Salt & Light Summer 1994
By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. (1 Pet 5:12)
The professing church of Jesus Christ is being led astray by a multitude of clamorous voices defining what is the true grace of God. Many people claim that the true grace of God is received by being baptized, joining a church, being sprinkled as an infant, following the Ten Commandments, believing a right creed or doctrine, or even by speaking in “tongues.” Yet the sole basis and authority of our life, the Word of God, states for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph 2:8-9) Salvation is by the grace of God through faith, and nothing we do can merit this salvation because it is not of our works. How can we know if we possess the true grace of God which takes us to heaven or the counterfeit, imitation, satanic grace that casts us unto the Lake of Fire?
True Grace Practices Holiness in Submission and Patience in Suffering
Peter testifies that his epistle manifests the qualities and attributes of the true grace of God wherein every true believer is Christ stands. (1 Pet 5:12) The theme of this epistle is holiness in our behavior. (1 Pet 1:15-16) This holiness is seen by a heart attitude which responds by submission to our authorities and by suffering for His name’s sake. (1 Pet 2:11-12, 21-25; 4:1-7) True grace manifested in our hearts does not rail (habitually reproach or have injurious speech) on those whom our Lord has placed in authority over us. Does not our speech betray us as we speak venomously towards our federal, state, and local governments, our employers, our spouses, our parents, or even towards our neighbors, church or pastor? True grace rejoices in meekness (willing to be governed by God) and spends more time on her knees beseeching the throne of grace for our authorities than in criticizing their policies. We are to stand and speak out for the righteousness of Jesus Christ; not in railing but with a broken heart of the love of Christ. Also, true grace teaches us that the born-again believer knows that he has been called to suffer for righteousness sake, therefore he trusts in God concerning his circumstances. (1 Pet 2:21-23) The Christian life is not ease in Zion, but a fight and a struggle against principalities, powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph 6:12-18) True grace demands God’s children to arm themselves with the mind of Christ so that they may live their life to the will of God, not to the satisfying of the flesh. (1 Pet 4:1-2) Do we possess the true grace of God in our hearts that habitually cries out for holiness in submission and patient endurance in suffering for Christ? Could it be we do not possess the true grace of God?
True Grace Teaches Us to Deny Ungodliness and Worldly Lusts
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world: (Tit 2:11-12)
Too many people, who profess the name of Jesus Christ, habitually live in ungodliness and worldly lusts. Yet, the Bible clearly states that true grace teaches Christians to deny worldly lusts and ungodly practices. Can we not hear the Spirit of God that writes against those who have a lifestyle of: fornication, covetousness, idolatry, adultery, sodomy, thieves, drunkards, railers, revilers, extortioners, unclean persons, lasciviousness, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, and revelings? These shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 5:11; 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5-6) Do we not understand that our righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the Pharisee (an external righteousness only) or we shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven? (Mat 5:20) Our standard is not a church, a pastor, or our imagination. Our standard is the righteousness of Jesus Christ the Lord, who is coming imminently to judge the living and the dead. (1 Pet 4:3-5) Is true grace habitually exhibited in our lives? Could it be we do not possess the true grace of God?
True Grace of God Abounds in Sacrificial Giving
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; (2 Cor 8:1)
Does not this condemn our supposedly “Christian” society that glories in her covetous heart and refuses to sacrificially give? That closes her ears to the cry of the poor. That shuts her heart to the millions of souls lost without Christ and will not give to the Great Commission through the local church. (Mat 28:19-20) Who will not read her Bible; believe it, practice it, and then go, and tell others of the marvelous grace of God. True grace, that was on the churches and individuals of Macedonia, gave while in deep poverty and in a great trial of suffering and affliction. Yet it was the abundance of their joy that abounded to their liberality. In fact, Paul was reluctant to ask for a gift from these particular churches because of their poverty. Yet these churches begged Paul to be part of the giving! New Testament Christianity teaches the attitude of contentment with the necessities of food and raiment (1 Tim 6:6-8) and a heart of love which abundantly gives. Do we stand in the true grace of God? Does our heart yearn to give or do we reach out in our desire to be rich and hoard for the last days of the wrath of God? (Jam 5:1-3) Could it be we do not possess the true grace of God?
True Grace and Salvation is in Jesus Christ
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Heb 2:9)
True grace is the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Act 20:24) The truly saved have this grace abiding in them. (II Corinthians 9:14) True grace can be summed up in one word, Christ. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (Joh 1:17) No church or individual is perfect, yet there are certain heart attitudes that define the true child and church of God. They have Christ’s truth and grace living abiding, and working within them daily. They long to rejoice in meekness, desiring willingly to suffer for His name’s sake, growing in the denial of worldly lusts and ungodliness, striving for holiness, and abounding in the grace of giving. Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man. Jesus was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor 5:21) Christian, will you not grow in the true grace of God? You were not saved by the flesh, neither do you grow spiritually by the flesh, but by the Holy Spirit. As a true sheep of Jesus Christ, will you forsake the sheepfold of the local church and thereby not grow in the grace of God?
If you do not possess this true grace of God, will you not examine your heart and have repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. (Act 20:21) Will you not lay aside your external “man-made salvations” of church memberships, baptisms, sprinklings, believing right creeds, speaking in “tongues”, and trying to obey the Ten Commandments. Behold Christ dying for you! O’sinner, be saved! Look unto Christ! Seek the Word of God. Know that the Word of God and the true church of God points only to the Resurrected Christ. Come to Christ He will receive you!