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The Grace of God

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
March 8, 2022 12:01 am

The Grace of God

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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March 8, 2022 12:01 am

Christians often talk about the grace of God. But what is God's grace? Today, Steven Lawson expounds on the depths of God's mercy that lie at the heart of our salvation.

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God is so gracious to sinners. He is so gracious to those who are lost and who are ruined in sin. He freely gives to us His grace, salvation in Jesus Christ. We're studying the attributes of God this week on Renewing Your Mind.

God's goodness, His love, His foreknowledge, and, yes, even His wrath. We'll get to Dr. Stephen Lawson's message on the grace of God in just a moment. But first, I wanted you to hear what some people I met on the street had to say when I asked them what they believe about God. Not everyone believes in Jesus, and I think that just because they don't believe in Jesus, it doesn't mean they're going to hell or something like that.

As long as you do positive in your life and you live a good life, I would say you can go to heaven. You don't have to believe in God. There are many Gods. I respect every religion. I've always kind of believed that if you just know that God is present and that He's a part of you and that you talk to Him personally, you just need to treat people the way that they should be treated and just live the best you can. God is a lot like us in that He has a human heart also, just like we do.

Well, I think you can readily see why our series this week is so important. There is no need to guess about who God is. He has revealed Himself clearly in Scripture. So let's join Dr. Lawson now as he explores another attribute of God. In this session, we want to address the grace of God.

This is certainly a part of the greatness of God, is the greatness of His grace. I believe that John Piper is correct when he writes, People are starving for the greatness of God, but most of them would not give this diagnosis of their troubled lives. The majesty of God is an unknown cure.

There are far more popular prescriptions on the market, but the benefit of any such remedy is brief and shallow. Preaching that does not have the aroma of God's greatness may entertain for a season, but it will not touch the hidden cry of the soul, Show me your glory. I believe Piper is correct, and as we look at the grace of God, we are seeing the greatness of God's glory shining brighter than 10,000 suns in the sky.

I believe that those of us who know the Lord Jesus Christ have this hunger within our hearts. We want to know more of the greatness of our God. And as we do come to know Him more deeply, how this knowledge enlivens our hearts, it energizes our souls, it empowers our inner person. That is why we seek to know God more deeply because of the extraordinary effect that He has on our lives.

There is no one who affects us like God. There is nothing that excites our hearts more than the study of God. Well, in this session, we're going to look at the grace of God. And for those of us who have come to place our faith in Christ, this is such a precious truth, the grace of God. God is gracious. He delights in showing unmerited favor to us who are completely undeserving of His goodness. If God were to give us what we truly deserve, we would all already be in the flames of hell because that is what we deserve. But it is God's extraordinary grace that has been demonstrated towards us in Christ, that has given to us not what we deserve, in reality what we do not deserve, which is His forgiveness and His mercy. So in this session, I want us to focus on the grace of God.

And as we do, there are several headings again that I want to set before us to help us just walk through this very important attribute of God. First of all, is that God's grace is free. And by that, we mean that it is unmerited. It is undeserved. It cannot be earned. It can only be received as a gift. We can only extend an empty hand towards this awesome God if we are to receive His grace.

It cannot be bought. We can never be good enough to be the recipient of His grace. No, it is extended freely to those who are undeserving, who cannot earn it, who cannot pay for it with the currency of good works or religiosity. Several verses obviously underscore this truth. We have a wealth of verses that teach this.

But just a couple. Romans 3 and verse 24 says that being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. We understand what it is to be justified, don't we? It is to stand before the judgment bar of heaven, to be declared guilty on the basis of our own sins, condemned before a holy God, but on the basis of the perfect merit of the Lord Jesus Christ, and on the basis of His sin-bearing, substitutionary death on our behalf. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, confessing our sins, repenting of our sins, and surrendering to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, in that moment, the judge of heaven and earth declares us to be the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. To be declared the righteousness of Christ means that He reckons to our account the perfect right standing of Christ. It is given to us. It is imputed to us. It is a forensic legal declaration, and we are justified in the sight of God. We are acquitted of all charges, and we now are clothed from the top of our head to the bottom of our feet in the perfect robes of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

How do we receive this? It is by grace. It is a gift that God offers and extends to those who are guilty in the offer of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And it may be received only on the terms of the offer. It is offered by faith. We must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and when we do, on the basis of that trust, we are declared justified. It is a gift by His grace.

We could put it this way. Justification is not a reward for the righteous. It's a gift for the guilty. And those who claim to be righteous will never have it, and it is only those who declare their own guilt may receive it by faith. Jesus has not come for those who are well. He has come for those who are sick.

