Summary: This second message of the Trinity explores the united work of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in salvation
2 CORINTHIANS CH 13 V 14
The story’s told of a beggar who stopped a lawyer on the street in a large American city and asked him for a quarter. Taking a long, hard look into the man’s unshaven face, the lawyers asked, ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ It turned out that the two men had been college classmates. Without any further question the lawyer wrote a check for $100. ‘Here, take this and get a new start. I don’t care what’s happened in the past, it’s the future that counts.’ He then hurried on. The beggar was so grateful as he walked to a bank nearby. But stopping at the door, he saw through the glass well-dressed clerks and the spotlessly clean interior. Then he looked at his filthy rags. He thought, ‘They won’t take this from me. They’ll swear that I forged it,’ so he turned away. Next day the two men met again. The Lawyer asked the beggar what he’d done with his check. Had he gamble it away? Drunk it up?’ ‘No,’ said the beggar as he pulled it out of his dirty shirt pocket and told why he hadn’t cashed it. ‘Listen, friend,’ said the lawyer. ‘What makes that check good is not your clothes or appearance but my signature. Go on, cash it!’
Last week looking at 2 COR 13:14 ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all’ we explored the Bible’s basic teaching about the Trinity, that is, the fact that God is the One and only true God who exists as three distinct persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
This morning we’re going to explore how rich the salvation is that God the Father planned; God the Son purchased God the Spirit puts us in possession of: the wonderful check God puts in our hand and tells us to cash to His glory.
GOD THE SON SAVES
An Awesome Grace
‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.’ There are a number of big, hugely significant words in the Bible, and one of them is this word ‘grace.’ Put simply: if you don’t understand grace you can’t understand how God saves us. How can we explain it?
When Bible teacher Jerry Bridges was a boy in East Texas his family lived near railway lines. Homeless men or ‘hoboes’ often rode the railcars from town to town. Now and again a hoboe would knock at the front door and ask for food. Without asking any questions, Jerry Bridges’ mother would go prepare a meal for him. She gave it freely, without requiring the man to do any work in payment.
Some one might say that this was an act of grace. Now, whilst it was certainly a generous act it didn’t qualify as an act of grace in the Bible sense. To make the story explain true grace Jerry Bridges added an extra fictional element to it: ‘One day a hobo shows up at our front door, again asking for food. This time, however, mother recognizes him as the man who had robbed our home some weeks before. Instead of going to the phone to call the police, she again goes to the kitchen and prepares a plate of food. She gives it to him - no questions asked - no work required.’
The new factor makes all the difference: not only is there a lack of merit but more importantly there is now the presence of demerit. The hobo not only doesn’t deserve the food, in the sense of not having worked for it; he actually deserves to be arrested and imprisoned.
You see, grace in the Bible is God not dealing with us as our disobedience deserves but showing us His free favour. We deserve to be condemned eternally for our wrongdoing, yet instead God forgives - to be excluded from His life and joy; yet instead God’s receives us into His Kingdom - to be left in spiritual darkness, blindness and sin’s power, yet instead God freely brings light, sight and holy power to live for Him.
How is it God can possibly act like this toward us? Because of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. He gave up heaven’s glory for the sinful dump that we’ve made the earth for our sakes. Was there anything to commend us to Him; to warrant that He should do something for us? Not at all. It was all of His free favour! 2 COR 8:9 ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.’
(1) How we should be lost in wonder at the truly awesome grace that brought Jesus into the world, laying down His glory and humbling Himself to exalt us; making Himself poor to make us rich. In a book called, ‘Speechless’ Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman and his Pastor Scotty Smith say: ‘In the Gospel we discover we are far worse off than we thought and far more loved than we ever dreamed.’