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Sola Gratia #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
May 13, 2022 8:00 am

Sola Gratia #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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May 13, 2022 8:00 am

When we rely on Scripture alone, we learn that we are saved by grace alone. And that's our focus on this edition of The Truth Pulpit.--TheTruthPulpit.comClick the icon below to listen.

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How I want to break this message down is to talk about, first of all, the need for grace alone, and then secondly, the provision of grace alone.

And you need to understand, we need to come to grips with both of them. When we rely on scripture alone, we learn that we are saved by grace alone. And that's our focus on this edition of The Truth Pulpit. Hello, I'm Bill Wright, and Pastor Don Green is continuing our series titled The Five Solas, with part one of a message titled Sola Gratia.

Don, what's in store for us in this message? Well, Bill, in this portion of our series on the five solas, we get the wonderful joy of being able to examine what scripture teaches by grace alone. You know, all men are lost sinners.

There is no one who does good. There is not even one, the Bible says, and that means if any man is going to go to heaven, it needs to come on the basis of an undeserved gift from a gracious God. That is at the heart of the Christian message of calling people to believe in Christ and be saved. That's what we get to look at today as we continue to study God's Word on The Truth Pulpit.

Okay, Don and friend, have your Bible open and ready as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word from The Truth Pulpit. The problem of sin in the heart of man is pervasive. It has contaminated every aspect of your being. Your heart, your mind, your will have all been corrupted by sin. There is nothing righteous in us. What we just described is the doctrine that is known as total depravity, and what that doctrine means is this. It does not mean that you and I are as bad as we possibly could be apart from Christ. It doesn't mean that a man is incapable of a comparative degree of kindness and showing some measure of human philanthropy, of human charity on a horizontal level. It doesn't mean that, but what it does mean is this. It means that no man can please God with good works or deeds of kindness. That no man has the ability to commend himself to God, to live a life that he can present to God and say, God, on this basis, you should reward me. God, on this basis, you should accept me.

Based on what I have done, you should receive me into your kingdom. No, to the contrary, the teaching of Scripture is this, is that unredeemed sinners, of which we all either are or were before coming to Christ, all men have no spiritual merit of their own before God. They are utterly unable to do any spiritual good that is righteous in the sight of God.

They cannot change their condition. They cannot earn the favor of God with what they do. This is a blanket condemnation of every man, woman, and child who has ever lived, and it is a blanket condemnation of every aspect of the being of every person who has ever lived. Scripture condemns man. It does not commend man.

Let me say that again. If Scripture condemns mankind, it does not commend mankind. And we understand that that puts Scripture on a direct and immediate collision course with the desire of man to boast about himself, to take pride in himself, in his intellect, in his achievements, in his supposed goodness. Dear beloved, Scripture has none of that. And there comes a point very quickly early on as you consider sola gratia, as you read Scripture even on the most superficial level, there comes a collision course where you have to choose sides about what you're going to believe.

Whether you will go and swim with the spirit of the age, or whether you will reject that utterly and completely in order to accept what Scripture says about each one of us. Turn to the book of Romans and keep your finger there, and also turn to Ephesians as well, as we look at some blanket statements that Scripture makes in this regard. In Romans chapter 3 verse 10, as we continue to consider the need for grace alone, in Romans chapter 3 verse 10, as you know so well, it says that there is none righteous, not even one. There is none who understands. There is none who seeks for God. All have turned aside. Together they have become useless. There is none who does good.

There is not even one. And in verse 18 it says there is no fear of God before their eyes. Now in verse 19, what is the result of this doctrine of total depravity? What is the scriptural teaching on sin supposed to do to us?

It is meant to silence us and our tendency to boast, to claim righteousness for ourselves. In Romans chapter 3 verse 19 it says, Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God, because by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. Beloved, you cannot read those verses and find any exceptions anywhere. The Apostle Paul writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit went out of his way to exclude everyone from that claim. Jews and Greeks alike, none righteous, not one, none, none, all have turned aside, all have become useless, none who does good, not even one. As he quotes from the Old Testament to make his point.

Well this is very sobering, isn't it? This is humbling in the presence of God. If you look over at Ephesians chapter 2, we find the Bible describing this same reality with different metaphors. 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 see it again, the universal condemnation that Scripture makes of mankind. Scripture is not playing games here. These are not suggestions, these are not mild critiques of the condition of man. These are blanket condemnations that say man has no hope in himself. 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.

And so you see a description in Romans 3 that there's none who does good, there's not even one. You see in Ephesians chapter 2, dead in trespasses and sins, children of wrath dominated by the devil. There is an unseen spiritual component to this reality that means that we are slaves not only to our own sin but slaves to Satan himself.

