Sola gratia emphasizes that God saves us from His own mercy, not because there was anything desirable or worthy in us. The power came from God alone, not from our dead hearts. Sola gratia, by grace alone. Last time Don told us of the need for grace alone by describing from Scripture our hopeless, sinful condition, one of spiritual slavery.
Today our teacher will concentrate on the provision of grace alone. You'll gain a better appreciation for the fullness of God's love for all believers. So with your Bible in hand, let's join Don Green now in the Truth Pulpit. God does not save sinners because He is obligated to do so. We've seen that sinners deserve judgment. He does not save them because they merit salvation by any good works that they've done. We've seen clearly from God's Word that there are no such good works. They do not exist.
They are a fiction. They are a figment of unsaved man's own imagination to think that he has done something that earns heaven for himself. No, no, the testimony of Scripture is that if any sinner is saved, God has saved them even though they do not deserve it. He saves them despite the fact that they are undeserving. He saves them because it pleases Him to do so, because it's a manifestation of His own attributes of love, grace, mercy, kindness, and patience. That's why God saves any of us.
It's because it pleases Him as the sovereign to put His attributes on display toward us in the Lord Jesus Christ, to show mercy on us that we might come to love Him and know Him for who He is as a God of mercy, a God of grace, and I get to worship and serve Him even though I deserve the exact opposite from Him. Look at Ephesians chapter 2. Chapter 2 verse 1, you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest.
On a horizontal purely human level, this was absolutely hopeless. There was no escape possible, and that's why we rejoice in grace. That is now we come to the provision of sola gratia. Look at verse 4 with me and see this great contrast. Martin Lloyd-Jones at one time in his exposition of Ephesians preached an entire message on these first two words, but God, but God, by contrast with the sinful undeserving state of all men, but God, not by what man has done, but God, not because man is deserving but God has done something else, but God. What could God possibly do in the midst of that mess of spiritual destitution? Verse 4, but God, being rich in mercy because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions. You got to be kidding me. When I deserve condemnation, when I've been hateful toward God, when I've rebelled against him.
Are you kidding me? When I was dead in transgression, dominated by the devil, and I loved the lusts of my flesh, when it was my lips that blasphemed his great name, when it was my drunkenness that distorted the image of God that I was supposed to bear. Do you mean to tell me that when I was like that, God was like this, rich in mercy, great in love, even when we were dead in our transgressions?
Wow. Then what you're telling me is, is that God gave me a love and mercy and kindness that I didn't deserve precisely. You couldn't have deserved this.
Not only did you not deserve this, you deserved the opposite. You deserved condemnation, and look at what God did. Look at what God did for you. Look at what grace alone does against the black velvet backdrop of the darkness of your sin. That provides the context for us to see the sparkling flawless diamond of God's grace in contrast to it.
And we give no glory to the dark black velvet, we adore the glory of the diamond of God's grace. Rich in mercy because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved. And he raised us up with him, seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ, not just for this life, no, in fact it has an ultimate purpose that far transcends anything that is connected with our 70 years here on earth.
Verse 7, so that in the ages to come he might show the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. What does it mean to be saved? What does it mean to be justified? What is salvation? Well, beloved, just never separate your understanding or your discussion of that term with the condition from which you have been saved.
You must keep both in mind in order to see the glory of grace alone. What is salvation? Salvation is the spiritual deliverance of sinners from guilt and condemnation. If you have been saved in Christ, you have been delivered, you have been rescued from all of that death and separation and condemnation that Scripture says was true about you.
What does it mean to be justified? It means that God pardons all of our sins and accepts us as righteous in his sight solely for the sake of Christ. In other words, the glory of the gospel, the offer of the gospel is this, God will forgive all of your sins, all of them without exception. God gives new life to sinners that is unlike the dead life that they knew before. God, rather than continuing in the righteous separation from us that our sins required and deserved were separated from God, rather than continuing in that state of alienation, God accepts us. The holy creator of the universe, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ accepts us, welcomes us.
In the language of 1 John 3, the daring language of 1 John 3 goes so far as to say we have become children of God. That's undeserved favor, undeserved grace. All of your blasphemies, all of your lusts, all of your drunkenness, all of the wickedness inside, all of your hateful attitudes, all of your hateful words, all of your divisive spirits, from time gone by in Christ, God pardons them all. God says their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Psalm 103 verse 12.
