Friday, May 19, 2017

The Grace of God

A failure to understand the grace of God with regard to the salvation of man has been fatal to many persons. There are those who believe that God in His mercy and grace will not permit anyone to be lost; consequently, they feel no need for seeking salvation. It is true that the most joyous thought that a convicted sinner can have is that God has offered to give him salvation. It is necessary, however, for us to understand just how one is saved by the grace of God. By definition, grace is unmerited favor. God looked upon man as he had sinned and as he was without hope in the world. Although man did not deserve it, God formulated a plan whereby man could be saved from his lost condition. Jesus expressed this in these words, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Thus, man has access to the grace of God through Jesus Christ. In Romans 5:1-2, the Apostle Paul declared, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

In order for us to be the recipients of the grace of God which comes through Jesus Christ, it is necessary for us to know exactly how grace saves us. In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul declared, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Here, we learn that in salvation both God and man have a part. God’s part is to provide a way of salvation, or a means whereby man can be saved; this he does by His grace. Man’s part is to accept the salvation which God so freely offers and this is done through faith.

Man believes in God and then accepts the conditions of salvation which are set forth in the scriptures. Faith saves when faith obeys. In Hebrews 11:30, we read, "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days." The walls of Jericho fell by faith because Joshua believed what God said and obeyed his command. In the same way, our faith must cause us to obey what God tells us to do.

It is pointed out, however, that Paul declared in Ephesians 2:9, "not of works, lest anyone should boast." It is true that no man can save himself by his own works, but he must work according to God's plan in order to be saved. We are told in Philippians 2:12 "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Also, James states in James 2:24, "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." It is interesting to note that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord according to Genesis 6:8, but that Hebrews 11:7 says "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." Noah was saved by the grace of God, through faith on his part which prompted him to obey God's commands. A person may be saved from his sins by the grace of God when he believes what God says and when he obeys the Gospel which is God’s power unto salvation (Romans 1:16). May we all accept God's grace through our faith in His teaching, resulting in our obedience to His will. We can't afford to miss heaven. God certainly has done His part, now we must do ours. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Final Judgment

There are many teachings about the final judgment. Some teach there will be no judgment at all. Most people believe this because the evidence of their lives shows no concern for a judgment. Some think that it is going on now. In a way they are correct because everything we do effects our final judgment, and then the day of the Lord will be more of a sentencing or declaration day than one of judgment (as we understand the word). A few people teach that the judgment has already passed, and this teaching confuses people. If there is no judgment to come, why do people live by strict rules and try to convert people to their beliefs?

Despite all the error and false teaching about the final judgment day, we must recognize that the Bible is certain of its coming. Wicked angels are awaiting judgment (2 Peter 2:4). There are passages all through the pages of the Bible that speak of a final judgment. The wicked need to fear the judgment because the wrath of God will be upon them (Romans 2:8), but the righteous look forward to that great day when God will reward them with eternal life in heaven (Romans 2:7).

We do not know when this will take place for only God knows that time, we can be assured of this from the pages of the Bible; All will die and after that each will face their judgment (Hebrews 9:27). This final judgment will come unexpectantly, like a thief in the night (Matthew 24:36; 2 Peter 3:10). Acts 17:30-31 tells us that God has appointed A DAY in which He will judge the world. Everyone will be judged. Almighty God will judge each individual. The standard of Judgment will be the life that was lived and the actions of the person living that life. Jesus Christ will be the great Judge. God will judge the earth through Christ.

We also know that God keeps records in heaven. He writes down the names of the righteous into the Lamb’s Book of Life, and he also records the names of those who rebel against Him. Here are some of the things for which we will be judged: Our thoughts (Proverbs 23:7: 2 Corinthians 10:5); Secret things (Romans 2:6); Every work (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14); Our words (Matthew 12:36-37); All we have done (1 John 3:4; Galatians 6:7-8); and what we have failed to do (James 4:17). This last one should be the most sobering thought that comes into our mind every day we live.

We know that God’s judgment will be true, just, righteous, and everybody will be treated fairly and justly, and everyone will get what they deserve. There will be no appeals process, because there will be no error in judgment by the perfect God. Prepare to meet thy God.

Article written by: Carey Scott