Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Posted: February 19, 2020 in Shared Thoughts, Wake Up!
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I know I have written several times on grace in the past, but we must be obedient to what we feel the Lord gives us to share. So, whoever you are, maybe this is just for you.

The follow list contains three things that God’s word not only fundamentally teaches about God’s grace, but biblical history affirms over and over again to be true as it records without partiality the triumphs and failures of those who believed in God.

  1. Grace is sufficient.
  2. Grace can be frustrated.
  3. Grace can be received in vain.

First, regarding grace’s sufficiency in the life of the believer, Paul was assure by God that His grace would be adequate to see him through whatever temptations he would endure or the trials and persecutions he must suffer for the cause of Christ.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Paul learned his confidence was only to be in God’s grace, and that he could not depend on his own strength or power. For it was in his weakness where Paul found he was able to experience God’s fullness in a way he couldn’t in those areas where his own strength or wisdom were adequate, such as making and mending tents. But when it came to his salvation, doing the work of the ministry, fighting the fight, or running the race, Paul knew full well he could not do those things apart from the grace of God given unto him.

Furthermore, the fact that God had given such empowering grace unto Paul, he was fully aware he must take full advantage of it so as not to frustrate it, lest he fall short in the calling God had given unto him.

1 Corinthians 9:16 – For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

I often use the following example when speaking of God’s “sufficient” grace. Someone needs to get somewhere but they have no means to get there. They are at an impasse and do not know what they are going to do because they have to get there or the consequences will be severe if they fail to do so. Upon hearing of their plight I offer them the use of my car, to which they say, “Great, but I have no money for gas.” I tell them no worries, I will fill up the tank and that will be more than sufficient to get them there.

Being greatly relieved, they are now confident that they can safely make the trip because they have been given all they need for the journey, but while on their way they get to thinking they have more than enough time and there is “more than sufficient” gas, so they take the liberty to go sightseeing to other places along the way. Getting caught up in their new found liberty with my car and gas, they carelessly are driving around exhausting the gas. Soon they turn around towards their original destination and suddenly to their surprise the car abruptly stops out of gas!

Is this is not like the parable of the ten virgins Jesus gave us? Or the warning in Hebrews 4-

Hebrews 4:1 – Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

There was no more reason for the people to run out of gas than there was for why the promise of God to give “The promise Land” wasn’t realized by those to whom the promise was given. Yet we too today are being warned of like consequences, the possibility of coming short of our destination by tempting the sufficient limitations of God’s grace. For “To day if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” God clearly gave the Israelites a sure promise, and all the promises of God in Jesus are yea, and in Him, Amen, unto the glory of God by us! And so how could it possibly be that they failed to have God’s promise fulfilled?

Numbers 14:34 – After the number of the days in which you searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall you bear your iniquities, even forty years, and you shall know My breach of promise. 35 I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.

What’s this? God told them they would know His “breach of promise?” How could this be? Surely God doesn’t break His word? There is no doubt that He loved them, and God is no respecter of person, right? And yet what did Peter say when God gave him the revelation of His grace being given unto the Gentiles too?

Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted with Him.

Secondly, scriptures clearly say God’s grace can undeniably be frustrated.

Galatians 2:21 – I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Paul makes it clear; God gave unto him a grace that was sufficient to enable him to be and do all which God had called him to. This grace given wasn’t because of any sacrificed animal or any other ordinance given under the Levitical priesthood, or because of Paul’s own keeping of the Law. Rather, this grace was founded upon what God did through Christ so that Paul and men everywhere could be washed and justified of their sins and then filled with the Spirit of Christ in them, the hope of glory. It was this indwelling grace of the Spirit of Christ that enabled Paul to do and be all that God required of him. Likewise God desires His grace to work in men so they too might fulfill that which God requires of every one who names the name of Christ.

Hebrews 7:11 – If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

Romans 8:3 – For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.

