Something better

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his, who are eager to do good. Titus 2.11-14

The grace of God is multifaceted, 1 Peter 4.10, and we can see two facets of it here in Titus 2. Paul is reminding Titus that God’s grace trains us both to reject certain behaviors and to add certain characteristics to our lives.

Grace trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires. Many times while studying with people about the gospel, a person is struggling with the decision to become a Christian and will have a misconception that they can get their life right and then obey the gospel. There is only one problem. Without God’s grace, it is impossible to get your life right. You do not have the power within you to accomplish such a task no matter how hard you try.

Grace also trains us to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives now in the present. With all of the problems going on in the world today, one is tempted to give in to the daily battles with sin that is experienced. But, grace trains us to be self-controlled. No matter how bad things get, God’s grace is sufficient to see me through whatever situation.

Jesus died for us to have freedom from every form of lawlessness. Not that it will not exist, but we do not have to give in to it. He calls us to something better, something purer. He calls us to share his good news and to be eager to do good.

#risingjoy #Titus #grace

One of our characteristics

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! – and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2.4-7

We were dead in transgressions and God loved us anyway. His love was so huge that he sent his son to die in our place.

Ephesians 2.1-3 paints a very stark picture of who we were. We were living in sin. We were sons of disobedience which means that disobedience was one of our characteristics. We lived out our lives following the carnal cravings that we followed somewhat blindly. We were children of wrath who were indulgent, especially when it came to our fleshly desires and to our minds which were far from pure. We did not know God.

Enter grace. More specifically, God’s grace. He loved us so much. His mercy is so great. He made our redemption possible. We were made alive together with Christ. Through baptism I was raised up with Jesus in a spiritual resurrection after which it became possible to enter the heavenly realm.

When there was nothing I could do myself, God did it all through Jesus. Make no mistake. It was God’s grace.

#risingjoy #Ephesians #grace

Hugh’s News & Views (The Love, Grace, . . .)

THE LOVE, GRACE, AND MERCY OF GOD

“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).

“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” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-5).

No one who believes the Bible to be the divinely inspired word of God doubts for a single moment the truthfulness of the above texts. No one believes (or should believe) that he or she can earn or merit salvation from sin and eternal salvation in heaven. These are possible only because of the love, grace, and mercy of God. But the love, grace, and mercy of God must be accepted in humble submission and obedience by the person who would be the beneficiary of God’s love, grace, and mercy (Matthew 7:21; Hebrews 5:8-9). Continue reading

#grace, #hughfulford

Love through the fog

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.” Titus 3.4-7

There is nothing that I can do to stand before God on my own merit. I cannot stand before him with a list of good deeds that he should stamp with his approval to let me enter his kingdom. John 3.16 tells us that God so loved the world, mankind, that he gave Jesus as a sacrifice for my sins. It was not my good deeds that allow me to stand before God for I had messed up with all the things I had done that were not good. But, because of his mercy, God took the initiative. His kindness and love shine through the fog of deception that I weave around my mind telling myself that I am good. I am washed clean by baptism and renewed by the Holy Spirit. God is not miserly! He pours his Spirit out on us in full measure through Jesus. His grace justifies me! I did not deserve it, but he gave it to me anyway. I become an heir of eternal life. God makes that possible. I can be confident of the expectation of life eternal in heaven.

#risingjoy #Titus #grace

Open to God

See below the original. Here’s my revision of it. See the difference?

Each new day is a gift from God. Today I will open the day slowly, like a present that’s wrapped in hours. I will be open to what my Lord offers me. The Spirit comes to greet me like an old friend each morning. My daily habits in the Word and in prayer comfort and ground me. The thought of moving into my day pleases me. Life unfolds one second at a time and today I will be present to witness it. How much of my life do I let pass by unnoticed? How many of my feelings go unfelt? Today I will recognize that my time on earth is limited. I choose to value my life a day at a time and embrace it while I have it. I choose to be nothing more, nothing less than a servant who glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel.

I am open to God.

Each new day is a gift. Today I will open the day slowly, like a present that’s wrapped in hours. I will be open to what my world offers me. The world comes to greet me like an old friend each morning. My daily habits comfort and ground me. The thought of moving into my day pleases me. Life unfolds one second at a time and today I will be present to witness it. How much of my life do I let pass by unnoticed? How many of my feelings go unfelt? Today I will recognize that my time on earth is limited. I choose to value my life a day at a time and embrace it while I have it.

