If we could earn salvation, if you had to do this, if you had to do that, if you had to attend church so many times or read so many chapters or do catechism or confirmation or whatever to earn your salvation, then we could brag about it. Then we could go out, you know, after church is over and go to lunch and, hey, I got mine. You got yours yet?
You earned yours yet? We brag about it. Not that these verses keep us from bragging about it, but they should.
Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. The amazing thing about God is that He doesn't owe us anything and yet He continues to show us His love and amazing grace. Find out how this grace can transform your life as David McGee continues in Romans 9 with by His grace, not by works.
Here's David. Romans 9, look at verse 30. What shall we say then that Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained to righteousness even the righteousness of faith? You know, it's incredible because when you first read the Bible, and I've been reading the Bible a long time now, when you first read the Bible, some of the things that are in there, you go, I don't know why this is in here.
It has nothing to do with me. You know, I remember reading about the Israelites wandering around the desert and, you know, and I thought, well, silly Israelites, what's wrong with them? They can't, you know, can't get from here to there.
Can't make an eight day journey. Takes them 40 years. You know, as I've grown in the Lord and continued to read the Bible, I see myself in every story as I've wandered around the desert.
Sometimes it seems like 40 years. So as we look at this and we go, well, well, you know, the Israelites, the stumbling block, the thing that really was holding them back was they were trying to be justified by works. They were trying to say, okay, we've done what's right. Therefore, God, you owe us forgiveness. Now we can sit there and go, well, that's silly, but what does that mean to us personally?
I think we do the same thing. Here's what I mean by that. The day that we ask Jesus to forgive us of our sins, I think there's a, we recognize I don't really deserve to be forgiven. But I'm going to ask and hopefully he's going to do it.
He's going to hold to his word. And to be honest, the first time I prayed that prayer, I had done a lot of stuff. First time I prayed that prayer, Jesus, please forgive me. I really thought God was going to say, no, no way.
You've done too much, too long, not going to do it. So I knew I didn't deserve to be forgiven. But it's amazing what happened after that as I began to follow the Lord and try to do what's right.
And then I began to sense that I was really kind of earning God's favor as time went along. And graciously, as you stumble or as you fall, you remember that, you know what, I'm not owed this. I'm not owed this. There is something in us that thinks, that wants to deserve what we have. We don't deserve it. To think that we deserve a relationship with the Lord, we don't deserve it.
To deserve his forgiveness, we don't deserve it. Well, no, no. You know, I came to him now. You know, free will. I had to make my choice. Absolutely. Each one of us has to make our choice. But if it weren't for the wooing of God and him following us around and chasing us around and reminding us of his love and his forgiveness. Would any of us ever made that decision? No. I think sometimes it tells how we look at the world and how we look at other people.
If we think we've earned it. The whole notion of you got to get cleaned up to come to church thing. Ask your unbelieving friend, hey, you want to go to church with me?
No, no, no, I can't. Why? And they'll give you different reasons. You know, there's a church is all about money. That's a frequent one. You know, I love to blow people's mind when they say that and say, well, come to our church because we don't pass an offering plate. You ever done that? You ought to do that.
It's great. They go, what? What do you mean you don't pass an offering plate? There's boxes in the back, but we don't pass a plate and make long tearful pleas. I'm not saying people that pass a plate are wrong. I think in some ways it's probably good to remind people that we need to remember the Lord.
But. Well, I got to get cleaned up to come. I got I got to I got to get this in order before I can come to church. I got to get this straightened out in my life before I can go to be among you Christians.
How messed up is that? That they feel like they have to pass a performance test. In order to come in here that goes against the grace of God. Acts 15 10 says this. Now, therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Or the New Living Translation reads it like this. Why are you now questioning God's way by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? We believe that we are all saved the same way by the special favor of the Lord Jesus. None of us deserve forgiveness. God stands willing and ready to give us forgiveness, but we don't deserve it.
We haven't earned it. Occasionally, God will take a life. And remind us of that. And maybe that's part of what the Lord has done with my life is because people I knew from the past are always really surprised that I'm a pastor.
Why? Because I wasn't I wasn't a pastor before. That's why they're so as we as we look at that, we need to understand that God is calling. His election are not based on our righteousness, but based upon his grace life lesson. We can only be saved by God's grace. We can only be saved by God's grace.
I know that we know that if you've if you've been a Christian any length of time, you've heard that. But friend, as you follow the Lord, keep coming back to that, because this grace issue is so important. Because if you began to have your relationship with the Lord based on your performance, it's going to be a rocky, rocky road. Because when you mess up, you'll be like, well, God, are you still there? God, do you still love me? And ultimately, you act like Adam did with that type of relationship.
You'll run in your heart and you will hide. Verse 31, But Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. So again, the Jewish people that they were struggling that God would do anything with the Gentiles.
Why? Because they didn't deserve it. And I think we can identify with that struggle. Sometimes God reaches somebody or touches somebody and we think, well, they don't deserve.