It was impossible for the law to save men, as it was weak through the flesh, meaning “it is not possible” for dead, unholy men to make themselves holy and alive, or “that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away [their] sins,” (Hebrews 10:4). Therefore, God sending his own Son in the likeness of man’s own sinful flesh, through Jesus’ shed blood and it alone men can now be justified of their sins, fully forgiven and sanctified so as to render them fit for the fullness of God’s sufficient grace; the indwelling and empowering of the Spirit of Christ.

Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

I Timothy 1:12 – And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.

Colossians 1:27 – To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which works in me mightily.

Three, God’s grace can be received in vain.

Grace is so, so much more than just “unmerited favor.” Yes, absolutely God’s offer of grace is unmerited, for it was ordained from the beginning, even before the foundations of the world, long before anyone could have even tried to earn, merit, or deserve it. And when sin did abound, grace did abound all the more in that Christ came and willingly died for the ungodly. But God’s grace doesn’t stop at the offer of forgiveness of sins, for it is the power which quickens dead men and makes them alive and turns sinners into saints.

1 Corinthians 1:24 – But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

God’s grace is the power of God that delivers us from the sinful nature embedded in our hearts and equips us for our unique ministry unto Him and others. It cannot be said enough, grace is the divine indwelling of Christ Himself empowering us, moving us ever towards victory and making us overcomers. It is by this grace and grace alone we are what we are, (or can be as we grow in Christ), or as Paul said, “I am what I am…”

II Corinthians 6:1 – We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

I Corinthians 15:10 – 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 labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Likewise, we all must be sober and recognize that the Kingdom of God suffers violence and they who would take it must take by force as the Jews did the Promise Land. But we need not depend on our own strength, for it is by the force/power which works in us mightily as we exercise our love and faith in Christ that we are empowered to do what He has called us to do.

Like Paul says, faith works through love.

Galatians 5:6 – For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avail anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love.

John 14:23 – Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. 24 He that loves Me not keeps not My sayings: and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.

Faith works because it is the consequence of hearing God’s word whereby we can receive grace to enable us to be faithful. For the Apostle Paul said, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” So let’s look into this, first faith comes by hearing God’s word, and then grace through faith saves us. However we know without hearing we could have no faith, and yet it is through faith that grace comes whereby we are saved. So what is the gift? Is it grace or faith? What says the word of God?

Romans 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.

Every man has been dealt the measure of faith, but what is that measure? What does that mean? It means that for all those who would recognize their personal poverty of spirit, and mourn for their sins before a holy God and quit excusing themselves by blaming everyone and everything for what they are and have done, and start to hunger and thirst for righteousness, that God will give them grace for obedience to the faith. That is the beginning of the Be Attitudes of the Sermon on the Mount.

Romans 1:5 – By whom we have received grace… for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name.

But how can men know these things without hearing the word of God or be able to recognize it as true? By that measure of faith God has dealt to every man. Every person has enough faith already dealt to them; it is there in their conscience with the writing of God’s law in their inner man that can enable them to properly respond to hearing the gospel, the only question is will they? Even creation is designed so as to stir up that measure of faith, compelling all men to seek after God and truth.

Romans 1:20 – For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

  Consequently, there is no excuse, even Wisdom is said to be continually “in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she utters her words, saying, “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out My spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” Thus hearing God’s word we are given that increase of faith through which grace can flood our souls and save us, God pouring out His Spirit unto us and changing us from the inside out, from inward virtue to outward godliness.

2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus expects to see these things in us, for by “grace through faith” these things should be in us and abounding. Otherwise we will be proven to have been “barren…[and] unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Surely none of us would be content or pleased with a friend or a spouse as our lover who simply “believes” in us. We would expect and settle for nothing less than faithfulness, and rightly so, because that is the reasonable expectation of a love perfected by grace. True faith will always work towards faithfulness because faith works by love. It really is that simple.

Sadly, many believers continue in sin while rejecting correction with “God loves me unconditionally.” They have minimize amazing grace to nothing more than “unmerited favor.” Foolishly they live out their lives giving way to their flesh, continuing their friendship with the world. They don’t even try to keep His words simply because they don’t love Him, having believed the lie it really doesn’t matter anyway… since God loves them unconditionally. But is that what Jesus said or their pastor?