I am open to life.
Tian Dayton PhD

#time #today #God #grace

God’s grace shields us

“And Gideon said to him, ‘Please, Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? …’” Judges 6:13.

IF … the Lord is with us … there is a God … He cares at all. How often I’ve heard Gideon’s question posed to me over my years of ministry. The problem is that the beginning premise is flawed. Many assume that we all are basically good people, who haven’t done any really bad sins like rape or murder—so we are unnecessarily or unjustly facing terrible circumstances in our lives from an uncaring, uninvolved, or non-existent God.

Scriptures reveal just the opposite story, though: that we have all sinned and deserve death! When we can grasp this truth, then we begin to see just how the evil in the world is always caused by sinful men, a fallen world, or (gasp) our own bad choices!

In fact, when compared to what could be happening to us, we can see God’s grace in shielding us from what could have been. The financial guru, Dave Ramsey, often answers when asked how he’s doing with “better than my sins deserve.”

This keeps a good perspective. It’s better to ask, “If the Lord were NOT with us, what could be happening to us?”

Do you recognize His grace?

Douglas Kashorek

go to: sermonlines.com to subscribe, study, share

#devotional #grace #douglas-kashorek

No one cause trouble: Hebrews 12.15

“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, that no one be like a bitter root springing up and causing trouble, and through him many become defiled.”

Hebrews 12.15

Persecution led some to weakness and abandonment of the Way. Saving grace was lost. The saints were responsible to help one another over the hard times. Failure in one spawned the same in others.

We have but one goal, you and I: eternal life with God. Let us lock arms to reach our heavenly home. Let us help one another. We have no one else in this world but God’s family.

#votd #grace #faithfulness

mm

“But by the grace of God I am…

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10-11 NKJV). God’s “gospel of grace” saved Paul when he washed away his sins in baptism, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). But he knew it was not “once-saved-always-saved,” because he “had labored more abundantly than” the rest of the Apostles.
Paul taught: “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men” (Titus 3:8 NKJV).  A Christian must continually be obedient, or else God’s grace was given “in vain.”  “Good works” are the proper response to God’s grace.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #good-works, #grace

mm

9-21-2016 Grace And Baptism

“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 NKJV).  The Child Jesus “grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40 NKJV).  Paul felt that what he “received from the Lord Jesus, [was] to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24 NKJV).  That “gospel” said, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7 NKJV).  Jesus offered His blood in his death, and the only way sinners enter His death is through baptism!  “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3 NKJV).  Baptism into His death brings salvation by God’s grace.  If not, why not?

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #grace

Does grace and faith by default do away with water?

Many people in the religious world contend that water has nothing to do with our salvation today because salvation from God comes by grace through faith. In other words, salvation by grace and faith, so it is thought, leaves no room or need for the water, but is that the case?

Did you know that Noah was saved by grace through faith and water? He sure was!

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:8)

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.” (Hebrews 11:7)

who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.” (1 Peter 3:20)

Now if God’s plan of salvation in the past could consist of saving someone by grace through faith and water, then what makes a person think that grace and faith does away with the water today?

There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” (1 Peter 3:21)

#baptism, #faith, #grace, #noah, #salvation

Faith/Grace/Obedience/Walking in the Light

Below, is the text of a Bible lesson that I taught Sunday morning, Apr. 12, 2015 at the State Line church of Christ. I hope everyone finds this study informative and comforting, but also alarming if you are NOT walking in the light with God.

James

FAITH/GRACE/OBEDIENCE/WALKING IN THE LIGHT 4-12-15

I. INTRODUCTION There is great misunderstanding and disagreement among our friends and even among ourselves regarding the roles that faith, grace and obedience occupy in our lives. Is faith in Christ the only thing necessary for our salvation? What does grace have to do with our salvation? If God wants everyone to be saved, He being all powerful should be able to give us executive clemency without us having to obey. Right? Since there is no sin in heaven am I doomed to torment if I die right after committing a sin? I’m sure that all of us have wondered about these things at various times in our lives. Hopefully, we will have a better degree of understanding and comfort about these issues after studying the following Scriptures.

