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It Teaches Us

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by SueJLove, May 23, 2014.

  1. Friday, May 23, 2014, 5:26 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Were it Not for Grace.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Titus 1-2. When I got to Titus 2:11-14 (NIV), I knew these were to be the central verses I was to focus on today:

    For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

    A Common Misnomer

    There is a common misnomer which is spreading across evangelical Christianity today which teaches that God’s grace does it all and that nothing is required of us. In fact, those who are proponents of this false notion lead people to believe that the Spirit, who now dwells within them, lives Christ’s life out through them, seemingly with no cooperation or submission required by the believer himself. Yet, the only way this could happen is if Jesus possessed us and took over our bodies so that he rendered us as mere puppets on a string, no longer able to make any of our own decisions, nor able to choose right from wrong, because he just does it all. Let me explain what I mean by all that.

    By Grace through Faith

    While it is true that we are saved by grace, by Christ’s atonement for our sins, and that this is not of ourselves, not of human effort, lest any of us should boast, we are also saved through faith (See Eph. 2:8-9). Faith, biblically speaking, is not just a feeling, an emotion, an experience, or a belief. Faith is putting into action what we say we believe (See Heb. 11; Jas. 2). For example, let’s look at Ephesians 4:17-24 (NASB):

    So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

    So, what is this saying? First of all, it tells us that our salvation is a way of life, not just a belief in something, and not just forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternity in heaven. This way of life comes from the truth that is in Christ Jesus. What is this way of life? When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we lay aside our old self (our former way of life), which is being corrupted in accordance with lustful and deceitful desires, we are renewed in the spirit of our minds, and we put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We do not do this in our own flesh. This is not adding works to faith. This is faith! This is the working of the Spirit in our hearts and lives in regeneration, but we must surrender, submit and cooperate fully with that work. We must no longer live like we did before we were saved, when we were excluded from the life of God, indulging in impurity and greed, but, forsaking our former lives of sin, we must now walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, meaning we must cooperate with God’s work of grace.

    Not Carte Blanche

    This goes right along with this passage in Titus 2. God’s grace is not just a get-out-of-jail free card, and it is not carte blanche (free rein) to now do whatever we want, thinking that God’s grace covers it all. The purpose of Christ’s suffering, and death on the cross for our sins, was not just so we would be forgiven our sins and have eternity with God in heaven. He gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. What this means is that he came to transform our lives away from living in sin to lives given over to walking in his holiness. In other words, he died, not just so we could go to heaven one day, but he died to free us from slavery to (the control of) sin while we still live on the face of this earth. He died so we would be free, as well, to walk in his Spirit, no longer obeying the lusts of the flesh, but walking in obedience to his commands – all in his Spirit, and not in our own flesh.

    God’s grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. This is his grace! If Jesus did it all and nothing is required of us – no submission, surrender or cooperation with his work of grace in our lives – then where does that leave us? It leaves us still just floundering around in our sin, living for ourselves, and not much different at all from those who make no claims to salvation at all. No, the purpose of his grace is to free us from all that, but we have to willingly go with God, allowing him to change our hearts, and to make us new. We have to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions. This means we have to make a conscious decision of our own wills to forsake sin and to follow Christ. This is faith! Jesus paid the price for our sin so we could go free. How can we live in it any longer? (See Ro. 6) If we want to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, it begins with saying “No” to what once enslaved us.

    Daily we must choose to say “No,” for we will still be tempted to sin. And, sin isn’t always just the big stuff like lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, greed, murder, etc. The Bible says that love does no harm to its neighbors. It also says that if we know the good we should do, but we don’t do it, that is sin. Sin, for instance, can be to take credit for something that God did, allowing all the glory to go to us instead of to him. It can be as simple as when someone remarks to us that our day was “made” because of the things of this world, that we agree with what was said rather than giving glory to God for making our lives complete. It can be to depend on other things to meet needs within us that God wants to meet, trusting in ourselves or other humans or the things of this life instead of in God, or fearing the opinions of humans, and so going along with the crowd so we are not rejected, etc.

    Are We Saved?

    So, are we truly saved if our new lives look just like our old lives? I believe this is a very important question, because many who profess Christ, because of a decision they made at some time in their lives to “receive” Christ, believe they are saved, and thus it doesn’t matter what they do because they think that when God looks at them that all he sees is Jesus and so he is happy with them. But, is that true? Well, it is true that we are not saved by anything we do in the flesh. No amount of good deeds will ever outweigh our bad deeds. If we can’t, in our flesh, obey the commands perfectly, we are condemned without faith. Our own righteousness is like filthy rags. Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners. So, the only way we can be saved is by God’s grace, via Jesus’ shed blood on the cross for our sins, and through faith, which I believe is also a gift from God, but one we must appropriate to our lives. So, again, can we truly be saved if our new lives look just like our old lives?

    What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? …

    When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Ro. 6:15-23

    Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

    You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ…

    Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. ~ Ro. 8:5-14​

    This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. ~ 1 Jn. 1:5-7​

    I am so thankful that God’s grace did not just give me forgiveness of my sins, and did not just give me the hope of eternal life in heaven for when I die, but that his grace set me free from slavery to (the control of) sin while I still walk the face of this earth. It is wonderful to be able to walk in freedom and to no longer be controlled by the flesh. Amen!

    Were It Not for Grace / Larnelle Harris

    Were it not for grace
    I can tell you where I’d be
    Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
    With my salvation up to me
    I know how that would go
    The battles I would face
    Forever running but losing this race
    Were it not for grace
  2. Sister Sue, in what degree do we as a born again Christian have control over what we do? Is it Christ who is our new life suppose to be in control of our actions, and is it just us who are yielding to his way? Even though we are the ones speaking with our mouths and through our hands and feet we move to where he leads us. Who is actually in you opinion doing his work? As the Apostle said...

    1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
  3. It is most certainly the Spirit within us, but he does not possess us in the way evil spirits possess and control the ungodly (some). We do not become puppets on a string. We have to yield control of our lives to Christ and allow his Spirit to work his will in and through our lives and we have to do what the Spirit tells us to do.
  4. Not trying to put you on the spot, just wondering about your thoughts. So, it is more of I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. For me I see my self yielding my body unto the Lord to do what he desires to do. I do not consider myself able to do anything of myself. I see the Lord as working in me both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
    SueJLove likes this.
  5. Sue, I can surely tell that God has blessed you by revealing his Word to you so as to help turn those from darkness to light. I am well aware of the anointing he has placed within your heart. It shows up in what you write. I agree with your posts and see they are from the Lord and not just some whim that you decided to do. Thank you for being true to your calling.
  6. Praise Jesus! Glory to God! Thank you so much for these encouraging words. God bless you. Christ in me, the hope of glory. Only in his strength and power within me am I able to do this.
  7. 1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

    Yes grace and law cannot work together, the reason there is so much ungodliness in the church is because so many are trying to mix the two covenants and have caused double minded believers.

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