Well, none of us deserve it. Common themes in this book are the pride of man and the grace of God. Let's look at verse 32.
It says, Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone, sought it by the works of the law. Friend, if you're in here and you've asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins, do you understand that's only by grace? It's not through works. Only by grace. Only by God's mercy. I have to openly confess, I've been a Christian for a while, and this is basic stuff. And yet so quickly, I forget this.
And if you think this is not a common misconception, go out today. I challenge you. I dare you. I dare you to go out and ask somebody that you either know or don't know and say, what does it take to be a Christian?
Or the two question test. Are you going to heaven? And most people around here think they're going to have. Most people say, yeah, I'm going to have. And then the second thing is, why do you think that?
You're going to get some interesting answers, most of which are based not on the grace of God, but based on works. You're going to have? Yep.
Why? I go to church. You're going to heaven because you go to church? So going to church makes you a Christian?
No, it doesn't. You know, I'm a pastor. I encourage people to go to church.
I think it's a good thing. But going to church alone does not make you a Christian. As the saying goes, if going to church makes you a Christian, then I guess when you go to Krispy Kreme, now you're a donut.
And when you go to McDonald's, now you're a Big Mac. And what an interesting life you lead. No, that's not it. It's the grace of God. Not because you go to church. God feels like He owes you.
No, that's not it. Or the classic, well, I've kept most of the Ten Commandments. No, you haven't.
You haven't. I mean, literally it was, you know, it was tough enough in the Hebrew Scriptures, but then Jesus had to go and clarify the whole thing because most of it is, well, thou shalt not kill. Well, there's one I haven't broken. Jesus said, if you've been mad at anybody, it's as if you committed murder.
Some of you will kill eight people on your way out of the parking lot. So, no, you've broken every one of them. And we've done it. And this is a great, feel free to use this. It's not copywritten or published, but you go through something. Okay, somebody goes, I've kept most of the Ten Commandments.
Are they ever classic? I'm a good person. I'm basically a good person. The Bible says you're not.
It says you're not. Well, have you ever told somebody an untruth? Most people say, yeah. So what does that make you? A good person that occasionally tells an untruth. No, if you ever have told a lie, what does that make you? It makes you a liar. Some of you lied today, you know.
Hey, honey, does this look all right? So it makes you a liar. Well, have you ever used God's name inappropriately? What does that make you? A good person. No, it makes you a blasphemer. Have you ever placed anything above your relationship with God? What does that make you?
Basically a good person. No, it makes you an idolater. Well, never committed adultery.
Really? Jesus said if you've ever lusted after somebody in your heart, it's the same as committing adultery. So with a show of hands, can we see?
No, I'm kidding. So where are we now? Well, so far you're a lying, blaspheming idolater adulterer who's going to get into heaven by his own good works.
It's not going to happen. We're justified by faith. Ephesians 2, 8, and 9. Really, even if you're not taking notes, you ought to jot these verses down or better yet, even memorize them. It says God saved you by his special favor when you believed, and you can't take credit for this. It is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Great passage. By grace you're saved. His special favor, not by works.
Why? Because we would brag about it. If we could earn salvation, if you had to do this, if you had to do that, if you had to attend church so many times or read so many chapters or do catechism or confirmation or whatever to earn your salvation, then we could brag about it. Then we could go out after church is over and go to lunch and, hey, I got mine. You got yours yet? You earned yours yet? No, you didn't.
I didn't think so. You don't look like you've earned yours yet. We'd brag about it. Not that these verses keep us from bragging about it, but they should. Call now and we'll send Abiding in Christ the key to a fruitful life to you for a gift of any amount to Cross the Bridge Ministries. Not only will you receive this powerful series, but your generous gift will be used to reach across our nation with the life-changing power of God's Word. This three-disc teaching series is only available for a limited time, so call now and begin living the abundant life God has prepared for you. To receive Abiding in Christ, call 877-458-5508.
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Go to CrossTheBridge.com and sign up for our Evotional. You'll be glad you did. Now let's return to our study. Because when we do it, that disregards the grace of God. Titus 3.5 says, He saved us not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. So is it a prideful keeping of the laws or understanding of God's grace?
And see, this is the thing. Jews were locked into justification by works. And when Jesus said, No, I'm going to die for you.
I'm going to be the ultimate sacrifice. You asked me to forgive you, and I will do it. They stumbled over that. We couldn't get it. Jesus is still stumbling people in this. The grace issue. There may be people in here today, as I've talked about grace and spoken about grace, and we've looked at grace, that will walk out of here and go, You know what? We're just all about the graces. Too much grace in there. It's that greasy grace stuff.
Let me ask you a question. How much grace does a sinful man or a sinful woman need to approach a holy God? I'm thinking a whole lot.
A whole lot. Look at verse 33. As it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense. Or in the Amplified, it says, Romans 9, 33 says, As it is written, Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall. But he who believes in Him, who adheres to trust and relies on Him, shall not be put to shame nor be disappointed in his expectations.
