Summary: Grace refers to God lavishing us with free gifts, His undeserved and unearned favor. His gifts include salvation, forgiveness of sins, endurance, strengthening and encouragement, the virtues he develops in us, and a host of other gracious gifts.
By Grace Alone
1. There is a joke on the net that makes a good point about salvation by grace.
A man dies and goes to heaven. The admittance angel meets him at the pearly gates. The angel says, "Here's how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you've done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item. If you reach 100 points, you get in."
"Okay," the man says, "I was faithfully married to the same woman for 50 years."
"That's wonderful," says the angel, "that's worth one point!"
"One point?" he says. "Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service."
"Terrific!" says the angel, "that's certainly worth a point."
"One point? Golly. How about this: I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans."
"Fantastic, that's good for one half a point more," he says.
"Half a point?" the man cries, "At this rate the only way I get into heaven is by the grace of God!"
“Now you understand!” replied the angel.
2. Of course the problem with this joke is that you need to understand and receive God’s grace before you die. No second chances. We saw in Hebrews 9:27, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”
3. Five crucial truths reclaimed by the Reformers form the basis for what we call the 5 Solas (review). Today we are looking at Sola Gratia.
Main Idea: Grace refers to God lavishing us with free gifts, His undeserved and unearned favor. His gifts include salvation, forgiveness of sins, endurance, strengthening and encouragement, the virtues he develops in us, and a host of other gracious gifts (including life itself).
I. COMMON Grace
• Spoiled children think they are entitled to whatever they want.
• We may tend to view God from a viewpoint of entitlement, but we are not entitled. God owes us nothing. Nada. Zilch. We are recipients of His grace.
A. These are gifts given to MANKIND and living things.
Matthew 5:44-45, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
B. Life itself is a gift of His GRACE.
I Peter 3:7, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
C. God’s grace should lead us to SEEK Him.
Acts 17:24-28, “ The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
Romans 2:4, “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”
II. We Are Saved By God’s SAVING Grace in Contrast to Our Works.
• When we talk about Sola Gratia, it is this second point — God’s saving grace as it relates to salvation.
A. Human PRIDE resents that we cannot merit our own salvation; we want to be considered WORTHY of salvation.
James 4:6, “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
1. A significant part of what we call “repentance” is HUMBLING ourselves.
• Some people are very good to help others, but, when they need help, they are not willing to receive it. Why? Pride.
2. We must accept that we are spiritually BANKRUPT and have nothing to offer.
B. God’s saving grace is IRRESISTABLE to those whom God has prepared.
John 6:37, 44, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out…No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
C. The atoning death of Jesus was the means by which God became FREE to offer salvation by grace.