Keith Hunt - SAVED BY GRACE #1 Restitution of All Things


SAVED BY GRACE #1



      AS SHOCKING AS IT MAY SOUND, NOT ONE IN ONE HUNDRED
        CHRISTIANS UNDERSTAND WHAT BEING SAVED BY GRACE 
         REALLY MEANS. IN THIS ARTICLE THE TRUTH WILL
                        BE MADE PLAIN
                                     
                              by 
                           Keith Hunt


     "For by GRACE are you saved through faith, and not of
yourselves, it is the GIFT of God.." many will quote this verse
of Eph.2:8 and tell you the law of God has been abolished. 
     But Jesus answered the young man who asked Him how he might
have eternal life, by saying, "IF YOU WILL ENTER INTO LIFE, KEEP
THE COMMANDMENTS" (Mat.19:17). 
     Many say LAW and GRACE do not mix! Is that true? How can we
reconcile what Christ said to the rich young man, and what Paul
wrote to the Ephesians? Was Jesus and Paul of different opinions
as to HOW a person is SAVED?
     The way of Salvation can be understood - your Bible makes it
PLAIN - here then is the truth of HOW YOU can have eternal life.


                      ALL OF GOD'S WORD

     The verse in Eph.2:8 is an inspired part of God's revelation
to man - but so also is Mat.19:17 ! Do you believe what Paul
wrote to the Ephesian church? Do you believe what Jesus said to
the young man? If you believe that the Bible is INSPIRED, your
answer must be a resounding YES!
     Jesus said elsewhere that the scripture can not be BROKEN -
in other words, there cannot be any CONTRADICTIONS in the word of
God. The verse, "For by grace are you saved" is true - very true.
No one can save themselves by their WORKS. You can work, perform,
DO THINGS for a thousand life times, and still you will never
WORK your way into eternal life. Your WORKS, of themselves, will
NOT save you.

     God's salvation is a gift - it comes by the way of GRACE
through faith. But can God's grace be turned into something He
never intended? Yes indeed! Jude wrote towards the end of the
first century A.D. that, "....when I gave all diligence to write
unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write
unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for
the faith that was ONCE DELIVERED unto the saints(even BEFORE the
end of the first century the way of salvation was being
corrupted)  for there are CERTAIN MEN crept in UNAWARES( they
looked like Christians but were deceivers)....UNGODLY men(not
speaking the truth of God's word ) TURNING (changing, doing
something other than what God intended) the GRACE of God into
LASCIVIOUSNESS(a license to sin)...." verse 3,4.
     God's grace was being ABUSED, twisted, turned into something
other than what God  said it was.


                    SOMETHING YOU CAN EARN!

     Salvation comes as a GIFT - by grace - given to us by the
Father. Our works, our deeds cannot EARN us the right to eternal
life. But there is something we can most definitely EARN - by
what we have performed. 
     Turn to Rom.6:23 and read there what it is we can EARN, "For
the wages(the payment we are rightly due because we've  worked
for it) of SIN is DEATH....."  What we have earned by sinning is
DEATH - that is the eternal death, the SECOND death
(Rev.20:4-~6,14-15), from which there is no resurrection.
     Again the last part of verse 23 says that eternal life is
God's FREE gift - His to give to us - not something we can demand
because we've earned it.


                        WHAT IS SIN ?

     We can earn by sin - DEATH! The next question we should ask
and answer is "what IS sin?" What does God say sin is? Does He
define it for us, or is it left to us to decide what sin is?
     The word of God does define sin for us. The Bible definition
is - never forget this verse - 1 Jn.3:4,  "Whosoever commits SIN
transgresses also the LAW: for sin IS the transgression of the
LAW."
     Now what law is John speaking about? Paul answers, "....I
had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known LUST,
except the law had said, YOU SHALL NOT COVET " (Rom.7:7).
     What law contains the command "you shall not covet"? Why,
the TEN commandment law of EX.20. The marginal reference of many
Bibles will, for verse 7, take you to the Ten Commandments in
Exodus 20.
     James further testifies that if we break only ONE of these
commands of God, we are guilty - we become a transgressor - we
SIN!  "For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in
one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, do not commit
adultery, also said, do not kill. Now if you commit no adultery,
yet if you kill, you have become a transgressor of the law"
(James 2:10,11).


                       WHO HAS SINNED ?

