We just celebrated Christmas, the birth of Jesus, the Messiah. Soon, all the decorations and lights will be put away until next year. The tree, if it was real, will become mulch. All the gift wrap will be tossed away and gifts we don’t need or want will be stuffed in a closet until you can give it to somebody else. What’s left? Did we miss something? How about the Gift of Grace? It’s the Gift that keeps on giving!
What is Grace?
According to the dictionary, it means… “The free and unmerited (not deserved) favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.”
Justice, Mercy and Grace
God bestows upon us 3 things…
- Justice – the punishment you deserve. Paul wrote, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23 NLT) Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead. That’s the Judgement Day.
- Mercy – Not getting what we deserve. In other words, not being punished.
- Grace – Getting what we DON’T DESERVE. Being forgiven and receiving the Righteousness of Christ.
Bad News and Good News
To have good news, you first need bad news. The bad news is that since everyone has sinned and falls short of God’s glorious standard, we deserve the just punishment for our sins. That is eternity in hell or perishing. (There is no such thing as purgatory, by the way.)
The Good News is that Jesus, God, came to earth and became human, like us, solely to take on ALL our sins and nail them to the cross where He died. Then, He defeated death by His resurrection 3 days later! Hence when we believe this, we inherit from Him eternal life in Heaven.
As opposed to perishing in hell. Get it?
That is GOD’S GRACE! When we deserved the punishment of spending eternity in hell, God the Father sent Jesus to die in our place. That is His GIFT of GRACE.
All WE have to do is accept the Gift! All YOU have to do is to open your heart to receive the Gift.
Christianity is All About GRACE
Christianity is not another religion of works or good deeds! Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on cross, His Gift of Grace, we are saved!
That’s the Good News!
Christianity is News, not advice!Frank Turek, Cross Examined
Grace in the Book of Acts
- Stephen, the first martyr, is described as, “a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people.” (Acts 6:8 NLT)
- “Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God.” (Acts 13:43 NLT)
- “Some of the Jews, however, spurned God’s message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas. 3 But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders.” (Acts 14:2-3 NLT)
- Peter addressed the first council of church leaders when some of them wanted the new Gentile believers to observe Jewish laws of food and circumcision… He said, “We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 15:11 NLT) It has NOTHING to do with works, or deeds, or any effort a human can do.
- When Paul was returning to Israel to stand trial, he stopped in Miletus and met with some of the leaders of the Church of Ephesus. He warned them…
28 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders. 29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. 31 Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.
32 “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.Acts 20:28-32 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
Grace in the New Testament Letters
Paul wrote about Grace in all his letters. The word “grace” is found 85 times in the New Testament in the NLT version. Here are a few of them. I encourage you to go to the free YouVersion Bible app and do a search for “grace” for yourself.
I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.Romans 1:7 NLT
Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.Romans 3:24 NLT
But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.Romans 5:15 NLT
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.Romans 5:17 NLT
God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.Romans 5:20-21 NLT
In all of Paul’s letters, he greets and closes with a mention of grace…
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.1 Corinthians 1:3 NLT
May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.1 Corinthians 16:23 NLT
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.2 Corinthians 1:2 NLT
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.2 Corinthians 13:14 NLT
May God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.Galatians 1:3 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.Galatians 6:18 NLT
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.Ephesians 1:2 NLT
May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.Ephesians 6:24 NLT
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.Philippians 1:2 NLT
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.Philippians 4:23 NLT
We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. May God our Father give you grace and peace.Colossians 1:2 NLT
HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL. Remember my chains. May God’s grace be with you.Colossians 4:18 NLT
Gospel = Good News
The Gospel is liberating! It breaks the chains of slavery to religion. The false gospels of works, sacraments, Eucharist, confessions, baby baptisms, dogmas and doctrines is no gospel at all! We are NOT saved by obeying! We are saved to obey. Good works are the fruit, not the root of our salvation. The root of our salvation is what Christ did once and for all time. Believe that, have Faith, and Trust in what JESUS DID.
Do YOU accept God’s Gift of Grace?
This is all you have to do….
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
This post was inspired by a podcast from Frank Turek, Cross Examined. Listen to it here…