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The Grace of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
February 23, 2021 7:00 am

The Grace of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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February 23, 2021 7:00 am

Google maps won’t tell you this, but there’s no way to navigate from here to heaven without going through Jesus Christ. Dr. Tony Evans says that grace is the road that gets us there. So, why are so many Christians trying to earn what God only wants to give away for free? Find out when you join him in this lesson.

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When we're operating properly in grace, we increase our ability to say no to sin and yes to righteousness. Dr. Tony Evans says God has offered to surround us with His grace. So grace is not merely an event that saves you, it's an atmosphere that you operate in. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. A lot of people think heaven is populated by those who somehow managed to be good enough to make the cut. But today, Dr. Evans helps us understand how upside down that thinking is as he explores the aspect of God's heart that saves us.

Let's join him. Today, I want to talk to us and remind us about the grace of God. The grace of God. What makes Christianity unique among all the religions of the world can be summarized by the word grace. Now, there are many uniquenesses, but that word is a summary word of the uniqueness.

Why? Because all other religions tell you what you must do to make yourself acceptable to God. What things you must perform, what acts you must accomplish, what deeds you must do.

Christianity, however, is centered on what God has done to make us acceptable to Him. Grace is—the short definition would be unmerited favor. Unmerited favor.

It is a superior granting kindness to an inferior for which the inferior cannot demand, does not deserve, and would never be able to repay. When you go to work and you get a check, that's not grace. You earned it and could fuss if they didn't give it to you. If you're in a contest, a competition, and you win, that's not grace.

You earn that through your performance. That's earned. Grace is unearned.

It's unmerited favor. A bigger definition is grace is the inexhaustible supply of God's goodness whereby He does for us what we could never do for ourselves. It is what God does for us independent of us. That's grace. If you'll look at Romans 11 6, we read this phrase, but if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works. Otherwise, grace is no longer grace.

That's the scripture you want to keep in mind. If you can earn it, if you deserve it, it's not grace. In fact, as you'll see in a moment, you can literally cancel the operation of grace by trying to earn the unearnable. You look at Romans 3 verse 24, being justified as a gift by His grace. Grace is called a gift. You don't pay for a gift.

So it cannot be earned. It's separate from works. Now, the first thing you need to understand is you are saved by grace. Ephesians 2 is the premier chapter on salvation by grace.

He starts off by telling us why we need to be saved by grace, for you are dead in your trespasses and in your sins. Sin has separated us from God, and that is a price we're unable to pay because God demands perfection. God is perfect.

He demands perfection. That is a price nobody can pay because nobody's perfect. We've all sinned. He then goes into 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, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved. Look at verse 8, 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 should boast. So he says that you are saved by grace, not by works.

This is a very clear statement. In other words, you cannot earn your salvation. Many people you talk to are trying to earn their salvation. So they'll talk about how good they are, what Ten Commandments they keep. They will try to make themselves acceptable to a God who only accepts perfection.

And that's not possible. You can't work your way to perfection when you've already sinned. So then, in order for perfection to be met, it has to be given to you grace, because you can't earn it. And of course, 2 Corinthians 5 21 says, He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him. When Romans says we are justified by the free gift of grace, that means to be declared righteous.

It's a legal term, to be declared righteous. So in our salvation, when you accept Jesus Christ as your personal substitute, God credits you with the righteousness of Christ, which is perfect righteousness. So you literally have a perfect credit score in heaven once you accept Christ, because you get his credit score on your account.

And he's perfect. So you stand before God as though you've never sinned, even though we sinned, because of a credit. Anybody ever had a credit on your account?

It was a perfect credit. But it's given to you by Christ. It's not earned by you. So you cannot earn heaven. But I want to spend the majority of my time on grace in sanctification. That is our spiritual development, our spiritual growth. The same grace that saves you is the grace that grows you. Same grace that saves you is the grace that grows you. This is why 2 Peter 3.18 says, Grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. That is, grow in your understanding of grace. So grace is not merely an event that saves you.

It's an atmosphere that you operate in. Here is where we get into a problem, because what many people do is they use grace to get to heaven, but law to live the Christian life. And so they flip back to a earning mentality. But he says in 2 Peter, I want you to grow in grace. The Bible is clear that grace is different than law. Look at Romans 6.14. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

You're now under another way of operating. So this force or environment called grace is the way that you have grow in spiritual victory. Let me show you how big grace is.