What does that mean? That means when you die, when Christ returns, when you stand before Christ in judgment, God is not going to hold any of those sins against you. Not one of them.
Not one of them. The blood of Christ was so rich and full in its efficacy that it quenched all of that guilt. It washed it all away. All of the wrath of God that formerly abided on your head was absorbed in Christ at the cross of Calvary as he hung between heaven and earth, as darkness descended and he cried out, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Biblically, the answer to that question is Christ was forsaken so that you could be forgiven. That Christ bore all of the judgment of all of the sins of all of the elect of all time so that we could be pardoned, that we could be accepted, so that we could be declared righteous. He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
Beloved, as we've explained in the past, the reality of justification is that God treated Christ as though he had committed every sin that you ever committed and ever will commit at the cross and punished him with a punishment that had all of the dimensions of infinity upon it because your guilt was infinite, the punishment that you deserved was infinite. And Christ as the eternal son of God, the God-man absorbed all of that for you, all of that infinite guilt. And in response and in exchange, perhaps better stated, God now treats us, accepts us, views us as though we were the full righteousness of Christ. He counts that to us, he imputes it to us, he credits it to us as a gift, as something undeserved. Don't you see, beloved, that sola gratia, grace alone, rightly understood, rightly appropriated leaves you to a place where not only do you not want to cling to your pride, you actively hate it.
You actively despise it, you reject it, you say, no, I can't let thoughts of self-righteousness have any place in defining my view of the world. I want to slay that for the sake of the real righteousness of Christ, the real glory of God. I want to deny myself and pick up my cross and follow after him because he alone is worthy based on this grace that he has shown. And as we'll see in a few weeks as we consider solus Christus, Christ alone, God is gracious to us in his son, Jesus Christ.
The two sweetest words that human language will ever know, Jesus Christ. Look at Ephesians chapter 2 verse 5 and look at how in this great passage as Paul is declaring the glories of salvation, how often he is referring to Christ directly, referring to him with a pronoun in him. Look at it with me, Ephesians 2 5, he made us alive together with Christ. He raised us up with him. He seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus so that he might show the surpassing riches of his grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Verse 10, we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works. That's just in a few short verses there. You just see how this passage drips with, is saturated with the glory of Christ and attributes the fullness of our salvation to Christ alone by grace alone. Think about it a little further.
You know, just kind of going back to the fact, let's think about it in some details here about it. You know, Scripture declares that God appointed us for these riches before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1 3 and 4, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who chose us in him before the foundation of the world, before you were ever born, before you had done anything good or bad. God had determined to show this kind of grace to you. This was his eternal plan from the beginning.
Think about it from another perspective. Before you were ever born, Christ was born of a virgin and a land far away. He had humbled himself before you were ever conceived in your mother's womb.
He had humbled himself and left the glories of heaven, taken on human flesh. Apart from anything that you ever did, before you were ever born, Jesus Christ lived a sinless life. And offered that life of his as an atoning sacrifice on the cross to pay the infinite debt of your sin. You realize, beloved, think about it chronologically with me.
This was 2,000 years ago. Christ was doing this for you, multiplied generations before you were ever even thought of. Long before whoever first came to America came here, long before that, Christ had done this. In his grace, in his mercy, he executed the redemptive plan with his life, with his death, and with his resurrection so that the full price of your salvation had been paid long before you were born. Without any prompting from you, without any suggestions from you about how this plan of salvation might work out, think about it, you know, we are the eternal beneficiaries of this great grace of God, and he didn't consult with us one bit. Before he planned it, before he carried it out, before Christ came, this is all of the genius loving mind of God.
We didn't contribute a single idea to it, let alone a single act of righteousness to it. Without any prompting from us, without any assistance from us, God raised Christ from the dead, raised him from the grave, raised him from the tomb, proof that the payment had fully been made, death no longer had claim on Christ, nor on any who are in Christ. Without your assistance, Christ ascended to heaven and now sits at the right hand of God, gladly interceding for you, gladly representing you before the holy Shekinah glory of God, saying, Father, those belong to me. He's mine, God, and God accepts you in Christ. Let's look at that passage in Ephesians chapter 1, verse 3 through 14, 202 Greek words of praise.
This is one sentence in Greek from verse 3 to 14. We won't look at all of it, but Paul says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. You see, these truths lead you to bless his name. Am I saved or not? Am I truly a Christian or not? And they start to say, well, you know, what kind of fruit do I see in my life? Am I avoiding sin or am I doing this or that?
