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By The Grace of God

By The Grace Of God 

          Perhaps the most recalled scripture that bears the phrase making up the title of this article is 1Corinthians 15:10, and unfortunately, many who use this verse, do so inappropriately. Most remember only a portion of it. But by the grace of God I am what I am:   Those who only utilize the first portion, do so to “justify” whatever “evil seems to suit them” at the present moment.   However, there is more to this verse.   The remainder of the verse shows that God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit are not the only Ones to “put effort” into our Salvation. To show this, I’ll include the verse in its entirety.   But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.  
     Additionally, Hebrews 12:14-15 clearly shows that “our efforts” must be maintained so that we “not fail” of the grace of God. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;   Since it is “proven” that man can fail, it is only fair to “prove” that God does not, and cannot fail. We can read this in Zephaniah 3:5. The just LORD is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.   So, if any fail, it is man, not God.   Lamentations 3:22 also shows that God’s Grace does not fail, nor do His Compassions. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. God’s Love has been abundantly directed toward man and culminated in the sending of His Son and His Word.   For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
         I think part of the problem is that many fail to understand the “mercy” or the “grace” of God.   Indeed, God is merciful as we read in the passage above, but let us not forget that God is also “just”.   Isaiah 45:21 is the record of that prophet telling Israel this very thing. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.   Was not God’s Compassion (His Love) toward Israel shown while God’s plan for the redemption of souls was being brought forward through time?  
     Many suppose that Christ Jesus, and His death alone is the “grace of God”.   This is perhaps because many assume that just because Jesus died on the cross and shed His precious blood, that all will be saved. That, my friend, is a most dangerous assumption.    A re-reading of John 3:16 (above) should clear this up.   The passage states: “should not perish”, not “will not perish”. There is a huge difference in the two.   None were saved simply because Christ died on the cross. The cross was the means by which His blood was shed. Does not the “cure” also include the “instructions”?   We apply this in the taking of medicines.   Should we not follow the same advice in the saving of a soul?
     If indeed, all will be saved, as many assume while “gambling” with their souls, why is there teaching about, and warnings of Hell in the Bible?   Why would God waste the time and space in His Word, warning man of something which is not?   Why did Christ need to suffer and die that terrible death on the cross if all are going to be saved anyway?   Some would proffer: “He died on the cross to shed His blood so we could be saved”.   While this is a true statement, and Christ’s blood is the cure, (and it is), will the cure be effective if it is “not properly applied”?  
      Consider Titus 2:11-12. Is not the blood of Christ the cure? Is not the N.T. Word of God (the gospel) the “prescription” or instructions as to “how to contact that blood”? For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Medicine improperly taken cures nothing.   The blood of Christ improperly applied (or not applied at all) saves no one.   Christ’s coming, dying on the cross, shedding His blood, coming forth from the grave, and ascending back to the Father are all part of the grace of God. However, as the above verse shows, the teaching contained within His Holy Word, including warnings of Hell, are equally part of the “grace of God”.  
       One must read the instructions (study and meditate on the Word of God), follow the instructions, (do as directed), and by so doing, properly apply the soul saving spiritual medication contained in the Bible.   This puts one on the path of spiritual health and well-being as God intended.   Of course, one must also apply this grace of God for the proper duration, which is for the rest of their lives. This is what the Spirit had the apostle write to the brethren in Philippi. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)  
      Why are you waiting? Take the medicine God offers. Obey the gospel. Seek spiritual health, and don’t stop properly applying “God’s Grace” until you enter into eternal life.    

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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