1 Corinthians 9 verse 8. And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that always having all sufficiency in everything you may have an abundance for every good deed. Notice he can make all grace abound for everything. So grace is huge because it affects everything, he says. So grace is an environment in which we live. While grace, here it is now, cannot be earned.

We've already established it can't be earned. It must be accessed. Romans chapter 5 verse 2. Through whom we also have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace. So how do you access grace? You access grace by faith. So you place faith in Christ to access it for salvation. But now you place faith to access it for spiritual development, spiritual growth, spiritual victory. So you access grace, you don't earn it.

So it's a different way of thinking. All of us have electricity in our homes. We have electricity that we access through flipping on switches and plugging things in. We access it. We're not the source of electricity. We access the electricity. But how do we access it?

We access it through the vehicle set up through which it flows. So our electrical outlets, the wiring. Grace has wiring that's accessed by faith. What are the points of contact that access this huge environment called grace? Now this is where work or obedience comes in. We express our faith in our obedience. Our obedience that expresses faith accesses grace. We don't work to earn grace. We work to show faith. Faith accesses grace.

You follow me now? So you don't get into this earning. Well, if I do enough of this, God will be gracious to me. That's earning it. And remember, grace cannot be earned.

But it can be accessed. In Ephesians 2, notice how he flows from this. He says, By grace you save, verse 8, through faith, that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one should boast. But notice verse 10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand so that we should walk in them. Please notice the works we are to walk in, he's already prepared. So we're not creating anything.

We are connecting with something. So, grace is accessed by faith. Faith is demonstrated by obedience.

But the obedience is not to earn grace. The obedience is to demonstrate we trust God. Dr. Evans will continue our study of the grace of God in just a moment. But first, I want to tell you about Prayers for Knowing God. It's Tony's newest book, and it's designed to help you develop a healthy and ongoing communication with God, leading you to experience greater grace and peace. If you visit us right away and make a contribution, we'll send you the Prayers for Knowing God book, as well as all 12 full-length lessons from Tony's current teaching series, God's Heart Revealed.

You'll be better able to recognize and appreciate God's motives, desires, and will for your life as you gain an understanding of his heart and move closer to him. This package is our way of showing appreciation for your faithful support of Tony's ministry. Get all the details and make your request online at, or give us a call at 1-800-800-3222 before this special offer runs out. I'll repeat that information for you after Part 2 of today's message and this. Oneness Embraced.

Get yours today at One of the great passages on grace is Titus 2, verse 11. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. Here he talks about the introduction of Jesus Christ. We're told that with Jesus Christ came grace and truth in John chapter 1. So with the coming of Christ comes this atmosphere of grace.

He brought it with him. He brought this new environment, like when a new person is elected, they bring in a new administration. The Old Testament administration was the law. Let me say a word about law. The laws were good. The laws were not bad. The laws showed you God's righteous standard.

The problem was the ability to keep them. Paul says in Romans chapter 7, he said, I was fine until I saw the law, because once I saw the law, then it showed me how bad I was. When's the last time a policeman pulled you over for driving the speed limit? When you're going 80, they pull you over because you break the speed limit. The law is good, but it condemns.

It doesn't congratulate, okay? In other words, the law doesn't make you better. It condemns you when you're wrong by giving you a standard to be measured by.

And what does grace do when it's being operated properly? Instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age. That is something the law does not offer. The law will condemn you, but it won't help you. Romans 7, Paul goes into that, his own struggle with his own flesh. He says, the law is good, but something wrong with me. He says, I'm not able to live up to the things I know to live up to.

That's because he had not yet discovered life in grace. I've used the illustration of the distinction between the washing board and the washing machine. The washing board and the washing machine had the same goal. Get your clothes clean. Our grandmothers, the great-grandmothers, they had that washing board out there.

That's a lot of work. That's a lot of human effort to clean the clothes with a washing board. Now, the invention of the washing machine still does not mean you do nothing.