Look at that last line. Shall not be put to shame nor be disappointed in his expectations. That's the Amplified in this New King James. And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. If we can identify as Christians with the Jewish people and we keep thinking that we've earned it by works and we deserve this forgiveness, then the Bible says absolutely not.
It's amazing today. If you go up to a Jewish person and say, How are you forgiven? They'll say, Well, good works. But if they know the Bible, that's totally disregarded because in Leviticus 17, 11, it says, For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar and the atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement for your souls. See, with the temple gone, the Jewish people can't sacrifice anymore. So how can they be forgiven without the shedding of blood? That's why so many Orthodox Jewish people wear black while they're in mourning.
They don't have a temple. They don't have a place to sacrifice or to be forgiven. But Jesus died for us, that we could indeed be forgiven. 1 Peter 2, 8 says, And the scriptures also say, He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that will make them fall. They stumble because they do not listen to God's word or obey it so that they meet the fate that has been planned for them. Jesus is the rock, and you can fall on the rock or you can be stumbled by it.
You can try to earn your salvation and your own human wisdom, or if you're honest and you're spiritual, you realize you can never earn it. Some of us may be sitting here looking at this going, awesome, grace of God. There's people here that might not know Jesus as their Savior, and they need to hear about the grace of God.
Yeah, probably. But what about you? Those in this place right now that call themselves Christians that are following Jesus, are you amazed at His grace? Can you take just a moment and sit here and go, you know what, I really, I don't deserve to be here. I don't deserve to be able to worship God, to raise my hands and to sing praises to His name. And yet in His grace and His mercy, I'm able to do this.
What an incredible thing. I think the whole worship experience sometimes we take for granted. We don't have like sin-sniffing dogs out there. You notice people come in, wait a minute, here, go to the side, we're gonna sniff you, make sure you're not in sin. Got a little sin meter.
Oh, you're a man, can't go in. Grace of God. That incredible song, amazing grace, how sweet the sound to save such a good person like me. Is that what it says?
No. Save the wretch. I don't know if you've seen that t-shirt, I think it's great.
It says, I'm the wretch the song was talking about. We're saved by His grace. And may God give us a fresh appreciation of His grace and mercy.
Why? Because, well, friend, not only will it improve our relationship with the Lord, and if your relationship with the Lord is based upon your works, it's gonna be up and down and up and down and up and down, but if it's based on His grace, man, it can be an incredible walk because God, while we are unfaithful, God is faithful. And then what's gonna happen when you get this cup full of grace and mercy and you understand that's what it's about, you know what you're gonna do? You're gonna go pour it out on other people. Man, have you heard the good news about Jesus Christ? Have you received His grace and His mercy?
And then when they start this, keep the 10 commandments, side of the day, you can say, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You can't earn it. You don't deserve it. I haven't earned it.
I don't deserve it. And yet God is able through His work on the cross to forgive me. Let's pray. Lord, thank you. Thank you for this fresh revelation of your grace and your goodness. And Lord, how we so quickly become religious and think that we've earned it or think that, Lord, our relationship with you is based upon our righteousness, our works. Lord, thank you for this reminder today. Lord, we pray for your Holy Spirit to just come right now.
Lord, I know that there's people who've been struggling in this place. And I know that they've been condemned and beaten down because they don't think they deserve to be here. They don't think they deserve to be forgiven. And, Lord, the reality is none of us do. None of us deserve to be forgiven. None of us deserve even to speak your name, much less sing praises to you and say that we follow you. And yet this incredible, amazing grace is offered. Lord, may your grace continue to set us free the way it did the first time we asked you to forgive us. Lord, because every day we wake up, we are just as desperate for your grace as we are today, in Jesus' name. Maybe you're not sure you've ever asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins, and maybe you don't have a relationship with Him, and I want to give you an opportunity to respond. And Jesus Christ died for us on the cross. That's the only way we can have a relationship with God.
You can't earn it, you don't deserve it, and yet God, through His mercy and in His love, offers us forgiveness. And any who ask for it can receive it. This chapter, it brings forth the interesting thing of God's sovereignty and man's free will, and we say, well, which one is it? These things compete.
No, they don't compete, they cooperate. And Jesus said, if anybody comes to Him, He won't turn them away. And as many as receive Him will be called the children of God.
God has done His part, friend. His Son, precious to Him, died for your sins. Jesus died for a purpose. What was that purpose?
To bring you into a relationship with Him. I know that Jesus died for the sins of the world. Did He die for your sins? You've got to make that decision, really, when it comes down to it. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking Him to help you to live for Him. Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me, that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead, that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned, and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things.
Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name, amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again.
Jesus said He would not turn anybody away who comes to Him, and He came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend. You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you've prayed this prayer with Pastor David, receiving Jesus Christ for the first time, or rededicating your life to the Lord, please call and let us know. We want to send you our exclusive First Steps package for free.
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