The Bible is not foremost a rulebook nor a how-to manual. If one only understands scripture through either of those lenses, it is dry, dead, frightening, offensive and of ill-effect upon the reader. Foremost, the Bible is the story of God’s grace. The OT is not as much a story about Law told in 39 installments as it is the story of grace. And the NT is not a story about the practical and spiritual musings of a teacher from Nazareth: it’s the culmination of the story of grace explained in 27 additional installments!
In this message series, we’re going to take a brief look at God’s grace – what it is; attaining to it; living in it – as it is one of the most important concepts in the faith, clearly expressed in the promises of God, and embodied in Jesus Christ!
The Holy Spirit’s persuasive influence upon us re: sin is God’s first act of grace (Ephesians 2:1-3).
- In resisting friendship with God, the whole guilt of humans’ sin is heaped back upon unbelievers. And the foremost sin Jesus addressed in John 3:18-21.
- The Holy Spirit begins opening our understanding of sin because our natural consciences never bother us about unbelief. There’s great news about that, though, in John 16:5-11.
- God’s influence begins opening our eyes to the reality of how our sinfulness keeps us from our Creator and we experience conviction over it in our hearts (Luke 15:11-32, emphasis on vv. 17-19).
The humble respond to God’s abounding grace (Romans 5:20-21).
- God’s influence persuades us of our need to be set free from:
- What separates us from Him (Isaiah 53:6; 59:2; Romans 3:10, 23);
- Sin’s natural hold over us (Romans 6:6-7, 13; II Corinthians 5:17);
- And, thus, sin’s paycheck (see Romans 6:23)!
- Our honest response to God’s grace is repentance (II Corinthians 7:8-12; James 4:6-10; see also Psalm 138:6; Proverbs 3:34; Proverbs 29:23; Matthew 23:12; Luke 1:52; I Peter 5:5)
God’s influential grace, then, brings us to faith (Romans 10:5-13)!
- In why God authored the plan to rescue us from sin: because of His love (John 3:16; cf. Genesis 3:1-21; I John 4:7-12; Revelation 13:8).
- In Who Jesus Christ is: God the Son Whose sacrificial death makes forgiveness of sin possible (Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29, 36; Romans 10:5-13; I Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:9, 12).
- And it is in being saved, we’re not just set free from things: we’re set free to faith that brings friendship with the Godhead (John 17:11, 22; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:3-10).
We conclude today’s message in song and celebration with those who’ve responded to God’s influential grace. They are making a public declaration in water baptism, “I have been made alive to God through Jesus’ death... and I am now His!”