Lesson 1 of 2
You’ve heard of the grace of God, scripture talks about the grace of God, but for some reason, the only time grace is thought about is before a meal when “grace” is said. Certainly there must be more to the divine grace of God than thhis. Yes, there is!
Apostle Peter teaches that we are to “grow” in the grace of God (2 Peter 3:18). But before we talk about “grace for growth”, let’s explore “grace for salvation”. The same grace you came to experience coming to Christ is the same grace you’ll need to continue in Him.
Grace is the 1st element of the gospel. It is the first of 12 Foundation Stones, or Elements of the Gospel. Grace shares a binary relationship with the element faith. God initiates towards mankind with His grace, and we respond to what God has initiated. Grace therefore, depicts God’s responsibility.
When we talk about God initiating towards man and man responding, what law do we see in action? We see the law of reciprocation. Why did God establish that law? God set that law into the elements of the gospel to establish our contact with Him for increase.
G = God initiates = The law of reciprocation = Contact for increase
F = Man responds
There are three manifestations of grace:
1. Grace for salvation recognized by this symbol G/S
2. Grace for growth recognized by this symbol G/G
3. Grace for calling recognized by this symbol G/C
As we review each manifestation of grace we are going to be looking at three main characteristics of the element: K.O.P.
K = Key definition - The element will be clearly defined
O = Operation - The spiritual function and craftsmanship of God
P = Purpose - The object towards which God is striving
5 Key definitions of Grace
1. Communication: God convicts the heart of the sinner
Jn.16:8, 9, “And when he (the Spirit of Truth) is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Of sin, because they believe not on me.”
Lk.5:8, “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” The soul that is without the light of God is naked. The Holy Spirit communicates this nakedness to the soul, “You are without Christ.” Just as Adam heard the voice of God in the garden and hid in fear of Him, the soul, under the influence of grace, experiences the conviction of the kingdom it embraces. The conviction of the Holy Spirit comes as the Spirit weighs the soul in expectation of righteousness, and the sinner feels the inequity or want of the virtue of Christ within.
Eph.2:5, “Even when we were dead in sins,(God) hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved.)”
2. Revelation: God reveals Jesus Christ as the Son of God
Mt.16:17 illustrates perfectly how the grace of God reveals Jesus Christ to the heart. Jesus had asked the question, "Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?" And Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" And Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but my Father which is in heaven." Grace carries the conviction of faith for righteousness.
Jesus Christ was hidden from the carnal reasoning and concealed from man. No man can come to the Father unless drawn by the Spirit, as Jesus Himself said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (Jn. 12:32). And also, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (Jn.6:44). Grace is the element that speaks of God revealing and communicating Christ to the sinner to draw the sinner to God.
Acts 15:11, “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”
3. Illumination: The light of the knowledge of Christ enters the soul
As the preacher brings the truth of the gospel to the ears of the sinner, God grants grace with that knowledge, and light enters the soul. False knowledge and vain imaginations brought the shadow of death and ignorance, but God gives light to the soul through His grace.
Jn.1:9, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
Heb.10:32 also speaks of the grace of God that brings illumination. That scripture reads, “After you were illuminated you endured a great fight of affliction.” God uses the knowledge of Christ to bring light to the soul, and this light brings life.
4. Enlightenment: God grants understanding with the knowledge
Not only does the knowledge of the gospel of Christ bring light to the soul, but it also brings understanding as the will yields to the influence of grace and allows the grace entrance within the heart. Through grace God is communicating, revealing, illuminating and enlightening, all at the same time. These are all facets of God’s grace.
We see this definition of grace as enlightenment in Eph.1:17, 18: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”
5. Awakening: To awaken the soul with an urgency to know God
The grace of God awakens the soul out of sleep. Sleep is a state of unawareness, a dream state. God uses grace to bring the soul out of its slumber, awakening the sinner to see that his soul is joined to the kingdom of darkness and that God’s judgment is against all that are separated from His righteousness. The soul is awakened with a sense of urgency to want to know God.