     Sin then is breaking any one of God's TEN commandments, as
amplified by  Jesus Christ and the entire word of God (see Jesus'
amplification of the law in Mat.5 - 7).Has anyone kept the law of
God completely perfectly - so no sin was incurred? Yes! Speaking
about Jesus Christ, Paul wrote, that He was tempted like we all
are, but He never sinned - not once (Heb.4:15).
     What about the rest of mankind? Are only some sinners while
the rest are not? The Psalmist wrote, "The Lord looked down from
heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that
did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they
are ALL together filthy: there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT
0NE" (Ps.14:2,3).
     Paul translates this passage as, "There is NONE righteous,
no not one(righteousness is defined as all God's commandments -
Ps.1l9:172). - there is none that understands, there is none that
seeks after God ..... there is none that does good, no not one"
(Rom.3:10-l2).
     God inspired Paul in verse 23 of this third chapter of
Romans to write, "For AII HAVE SINNED, and come short of the
glory of God." Earlier in this chapter Paul had stated, "...for
we have before proved both Jew and Gentile, that they are ALL
under sin" (verse 9).
     
     All mankind has sinned - the only exception was Jesus
Christ. He only of all humans was without sin. He alone has kept
the law of God completely perfectly - all the rest have broken
that law - have SINNED - have earned the wages of sin - DEATH.


                      CUT OFF FROM GOD

     God is HOLY (1 Pet.1:15,16). He is PERFECT (Mt.5:48).  His
very nature and character  is  that  of  perfection.   GOD the
Father and Christ Jesus are RIGHTEOUS  (1 Jn.3:7) - there is NO
sin in them at all (v.5).
     God's law is PERFECT (Ps. 19:7). His commandments are
RIGHTEOUSNESS (Ps.119:172). God's righteousness is FOREVER
(Ps.111:3). To sin, as we have seen is to BREAK, go against the
very character of God - His perfect HOLY, SPIRITUAL law
(Rom.7:12,l4).
     The Father and Son have never sinned, but the rest of
mankind, all mankind - YOU and I, have sinned - have broken that
perfect and holy law. What has this sinning of ours done to our
relationship with the Father ?

     God answers us through the prophet Isaiah, "Behold, the
Lord's hand is not shortened, that it can not save, neither His
ear heavy, that it can not hear, BUT your INIQUITIES (our sins)
have SEPARATED between you and your God, and your SINS have hid
his face from you, that He will not hear" (Isa.59:1-2).
     Our sins have cut us off from God - we stand condemned to
DEATH, our wicked deeds, our WORK of sin has earned for us the
wages of death. But God the Father is a God OF LOVE (1 Jn.4:8).
Although we deserve to die, He loves us - He wants to SAVE
us from death. The Father, even before the foundation of the
World,  knew mankind would sin, and so He planned HOW man could
be rescued from the penalty of sin - death. God had determined to
save us, not according to OUR WORKS, but according to His own
purpose(plan) and GRACE, which was given us in Christ Jesus
BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN (2 Tim.l:9). God had determined to buy us
back from death through His very own Son - and this plan of
redemption was formulated before the world was founded
(1 Pet.1:19,20). God is so wonderful and merciful that He gave
His only begotten SON, that whosoever believes in Him should NOT
PERISH, but have EVERLASTING LIFE (JN.3: 16).
     
     Sin - our sins, have separated us from God - have cut us
off, but there is a way we can be reconciled - the Father has
made a way possible by which our sins can be forgiven, and the
death sentence taken away from us.


                      GOD'S CALL TO MANKIND

     The first step to salvation that we must do is to respond to
the CALL of God, "For the promise(of forgiveness of sins) is unto
you, and to your children, and to all that are far off, even as
many as the Lord our God shall CALL" (Acts 2:39).  What does God
CALL OUT? Paul tells us, "And the times of this ignorance God
winked at, BUT NOW commands all men everywhere to REPENT" (Acts
17:30). Jesus said, "I tell you....except you REPENT, you shall
all likewise PERISH" ( Luke 1 3:5).
     
     God inspired Isaiah to write, "Seek you the Lord while He
may be found, call upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked
FORSAKE HIS way, and the un- righteous man his thoughts: and let
him RETURN unto the Lord, and He will have MERCY(grace) upon him,
and to our God, for He will abundantly PARDON" (Isa.55:2,7). On
the day of PENTECOST, Peter cried out to the people, "REPENT (be
broken up over being sinners, change your way of life) and be
BAPTIZED  every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, FOR the
REMISSION (the forgiveness) of SINS..."  (Acts 2:38).
     A little later Peter again shouted, "REPENT you therefore,
and be CONVERTED (be charged, be turned into something different)
that (in order that) your SINS may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19).
We are sinners - sin has cut us off from God - we are under the
sentence of death. But God says if we REPENT of being sinners -
if we are willing to CHANGE, to be converted to His thoughts and
ways, our sins can be FORGIVEN - blotted out of the book of
death, so to speak.
     
