sinners as perfected and holy by His blood. This is the one who has taken the punishment that was for man because God became man that man might come near to God. So near that God would dwell in man. Making man His temple. And just as the sacrifice (Jesus Christ) was raised to the throne in Gods presence, so must we, in Christ, become raised with Him, sharing in His risen glory. This is possible only through God’s grace. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” Receive His healing afresh today and become drowned in His awesome grace, “For you were straying like sheep, but now returned to the shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
Amen

Transformed In The Presence of God – PART 2

The last we spoke, our ordinary man, Isaiah stood in awe and fear before the throne of God. The posts were shaken, the room filled with smoke, and the seraphim cried, “holy holy holy!”. Wow! Can you remember the mood: quite serious, fearful, and humble. If you did some homework and read the entirety of the chapter you would have heard the rest of the prophets cry: ” I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips…”

I am a man; defiled, is Isaiah’s cry; I am a nasty sinner; in our own plain language. Forget any temptation to believe that you have been reading a fairy tale or bedtime story. It is the trickery of time and the craftiness of our enemy to dull our faith by convincing us to read through the Bible as if it were only some book, when the Lord would have us experience Him through its true and living words and events. Do not be fooled, Isaiah was a real man: flesh and blood, body and spirit; full of emotion and feeling… just like you and me. A real man, before the presence of the Almighty! Now, maybe you can relate in some small way, at least in your humanity: desperate for redemption; longing for peace; needy for salvation; but lost in sin and among a people gross with the like. I know I can relate. But relation does not stop there…

Though lost in the deepest pits of despair; tainted by every sin imaginable, a man humbled himself and like Job, repented in dust and ashes (job 42:6). Though relatable to our hero, I am not talking about Isaiah anymore, I am talking about me. Can you relate? Have you been there? I have learned something great from the Lord; that He, in His awesomeness can create beauty from ashes. The best place on earth I have ever been, has been on my knees, being resuscitated, filled and most importantly, forgiven. Though men fall down as dead before the presence of The King, They shall be revived, called, and empowered to go! That’s why I said above that relation does not stop at fear and trembling, but like Isaiah, our souls have been touched by hot coals and our spirits brought to life by His life giving spirit. In our humility, we have been forgiven all our sins and by the power and glory of HIS life giving grace we may now enter into the most holy place with great boldness (Heb 4:16), knowing that our great forgiver desires to be our able and willing empowerer.

Dear friend, maybe you feel powerless? maybe you feel sinful, wicked, and completely unworthy? Maybe you have fallen before the Lord and feel unable to get back up? condemned? Maybe you have been drowning in legalism and pharisitical-religious-idioticy (i have been there)? Are you face to the ground and overwhelmed? Allow me to encourage you to stop listening to the voice of condemnation. Stop striving in your own flesh. I implore you, stay where you are, strive no more. Remain face to the ground. Be quiet. Be still and hear the voice of the Almighty calling you by name… He hears your cry and He sees your state. He comes to you out of the dust and ashes, hot coal in hand. Allow Him to purify your soul. He will cleanse you of all sin and wash you from all uncleanness. The rumors are true: our God is a consuming fire. Rest in that fire and be cleansed for eternity.

Amazing… The same God to be feared is the God who forgives… The God who humbles is the God who exalts… When we are weak He is strong… When we are faithless, He remains faithful… Though we be a weak, sinful people, He in His love and Grace offers strength and purity. Though we be ordinary, He is a God of the extraordinary. Its seems to me, that our God is in the business of taking ordinary men and women and empowering them to do the seemingly impossible. May i challenge you? His business has not gone bankrupt! He is the same yesterday today and forever. Its time to get over ourselves and to forget about our insufficiencies. He has given us grace upon grace! Where are the redeemed who will trust in faith that our God will be faithful and strong on their behalf just as He has been since Genesis 1:1? Do you not have the strength? the time? the words? the status? the list goes on… He has more than enough of all the above and more. In His grace He offers the Strength that you do not deserve. He gives the power by HIS Spirit that you do not have nor deserve and so on and so forth. This is His grace toward you daily. Though you be a single man prostrate on the floor of the temple of God, He will raise you up, forgive you your sin and call you out….

“who will go for Me? Who shall I send?”

The Lord, He calls. Who will answer His call?

“Lord, Help us to remember Your strength and favor toward us and to remember that we are only men. It is not by our strength but by Your Spirit. Thank You Lord. Amen.”