Saturday, April 15, 2017

Triplets of Faith: Gospel of Grace

Photo by Peter van der Sluijs 2016


Christ is risen, conquering sin and death! His death on the cross paid in full the penalty for all our sins. Because He arose, proving He is Son of God and God Himself, all who trust Him can live forever!
 
But when Jesus came in the flesh, most of the Jews failed to recognize Who He was. He and His disciples preached the Gospel of the Kingdom, namely that Jesus is the Son of God and the promised Messiah. Jesus gradually revealed more and more to His disciples about His imminent betrayal, crucifixion and resurrection (Matthew 17:22-23; 20:18-19; 26:2,45; Luke 24:7),.

Yet the disciples were reluctant to believe it (Matthew 16:20-23; Mark 8:29-33), for they saw Him not as the Sacrifice for our sins, but as the Christ (Messiah) Who would deliver them from earthly oppression and the King Who would reign over them. Even after His condemnation by false witnesses, death by crucifixion, and burial, the disciples were slow to accept the significance of these events.

Had the disciples believed that He would rise again on the third day, as He had foretold, they would no doubt have been waiting by the tomb, instead of hiding at home for fear of the Jews (John 20:9-10,19). They would not have been mourning His death (Mark 16:10) but eagerly anticipating His reappearance.

When the women ran to tell the disciples of the empty tomb, the men still doubted their “idle tales” until Peter saw Jesus’ head cloth lying separately from the other grave clothes (John 20:6-8; Luke 24:10-12). Mary Magdalene told the disciples of her meeting with the risen Christ (Mark 16:9-10), as did those on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35).

Yet the apostles still did not believe until they themselves had seen the risen Christ in His glorified body (Mark 16:11-14; John 20:19-20; Luke 24:36-47), Thomas doubted what the other apostles said and did not accept that Christ had risen until he himself could see and feel the wounds in His hands and side (John 20:24-29).

Even after Christ ascended into Heaven, the focus’ of the disciples preaching was the Gospel of the Kingdom, that He was the Messiah Whom they rejected. Peter's sermon in Acts 2 to the Jews (v. 22) speaks of Jesus' resurrection (v. 24,27,31,32) as proof of His divinity and of being the promised Messiah. He speaks of His crucifixion to make his audience feel personally convicted of killing their Messiah (v.23,36,37).

But when the Jews, convicted in their hearts of having rejected Jesus, asked what they should do, Peter didn't say "you are saved by grace through faith," as Paul would later say (Ephesians 2: 8-9). Instead, Peter promised the Holy Ghost to those who repented and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (v. 38), which is the Gospel of the Kingdom first preached by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2,6,11).

Not until Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6) was the mystery of salvation for the Gentiles revealed – that Paul (Saul’s new name) would preach Jesus Christ to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews (v. 15; Acts 20:21; Romans 10:12). Paul's message was the Gospel of Grace, that all are saved who place their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God, the perfect sacrifice to reconcile sinful man to Holy God, as the only Way to Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 14:6).

Simply put, verbally declare that Jesus is Lord; believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved (Romans 10:9). This offer is open to anyone – “whosoever” -- will be saved (Romans 9:11-13). Salvation by grace is God’s freely given gift requiring only faith, not works, for there is nothing we can do to earn or merit it (Ephesians 2: 8-9).

The Gospel of Grace (Acts 20:24) is referred to by three different names; the Gospel of God (or of Christ, Who is equal with God; Romans 1:1; 2 Corinthians 10:14), the Gospel of Peace (Ephesians 6:15; Romans 10:15), and the Glorious Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 Timothy 1:11). The Gospel of God was foretold by the prophets, that God would become flesh as His Son Jesus Christ, and that He would show His power and holiness by rising from the dead  (Romans 1:1-6). This Gospel of God reflects God’s love (John 3:16), manifested as Jesus Christ Who is the saving power of God for all who believe in Him (Romans 1:16).

The Gospel of Grace is also the Gospel of Peace because it reconciles sinful man to Holy God, appeases His wrath at our sin and gives peace to believers in their eternal security. Having our feet shod with this Gospel is part of our armor of God (Ephesians 6:15), and our feet will be beautiful if they carry us to places where we preach this Good News (Romans 10:15).

Finally, the Gospel of Grace is the Glorious Gospel because Christ has the glory (Hebrews 2:7-9); He brings believers to glory (Hebrews 2:10); and we are awaiting His glorious appearing (Titus 2:13). How radiant and brilliant is that light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God! He commanded that light to shine out of the darkness of our sin, to shine in believers’ hearts, and to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4-6).

Paul himself is perhaps the best example of the power of the Glorious Gospel! Before he was saved, he was the worst of sinners, persecuting and killing Christians, thinking he was doing great religious works in God’s name because of his pride and self-righteousness (1 Timothy 1:11-17). As Saul, he was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious (v. 13). But Jesus Christ Whom Paul persecuted appeared to him in a brilliant light, causing him to fall to the ground in temporary blindness before He revealed Paul’s unique mission.

God not only saved Saul but used him to spread the Gospel of Grace to the Gentile nations and to pen a large portion of the New Testament! Paul’s example proves that there is Good News for each of us, no matter how dismal our past or how wicked our sins were, thanks to God’s grace, love and mercy!   


© 2013 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives

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32 comments:

  1. I'm so thankful for that grace--for the sin before coming to Christ and the sin that I continue to see. Blessings to you...