John 14:21 He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. 24 He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.

Right there in verse 23 is the biggest word in the bible, and often the most overlooked, “If.” Wherever there is an “if” in the scriptures there is also an insinuated “then.” That little word has enormous meaning; for it is a qualifier preceding a condition. That little “if” is a razor sharp edge on the sword of the spirit that cuts through all the pretense and good intentions to the very heart of every man’s faith and belief in God. So much so that the Beloved Apostle John had this to say-

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, [then] we [God and us] have fellowship one with another, and [then] the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

The very first act of grace through faith is the work of repentance, faithfulness to the commandment of Christ to all men.

Acts 17:30 – And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent.

Titus 2:11 – For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.

1 Peter 1:13 – Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as He which hath called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.

Sadly, many professors of faith today will one day find they have exhausted the grace of God, having frustrated it with their persistent unfaithfulness. They neglect that measure of faith dealt to them and thereby limit the effectual working of God’s grace, burying as it were the proverbial “talent” Christ entrusted them with to invest towards for His glory. These are they who will one day find they were actually goats and not sheep they thought they were when the Lord returns to separate those professing to know Him.

Psalm 78:41 – Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. 42 They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.

Dear reader, this is a very serious matter, because God has given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that enable us to be holy and separate from the world, doers of His word and not hearers only, to answer the call to be glorious partakers of His divine nature, having Christ formed in us and escaping the wrath to come.

1 Peter 1:3 – According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

No Excuse

Even though Adam sinned and all are now required to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust, there is no excuse for continuing in sin. For God foresaw sin even before anything was created and though as a mystery hid until the appointed time, the remedy was always there. Therefore it must be recognized as an indisputable fact that God foresaw absolutely everything, in infinitesimal detail, and categorically knew every good and evil thing that would transpire throughout all eternity. Therefore before the creation of man, God fully knew all the circumstances which would occur and every opposing force of evil that would arise with all their intensity, destruction and confusion, and accordingly made all the necessary preparations to assure His own purposes and glory. That regardless of the foe or evil intent, He can absolutely assure those who love Him, that each and every circumstance and event in their lives was foreseen and therefore He can successfully work all things together for their eternal well-being.

No, the foreknowledge of sin didn’t discourage God; He still elected to create humanity in His image, knowing that as lights they could still brilliantly manifest the wonders and glory of God through the sufficiency of His amazing grace available through Jesus Christ the Lord. Each created to be temples for the Spirit of the living God, and called to “serve the LORD with gladness… [for] the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” Man, every man, is “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” What then will sinners say when they are asked by their Creator why they ignored His calling them?

 It is irrelevant how men may view and dismiss their sin, for what God sees in sin is a willingness of men to trample His Son in order to continue down their own path with a callous indifference for Jesus’ precious blood; devalued to the status of a common product readily available on shelves of the local convenient stores that they assume will always be there whenever they need it. Sadly such people are sitting in churches on Sunday feeling all justified while committing idolatry, worshiping a “Jesus” the modern commercial church system has made just for them and they don’t even know the difference.

2 Corinthians 11:4 – If indeed someone is coming to preach another Jesus, whom I did not preach, or you are receiving a Spirit other than you once received, or another gospel which you did not accept before, you would do well to bear with me.

Dear reader, if Jesus tells us, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? And in Your name have cast out devils? And in Your name done many wonderful works?” Don’t you think we better be sure we know who He was talking about? Before He says to us as well, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who work iniquity.”

It has been said the judgment of God is to let men go their own way when they have frustrated His grace. For this cause God permitted the rise of those empires that took the Jews into captivity twice, and why He allows the rise of the last and final, Eighth Beast, a corrupt government system under the authority of Satan eager to force those created in God’s image to desecrate their bodies (God’s temples) with a “mark” that would forever oblige them to now serve and worship the dragon and the beast.

2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.

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