It Is By Grace
It Is By Grace!
The thought of this message clusters around three words: "grace;" "saved;" "faith."
Anyone who knows the biblical meaning of these three words knows the gospel.
Paul is preeminently the apostle of grace.
Out of 155 New Testament references to the word, "grace," 130 are Paulís directly or indirectly.
"Grace! 'Tis a charming sound,
Grace opens and closes his books.
Grace is the keynote of his teaching.
Grace was the secret of his life.
Grace is the characteristic of Christianity.
Harmonious to the ear;
Heaven with the echo shall resound
And all earth shall hear."
In order to have a true and clear understanding of what it is that makes us Christian,
we must learn the truth of this statement: " By grace are you saved."
Notice that Paul starts with the word: "For."
This statement is a continuation of what Paul has been saying.
Paul is looking back to what he has been saying, and then he puts it in a manner that
we should never forget.
This is a description of what it really means to be a Christian.
I believe that most of our troubles in the Christian life arise here at this point.
Many are still confused at this very first step and therefore are always full of problems,
difficulties, and questions.
They do not understand this.
It is because they have never been clear about the very foundation.
Well, here it is.
There is no clearer statement of it anywhere in Scriptures.
Why the confusion?
It is because so many insist on bringing in their thoughts and their theories.
The minute we do this, we are in trouble.
We either accept Godís Word as our only foundation or else we do not.
The moment we leave the Scriptures, our own ideas enter.
Then, we are introducing our own ability, our own understanding, and our own theories.
Here is the whole foundation of our position as Christians.
It is here we are told exactly how we become Christians.
What does Paul say: "By grace..."
He says that we are Christians entirely and solely as the result of Godís grace.
The whole essence of the teaching at this point, and all through the New Testament,
is that we have no right whatsoever to salvation.
We deserved nothing but punishment and hell and banishment from the presence of God
throughout all eternity.
Yet, God with His loving grace has saved us.
There are two classes of people in this world:
Salvation is all of grace:
Those who think they can win or earn Godís favor.
They say: "Something in my hand I bring."
Others who are certain that they cannot win or earn God's favor.
They say: "Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling."
It is grace that proposed salvation.
It is grace that purchased it.
It is grace that proclaimed it.
It is grace that applies it to our souls.
We did not deserve it .
We could not provide it.
We did not seek it.
From first to last, salvation is all of grace.
"Oh, the love that sought me,
Oh, the blood that bought me,
Oh, the grace that brought me to the fold."
Grace excludes all human merit.
It renounces all human claim.
It centers in God alone.
Grace runs like a golden thread throughout the Scriptures.
It is the theme to the New Testament.
Paul never tired of praising God for His marvelous grace and proclaiming it everywhere he went.
What else could he say?
He was the blaspheming Saul of Tarsus, who hated Christ.
He hated the Christian church.
He did his best to wipe Christianity from the face of the earth.
So, as he looked back at what he had been and then, at what he was,
what else could he say but, "I am what I am by the grace of God."
What does the word, "grace" mean?
Grace is a big word.
It is a great word.
It is an all inclusive word.
It is perhaps the greatest word in the Bible because it is the word most truly expressive
of Godís character and attitude in relation to man.
The word, "grace" comes from two or three roots in the Hebrew and the Greek.
Among the Greeks, grace stood for all that is most charming in personal loveliness.
In the Greek we find words and derivatives meaning: "grace," "gift," to "give freely," to "forgive," to "bestow graciously," "joy," to "rejoice," "thanksgiving," to "give thanks," "thankful."
In the English (derived from Latin) we have "grace," "gratis," "gratitude," "grateful," and such opposites as "ungrateful," "ungracious," and "disgraceful."
It stood for that one who is attractive and charming.
It was also used for that spontaneous generosity where there was no claim or merit.
It stood for that kindness given without any hope of return.
It stood for that disposition which was lovely in itself.
Grace means far more than we can put into words because it means nothing less than the
infinite character of God Himself.
The basic meaning of grace is that of favor shown to the utterly helpless and undeserving.
Grace is Godís mercy pitying.
Grace is Godís wisdom planning.
Grace is Godís power preparing.
Grace is Godís love providing.
The words, "By grace" assert that God was under no obligation to save men.
It asserts that salvation is a gift from God.
It is not a reward or merit.
The exact and discriminate meaning of the word grace should be crystal clear to every child of God.
Grace is an action which arises entirely from the gracious character of God.
Grace expresses how we are saved. It is not by weeping. It is not by confession.
It is not by repentance. It is not by our own willing. It is not by our works or any of our efforts.
Dead men can do nothing! We are saved by the grace of God!