What we must do is come seriously to grips with these things. We must embrace these things as true, not only of mankind in general but that they describe the condition of our own soul apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Because one of the things that this does is it grinds out pride from the human heart. It grinds out any sense of trying to take credit for your salvation. It also grinds out all of the futile efforts of your own to try to make yourself good enough for God to accept you.

Scripture has already declared in advance that you are not good enough for God to accept you. And so the sooner that we come to grips with that reality, the sooner that we abandon our hope and our aspirations after our own self-righteousness as being the grounds of our acceptance with God, the sooner we can get to the reality of true salvation. It is not until you have been thoroughly crushed by the reality of Scripture's testimony against your sinful nature and sinful actions that you begin to understand and appreciate the reality of grace. The need for grace alone is utterly pervasive. It is expansive to all men of all times in all places, and it is deep within man the need for grace in every aspect of his being, in mind, in will, in feeling, in thought, every aspect. We have need for grace, and we are desperate, and we are dependent upon grace if there is ever to be any change in that brutal condition in which we find ourselves. It is truths like this that will help you distinguish between a man who is teaching, who is either ashamed of the gospel, or who embraces the gospel.

When a man wants to curry the favor of his audience, he won't speak to them this way. If he is afraid of bringing offense to them by telling them the reality about their souls, he'll soften, he'll deadpan this, he won't be explicit about it because he realizes that the gospel brings an offense in its conviction of the spiritual lostness of mankind. And so we dwell on this. We expand on this in what I'm about to say simply so that we can be very, very clear on this. You know, it's one thing, as I've said in other contexts in many places, is that it's one thing to make a general statement about a spiritual truth.

It's another thing to go through and to detail point by point by point and to get down into the details that undergird that general statement. Well, here I want to go down into the details just a little bit more about the need for grace alone and to look at what the Bible describes about our sinful condition apart from Christ because it describes it in several different ways. First of all, the Bible describes our sinful lost condition as a condition of spiritual slavery. Of spiritual slavery. John 8, 34 says, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave of sin. Sin is the master of the unsaved man. In 2 Timothy 2, verse 26, it describes unbelievers in this way.

And it says they are in the snare of the devil and held captive by him to do his will. Beloved, do you start to see something of the urgency of grace alone? Do you start to see something of the urgency of your need for salvation?

Do you start to see something of the urgency of your need for a savior as we come to grips with these things? Contrary to every self-esteem thing that every teacher tried to instill in you, scripture comes to you and says you are a slave to your own sinful desires. You are a slave to a higher supernatural power known as the devil and he holds you captive.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 4 it says he blinds men from the truth of the gospel. And so as we talk about humanity being lost in sin, falling short of the glory of God, being dead in trespasses, we realize that scripture uses an analogy to describe that unseen spiritual condition as one of slavery. That man is captive. Let's put it this way, his own rebellion against God holds man captive. Satan himself holds man captive to do his will. And the point of grace alone, the need for grace alone is that no one has the ability to escape the chains of their own slavery.

No one has the ability to rise out of it. We can't simply turn over a new leaf and leave our sin behind. No, scripture says you must be born again.

You don't need a new leaf, you need a new life. You need a life from above that you cannot produce on your own energy and power. Scripture describes our condition as a separation from God. In Isaiah 59 verse 2 it says your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. Forget about, forget about trying to get to heaven on your own merit. As a sinner, God does not even listen favorably to your prayers. Your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. There is a separation, a gulf, there is a chasm between man and God that man is unable to build the bridge to cross.

There is a separation, there is a slavery. Scripture describes it in legal terms as being under God's judgment. John 3 36 says he who does not obey the Son, meaning the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, will not see life but the wrath of God abides on him. What happens when you die in that state? What happens if you're not born again? What happens if Christ doesn't save you and you enter into eternal life in that condition? The Bible says that you are facing an eternal hell. Turn in your Bibles to Revelation chapter 21 verse 8. Revelation 21 verse 8 says, But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death. And so not only are we in this condition during our earthly life to die in that condition, to be in that condition when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, if he no longer tarries and he comes back, to be in that condition is to seal a fate that is too unspeakable for words, except that Scripture describes it for us in the terms that we have seen. Scripture warns us. Jesus himself warned us that these will go away into eternal destruction in Matthew 25, if you'll turn over there with me. Matthew 25.

You know, I get the fact that people prefer to have a cuddly Jesus who just wants to do what, who will do whatever you want him to do and who will just overlook our sin. We would all, you know, the world would like that, but Jesus doesn't say that that's the way that it is. He says in verse 46, talking about the unbelieving, he says, these will go away into eternal punishment. Jesus himself said that.

You know, used to be the great question on every bracelet. What would Jesus do? What will Jesus do with sinners who die and enter into his presence with unconfessed sin? Well, the what would Jesus movements creates this fuzzy idea of Jesus that utterly betrays his holiness and his promises of judgment. What will Jesus do with sinners who die unconverted, who die unrepentant? What will he do with them?

