REFLECTIONS FOR LIFE
Pastor Lou Gallo
July 12, 2020
Last week we talked about God’s Common Grace. His grace that is given to all mankind.
Common Grace; “God’s blessings that are not part of salvation. It is seen in how He cares for creation, and the restraint of sin in the world. It is present in man’s conscience and the blessing that God gives to mankind in general.”
Common Grace awakens us to God’s blessings all around us. In nature, in cultures, in intelligence and inventions and discoveries.
“Every advancement in human learning, every work of art, and every scientific discovery is simply God opening his book of creation and revealing his truth to us.”
Common Grace which is given to everyone is different fromGod’s Special Grace, which is given only to His chosen people.
What is Special Grace?
Special Grace; saves people from their sin and His wrath. Special grace sanctifies us making us holy. Special grace sustains His people giving them strength to endure, His grace preserves His people to the end, and ultimately glorifies God’s people when they die and enter heaven.
Special Grace is the grace given to all God’s chosen people.
“It [grace] reaches you where you are and takes you where God wants you to be. It has the power to do something that nothing else can do: transform you at the causal core of who you are as a human being - your heart.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
“It is the gift of God.” Not just a gift from God. The grace God gives is that He gives Himself!
Saving Grace defined:
“Saving grace is the free and unmerited operation of God’s person and presence that initiates the spiritual life of God’s people.”
One of the points of Calvinism is Irresistible Grace. Meaning that if God has chosen you, then you will become one of His children. Grace can’t be rejected if you’re one of His people.
This saving grace is received by faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith.”
Even the faith we have has been given to us by God.
Sanctifying Grace – grace that changes us and makes us holy.
Holiness is our goal. Being changed into the image of Jesus is our earthly occupation. But how we grow and how we change is very important.
This grace could also be called “empowering” grace. Grace that gives us the power to grow, to change, to resist sin,and become mature. Of course, this also takes effort on our part.
Sanctification is the process by which we grow and become more like Jesus.
One way to try to grow is by prohibition. Don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t drink this, don’t look at that, don’t, don’t. The problem here is that our holiness relies solely on our self-effort. Paul warns us in Colossians 2:20-23 of the danger.
Colossians 2:20-23 says, “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”
There’s a better way than self-effort and that’s the way of grace.
Ezekiel 11:19–20 says, “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
A heart of stone that desires nothing of the Lord, now, by His grace,has beenchanged into a heart of flesh. A soft heart and a heart that has new affections, new loves.
Those affections give us the motivation to change.
“The expulsive power of a new affection.”
That’s why gratitude can be a poor motivation.
A wrong application of gratitude would say, “Because you have done something good for me, I am grateful, and I want to do something good for you.”
Our motivation is our love for Him who is now our Father.
Self-effort is one danger, here’s another danger – I can sin because God will forgive me! Have you ever thought like that?
That is a wrong understanding of grace.
Paul emphatically says in Romans 6:1–2 says, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
Grace doesn’t free us to sin – grace frees us not to sin.
Here’s the progression of redemptive history…
Adam and Eve had the ability to sin.
After the Fall, Adam and Eve and the rest of mankind could only sin. They were and are “in” sin.
After coming to Christ,we have the ability to NOT sin through God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit.
After Christ’s return we will be unable to sin. We will be made perfect.
God’s grace works in our lives in two directions.
First, by His grace we are given His righteousness. We are credited with His perfect, holy life.
Second, by His grace we are given new affections. What and who we love has fundamentally been changed at the core of our being.
Grace to grow is us becoming who Christ says we already are– holy.
1 Peter1:13-16 says,” Therefore, preparing your minds for action,and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
There are ways God brings grace to us.
As we read His word – grace comes to us.
As we fellowship – grace comes to us.
As we gather together to worship – grace comes to us.
Grace comes to us in many, many ways. Do you see them?
What is the goal of our faith in God’s grace in our lives? Holiness. Sanctification.
God’s saving grace is the unmerited favor of God that reconciles sinners through Jesus Christ. Grace is God’s goodness toward sinners. This grace is sovereign; God gives new spiritual life to whoever he wills. Saving grace is unconditional; God’s saving grace cannot be earned. God’s saving grace is the foundation for God’s gracious gifts and empowerment of the Christian life. His grace encourages us and gives us the power to change.
What is the difference between Common Grace and Special Grace?
Can we resist God’s grace to save us?
How do we receive saving grace in our life?
How does God’s grace work change in our lives?
What are the ways we get grace from God?List 5 ways (the first one is provided).
Reading God's Word
We pray that this exercise will strengthen your relationship with the Lord as you draw near with confidence.