Hello people, I am writing again. I could not write last week as I was in Pune. Anyways today I heard a sermon from a theologian. It was very intellectual, good stuff. I liked the way he put 2 and 2 together. Anyways people what I’ll be sharing with you is just a duplicate of the amazing original. Even the best of duplicates are not as good as the original. The only good thing is that it makes the original more popular.
Well I’ll be talking about what I’ve understood on his sermon on Knowledge and Grace. To start of, I would like to ask you, how you take a stand against false teaching? Let me quote 2 Peter 3:16-18
2 Peter 3:16-18 (This is part of Apostle Peter’s letter to many early Christians)
There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
From verse 17 we see that we are warned not to get carried away by false teachings, verse 18 tells us how to do it. We do it by growing in the grace & knowledge of Christ. Well as you all may know anything that stays stagnant is liable to decay and fall away from its stand, but if something is always moving forward then it does not fall to decay.
The below passage will show you that false teachers can come in disguise.
2 Corinthians 11:12-15 (This is part of Apostle Paul’s letter to the Christians in Corinth)
12 I will go on doing what I am doing now, in order to keep those other “apostles” from having any reason for boasting and saying that they work in the same way that we do. 13 Those men are not true apostles they are false apostles, who lie about their work and disguise themselves to look like real apostles of Christ. 14 Well, no wonder! Even Satan can disguise himself to look like an angel of light! 15 So it is no great thing if his servants disguise themselves to look like servants of righteousness. In the end they will get exactly what their actions deserve.
Coming back to the topic of grace, I would like to show you that this God’s grace in the New Testament, existed even in the Old Testament. Take the below passage for instance.
“The Lord did not love you and choose you because you outnumbered other peoples; you were the smallest nation on earth. 8 But the Lord loved you and wanted to keep the promise that he made to your ancestors. That is why he saved you by his great might and set you free from slavery to the king of Egypt.
You can see that Israel was the smallest nation, yet God chose them. From verse 8 you can see it was because of God promise to their ancestor, Abraham. Now consider this, before Abraham was called by God, he worshiped idols or the moon or something like that. I can’t find the scripture to support this but I know it exist. So you see God did not call him because he was worthy, in fact God tested Abraham after he called him. This clearly shows that when God chose Abraham, it was purely through grace and nothing else. Now if God’s promise to Abraham was because of grace & if Israel was chosen because of God promise to Abraham then putting 2 and 2 together, we get that God chose Israel purely through grace.
Now for those of you who cannot put the word “grace” in the context of the real world, I would like to help you out by giving you a real life example. When I was in my second year of senior college, in my first semester, I plugged my Math II exam by 11 marks. Since its been 8 years I don’t know how much I got nor do I remember now how was the minimum marks required to pass but I’ll tell you why & how I remember it was 11 marks short. You see for the marks that I got on my own, what I deserved was a fail in that paper but my professor was good enough to give us failures the additional marks that we required to pass. Now this was purely through his goodness. He did not want to see us fail and so, since it was within his power to get us to pass, he did it. That is grace, you see what I deserved was failure but my professor in his goodness made me pass. This is the main reason why I don’t remember what I got or what I required but I remember the marks I got as grace. So we have a similar situation when we consider our Salvation through Christ, which we receive purely through grace.
So you see when a person is touched by Jesus, he is saved by grace & what he holds on to is not who he was but what was given to him by grace.
23 everyone has sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence. 24 But by the free gift of God’s grace all are put right with him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free.
Philippians 3:7-8 (Apostle Paul writes something similar in his letter to the Philippians Christians)
7 But all those things that I might count as profit I now reckon as loss for Christ’s sake. 8 Not only those things; I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere refuse, so that I may gain Christ.
Also when a person is saved, he becomes a new creation in Christ, it is almost as though he is born again.
Jesus answered, “I am telling you the truth: no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again.”
I would like to tell you that when you are saved (born again), you cannot just stay there, you need to grow. For example, if you were to visit a friend who just had a baby, you would join them in celebrating new life. You may even say that the baby is very beautiful. Now consider this, if you visited that same friend after a few years and found that baby to be the same as when you previously visited, then how would you feel? You may be shocked as it would be something abnormal, you would not compliment the parents then saying the baby is beautiful because the natural growth that had to take place did not happen. This is the case with all things that are alive; they should have some growth in any aspect. So it is the same with a person’s faith in Christ. It must grow if it’s alive and this is the growth that is mentioned in 2 Peter 3:18 (mentioned above).
Well as you may all know that in order for us to grow spiritually there should be learning of the knowledge of Biblical scripture, which transforms us into people that do works that please God.
2 Peter 1:2
May grace and peace be yours in full measure through your knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Colossians 1:9-10 (This is part of Apostle Paul’s letter to the Christians in Colossae)
9 For this reason we have always prayed for you, ever since we heard about you. We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives. 10 Then you will be able to live as the Lord wants and will always do what pleases him. Your lives will produce all kinds of good deeds, and you will grow in your knowledge of God.
To come to my next point, as you may have understood from all of the above, we are saved by grace & for those who have experienced this saving grace; God gives them the knowledge/insight so that they may know that they are saved purely by grace. From Colossians 1:10, we see that it is by this knowledge that we please God by good deeds. This is exactly what the Apostle James talks about.
My brothers and sisters, what good is it for people to say that they have faith if their actions do not prove it? Can that faith save them?
But someone will say, “One person has faith, another has actions.” My answer is, “Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions.”
Allow me to help you fix the above verses in the Biblical jigsaw. Well I have shown you that your very first step into salvation in purely through grace. Now when this happens, God also gives you the knowledge to understand this. It is from this knowledge that we know & do the works/actions that please God. As for the faith part of it, let me give you some Biblical support showing that faith is not what man has by himself but what God has given him through grace.
3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Roman 1:5 (Apostle Paul greets the Romans in the name of Jesus)
5through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,
So that is what is talked about by the Apostle James that faith with actions go hand in hand when you are saved by grace because when God saves (eternal life) a person, that person just cannot sit and lay back with his salvation, God would want that person to make, the salvation only through Christ, known to all mankind, starting with those around that person.
Finally, I would like to close this topic saying that grace does not mean that we are free to sin. Sin is still a major concern with God. If God the Father willed that his Son suffer to death to be that pure sacrifice for sin, then it should be clear to understand that our Father would not want us to misuse the salvation through Christ, that we have received through purely grace. Christ did not die because the world was deserving but because we needed salvation.
14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.15What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!