There are many who believe the grace of God operates like an umbrella to cover all the misdeeds of man unconditionally. Though "grace" is often defined "unearned and unmerited favor" (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament @ 1992 by AMG International, Inc. Revised Edition, 1993) the apostle Paul teaches that grace demands something we must do. "For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world" (Ti. 2:11,12).
Indeed, the grace of God brings salvation! This unearned kindness of God toward
man provided a sacrifice for sins that man could never provide. We are reminded
that Jesus suffered death crowned with glory and honor, that by the "grace
of God He should taste of death for every man" (Heb. 2:9). Yes, man is
saved by "grace through faith" (Eph. 2:8,9), but "faith"
comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10: 17). Therefore, it
must follow that the grace that saves is connected to hearing the Word of God,
for it is faith that gives access into God's grace (Rom. 5:1,2). Paul spoke
of the "Word of His grace" (Acts 20:32) and the "gospel of the
grace of God" (Acts 20:24). The statements, "...the Scriptures teach
that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace..." and "...justification...
is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have
done, but solely through faith in Christ..." (The Standard Manual For Baptist
hes, by Edward T. Hiscox, D.D.., pgs. 61,62) are contradictory and false statements! The statement, "Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort" (The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1918, pg. 5) is also a false statement! Neither grace only nor faith only provides salvation! Furthermore, grace does not save those who hear only, but those who are doers of the word (Jas. 1:21-25). This is how we are saved by grace through faith. HEARING the "word of His grace," we BELIEVE it; and thus we are saved by grace through faith when we OBEY it. "For we are His workmanship
created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). The grace that saves through faith does not nullify all works. it is effective as faith works, for a dead faith will not save. James said, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only...For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (Jas. 2:24-26 KJV).
The grace of God that saves TEACHES (Ti. 2:11); EDUCATES, INSTRUCTS, TRAINS, us to refuse to involve ourselves in the evil practices of this life, and to live above reproach in this present world (cf. 1 Tim. 2:4). The lawless, immoral life is contrary to the grace of God (cf. 1 Tim. 1:8-11). We can have no hope of the promise of God beyond this life if we pursue a lifestyle that is contrary to that "sound doctrine" taught in the "word of His grace."
By the grace of God we are taught to deny ungodliness. Ungodliness is disregard for, lack of reverence for or difiance of God. To reject ungodliness implies a deliberate choice to renounce all worldly passions. No one sleeps his way into heaven. Ungodliness is progressive (2 Tim. 2:16) and ALL ungodliness must be denied entrance into the heart and life of any who expect to "live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world."
By the grace of God we are taught to deny worldly lusts. Worldly lusts include many things: lust for unholy riches (cf. 1 Tim. 6:6ff; Matt. 6:19ff, etc.) sinful pleasures (cf. Heb. 11:24 ff), all kinds of wickedness (Ti. 3:3). We must deny any place in our lives for these desires and practices.
Grace that saves also teaches us how we are to live. Having denied ourselves all that comes under the terms, "ungodliness" and "worldly lusts" (Col. 3:9; Gal. 5:24) Paul commands, "let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, PERFECTING HOLINESS IN THE FEAR OF GOD" (2 Cor. 7:1). Once our lives are cleansed from evil works we must fill them with the "good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10).
By the grace of God we are taught to live soberly. In Ti. 2:12 the word sophronos is an adverb, and indicates self-restraint; it is akin to the verb form in Ti. 2:6 and is translated "sober-minded." The meaning is to possess control over one's mind, desires, passions, and appetites so that he does not allow himself to become subject to the worldly lusts from which he is to restrain himself. Simply put, by the grace of God we are taught how to think, "bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5; cf. Phil. 4:8) This includes all self-restraint, moderation and the sober control of all mental, physical and emotional faculties of self.
The grace of God teaches us to live righteously. The word dikaios means "doing justly" and "the right conduct; of what is right; by the right standard." Therefore, we are to do right and engage in just action conducted without prejudice or partiality. The word "righteousness" is used of the character and work of God (Psa. 50:6). It is used of the work and death of Christ (Rom. 5:18). It is also used of the revelation of the Word of God (Psa. 119:172). More importantly to our study it is used of those individuals who understand, believe and do the Will of God (Psa. 23). To the household of Cornelius, Peter said, "of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS, is acceptable to Him" (Acts 10: 35). How do we know what righteousness is? THE STANDARD IS THE WORD OF GOD. "My tongue shall speak of Thy Word: for all Thy commandments are righteousness" (Psa. 119:172). How does one "work righteousness?" "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that DOETH righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous" (1 Jno. 3:7). When men create their own systems of right, they do not submit to the righteousness of God (cf. Rom. 10:1ff; Ti. 3:5).
The grace of God also teaches us to live godly lives. The original word used here, eusebos, signifies a devout, pious manner of living. This is prompted by an attitude of piety toward God that seeks to please Him. It embraces that fear and reverence of Godf that must characterize both our attitudes and conduct. "By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, MOVED WITH GODLY FEAR, prepared an ark to the saving of his house" (Heb. 11:7).
We cannot do His Will unless we willfully abandon all ungodliness and worldly lusts. To live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, we must indeed be taught! "Grace came teaching" us how to live. Our hope of eternal life rests upon the CONDITIONAL PROMISE of God that if we work His righteousness, we will be accepted by Him (cf. Acts 10:34,35). Doesn't exactly sould like God's grace is an unconditional umbrella to cover disobedience does it?
By Micky Galloway in The Lilbourn Light, Vol. 8, No. 3, July 2007.
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