     Listen again to what God calls out to us through the apostle
John, "If we CONFESS our sins, He is faithful and just to FORGIVE
us our sins, and to cleans us from all unrighteousness"  (1
Jn.l:9).
     Another time, "He that covers his sins shall not prosper:
but whosoever CONFESSES and FORSAKES  them shall have MERCY"
(Prov.28:13) .
     Just as a MURDERER on death row must show by a humble,
contrite, repentant attitude, he is broken up over what he has
done, and never wants to commit that crime again, if he is to
stand any chance of obtaining MERCY or GRACE, so it is with us
before God. We must show God that we have repented of our
transgression of His holy law - that we want to CHANGE our way of
life to conform to His way. Upon manifesting that attitude, God
says He will show us MERCY - our sins will be blotted out -
FORGIVEN.
     And just as the murderer on death row cannot possibly EARN
his forgiveness by his repentant attitude, or anything he can do
after he has murdered, so with us. Our repentance does not,
cannot EARN our forgiveness with God. It is merely a CONDITION
that the Father lays down in order for us to receive His free
pardon of our sins.
     
     When rightly understood, even the ability to come to
repentance is a gift from God. As no one can come to Christ,
accept Him as Savior, UNLESS the Father DRAWS him with His
Spirit. You will see this truth by reading these scriptures: John
6:44,65; 16:13; 2 Tim..2: 24-26.
     We do have our part to do - we must HUMBLE ourselves - have
the proper kind of respectful fear of God (Isa. 66:2) and then
God will look to us - give to us as one of His gifts the ability
to REPENT which in turn leads to the forgiveness of our sins
through faith in Christ Jesus.


                      WHAT IS GOD'S GRACE ?

     It is written, "....the Lord is GRACIOUS...." (Ps. 111:4).
The word  "grace'' can have manifold meanings. The WORLD BOOK
DICTIONARY gives a long passage as to the various meanings of the
word "grace."  But in connection with THEOLOGY they say,
"God's free and UNDESERVED favor to and love for mankind....."
They also state grace is, "MERCY, CLEMENCY, PARDON, FORGIVENESS."
     If someone has done you WRONG and justice would demand they
pay the prescribed penalty for his their wrong actions, but you
have compassion on them and put aside the right to exercise the
justice of the law, you have shown CLEMENCY, you have had MERCY,
you have granted PARDON, you have been GRACIOUS, shown GRACE
to the wrong doer. Grace or mercy is a quality of character that
comes from a person, where he could just as easily demand the
penalty of the law be enforced.
      Being shown grace - being under grace, does not mean you
are in a condition of being free to henceforth live as you
please, and break with  impunity the laws of the land. The
murderer, Being shown grace or forgiveness is not free to just go
out and murder again - of course not!  Why, the law enforcement
agencies have no problem understanding what GRACE is - but some
theologians and professing Christians have a terrible time in
understanding the grace of God.   

     The grace of God is an ATTRIBUTE, quality of CHARACTER  - 
one of the many qualities of God. It is the ability of God to
forgive sin - to blot out the sins of any person - to show mercy
- undeserved favor in not claiming the justice of the law, to be
carried out on that person - which for us would mean eternal
death.
     But as God's law is ETERNAL and stands fast FOREVER
(Ps.111:7,8) and as the penalty or wages for breaking that law is
death, the law must be satisfied. If God could have taken His
magic wand and said, "law be gone, be no more"  then there would
be NO TRANSGRESSION, "for where no law is, there is no
transgression" (Rom.4:15). You cannot get a speeding ticket if
there is no law to tell you that you must not go over a certain
speed. If God's law has at any point in time been "done away" or
"nailed to the cross" then nobody from that time on has sinned -
for sin is the transgression of the law. And so a  savior would
not have been needed.
     The TRUTH is - God's law, has never been abolished, so the
penalty of breaking it must be satisfied - it must be paid.
     
     We  have all sinned - we are under the laws penalty, which
is death. God says there is a way to get out from under that
death sentence. The first step is to REPENT of sinning - to
repent of breaking the law of God. But the death penalty must he
satisfied. The next step of God's plan now comes into play.