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    1. Amen! His mercy washed us clean, and His grace gave us eternal life. God bless,
      Laurie

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  2. Love this Laurie! I heard somewhere that GRACE stands for "God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense". I am most thankful for His amazing grace. It's a free gift, not something we can earn. Nothing we will ever do, no matter how hard we try, nor how good we are, will cause us to earn it! It is by God's grace through faith in Christ Jesus, that we are saved.

    Blessings and grace!
    Denise

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    1. Amen, Denise! Love the acronym! Praise God that He saves us by grace through faith in His Son!
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  3. Hi Laurie,
    for me Mark ch. 16 vs. 15 and 16 says it all, He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.'Gods love for all of His creation, His instruction on what to do, and the necessity to 'believe'.

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    1. Hi Brenda, Yes, it is not believing that results in condemnation. In Mark 16, Jesus was speaking to His Jewish apostles, and the gospel He referred to was the Gospel of the Kingdom, that He was the Messiah & the Son of God.
      Thanks as always for your comment, & God bless!
      Laurie

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  4. Dear Laurie,
    The Gospel so full and so free, given to all who believe, reveals the greatness, goodness and mercy of God who is rich enough to save all who call upon him.
    A great post.

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    1. Amen, Frank! Praise God for His amazing grace, and His gift salvation freely given to whosoever places their faith in Him.
      Thank you for you encouragement & God bless,
      Laurie

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  5. Today I read the Gospel of Mark 6. There was about rejection of Christ in the town Nazareth. And I thought about rejection of God's children among their families and neighbourhood. They know us from our childhood, so they don't treat our convertion seriously - as neighbours of Jesus knew Him only as simple child and (later) worker. Greetings for You Laurie :)

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    1. Yes, Zim, it's not unusual even for children who were raised in a Christian home to not be saved because the experience of church is so familiar to them, and they don't ever repent of their sins and place their faith in the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thanks for your thought-provoking comment, and many blessings to you!
      Laurie

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  6. Hi Laurie! I was struck by your first few sentences. When Jesus came, many did not recognize him. I am working on a blog post about that. How often does that happen in everyday life?

    God is so good to reveal himself to us in his life in Jesus. Even the Lord had to remind his own Apostles that he was the Lord. So, I am in good company, anyway!

    Happy Monday, Laurie!
    Ceil

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    1. That is so true, Ceil! So many times He may be speaking to us gently, yet we fail to hear His still, small voice. Or He may want us to see Him in the eyes of a poor soul we encounter in our busy day, yet we pass them by. May we always be aware of and responsive to His presence!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  7. The Jews believed in the gospel of the kingdom while ignoring a basic tenet of that gospel. They were convinced they could attain it by their own efforts even though the law provided sacrifices to make reconciliation for their failures, thus indicating their inability to meet God's standard. That God would accept the sacrifice was evidence of his grace even under the law. Without grace there was no way to attain the kingdom. As Romans 10 explains, they were missing the kingdom by refusing the grace.

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    1. Great point, Donald -- Jesus' criticism of the Pharisees was that their religiosity and pride led them to believe they could save themselves. Praise God for His saving grace!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  8. I am so thankful for this Gospel truth which I get, because I believe. Thank you for linking up with Transformed Tuesday!

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    1. Amen, Barbie! Faith in the Gospel of Grace is the key to abundant, eternal life. Thanks for your lovely comment & for hosting, & God bless!

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  9. Hi Laurie,
    Yes, thankful for the story of Paul and how God can transform us...blessings :)

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    1. Hi Dolly,
      Paul's story gives us hope for even the most wretched sinner -- if he trusts Christ, all is forgiven and he becomes a new creation.
      Many blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  10. "saved by grace through faith" - such sweet words - such powerful words. Thank you for taking me on this journey today!

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    1. Praise God for His saving grace! That is the best news and best gift anyone could ever receive! Thanks for your sweet comment & God bless,
      Laurie

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  11. I'm so blessed to realize one of the most important of those triplets of the Gospel. That Christ was raised from the dead. As Paul says, if Christ had not been raised, our faith would be in vain. So faith and the grace so freely given by the Father twine together in our lives to set the foundation of our belief and our life.
    Thank you for your post.
    Blessings,
    Janis

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    1. Amen, Janis! If He did not rise, we as Christians would be most miserable, but Praise God, He did, and we have reason for joy and hope! Thanks so much for your visit and lovely comment, & God bless.
      Laurie

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  12. Paul is also a good example that we should continue to pray for those who are not saved, no matter how badly they hurt those around them. The grace is for everyone, and if everyone took it, how wonderful that would be.

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    1. So true, Rosey! No one is beyond salvation if they repent and trust in God's grace. Praise God for His infinite grace, mercy & love!
      Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  13. So thankful for His grace. Thank you for sharing at The Weekend Brew!

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    1. Amen, Barbie! Without His amazing grace, we would still be lost and blind. Thanks for your comment & for hosting.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  14. Praise God, the resurrection is the proof that our salvation is real as Paul said in Acts 17:31. I'm glad he not only finished our salvation, but then proved it was real.

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    1. Amen, Donald! He is the firstfruits, proving by His resurrection that He is God that we who trust Him will one day rise in glorified bodies like His! God bless,
      Laurie

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    1. God bless you too, Samarpan! Thank you so much for visiting Saved by Grace and for your comment.
      Love in Christ,
      Laurie

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