God's Grace Still Amazes Me - Part 2

Sermon delivered on November 29th, 2015

By: Pastor Greg Hocson

Scripture Reading: Titus 2:11-15

 

Introduction

1 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 laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

 

What a confession! Consider who spoke these words. It was Paul, the greatest apostle, one who had many gifts, great privilege, great success, and one who is highly regarded in the Church, and yet he humbly acknowledges that he owes everything to the grace of God. 

 

All of us need grace. I believe that with all of my heart. Every day we need to ask God for grace. We are nothing, we have nothing, and we can do nothing without the grace of God. Christian life cannot be lived out apart from an understanding and a real vital experience of the grace of God. Rightly understood and applied, the doctrine of the grace of God can radically change one's Christian life. So it is really important to understand what grace is, what it brings and what is teaches. 

 

May God help us to grasp the truth that grace is not just an idea but a powerful reality. 

 

I - What is grace?

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 

What is grace referred in this verse? Some commentators say that the grace here refers to salvation and others say it is Jesus Christ. I have no problem with either interpretations because we cannot talk about grace without talking about our Lord and salvation. But I am leaning toward the idea that the grace referred here is Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of grace. He is in essence the personal manifestation of God's grace. "Grace is summed up in the name, person, and work of the Lord Jesus Christ." - Chuck Swindoll

 

John associates grace with our Lord Jesus Christ...

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

 

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

 

 

II - What does grace bring?

1. Salvation

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 

First and foremost grace brings salvation. This is the purpose why the Son of God came to earth. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.

Mathew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

 

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

 

This salvation which the grace of God brings is offered to all. God's grace that appeared in the person of Christ offers salvation to all that hear it and free for all that will accept it. God excludes none but those that exclude themselves. 

John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

 

Paul summed it all in ...

Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

 

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

This does not mean that all people are saved or will be saved. The Bible is very clear that there are two separate, final destinations for all people. Those who by God's grace believe in Jesus Christ as Savior will go to heaven. Those who do not believe in Christ will pay the penalty of eternal separation from God in hell. 

 

But the good news of God's grace is that no sinner is beyond the reach of God's grace. The apostle Paul was a persecutor of the church. He called himself the chief of sinners.

1 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; 13: Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14: And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15: This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

But he experienced God's grace through the cross. If the chief of sinners found mercy and grace, so can you!

 

2. Security.

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 

The grace of God brings hope! And where is our hope? Our hope is not looking back in the past but looking forward into the future. Because of the grace of God we have hopeful anticipation and expectation.

 

Who has the answer to our malady? Who has the answer to our past sins and sufferings? The Atheist or the Buddhist or the Christians?

 

Our hope is not simply in the second coming of Christ, but our hope is Jesus Christ our Saviour who is coming again.

 

III - What does grace teach?

Grace runs counter to nature. When we speak of grace, people misunderstand and would always object and there are three common objections about the grace of God.

 

1. It sounds too easy

Is that it? All I have to do is believe in Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross and then all my sin, all my guilt, all my shame, all the condemnation is gone. I am eternally free as a son or daughter of God. That just sounds too easy to me.

 

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

 

These verses tell us, there is nothing really easy about grace. Grace is only easy if you are on the receiving end. But there is nothing easy about grace, knowing that Jesus Christ, made Himself of no reputation, emptied Himself, lay aside His glory and enter humanity. This is a mind blowing truth that Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things, willingly chose to make Himself nothing. But that's not all, in Isaiah 53, we re told what Christ went through as He emptied Himself. 

 

Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2: For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3: He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4: Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5: But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8: He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9: And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10: Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11: He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12: Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

 

There is nothing easy about grace. There is nothing cheap about grace. It is the costliest gift that had ever been offered in the history of the world.

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

 

See also the following passages: Mark 10:45; Galatians 1:4, 2:20; Ephesians 5:1, 25; 1 Timothy 2:6

 

No greater sacrifice, no greater price than the price of grace that had been paid for you and me.

