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Title: God’s Antidote in a Sin-stricken World
Theme: Saving Grace
Series: Living in the Aroma of God’s Grace
“One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.
They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”
(Psalm 145:4-9)
Christians have a wealth of praise to offer to the Lord
I would propose that Christians have a wealth of praise to offer to the Lord and that God wants the wealth of His grace shared with all who live the whole world.
This grace is available to everyone.
Who gives the gift?
How is it received?
Who chooses to enjoy it?
How is it obtained?
And lastly, how long can it be enjoyed?
Psalm 145 is psalm of praise written by King David and sets for all Christians the heart that God wants to see in the Church of Jesus Christ.
There are some powerful truths proclaimed by David in these passages of Scripture that must be briefly pointed out before we can proclaim with confidence the graciousness of our Lord.
Notice I said with confidence, there are some people who mention that God is gracious only because it makes them sound religious.
Christians, who crave the pure spiritual milk of the Word of God, grow in their salvation and have tasted that the Lord is good.
With confidence, “They will speak of the glorious splendor of [His] majesty, and they will tell of the power of [His] awesome works, and [they] proclaim [His] great deeds.
They… celebrate [His] abundant goodness and joyfully sing of [His] righteousness.”
Because the Lord Jesus Christ is the Christian’s faithful High Priest who is able to sympathize with their weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15-6) they are confident in His goodness and generosity.
They know that the Lord is good and His compassion is on all He has made.
This enables them to express a confidence that the Lord Jesus treats His creatures with kindness, His subjects with consideration, and His obedient children with favor.
Christians who understand the benefits of God’s grace know that it is impossible for Him to forget them or be to harsh with them.
When He chastises His children it is for their own good.
When He surrenders willful sinners over their own flesh, to the world’s lures and even to the lies of the devil, He is still working out His saving grace to call all to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The New American Standard gives us this wonderful translation of Psalm 145:4, “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.”
There is much for the child of God to meditate upon and to share with the next generation that is Sin-stricken.
Saving grace
God’s antidote to a sin-stricken world is “saving grace” and it is a gift that only comes from God. Romans 3:23-24 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by [God’s] grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
(Romans 3:23-24)
The first truth that must be agreed upon is that God’s free gift of saving grace is for everyone because everyone has sinned.
It is like everyone was on a ship and everyone on that ship had inherited the sinful nature.
Sin caused the ship to sink and the people were able to make it to an island that is a mile wide.
One day the people could see a huge wall of water coming at them that was several miles wide and tall enough to engulf the whole island, thus bringing sure death and total destruction.
The nearest land that could secure their safety was 15 miles away, separated by shark invested frigid waters.
Without assistance of some kind death was guaranteed to anyone who would venture in the water.
No one could jump far enough or doing anything of his own accord to get where they could find safety.
Everyone who lives on this earth is on an Island that is going to be destroyed.
There is a wave of death that is going to hit everyone on this earth if Jesus tarries another 120 years.
Therefore, God intervened and made a way from escape from utter destruction.
He knew that there was absolutely nothing that man could do on his own accord to overcome that sinful nature so He gave “Saving Grace.”
This “grace” (charis) in Romans 3:24 comes only from the Lord and is not brought about by anything we have or can do.
This grace is the supernatural move of God working through the power of the Holy Spirit affecting man’s sinfulness, not only offering forgiveness to the repentant sinner, but bringing joy and thankfulness.
This mighty move of God in a man’s spiritual heart changes him into a new creation without destroying his individuality.
(Barnes Notes; The Complete Word Study of the New Testament; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:8-9)
The second truth to enjoying God’s antidote for sin is to understand that God’s grace is free.
In my early days of training for ministry I was challenged by a man to go to door to door here in Norton and ask the question, “If you were to die tonight where would you go?” To those who said heaven I was to ask, “Why do you believe that?”
I was careful not to knock on doors of people who I knew were regular church attendees or exhibited the fruit of Christian faith.
Most of the answers I received centered around two key thoughts.
The first was works, and the second, religious affiliations.
People would say, “I am just as good as the next guy” or “I have done the best I can” or “I have done more good things than bad things.”
Others associated themselves with a Christian denomination of some kind.
These two attitudes found in the world of sinners is why the Holy Spirit moved the apostle to write so much about saving grace.
The best way to enjoying God’s saving grace is to understand what justified freely means.
Sinners are in the wrong before God.
They have broken His laws, they deserve punishment, but on the cross Christ took their place.
Now, when they put their trust in Christ as Savor and Lord, they are declared in the right, acquitted, justified.
The Cross of Christ shows God to be just, not simply in the fact He forgives, but in the way He forgives.
To pass over sins would show mercy, but it would not show justice.
Forgiveness by the way of Christ going to the Cross for the sins He did not commit shows both mercy and justice through sacrificial love.
(The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook)
The Bible says, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
(Hebrews 9:22) Jesus responded to His call to the Cross out of a love relationship to God His Father.
Christians who enjoy God’s antidote for sin have Holy Spirit illumination of justification.
It is the declared purpose of God to regard and treat sinners who believe in Jesus Christ as Savor and Lord as if they had not sinned.
God does this only on the merits of the Christ who died for them not because Christians are successful in living out the laws of God.
Christians who have a Biblical understanding of God’s true grace live out what God’s Word says much differently than those who strive to obey God’s Word in the fear of the flesh or as those in the world would perceive it should be lived out.
Those who try to work out their salvation will strive to obey God’s Word through fear or attempts to earn temporal advantages.
However, works of true faith are done out of Holy Spirit inspired promptings.
This enables Christians to enjoy liberty to say no to sinful desires purely out of love for Christ the one who died for them.
It is understood you can train an ape to closely imitate the actions of humans.
But the ape is still not a human.
An ape can not become human by any effort of his own, only the hand of God can bring that about.
Only if the hand of God makes the miraculous change could the ape actually become human, thus enabling him to live truly as a human.
(Martin Luther)
The whole of Scripture does not say that faith is without Christian character of good works.
The whole of Scripture teaches that true works that glorify God and Christ only come about by the miraculous saving grace of God changing the sinner and creating him into the image of Christ.
Man cannot bring Christ-like change by his own efforts.
Received by faith
God’s antidote for a sin-stricken world is saving grace.
It is only given by God and it must be received by faith.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
“Faith” (pisits) here primarily means to have a conviction based on what is heard.
(Vines) Romans 10:17 says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”
(Romans 10:17) This faith is not a tool produced by man but simply a trustful response that is birthed by the Holy Spirit working in the spiritual heart of repentant sinners and enabling them to believe.
Again this shows God’s grace working and not man’s ability to raise up faith by his own effort.
However, it does show mankind’s need to be responsive to the promptings of God upon his life.
The faith found here is the only element in a Christian’s life that enables him to enjoy all that the Lord Jesus has for the children of God.
It must be noted that this faith still comes from God and the only way anyone can get it is to allow themselves to be exposed to the teachings of God’s Word and be hungry to hear and respond to it.
If there is no longing to hear and be responsive to the teachings of Christ who is the incarnate Word of God, than there will never be any true saving faith found in that person’s life.
A good definition of this faith is relying on what God has done through Christ rather than on one’s ability to believe.
In the Old Testament, faith is rarely mentioned.
The word trust is used frequently, and verbs like believe and rely are used to express the right attitude to the Lord.
At the heart of the Christian message is the story of the Cross of Calvary: Christ’s dying to bring salvation.
This faith in Ephesians 2:8 is an attitude of trust that Christ died for our sins and because of His sacrificial death, we have salvation through the shed blood of Christ.
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