The Other Side of Grace
The Other Side of Grace
A. “Why?” questions
1. Why do doctors call what they do practice?"
2. Why don’t they make the whole airplane out of the same stuff that indestructible black box is made out of?
3. Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will
4. Why do they put Braille on the drive-through bank machines?
5. If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and
6. Why did they put an “s” in the word “lisp”?
B. Then there are the serious “Why?” questions – not just for children!
1. Why do bad things happen to good people?
2. Why do good things happen to bad people?
3. Why doesn’t God give us what we ask for?
4. Why did Jesus have to die?
5. Why do we hurt the ones we love most?
C. Today we’re going to talk about one of the biggest, most important “Why?” questions of the Christian life.
1. Some of you were asking this question in one form or another 2 weeks ago when we emphasized that salvation is by grace through faith – NOT by works
2. Are you ready? Here it is: Why obey?
3. If it is true that we are saved by grace through faith and not by works, then why bother to do what God commands us to?
I. Let’s talk first about false understandings of obedience.
I. Let’s talk first about false understandings of obedience.
1. We obey in order to save ourselves. We are saved by our works.
a. The classic, most popular text that always comes to mind when this is discussed is James 2 where James says that faith without works is dead and that Abraham was justified by his works.
b. But if this means that we save ourselves or that our works save us, then we really are in trouble, because elsewhere Scripture specifically says we do NOT save ourselves. That would mean that there is a contradiction in the word of God. But we know that God is true and does not err.
c. The classic, most popular text that denies we save ourselves is from Eph. 2.
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
d. How then does one explain what James says? Perhaps the best explanation is that Paul and James are dealing with different questions.
i. Both believe in salvation by grace through faith,
ii. but Paul is dealing with people who think they earn their own salvation
iii. while James is dealing with people who say they have faith, but do not live like it.
e. There are other solutions also, but in the end James cannot be saying that we are saved by our works in the same sense that Paul says we are not.
f. Why can’t we do good works in order to save ourselves? My own preacher, Randy Gariss, tells the story of swinging on a rope in the barn all by himself when he was a boy. You know how boys are. Before long he slipped and the loop on the end of the rope wrapped around under one arm and over the opposite shoulder. It didn’t matter how hard he kicked, he couldn’t save himself.
2. We do good works so we will go to heaven instead of hell
a. Now I hope you can see that this one takes us right back to the first one.
b. It is the same as doing good works to save ourselves.
c. It also runs afoul of the 1 John 4:18 principle:
18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
d. If you are a believer, you already have heaven. You have already escaped hell. So why would you do good works to get to heaven?
e. This is also why it is wrong to think that we are saved by grace, but kept saved by our works. Remember, salvation is still by grace even after we are saved.
3. We do good works to make up for the bad ones. The scales have to balance.
a. When I was a kid we used to watch this Claymation show called “David and Goliath.” I still remember the one where Davey took his dad’s skis and lost one of them. So when he got home he took out the trash, washed his dad’s car and did everything he could think of to please his dad. When he told his dad that he had lost one of the skis, his dad knew immediately what had been going on. “Did you think all those good things would make up for doing something wrong?”
b. Of course the situation is different with God because we already owe him all our good deeds already. We cannot do any extra.
Story: man promised to give a girl everything if she would marry him. She agreed, but he eventually failed. She cried. He tried to console her, “I’ll make it up to you.” Her reply, “How can you make it up to me when everything you earn is already mine?”
Everything we earn, all we do, is already God’s and should be done anyway even if we had no sin at all.
So why should we obey if these ideas are all bad?
II. NT reasons to obey
1. We obey because we will be rewarded according to our works.
a. Romans 2:6 -- God "will give to each person according to what he has done."
b. The parable of the talents/pounds.
c. 1 Cor. 3:12 -- If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
c. Galatians 6:7 -- Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
c. Revelation 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
2. We obey because we love God and are grateful for all he has done for our salvation
a. Remember Jesus own words in Jh 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.”
b. Many of us here today are parents. I have my two boys with me. One thing I can tell you, I would much rather my kids do what I say because they want to do what I say, than for them to do what I say because they fear what I might do.
3. We obey because God is our creator and owner.
a. Gen. 1 – Who gave us our lives? Who gave us breath?
b. Does God have the right to tell us how to live? HE thinks so!
c. Does God have the ability to know how we should live? HE thinks that just because he is God, and omniscient, he does!
4. We obey because we have died to sin in Christ and live to righteousness
a. Our main text for this is of course Romans 6.
3Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
b. Death to sin → Resurrection to new nature
c. Freedom from sin → Slavery to righteousness
d. Compare Gal. 2:20
20 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.
e. When does this death & resurrection happen? When we are united with Christ at the time of our baptism.
f. Saved by grace, through faith, at the time of our baptism and so that we might do good works.
· If you are not a believer, you know what you need to do? Obey the gospel and believe.
· If you are a believer, you know what you need to do? Obey your Lord and Creator.
o Not to BE saved but because you ARE saved.
o Not out of fear, but out of love and gratitude.