March 21, 2018
Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
March 21, 2018
Romans 5:1 & 2
“Paul continues to expound the great doctrine of justification by faith, showing the outcome of those who have believed in Christ. If we look back at chapter3:24, he picks up that word justified again but also, as in chapter 5, he uses the phrase, ‘by his grace as a gift’.
Perhaps most of you have heard of Humpty Dumpty. He said, ‘If I use a word it means what I choose it to mean. Nothing more, nothing less.’ We could say Humpty Dumpty was a post-modernist. There is no absolute truth. It can mean whatever I want it to mean. Humpty Dumpty played with words.
People in America do that all the time; they want to change the meaning of words. There is even a push to eliminate the word man from the English vocabulary. The word sin has almost disappeared. If we are Christians we need to protect words, especially Bible words. Certainly, one word we need to protect is the word grace. If we don’t, it will be to our detriment. We will lose our understanding of the Gospel of Christ.
The Bible speaks of God’s manifold grace; we have probably heard that word ten thousand times over. Whenever we hear a word over and over there is a danger that familiarity breeds contempt. What does it mean? The common definition is that grace is undeserved mercy. Sam Storms says, perhaps more accurately, ‘Grace does not contemplate sinners merely as undeserving, but as ill-deserving. Ill-deserving simply that we do not deserve grace, but we deserve hell’.
Yet God has shown grace, by sending His Son. Someone has said, ‘Grace has a Face’. The grace of God has appeared – that is speaking of Christ. We are told that the Law of God was given through Moses, but grace came through Christ. He is a God of grace; grace incarnate.
If you and I were to think about how much grace we enjoy, where do we start? We start in eternity past with electing, predestinating grace. None of us deserve to be elected or predestined to life before the foundation of the world. The Christian life begins with grace. God calls us by efficacious grace. We are called out of darkness: born-again grace. How about regenerating grace? John 3, faith and repentance – are they graces? Yes, they are gifts from God. We would never have believed and repented unless God had given us the grace to do so.
It seems that Paul loves to use the word grace particularly when he talks about justification. We see it in Romans 3 and 5: grace pops up more than anywhere else when we contemplate the blessing of the grace of justification.
We speak of sanctifying grace; it’s what we need to grow in holiness. Adopting grace – ‘behold what manner of love that He should call us the children of God’. When we think of the Christian life continuing we think of persevering grace or preserving grace. We need strengthening grace for our trials. We need forgiving grace when we sin. What is the last grace, the last blessing God bestows on the believer? Glorifying grace, wherein He gives us perfect bodies joined to perfect souls. When we die we receive perfected souls and when Christ returns again we will receive new bodies.
I guarantee that every one of us, when we reach Heaven, will sing Amazing Grace like we have never sung it before. When we have a perfected understanding, we will appreciate God’s grace much better than we do now. His grace is something we should frequently think about and give God thanks for now. We can give thanks for sending His Son and all He has done for us in Jesus Christ.”