The truth is we are all sick and in need of His righteousness. Another verse, Romans 11 verse 6 states, But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. That is to say, grace and works cannot mix. It's like oil and water. They just won't mix.

They won't come together. Either we want to commend ourselves to God by our own good works, or we must receive His gospel as an extension of His grace. What we're saying is, first and foremost, the grace of God is free.

It is offered as a free gift. Ephesians 2, 8 and 9 is one other verse that we must hear. It's so familiar. For 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. God is so gracious to sinners. He is so gracious to the undeserving. He is so gracious to those who are lost and who are ruined in sin. God offers to us what we could never secure for ourselves by our own efforts. He freely gives to us His grace, which is, as we will see in a moment, salvation in Jesus Christ.

That's number one. It is free. Number two, it is eternal. God planned before time began to give His grace to His elect, to those who are chosen in Christ, who are chosen not on the basis of anything that would be in them, but simply by virtue of the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 1 verse 9 says, God saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, that's negative denial, but according to His own purpose and grace.

That's positive affirmation. Not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace. Now listen, which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.

Before time began, before the foundation of the world, long ages passed. God set His heart upon His elect, and God chose to deal with them by the principle of grace, not on the basis of any good works that we have done did He choose us, solely because He chose to be gracious to us and this in eternity past. Think of how long you have been on the mind and the heart of God.

Think of how long your name has been written upon His heart. Think of how long His grace has been extended to you from before the foundation of the world. And number three, and closely related to this, is grace is sovereign. In eternity past, as I just mentioned, God made a sovereign distinguishing choice. God chose His elect. He chose whom He would be gracious to. God did not have to choose to be gracious to anyone, and He would have remained perfectly holy and righteous. It is amazing grace that He would choose to have grace upon any.

And yet, in Revelation 5, when we look into heaven, we see a vast multitude that no man can number, from myriads upon myriads upon myriads. How gracious is God to a vast host of people whom He sovereignly, royally elected for Himself. Exodus 33, verse 19, God says to Moses, I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious. In other words, no one has a claim on the grace of God because it's given to those who are undeserving. And no one can say, God, you owe me your grace.

Or it would no longer be grace. Therefore, God is free to bestow it to whomever He will, or to pass over and withhold it from whomever He will. Because no one can make a claim on His grace based upon their own merit or their own good works. So His grace is sovereign. That is why we use the expression sovereign grace, as He has elected us to be objects of His grace. Romans 11, verse 5, identifies those who receive this grace as God's gracious choice. God's choice of us was motivated by His grace.

It is a gracious choice. And in Ephesians 1, beginning in verse 4, we are familiar with this benediction, this doxology of praise offered to God for His electing love. And Paul writes, just as He, referring to God the Father, chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will. Now listen to this, to the praise of the glory of His what? Of His grace. Election is so that there will be great praise given to God for His gracious choice of undeserving sinners like you and me. When we get to heaven, it will be this theology that will cause such great doxology.

In fact, it's already begun right now. We already sing His praises as we understand that this grace is a sovereign grace. So, what are we saying? We're saying that grace is free, it's eternal, it's sovereign, it's far-reaching, in that it is extended to and made real in the lives of all kinds of people around the globe.

In Titus 2 and verse 11, the Apostle Paul says, For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. Now when he says all men, he's not teaching universalism and saying that every man, everywhere and every generation on every continent has received the salvation of God. The word all here means all of every kind, all without distinction. Not all without exception, but all without distinction.

All kinds of people. And just earlier in Titus chapter 2, he has made a list of all kinds of people. In verse 2, older men, verse 3, older women, verse 4, children, verse 4, husbands, verse 5, wives, verse 6, young men, verse 9, bond slaves.

He'll talk about masters as well. And then he comes to verse 11 and says, The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. It's very obvious in the context that he is talking about all kinds of men.

And we could extend this to say all kinds of people, men and women, Jews and Gentiles, educated and uneducated, cultured and uncultured. That's how far reaching the grace of God is. Just look at John's gospel, for example. John chapter 4, here is the woman at the well. Jesus purposed to go there so he could talk to her and extend this grace to her. But in the previous chapter, Nicodemus, he was the teacher of Israel.

He had more religion and more Bible knowledge than anyone in Israel at the time. Yet here is the grace of God hitting both ends of the spectrum, not just a man and a woman, but a religious leader, a Samaritan, unfaithful woman. Oh, how broad is the grace of God, going out far and wide to all kinds of people, even to people like you and me. Oh, his grace is so far reaching. Fifth, his grace is mediated.