 

It may be easy and free to the receiver but not to the Giver. It cost us nothing but it cost the Giver everything. Grace is not easy at all. The Christian is no longer guilty before God and need not stand under the condemnation of God for sin. But someone does have to pay the penalty for sin. For the Christian that person is our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

2. It leads to license

The world has a hard time accepting the grace of God, because grace operates counter to the way the world works. The world operates on the merit system. The world operates on a "rewards and punishment" system of conduct. If you do well you get rewarded, if you do a lousy job you get penalized.

 

If you do well in school, you get good grades and win awards. If you do well in sports, you make the team and get lots of applause. If you perform exceptionally at work, you get promoted and received praises and commendation. This is how our world works and nothing necessarily wrong with it but the problem arises when we carry this idea over into salvation, thinking that this is also the way God operates.

 

This practice of merit system is so ingrained that we carry this over to salvation. All of the world's religions, except for biblical Christianity, seek to establish their own righteousness through works. And to teach that salvation is by grace alone, by faith alone an by Christ alone apart from our own goodness and good work - sounds like we are teaching license.

 

But no, God's grace does not lead to license, but rather it leads to godly living.

Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14: Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 

That is what grace does! God's grace first saves and then trains His people for godliness and good deeds.

 

Christ did not die on the cross so that we can take sin lightly and flaunt our freedoms without consequence. Grace has been extended to us not for us to remain in our sins. Grace teaches, trains us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live with wisdom, self-controlled, righteous, and godly lives in this present age,

 

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2: God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3: Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Some would say, since sure and final salvation is certain no matter what we do, therefore our conduct doesn't matter. Let's sin more so that grace may abound. 

 

But Paul anticipating this question or objection, asked, shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? God forbid! By no means! Absolutely not! Of course not! Paul used the strongest, most emphatic, most dramatic words that he could possibly use to communicate to us that is not grace!

 

Grace is powerful. The grace that made Paul willing to go to jail and change Paul's life is the same grace that changed my life. Grace not only does not give you a license to just go out and do what you want to do but it burst in you this hunger to want to live a holy life before God. The outcome of true grace is it burst in us a new desire for a holy life.

 

If there is not a desire to live a holy life then one thing is certain, grace has not landed in our hearts. And if there is no desire for holiness in you, you need to seek God and ask for miracle so you would see grace, see the cross, see Christ, see the fullness of what Christ had done for you.

 

3. It promotes laziness

Some say that the doctrine of God's free grace not only encourages moral carelessness but also laziness. That is not true!

 

1 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 laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

 

Grace received is a powerful influence. If we have truly received grace, we will be filled with gratitude and gratitude in return will move us to give ourselves to good works and good deeds. Grace awakens a desire in us to please and serve God who has been gracious to us.

 

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 

Grace works. Grace results in zealous works but with a whole new motive. 

 

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9: Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4: But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6: Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7: That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8: This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

 

Grace, rather than do away with works, teaches us to be zealous in good works and deeds, and is the only means by which Christians can do good works. There is nothing in this life that you can do with eternal value without the grace of God.

 

Closing Thoughts

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Grace has appeared and is being offered to all without exception. There is no one excluded except those who exclude themselves. Some have received it and some have not. 

 

1. To those who have not received God's grace

My prayer is that those who have not, will received that extended grace that brings great salvation and blessed hope.

 

Do you want grace in your life? Do you want to experience the forgiveness of God? Do you want to spend eternity with God in Heaven? Come to Jesus who is full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

 

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

 

2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

 

2. To those who have received the God's grace

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

 

If you have experienced the grace of God you want to know more of it and desire more of it and grow in it. 

 

"Whenever there is true grace, there is a desire for more grace." - Matthew Henry

 

Grace seeks us and saves us; grace keeps us secure; grace enables us to serve and to endure the tests and trials of life. Grace will bring about our sanctification in this life and will ultimately bring us to glory. From beginning to end we are the object of divine grace.

 

Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. 7: Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

 

Amen!