All of the above is the result of our being quickened by the Holy Spirit of God.
Grace is the unlimited love of God expressing itself in measureless grace.
Grace is spontaneous (not prompted from the outside); free (no conditions are required);
generous ( no favoritism is shown); and abiding (no cessation is experienced).
Grace means not merely favor but also help; not only benevolence but also benefaction;
not simply feeling but also force.
When used in the Bible to set forth the grace of God in the salvation of sinners,
the word, "grace," discloses not only the boundless goodness and kindness of God
toward men, it reaches far beyond and indicates the supreme motive which actuated God
in the creation , preservation, and consummation of the universe.
What greater fact could be expressed by one word: "grace."
All of this is in full measure and overflowing abundance because of nothing in us,
Grace includes mercy for the undeserving and unmerciful.
It includes help for the helpless and the hopeless.
It includes redemption for the renegade and the repulsive.
It includes love for the unlovely.
but because of everything in the Giver, God Himself.
Salvation is by grace.
All that God does in Christ is what we mean by "saved."
The fact is, He forgives. He pardons. He receives us as His own. He regenerates us.
He adopts us into His family as a child of God.
All this God does.
Salvation in its fullest sense, including the past, present, and future work of God for the believer,
is one continuous series of acts of grace.
" 'Twas grace that wrote my name
- John 1: 14,16: "The Word (the Son of God) was made flesh and dwelt among us,
...full of grace and truth.
And of His fullness (of grace) have all we (who believe) received; and grace for (upon) grace."
It was by the grace of God that Christ tasted death for all men. (Heb. 2:9)
Sins are forgiven according to the riches of Godís grace. (Eph. 1:7)
Sinners are justified freely by His grace. (Rom. 3:24)
His grace reigns unto eternal life. (Rom. 5:21)
In lifeís eternal book;
'Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took."
"Grace taught my wandering feet
Paul said, " By the grace of God, I am what I am." (1 Cor. 15:10)
God said to Paul that His grace was sufficient for him. And it is for us. (2 Cor. 12:9)
By grace there is deliverance from the power of sin in the life of the believer. (Rom. 6:14)
To heed the heavenly road;
And new supplies each hour I meet
While pressing on to God."
"Grace taught my heart to pray,
It was by grace that the believer maintains a proper conduct toward the world and with fellow saints.
( 2 Cor. 1:12)
Gifts for the perfecting of the saints, the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the
body of Christ are said to be grace given to the saints. ( Eph. 4:7.12,13)
There is grace by which believers may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Heb. 12:28)
Liberal giving of material things out of deep poverty and under great trial of affliction,
but with abundance of joy, is said to be grace bestowed on the churches of Macedonia. ( 2 Cor. 8:1-4)
God is able to make all grace abound toward believers;
so that they will always have sufficiency in all things and may abound in every good work. ( 2 Cor. 9:8)
There is grace to help in time of need ( Heb. 4:16), and the heart becomes established with grace.
( Heb. 13:9)
And made my eyes oíerflow;
ĎTwas grace which kept me to this day
And will not let me go."
Surely, all this is grace upon grace by Him who was full of grace and truth.
- God has given an everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. ( 2 Thess. 2:16)
In addition to all of this is the promise of grace that is to be brought to the believers at the
revelation of Jesus Christ.
( 1 Peter 1:13)
Salvation is all by grace!
Salvation is the gift of God.
If one should say, " It is too cheap," let him look at Calvary, and see the cost to God
of the death of His Son.
If one should say, " It is too easy," let him look at Calvary, and realize what was needed
to put our sin away.
When we, as Christians, the receiver of Godís grace look back on ourselves,
we feel more and more that we have become what we are by no act or activity of our own.
We know that grace comes to us without our own will or power.
It took hold of us. It led us on. It leads us on.
Before any act of our own, we see redeeming love seeing us and choosing us.
In all these things we recognize the marvelous grace of God.
Praise His holy name! We are saved by His grace!
"Someday the silver cord will break,
And I no more as now shall sing;
But oh, the joy when I shall awake
Within the palace of the King.
Someday my earthly house will fall,
I cannot tell how soon ítwill be;
But this I know - My All in All
Has now a place in heaven for me.
Someday: till then Iíll watch and wait,
My lamp all trimmed and burning bright,
That when my Saviour opens the gate,
My soul to Him will take its flight.
And I shall see Him face to face,
And tell the story - Saved by grace;
And I shall see Him face to face,
And tell the story - Saved by grace."
"Oh, let Thy grace inspire
My soul with strength divine!
May all my powers to Thee aspire,
And all my days be Thine!"
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White