Eph.5:14, “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”
Operation of God in Grace for Salvation
1. God issues grace to draw faith from the heart:
We read in Heb. 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God. God issues grace to draw faith out of the heart. Here we see the binary relationship of grace and faith. It is God’s responsibility to reveal Christ (grace); it is the sinner’s responsibility to show obedience to the grace of God by the yielding of the will (faith). Grace carries the conviction of faith for righteousness.
Acts 14:27, “And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” Faith is born in the heart through contact with grace.
2. God issues grace to give a heart to perceive:
What did the sinner not perceive? Eph.2:12, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” The sinner did not perceive this.
2Thes.1:9, “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” The sinner did not perceive this.
Acts 10:38,39,40, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him……whom they (the Jews) slew and hanged on a tree. Him God raised up the third day…” The sinner did not perceive this.
We read in Acts 16:14 about the woman who heard Paul preaching the gospel. As she listened, the scriptures say, “The Lord opened her heart.” When the heart is open it is because the grace of God is present and the sinner is responding to the grace of God. Through His grace God is communicating, revealing, illuminating, enlightening, and awakening the soul of the sinner to draw faith from the heart, to give the sinner a heart to perceive.
3. God issues grace to give strength to the will:
How is the will made weak?
Rom.5:6, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
Rom.6:20, “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.”
Satan sowed many forms of false knowledge in the heart, and as a result, sinners sought God through many self-verifying truths. False knowledge produced vain imaginations about how we fit into the scope of things, how we view ourselves, how we view God, and how we view the world. False knowledge flatters the soul into submission and softens the reason to overthrow the will and blind the eyes. This bruises the will, which means that the will is made weak by these philosophies and continues to choose the path of destruction. When the sinner is thus made to serve sin, the will is made weak through that servitude.
Through His grace God communicates, reveals, illuminates, enlightens, and awakens the soul of the sinner to draw faith from the heart and give strength back to the will by removing the false knowledge and vain imaginations, which focused the will on itself.
4. God issues grace to create equity in the inner man:
Eph.2:15, “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.”
When the will is under the influence of false knowledge and vain imaginations, the will is always torn between what the mind can agree with and what the soul wants to experience. Grace comes to bring equity. When the sinner hears the knowledge of Christ, God’s grace accompanies that message. The mind and soul come together in unity and in agreement to God as faith is being drawn from the heart.
5. God issues grace to create single mindedness:
Mt.6:22, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”
When the will is under the influence of false knowledge and vain imaginations, it is torn between what the mind can agree with and what the soul wants to experience; the mind is not single in purpose, but sees a variety of goals in life as a means of fulfilling purpose and finding completion. Under the influence of God’s grace, the mind becomes single-purposed to join with God in covenant, to serve God in righteousness, and to be born from above.
6. God issues grace to create sober mindedness:
Rom.12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
Because the mind of the sinner is not single in purpose, but sees a variety of goals in his life as a means of fulfilling his purpose in life, neither is his mind sober; Therefore, pleasure is sought over faith. Sinners lead a life full of distractions that keep them from serving God, and each distraction brings the sinner into a type of drunkenness with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
Purpose of God in Grace for Salvation
God’s purpose for issuing grace to the sinner is in direct connection to His ultimate goal, as well as His intended end product of that grace. God brings sin to remembrance and conviction to the heart. HE reveals Jesus Christ as the Son of God and revives hope, awakening the soul, drawing faith, causing equity in the inner man, and bringing singleness and soberness of mind. But for what purpose, what is the goal?
1Cor 1:9, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Grace is the invitation God gives to sinners to convict the soul of the righteousness of Christ and assist the heart to perceive Christ, granting the light and understanding of Christ for the purpose of calling the soul into covenant with Him. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the operation of God to separate the believer from the world unto Himself, and to bring that believer into covenant with Him.