You know what? If you're truly saved, there's going to be something in your heart, a predominant strain in your heart in response to the provision of grace alone. There's going to be something in your heart that joins with the apostle Paul and says, oh, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is going to be a tone of praise if God has done this in your life that your response to that is one of adoring worship to him. If that note of worship is absent from your heart, then yeah, you've got problems far greater than any sins you're committing because the one who has truly been saved and has some kind of understanding of it is drawn upward to give worship in response.
What else could you do in response? Guilty and condemned, now accepted and pardoned, declared righteous? Look at verse 3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.
You know what, beloved? It was even grace that gave you the power to come to Christ in the first instance. John 6 44 says, no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And through all of this, when you look at the need for sola gratia, the sinfulness of man, your own sinful depraved nature, you look at what Christ has done, you look at the benefits of being in Christ, you see the love, grace, mercy, patience, and kindness of God that that reveals, and you say salvation finds its cause in God's sovereign grace alone. It was his plan, it was the Father's plan, it was the Son's blood, it was the Spirit's application to your heart that has put you in a position to be here if you are in Christ. If you're in Christ, it's because there was a Trinitarian work of grace that was done to secure your eternal redemption that you absolutely did not deserve, but that God absolutely was pleased to do for his own glory.
Apart from the grace of God, apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, no one would be saved. Again, James Montgomery Boice, I quote, he says, human beings are not capable of winning, seeking out, or even cooperating with God's grace. It is to grace alone, expressed through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ, releasing us from our bondage to sin, and raising us from death to spiritual life.
We're completely humbled and we're completely overjoyed. So, Sola Gratia, at the risk of repeating it myself here, emphasizes that God saves us from his own mercy, not because there was anything desirable or worthy in us. The power came from God alone, not from our dead hearts. And that's why, go back to Ephesians chapter 2, that's why these verses, these two verses, are justly and rightly famous. Now, with a fresh and informed understanding, these familiar verses should leap off of the page, into our hearts, into our minds, and lead us to adoring worship of this God who is blessed.
Verse 8, for it is by grace you have been saved through faith. And that, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. You see the absolute statements again?
No one can boast. This salvation is a gift from God, not something that you did on your own. Now, sure, when we've been born again, when God imparts a new nature to us, we live a different life, we do good works, we live from a transformed nature. Verse 10, we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. But beloved, understand this, those good works in your subsequent life, after you have been converted, bring no merit to the table for you to be saved.
They play no part in your justification. It is not that you are saved by faith plus works, and that brings about justification. You are justified by faith alone, based on the righteousness of Christ alone, by the grace of God alone, to the glory of God alone. It is solely and completely, for the sake of Christ alone, of Christ's righteousness alone, that God accepts us.
And the fact that it's not attributed to our works precludes boasting. And beloved, I know some of you really need to hear this, because it's not about your works, but the righteousness of Christ, that means that you can rest in Christ. And say, God accepts me in Christ despite my sin, even though I have fallen short of the glory of God, it is by grace alone that he accepts me, I rest in Christ, I trust in Christ alone, and to know the liberty of the position of the children of God, that we might have that blessed acceptance from God, that we completely do not deserve.
And yet we have it as our eternal possession, secure never to be taken away. I ask you, my friends, have you trusted in Christ alone, for this kind of grace and forgiveness? Have you forsaken your own claims to self-righteousness and rested in Christ alone? Grace is amazing. That kind of grace, that kind of love, that kind of mercy, that kind of patience, demands your life, your soul, your all.
We can add nothing to the grace of God in salvation, either before or after we come to Christ. And so we've discussed the second sola, Sola Gratia. Pastor Don Green will move on to the next of the five solas on our next program, and we hope you'll join us then here on The Truth Pulpit.
Right now, though, Don's back here in studio with a resource offer. Well, my friend, I am committed to the dynamic of verbal preaching. I love to preach and speak. I think there's a dynamic when a preacher opens the Word of God to hearers that the audio component of that is a means that God uses greatly in the lives of those who hear. But I also understand that sometimes you want to go back and study what was said more closely.
We have transcripts of all of my full-length sermons available on our website, and I would encourage you to go there to find them and to be able to study the messages more closely through the written word, as you've also enjoyed it through the spoken word. Thanks, Don. And, friend, to find those and all our resources, just visit thetruthpulpit.com. That's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time when Don Green presents more from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-17 21:26:31 / 2023-04-17 21:35:10 / 9