What's wrong with these pictures?
- A man enjoys telling a dirty joke at work once in awhile, but doesn't see it as sin because he has
been saved by grace.
- Another person goes to a party and ends up getting drunk. Afterwards he doesn't think twice
about it because God granted him grace.
- Yet another man when "hanging out with the boys" will cuss and swear once in awhile with no
concern as to whether he's offended God because of the grace he received as a child.
The examples go on and on: People using sexual innuendo's during conversations; people cheating on
their income taxes or insurance claims; people having sex outside of marriage; people lying to one another;
people showing disrespect to their parents; people willfully practicing all these things and if confronted
about their sin displaying an attitude of "Oh, well, it's not that big a deal, after all I'm under God's grace".
Again I ask, "What's wrong with these pictures?" Even those who might abstain from the sinful behavior
in a self righteous way will still tend to question the Bible's authority and disregard anyone who tries to
show them what God says in it. Yet, these very people claim to be a child of God through God's grace.
So, what is wrong with these pictures? They illustrate the idea of thinking that grace is a license to
sin. Now, it is true that salvation and forgiveness of sins cannot be earned by our good deeds (Romans
3:10-28). It can only be obtained by grace. God's grace means an unmerited offering of salvation as a
gift to anyone who wants to change their mind about sinful rebellion and make Christ their Lord and
Saviour. This gift did not come cheap. It cost Christ His shed blood on the cross. The seriousness of what
Christ went through to make grace possible through His death in our place for payment of our sins indicates
just how serious sin is. It is not to be taken lightly. Yet, many who claim that they have received grace
don't think twice about willfully sinning. Grace to them has become an excuse not to worry about sin.
Therefore, it is important to understand what God expects of us in order to receive His grace.
So let's take the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15. In this parable the younger of two sons
rebels, goes out on a sinning spree, realizes the error of his ways and decides to come back home. Upon
returning home this is what he found:"And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him,
and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." Luke 15:20
The parable goes on to explain how the father had forgiven the son of any sin that he had committed. In
other words, the father granted grace to him. Even though the son did not deserve it, he received a pardon
and a restored fellowship with his father, but notice what led up to his receiving this grace:"And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread
enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!" Luke 15:17.
The son realized his mistake and began to change his mind about willfully sinning and with this change
of mind came a change of will:"I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and
before thee," Luke 15:18.
The son is seen here repenting of his sin. This repentance brought him to his father where he found
grace. To say that the son would have found grace while still in rebellion against his father would make
no sense whatsoever. Yet, many who have never repented and are still willfully sinning think that
somehow God has bestowed His grace upon them. That's like saying that Christ went through all the
beatings, was nailed to the cross, and spilt His precious blood so that a person could go on drinking, lying,
cussing, and willfully sinning with total peace of mind. God's grace is not a license to sin!
"What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid."
Some people may think that repentance is a form of works and, therefore, opposite of grace. But
repentance is not works. It is changing our minds to an attitude of not willfully sinning against God. When
a person repents they forsake the willful act of sinning. They see sin as a violation of God's holiness.
They don't try to cover it up or go on practicing it."He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have
mercy." Proverbs 28:13
Mercy means not receiving the wrath that we deserve for our sins WHILE grace means receiving the
forgiveness for our sins that we don't deserve. Mercy and grace are inter - related. To receive one is like
receiving the other. God says if we don't forsake our sins, we can't find mercy - much less grace. We
wouldn't grant a convicted and jailed murderer grace and free him if he had every intention of murdering
again. Likewise, don't expect God to grant grace to an unrepentant sinner who has no intention of
changing his mind to follow God's will according to the Bible. Grace is not a license to sin!"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid."
God's grace is not to be taken for granted. It cost God His only begotten Son."For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will
he withhold from them that walk uprightly." Psalm 84:11
God's grace is not offered to those who insist on not walking uprightly according to God's Word. Many
are willing to receive His grace, but are not willing to let go of their sin."But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the
humble." James 4:6
God's grace is not offered to those who are self righteous and have never humbled themselves as lost,
Hell bound sinners and repented. Again, is God's grace a license to sin? Jesus Christ answers:"I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Luke 13:3
There are many who feel that they are saved by grace, yet they have never had a time when they repented
and accepted it. Somehow grace was bestowed upon them without them willfully and consciously asking
for it! It's as if God goes around forcing His grace on people whether they want it or not. Grace is not
automatically bestowed on anyone unless they want to partake of it. God doesn't save a man unless they
want to be saved. A person must want to be justified and redeemed to God. God offers grace, but a
repenting man must accept it and the means by which a person accepts it is through faith. Notice what
the Bible says:"By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of
the glory of God." Romans 5:2
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"
This brings us to a common misconception. Some people believe that grace is obtained through infant
baptism. However in light of what we have seen the Bible say, one must ask, "How does an infant repent
or forsake their sins or accept a gift or even have faith in God's Word for that matter?" All this is physically
impossible!! This also excludes confirmation, communion and any other doctrine other than repentance
and faith. Please understand that the grace that God offers is in response to our wanting to be redeemed
to Him. We must want to be saved and since we can't save ourselves through our good works,
grace must come in. So please ask yourself, "If I am trusting in God's grace, how did I access
it? Did I see myself as lost, repent and put my faith in Christ? or Am I using grace as a license
HOW TO RECEIVE GOD'S GRACE
FIRST THE BAD NEWS:
1. We must realize that we are lost, sinners that are spiritually dead.
* "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10
* "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
* "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3
* "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." John 3:6
2. As spiritually dead, lost sinners, God's judgment and wrath are upon us.
* "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" Hebrews 9:27.
* "For which things' sake [sin] the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience
[sinners]:" Colossians 3:6.
3. Our good works can't stop this judgment and wrath. God demands death as payment
* "Not of works..." Ephesians 2:8,9.
* "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" Romans 3:10.
* "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Ezekiel 18:4
* "For the wages of sin is death;" Romans 6:23.
NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!!
4. God is willing to accept someone else's death in our place. That someone is Jesus Christ.
* "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who
gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." I Timothy 2:5-6
* "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for
us." Romans 5:8
5. Jesus has bought salvation for us and now God can offer it as a gift by grace.
* "Ye are bought with a price;" I Corinthians 7:23.
* "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not
of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8,9
How does someone accept this gift? Through repentance and faith.
REPENTANCE: means to change your mind and adapt an attitude of not sinning against God.
FAITH: means to simply take God at His Word, i.e., believe the verses you have just read.
* "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward
our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20:21
* "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13
6. Upon being saved and born again spiritually, we become converted to a new creature in
* "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall
not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3
* "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold,
all things are become new." II Corinthians 5:17
3303 23rd Avenue SouthWest
Fargo, North Dakota 58103
Speaking the truth in love
(701) 232-5500 Pastor T. C. Scheving Schedule of Services Sunday School . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9:30 a.m.
Sunday Morning Worship . . . . . 10:30 a.m.
Sunday Evening Service . . . . . . . 6:00 p.m.
Proteens (Wednesday) . . . . . . . . 6:45 p.m.
Wednesday Bible Study . . . . . . . 7:00 p.m.
[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]