It is mediated through the Lord Jesus Christ. There is not one drop of saving grace outside the mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one sole mediator between God and man, and it is exclusively through Christ comes this saving grace. It's almost as if the oceans of grace come into our life through the pipeline of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He is our one sole mediator. Listen to a couple of these verses. John 1, verse 17, grace came by Jesus Christ. That is to say, the grace of the Father came pouring into our lives by Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 2, verse 5, there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.

A mediator must be impartial to both sides. He must be able to represent God to man. He must be able to represent man to God. That is why he was the God-man. That is why he was 100% God. He can represent God to man.

He was 100% man. He can represent man to God. He was able to stand in the middle and put his hands on both sides and be the reconciler and bring the two together. And this grace came from the Father to us exclusively through that pure pipeline of the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5, verse 15 says, the grace of God is by one man.

The word by, be wise, a preposition that speaks to this means, this mediation. The grace of God is by one man, Jesus Christ. I want to say again that all of the treasures of grace are in Christ. But there is not one drop of grace outside of Jesus Christ. That is why the Bible says he who has the Son has life.

He does not have the Son, does not have life. If you have Jesus you have everything. If you don't have Jesus you don't have anything. It's all in Christ. All the treasures of wisdom and understanding are in Christ. But all redemption is in Christ. All reconciliation is in Christ. It's all in Christ. This grace is mediated through him. Number six, this grace is saving grace. Romans 3, 24, being justified as a gift by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. I've already read that verse. Acts 15, verse 11, we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

R.C. Sproul has written a book saved from what? And the answer to that is God has saved us from himself. We are saved from God's wrath. We are saved from God's judgment. We're not saved from just a lonely existence or an unfulfilled life.

God has far more important issues on the table than that. He has our eternal destiny at stake. And God has saved us. The word saved means to be delivered from great danger.

It means to be rescued from great peril. We have been saved from the coming wrath of God by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Titus 3, verse 7 says, so that being justified by his grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Ephesians 1, verse 7 says, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace. You may think I have so much sin. I want you to know he has so much grace. He has far more grace than you have sin. Where sin does abound, Romans 5, I think it's verse 20, grace does much more abound.

There is far more grace. There is an infinite supply of grace. No matter how great your sin, his grace is yet more. And when we step into this saving grace, he then multiplies grace upon grace upon grace. And by that he means he gives us sanctifying grace to conform us into the image of Christ. He gives us strengthening grace so that we can serve him. He gives us satisfying grace so that we are content in him alone.

All the way down to the last day of our life when he gives us dying grace so that we may die with hope, we may die with faith, we may die with confidence. That grace is enabling grace that enables us to be and to do what God would have us to be and do all the way to the end. We will say with the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, verses 9 and 10, I am what I am. I am by the grace of God.

That is the testimony of every believer. I am what I am by the grace of God. I trust that you have received this grace, that you have come as a beggar to his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, an extended and empty hand of faith and have repented of your sins and have laid hold of the Lord Jesus Christ and have believed in him with all of your heart. He gives grace. He gives a greater grace to even the greatest of sinners. When Jesus was asked to summarize the law, He said that we must love both God and our neighbor.

Considering the grace of God helps us fulfill both commandments. God's grace should flood our hearts with gratitude and love for God and provide the model for how we should treat our neighbor. We've heard about God's amazing grace today here on Renewing Your Mind as Dr. Stephen Lawson continues his series on the attributes of God. We'd like to send you all 16 messages from this series, a two-DVD set for your donation of any amount to Ligetier Ministries. There are a couple of ways you can reach us to make your request.

One is by phone at 800-435-4343, or you can go online to And on behalf of all of my colleagues here at Ligetier Ministries, thank you for your generosity. You know, hearing Dr. Lawson talk about the extent of God's grace, it was truly eye-opening. We need to be reminded of who God is, and that's why we're eager to get this series into your hands.

Each of the 16 sessions is about 23 minutes in length. If you teach in any capacity at your church, this series will be a great resource for a Sunday school class or a small group. The title again is The Attributes of God by Ligetier Teaching Fellow, Dr. Stephen Lawson. And we'll hear more from Dr. Lawson tomorrow as he helps us understand another attribute of God, His love. Now this is infinite love. This is limitless love. This is love that has no boundaries. This is a love so high, so deep that it is incalculable that God loves us as He loves His own Son. Please make plans to join us again tomorrow for Renewing Your Mind. God bless you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-26 02:07:49 / 2023-05-26 02:16:24 / 9

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