He'll send them away into eternal punishment. Now, in light of all of those things, why is there need for grace? Why is there need for undeserved, unmerited favor from God? The emphasis being on undeserved, unmerited, not something that you have coming to you. It's a goodness that you don't have coming to you that is not yours by right. Why is there need for unmerited favor from God? Look at Romans chapter 8 with me.

Romans chapter 8. This is utterly hopeless apart from Christ. In verse 7 it says, in Romans 8 verse 7 it says, that the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. There is no possibility of an unconverted sinner pleasing God with anything that they do. All men, all women, all children, of all time, in all places, they all have a hostile nature against God, and they cannot come naturally to God on their own power. We do not even have the power to get up and rise and go to Christ on our own. James Montgomery Boice said this, and I quote, he said, sinners have no claim upon God, none at all. God owes them nothing but punishment for their sins. If he saves them in spite of their sins, it is only because it pleases him to do it, and for no other reason, end quote. In other words, for those of us that are here today in Christ, we have been saved by this grace of God that I'm going to speak on in just a moment. If we are here in Christ, it is not because somehow you were better than the next person.

It is not because you had more insight than the other person. It was not because there was something attractive in you that God just had to have for himself. No, you were a spiritual slave. You were dead in trespasses and sin.

You weren't just a corpse, you were a spiritual skeleton with no living flesh on you or in you. We had no claim upon God. And so if we are here today in Christ, there is only one cause that we can attribute that to. It's that God was good to us when we didn't deserve it. That God had kindness on us when we deserve punishment instead.

If there is to be any salvation for anyone, if there is to be any spiritual deliverance, if there is to be any forgiveness of sin, it must come from God on his terms, by his favor, by his kindness, love, patience, and mercy, not from anything that we do that obligates him to do something for us. We are bankrupt in terms of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 verse 3. We are poor in spirit, meaning we are poverty-stricken. We have no resources of our own. We're like Lazarus described in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. We're sitting outside the table of God. We're a beggar longing simply for any crumbs that might fall to us.

We have no right to go up to the table in need of our own accord. You and I brought no merit to our salvation. We contribute none to it now, before or after salvation. We don't add anything that gives any reason for God to bless us. And if there is any spiritual favor to be found, we must come to God and seek it by grace, not by merit. And that leads us to our second point, the provision of grace alone. The provision of grace alone, the provision of sola gratia, in other words. The definition from Louis Burckhoff, grace is the unmerited goodness or love of God to those who have forfeited it and are by nature under a sentence of condemnation, a judicial declaration that we deserve judgment. That's where every one of us was or is, is that God has declared that we deserve condemnation for our sins.

This is brutally important. We do our friends, we do our families no favor if we try to soften the edges of this. We do no one any favors by trying to soften this, as if we could somehow by softening it, make the gospel a little bit more appealing to the unregenerate man. No, that's not the way that we think at all. That's not the way that we do things at all. The way that we think is that we have to be faithful to what God has revealed in his word. We have a vertical responsibility, duty, and privilege of fidelity to what God has said, and we speak the full counsel of God. We declare it for all that it says rather than trying to soften it as though we were somehow embarrassed or ashamed of what it said. I am not ashamed of these things that God's word says.

How could I be? They're true. They're right. They're affirmed by my own experience of my own soul. And it saddens me when I hear men in different locations hiding the doctrine of depravity, hiding the doctrine of the sinfulness of man. How are you going to know that you need a savior unless someone tells you that you're dead in sin? How are you going to know that you need to be rescued if you don't know that you're separated from God?

How are you going to know that God is not pleased with you unless someone declares it to you from the Scriptures? We don't hide these things. We proclaim them from the mountaintops. And we proclaim them from the mountaintops so that we can then be in a position to talk about the wonders of grace, the wonders of Christ, the wonders of Calvary, the wonders of the love and patience and mercy of God, and to do that in a way that He gets all of the glory for it.

People dead in sin cannot possibly play any role in salvation. And that described each and every one of us at birth. As Pastor Don Green has reminded us today on the Truth Pulpit, we're saved sola gratia, by grace alone. Part two of this message comes your way on our next broadcast, so plan now to be with us as we continue the series, The Five Solas, and as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word. Meanwhile, we invite you to visit our website, thetruthpulpit.com. There you can download free podcasts or find out how to receive free CD copies of Don's series. And if you want to go even more in depth, you'll also find the link Follow Don's Pulpit. That'll take you to Don's full-length weekly sermons, not subject to the time editing needed for radio broadcasts. Also, if you're in the Cincinnati area, check out the service times for Truth Community Church. That's also on our website. And plan a visit. We'd love to welcome you. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time for more from the Truth Pulpit, as we teach God's people God's Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-19 04:04:26 / 2023-04-19 04:13:20 / 9

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