God's Grace - Disciples Path Ministry

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God's Grace

Christ Jesus dispenses grace, mercy, and patience.  In the Old Testament (OT) these three characteristics of God's nature are often mentioned together. “Grace,” according to the dictionary, is the undeserved favor of God toward mankind. I borrow heavily from Grudem in this article and highly recommend his book for anyone studying our Holy Bible and/or Biblical Doctrine.  According to Grudem (author of Systematic Theology) "God's grace means God's goodness toward those who deserve only punishment" (p. 200). In Paul's writings, one reads where he emphasizes that “salvation by grace is the opposite of salvation by human effort" (p. 201).  ← Hint: salvation by grace is NOT salvation by human effort!
Although grace, mercy, and patience are often mentioned together, there is a difference. According to Grudem, "God's mercy means God's goodness toward those in misery and distress" (p. 200). Mercy is the loving compassion that moves God to come to a human being's aid. Mercy moves God to forgive our failures, to lift us up, and to set us on Christ Jesus' path again. God says, "...I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy" (Ex. 33:19, KJV; restated in Rom. 9:15).
Christ Jesus dispenses grace, mercy, and patience. Grudem wrote, "God's patience means God's goodness in the withholding of punishment toward those who sin over a period of time. "The OT frequently speaks of God as "slow to anger" (Ex. 34:6; Num. 14:18; Pss. 86:15; 103:8; Jonah 4:2; Nah. 1:3, et al.)" (p. 201).  It is worth mentioning at this point that "patience" is listed among the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 (see also Rom. 8:25; 1 Cor. 13:4; Col. 1:11; 3:12; 2 Tim. 3:10; 4:2; James 5:7 - 8; Rev. 2:2 - 3, et al.).
The word “grace” is used over 170 times in the New Testament (NT) alone. Grace is not bought or earned - it is a freely given gift. Grudem wrote, "We are completely unable to earn favor with God, the only way we could be declared righteous is if God freely provides salvation for us by grace, totally apart from our work" (p. 729).
Grace is a free gift of Almighty God to mankind. Our human mind, with its philosophy of an equal return for favors done, can hardly comprehend the full meaning of this grace of God. But when you catch, by the inspiration of God, its full meaning, you will leave the limits of human reasoning and revel in the spiritual riches of divine truth and privilege.  Amen.
This might be a good place to offer some definitions. You will find these words used in various places on this website. It never hurts to be reminded of the definitions as I understand and use them.
Grace, biblically speaking, is unmerited favor. Grace is getting what we DO NOT deserve. I discovered the following while studying from the carm.org website. God's Riches At Christ's Expense. We should remember our Heavenly Father dispenses grace out of His love and kindness for us and NOT because of ANYTHING we try and do to earn His grace. Grace is the means of our salvation as we are no longer under the Law (Romans 6:14, Romans 5:15-21).       
The Grace of God is a reality. Thousands have tried, tested, and proved it is more than a cold, docile doctrine, or a tedious theory. The grace of God has been tested in the crucible of human experience and has been found to be more than an equal for the problems and sins of humanity. Lord, help me to come to a full and abundant awareness of your bountiful grace. Thank you for providing a way for me to move my weaknesses from being the tools of Satan to be the tools of God. Amen.
Salvation, biblically speaking, is when God forgives a person of his/her sins and saves him from damnation - which is the righteous judgment upon all who have broken his Law (i.e., do not lie, do not steal). This judgment consists of God condemning the sinner to eternal punishment in hell (Matt. 25:46). This is the destination of all who reject God's provision for the forgiveness of sins. Being saved from this judgment is only accomplished through faith in Jesus as Savior who is God in the flesh (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9). He died on the cross for sins (1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). If you want salvation, you need to trust in what Jesus did on the cross, receive him (John 1:12) and turn from your sins (Acts 3:19). Only then can you have eternal life and be with God (Eph. 2:8-9) (Slick, carm.org emphasis added).
Justice, biblically speaking, God is merciful, but we must remember that He is also just and therefore must punish for sin. Because of our sinfulness, we deserve eternal death, and justice would and should be eternal separation from Father - eternal damnation (spiritual death). In the grace of God, justice fell upon His Son so that mercy would fall upon us (Deut. 32:4, carm.org).
Mercy, biblically speaking, is Father not administering instantaneous justice (condemning) but providing a means of atonement. God saved us according to His mercy (Titus 3:5-7).
Atonement, biblically speaking, is to remove the guilt (sin) of man. Man is a sinner and cannot atone for himself. The Father sent Christ Jesus to die in our place for our sins. Because of the atonement, our fellowship with God is restored. Atonement, i.e., the reestablishment of the original relationship between God and man, is only possible by faith! *imperative - The atonement is received only by faith.
Faith, biblically speaking, "...is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1, KJV). Without faith, it is impossible to please Father. Unfortunately, faith is not an immediate occurrence. As faith is synonymous with trust and or confidence one must expect it to take time to become deep-rooted in us. We are human and therefore suspicious by nature. We do have a Spiritual seed within us, but the seed must be cultivated by our own choice.
Hope, biblically speaking, represents to most something which is very uncertain. Rather than use the word hope, we prefer faith, grace, believing, gift, trust, confidence, and words similar to those. It is fascinating to me how a word can have so much power over us! We MUST HAVE (develop) HOPE (faith) or we have NOTHING and NO CHANCE of having a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with our heavenly Father.
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