In the previous posting we learned what grace was not. Let us now determine what grace actually is using the Source of all spiritual Truth–God’s Holy Word (Jn. 17:17). We are using the writing of the Apostle Jude who gives us an excellent concept of “grace” which is defined as unmerited favor or mercy. Jude tells us that grace is not something we have, something we can use when the situation calls for God to “look the other way.” Grace, as Jude tells us, is “of (from) God.” It is His to do with what He wants. It is not ours to do with what we want, when we want. It is not something we have, as most people believe. Grace is a quality that God expresses toward those who humble themselves before Him knowing that without it they are doomed forever. In 1 Corinthians 1:3 the Apostle Paul, as was his habit, wrote to the recipients of his epistle, “Grace and peace be unto you FROM GOD OUR FATHER.” The next question concerns why we need grace. The answer is SIN. We need to receive grace from God because we have rebelled against Him, thereby removing ourselves from His presence (Isa. 59:2).
The next question concerns the definition of sin. God defines sin as the breaking of His Law: “To transgress the Law is sin; for sin is the transgression of the Law” (1 Jn. 3:4). God’s definition of sin flies in the face of one of the church’s foundational doctrines–that the Law was “nailed to the cross,” that Jesus destroyed the Law upon His death. This in spite of His saying: “I DID NOT COME TO DESTROY THE LAW ….” How can an abolished Law define sin? The solution to this theological dilemma is the same as for all of the numerous errors supposedly found in the Holy Scriptures–God was wrong, man (Satan) is right. Adam and Eve learned the error of this type of thinking the hard way, as will everyone else who follows in their spiritual footsteps. As I have proved many times using the Scriptures, man must obey God’s Law to have any chance for eternal life. Now that we know God’s definition of sin, let us understand the result of being involved in it.
In Romans 6:23 Paul wrote that the wages of sin is eternal death. He had previously written in 3:23 that “all have sinned.” This proves that we all deserve eternal death. Because of this the Word, Who came to earth as Jesus of Nazareth, died. He came to earth in the flesh so that His man’s blood could be shed in order to erase the death penalty for our PAST sins (Rom. 5:8). Another primary reason for coming to live among us was to show us how to eliminate sin from our lives, thereby eliminating the death penalty for us. The death penalty is like a speed sign which does not change. How it affects us is strictly our call. If we obey it we will not pay a penalty; if we disobey it we will.
In Ephesians 1:7 Paul writes, “In Whom (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of (past) sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Note that Jesus came, suffered and died to show God’s willingness to forgive our sins. He did not come to abolish His “holy, just and good” Law (Rom. 7:12) which defines sin. Why would Jesus die to remove the penalty associated with a non-existent Law? Jesus had to die because God cannot allow sin to go unpunished. A greater mind than mine said this: JESUS DID NOT PUT THE LAW TO DEATH; THE LAW PUT HIM TO DEATH. Jesus became sin (a Law-breaker) by taking all sin (Law-breaking) unto Himself. So much so that God, Who cannot look upon sin, turned away from Him. This prompted Jesus to cry out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” At that moment the sinless Jesus was sin, was rejected by men, abandoned by His friends and forsaken by His Father. For the Giver of life, death was a welcomed gift. L.J.