                    HOW WE ARE JUSTIFIED

     A word that is used many times in the Bible, especially in
the New Testament with reference to, and in connection with
salvation, is the word JUSTIFICATION or JUSTIFY. Again to many
this word is nebulous - they don't really understand what it
means. A few
 inutes spent with a DICTIONARY will clarify its meaning.

     The word means and denotes the act of pronouncing RIGHTEOUS,
acquitting persons of guilt, to clear of blame or guilt. A person
who has been JUSTIFIED has been acquitted or released from the
penalty of his error. It is as if he had never been guilty of
any wrong doing - he stands innocent - FORGIVEN - no penalty
hangs over him.  We have seen that we stand as SINNERS - the law
claims our lives - death is the sentence. That penalty must be
paid - the law is UNMOVEABLE. But God has provided a way by
which we can escape that death penalty.  He planned that His very
own Son would come and die for us, in our place. It is as if the
son of the judge of the land, who is about to enforce the death
sentence on all murderers, came forward and said he would die in
their stead - he would bear the penalty of death, so the law that
was broken could be satisfied and the murderers could be declared
innocent - righteous, forgiven of any crime - JUSTIFIED.

     That is the way it is with God, the judge of the universe,
His Son Jesus Christ, His perfect law, the penalty for breaking
that law, and us the sinners who have transgressed that law and
have incurred the sentence of death. We may have repented, but
the law must be satisfied.
     So Paul wrote, "Being JUSTIFIED(declared righteous -
forgiven) FREELY(not something we can earn, or claim we have a
right to because of some good work we've done) by His
GRACE(undeserved pardon) through the REDEMPTION(the buying back
or redeeming power) that is in Christ Jesus. Whom God hath set
forth(it was planned as we've seen before the world began) to be
a PROPITIATION(an atoning sacrifice) through FAITH(believing and
trusting the way God said it would be) in His blood(His death on
the cross) to declare His righteousness for the REMISSION(passing
over or blotting out) of SINS that are PAST(the grace of God does
not give us a blanket forgiveness of sins we may commit in the
future) through the forbearance of God" (Rom.3:24-25).
     Again Paul wrote, "For we ourselves also were sometimes
foolish, DISOBEDIENT, deceived, serving different lusts and
pleasures..... But after the kindness and love of God our Savior
towards man appeared. Not by WORKS of righteousness which we have
done(there's no deed we could possibly do to release us from the
death penalty) but according to His MERCY He saved us(from sure
death) which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our
Savior. That being JUSTIFIED by His GRACE, we should be made
heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:3-7).
     
     The man about to die for the crime of murder can live
perfectly - he can obey the laws of the land completely - he can
do all manner of GOOD DEEDS - but none of them can erase the
sentence of death hanging over him. He can only escape death by
being shown MERCY or GRACE by the powers that be.
     God has made our justification - our acquittal from guilt
possible through the death of His Son. We must believe - have
faith - trust in God that truly Jesus' death in our stead,
satisfies the law's demand and we are declared sinless -
RIGHTEOUS.
     And as Paul says, "Where is boasting then? It is excluded(we
can not boast we did some deed to have to make God forgive us).
By what law? of WORKS? No! but by the law of faith. Therefore we
conclude that a man is JUSTIFIED by faith without the
deeds of the law" (Rom.3:27,28).

     Paul in writing to the Christians at Rome about Salvation
and Justification, had to combat the Gentle and Jewish doctrine
of justification by WORKS or DEEDS. The Jewish sects believed
that being physically circumcised in the flesh, observing certain
ritualistic ordinances, performing animal sacrifices, and the
like, would get you in right standing with God - that certain
WORKS would justify you. The Gentile religions had similar
beliefs. They held that by punishing the physical body, going
through certain ceremonies, sacrificing animals, they could
please their gods and acquire forgiveness of sins. Paul explains
this was not the way God planned to JUSTIFY mankind from sin.
     It was not the way of EARNING your forgiveness but a matter
of God Himself through His Son, coming in the form of man, being
made flesh and dying for the sins of the whole world - taking the
death penalty upon Himself, so all mankind could be made free
from the penalty of the law.
     It was a simple matter of how God had planned it and faith
in that promise of His. Faith in the fact Jesus died for us. Upon
our REPENTANCE and acceptance of the death of Christ in our stead
- the acceptance of Him as our PERSONAL Savior, God would forgive
us our sins - would declare us righteous, sinless in His eyes. We
would be JUSTIFIED - and that by GRACE through FAITH.

To be continued(written in 1984)



 
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