II. Rom. 10:1-17 Paul stated in his letter to the Roman Christians the importance of faith/believing. He also mentioned the importance of confessing that faith. It’s obviously important to preach the Lord Jesus to those who have not heard about Him. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

III. Eph. 2:1-22 In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul reflected upon the sinful nature of man. God is a just God. He severely punished sinful people during the Old Testament era because of their failures to follow Him. In addition to being just, God is also loving and merciful. He desires that all would be saved. His love, mercy and desire for our salvation led Him to send His Son to serve as a sacrifice for our sins by shedding His blood on Calvary’s cross. Sinful man has done nothing and will never do anything that will “earn” salvation. If our works saved us through their merits, salvation would not be free, but earned. It is a free gift and gifts are not earned. HOWEVER, there are certain conditions or commands that must be met prior to qualifying to receive God’s grace. If one is to enjoy these blessings, it is necessary to be in Christ—in His body—the church.

IV. Jas. 2:14-26 Empty words do not show faith—faith is made known by the kinds of acts that a person performs. Even the demons believe in the one God and tremble, but that is not sufficient to please Him. Abraham and Rahab are examples of some who showed their faith by their works of obedience. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

V. Rom. 5:12-6:23 A person with more sins than another receives a greater measure of grace than the one with fewer sins. There are those who seem to teach that one may sin freely and God’s grace will cover those sins. It is hard to live without “slipping up” and sinning, but to sin freely makes a mockery of His grace. Paul stated, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” As one repents of his sins when becoming a Christian, his old sinful man dies to sin. This dead man of sin is symbolically buried in baptism just as Christ was buried. He then symbolically rises as a newborn Christian to walk a new spiritual life just as Christ rose to walk a new spiritual life. Even though a Christian may occasionally stumble and sin, if he has died to sin, he has stopped willingly living in sin or for sin.

VI. I Jn. 1:1-2:6 How can one be assured that he is saved? According to John, the person who says that he has not sinned is a liar and that makes God a liar—strong words. There are no sins in heaven. God is referred to as light. John stated that one cannot claim to walk with God if he is living in the darkness of sin. A true child of God walks in fellowship with Him according to His word even though he sometimes falls. As long as one keeps his trust in the saving power of the blood of Christ and walks accordingly, that blood continually cleanses all of those sins. This is a most reassuring and comforting thought. LET US CONTINUE TO WALK IN THE LIGHT!!

#faith, #grace, #obedience, #reassurance

mm

3-19-2015 A Commandment of Men

Israelites were commanded to “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12), but Pharisees and scribes had claimed whatever they might use to honor parents was “Corban,” or devoted to God (Leviticus 1:2). Jesus exposed their using the Bible to contradict the Bible by saying, “Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition” (Matthew 15:3-6 NKJV). Did Jesus contradict other Scriptures when He said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16 NKJV)? “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” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV). Since “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35), then it is a “commandment of men” to make Paul cancel Jesus’ requirement for salvation.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #contradict, #grace, #not-of-works

mm

3-18-2015 Did Jesus Make Baptism Essential to Salvation?

Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16 NKJV), and placed baptism after believing but before salvation. Why is this so? If Jesus had felt baptism had nothing whatever to do with salvation, He would have (1) left it out altogether, but He included it;(2) mentioned it after salvation, but not one passage of Scripture where baptism and salvation/remission of sins are mentioned together that places salvation before baptism; (3) specifically said that it had nothing whatever to do with salvation, but no New Testament writer ever taught this ; (4) warned His disciples that it contradicted God’s other commandments but Peter did not think it contradicted any passage dealing with “works,” “grace,” “love,” or “faith” when he said “baptism doth also now save us “ (1 Peter 3:21 KJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #contradicted, #grace, #not-of-works

We need them all

The Lord Jesus Christ taught multitudes, discipled small groups, talked one-on-one. He also took time away from people to be with his Father.

His followers do likewise. They find time alone with their God. They shine their light in the midst of a dark world. They make it a priority to meet with their family in Christ. Continue reading

#church, #divine-gifts, #grace, #service

The gospel of the grace of God

A lesson by this title has been added to the Old Paths Archive in text and audio, and in English and Dutch.

“The gospel of the grace of God”

http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/063-grace.html

“Het evangelie van de genade Gods”

http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/063-genade.html

This is a compendium of Paul’s teaching on grace in his letter to the saints at Rome.

A compressed version is appearing as an article in the December 2014 issue of the Canadian publication, The Gospel Herald http://www.gospelherald.org/ which has the grace of God as its theme.

Pray with me that this material will help souls throughout the world gain a greater understanding of the marvelous grace of God.

May the Lord bless you.

Roy Davison

http://www.oldpaths.com/RD

#audio, #gospel, #grace