You've got to gather the clothes, you put the clothes in the machine, you put the detergent in, you put the bleach in. It's not that you do something, but you're doing something with faith not in your power to do this, but in the power that comes with the object that was created. So you participate, but you're participating by faith in that power, not by faith in your power. By faith in your power is law driven by flesh. By faith in the washing machine's power, I'm going to exercise my faith that I believe it can clean it by bringing my clothes to it to do it.

So you're looking to the machine. In this case, you're looking to grace. He says in verse 13, looking to the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Please know that Jesus is called what? God and Savior, because He's part of the Trinity. So here's one of those verses where Jesus is called God.

Grace is not merely a theory or a theology, it is a person. When you're in trouble with the law, you don't need a law book, you need a lawyer. If somebody is trying to rob you, you don't need a penal code book, you need a policeman. If you're sick, you don't need a medical book, you need a doctor. Now the doctor in the book should agree.

The policeman in the penal code should agree. But you need the personification of what's written in the book. So while we want the Word, we want the Word personified.

So watch this. Remember I quoted 2 Peter 3, 18? Grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. How do you grow in grace? By getting closer to Jesus.

So the administration and the person are connected intimately. That's why John 15 talks about abiding in Him. That is, your intimacy with Christ will grow your experience of grace, and your experience of grace will grow your experience of spiritual victory rather than spiritual defeat. So many people try to cuss and fuss and fight their way to victory and not grace their way there. So you look at the challenge you have in your life. We all have challenges in our life. You look at the challenge you have in your life that are wrong, wrong.

Things like bad temper, you know, addictions, the thing that is wrong. Because you want victory, you want this to be made right. So you made promises, you made resolutions. Well, I went for a while, but they didn't stick. When you have dirty dishes that have been there for a while, you soak them. Now, you can kind of scrub them, but the easier thing to do is to soak them. What you just did by soaking them is change that environment. Soak them in hot water with suds. If you soak it long enough, what you would try to scrub off, you now can slide off.

It's the same dirt, but being handled in a different environment. Out of this grace, the final point I want to make should come service. 1 Peter 4, verse 10. As one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as a good steward of the manifold grace of God.

You know why it's so hard to get people to serve? Because they either do not understand or do not appreciate grace. If you really knew what God was offering and really were taking advantage of it, you wouldn't have to be begged to serve, begged to give, begged to do this, do that.

It would be an overflow of gratitude, because you've seen what grace can do. If you've been listening to our broadcast and you have not personally trusted Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins so that He can give you the gift of eternal life right now, I want you to go to God and transfer your trust from any and everything else except the Son of God who died on the cross for your sins and arose from the dead. In fact, I'm going to say a little prayer, and you can repeat it after me. You just have to mean it for yourself. Heavenly Father, I know I'm a sinner and that I can't save myself.

I believe Jesus Christ, Your Son, died on the cross in my place for my sin, and I now am trusting Him alone to forgive me and to give me the gift of eternal life that He promised to give to anyone who came to Him for it. Thank you for saving me and help me from this day forward to live a life pleasing to you. Congratulations. Welcome to the family. God bless you.

And that goes for all of us here at The Alternative. We encourage you to connect with a good Bible-teaching church so you can grow. We also invite you to visit us at and click on the link that says Jesus. There, Dr. Evans has further words of encouragement to share and plenty of downloadable resources to help you learn more. Now today's message was all about the grace of God, and if you'd like to get a copy of this lesson to review again or share with a friend, it's available in its entirety on both CD and digital download. Better yet, get it as a part of that special limited-time package I mentioned earlier, including all 12 full-length messages in the God's Heart Revealed series, along with Tony's brand-new book, Prayers for Knowing God. All these are our gift to you, our way of saying thanks when you make a contribution to help support Tony's ministry. Just contact us at 1-800-800-3222 to make the arrangements.

Resource team members are standing by to assist you. And again, the number 1-800-800-3222. Or make your request online at

Again, that's These days you can access all sorts of knowledge with a quick web search. Dr. Evans says wisdom is knowing what to do with that knowledge. And true wisdom doesn't come from an internet download. It happens when you listen to and connect with God. I hope you'll come back for that discussion right here tomorrow. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative, and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-22 19:27:45 / 2023-12-22 19:35:48 / 8

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