Grace That Came Part 1
By Pastor Tony Butler
John 1:17 For the Law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
As we look back through time since the fall of man into sin, we continuously see man resisting and disobeying his creator. Man’s history is nothing more than a succession of spiritual failures regardless of the light man receives from God. (Rom. 1:18-31) Human history agrees with the declaration of God that man is lost in sin and is void of any intrinsic righteousness to save himself. (Rom. 3:10-18) Sin came into the world through one man, Adam. (Rom. 5:12)
When that took place all hope was gone. There was no way man could pick himself up by the bootstraps and be restored to God and there was nothing in man at all that would cause him to seek God without the gracious initiating and prompting of God. Man’s only hope was divine intervention in his behalf. God would have to be the initiator and supply of what was needed for the fallen human race. That supply is called, “Grace”, and thus grace entered into the world in the flesh through Jesus Christ. (Jn. 1:14)
(Galatians 4:4) But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,(5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
John 1:15-17 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. (16) And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. (17) For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
The Mess Maker – Jesus The Divine Cleaner upper
When it comes to God’s purpose, man’s creation, responsibility, and failure it is easy to get stuck in the human reasoning of eternal concepts which can never be completely understood. (Is. 55:8) I am one who has basically given up on trying to understand the eternal mind of God and have pretty much relegated myself to the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) and merely accept divine revelation as a whole without feeling like I have to defend God or make Him more likable to detractors. However, my simplicity comes after the complexity of much study. Simplicity on grand themes should never be accepted without diligent study first. The bible says we see through a “glass darkly” (I Cor. 13:12) but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to see through the dark glass. It simply means this awesome God of the universe can’t be figured out by mess making humans.
There will always be unbelieving people who want to indict God and blame Him for the human condition of sin. There are some who believe that God ordained sin as part of His sovereign purpose which He purposed in Himself. There also will be people who will indict God because they believe He knew what was going to happen and allowed it to happen anyway just so He could be glorified while having no regard for the multitudes that would suffer because of His allowance of man’s sin.
People who wrongly reason about God's sovereignty and declare Him guilty as the main culprit causing all societal messes tend to reject clearly stated revelation of man’s need and God’s supply for that need through Jesus Christ our Lord. Those that do so will soon be knee deep in contradiction, inability, and arrogance. They just keep making messes and keep blaming God ( I Cor. 13:12) and ultimately stand before their creator in judgment. (Rev. 20:12-13)
The truth is that man is culpable before God for his sin. No matter what revelation he is given he seems to be expert in coming to the wrong conclusions and doing wrong. Think about it. One easy rule with one tree of which he was not to eat and what does man do? He eats it. From Adam’s fall through disobedience and sin the footsteps of mankind have been traced to nothing but stupidity, rebellion, evil, inconsistency, wickedness and pride. (Rom. 1:18-32) He is a failure and a loser on every level. When left to himself he only knows how to mess everything up that is good.
Man may not believe what God says about man, but grace does because truth is always coupled with grace. Grace is the mess maker’s best friend. Only grace can clean up the mess of man’s sinful condition. Jesus came to save man by dying a substitutionary death for man. Jesus died for man’s sin. Jesus coming as God in the flesh was the only way to save the lost. That was His mission. (Lk. 19:10) Jesus came in grace to meet every righteous demand of God so man could cease from the vanity of trying to make himself acceptable to God through his vain sinful efforts (Rom. 5:1; 8:1; Gal. 3) All that is acceptable to God is now fulfilled in one person alone, namely Jesus. (Rom. 5:11) Grace is God's plan where man is relieved of his inept ability and moronic thinking that esteems the created more than the creator.
Now that grace has come through Jesus; sinful and mess making mankind is to receive God’s gift and cease from any attempt to save himself. In Rom. 5:15-21 you will see the word “gift” five times. God’s plan is to give man a gift man doesn’t deserve through the means man can’t possibly provide for himself by anything he could do. (Eph. 2:8,9)
Many times in my life as a child I would hear my mother holler out, “Who made this mess?” At times I could reply, “It wasn’t me” and at other times I had to own up to it. The Bible is clear the mess started with Adam. We are all mess makers because Adam was a mess maker/sinner. The mess that happened to the human race came through one man, Adam. Paul said in I Corinthians 15:22, "As in Adam all die ……. However the one who can clean up the whole human race’s mess is Jesus. Paul goes on to say….even so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Like it or not, understand it or not, the biblical fact is that Adam represented the entire human race when he sinned. Sin entered Adam’s flesh and ever since Adam’s sin was genetically and spiritually linked to all his descendants. (That means us) All humans have inherited Adam’s sinful flesh. However, Adam was to be followed in due time (Gal. 4:4) by the last Adam, (I Cor. 15:45) Jesus Christ our Lord. The last Adam was God in the flesh (Jn. 1:1:14) who was without sin and is also God’s representative of all mankind. Just as death comes to us all in the first Adam, life comes to us all who believe and trust in the Last Adam. (Eph. 2:1-6)
Jesus Solves The Mess
Grace came through the last Adam in order for man to be rescued from his sin. God Himself initiated a salvation (Jn. 3:16) that was entire, unique, and perfect. All the demands of the law of Moses were met in Christ. Jesus, the perfect God man in the flesh, fulfilled all righteousness. As the last representative of mankind, Christ’s sinless life and redemptive work on the cross is reckoned to us when we believe on Him for forgiveness of sins, salvation, redemption and every heavenly blessing. Everything man receives from God flows out from His grace.
Man’s only responsibility is to receive by faith as a gift what God initiated and fulfilled in his behalf through the shedding of Christ’s blood and Christ’s death on the cross. The choice that lies before mankind is to either attempt to come to God through his own righteousness through his own ability or to come to God to receive Christ’s righteousness by faith, trusting in what the Last Adam did in his behalf. In this decision alone determines a man’s eternal destiny. Just as we inherited sin and death through the first Adam, now through grace we receive life and every heavenly blessing through the last Adam. (Eph. 1:3) All that Jesus is and possesses is shared with us through the eternal union of salvation. This is grace; God’s everything through faith alone. (Titus 3:5) This is the message of God to a lost world. Man needed grace to be saved and grace came through Jesus and once it came it must be received.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth….John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:... John 1:16-17 And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. (17) For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Man needs constant grace not just for initial salvation but even for daily life in order to teach us, guide us, empower us, and to finish God’s work in us. (I Cor. 15:10;Tit. 2:11) The teaching of grace is the heartbeat and center of biblical Christianity. Christianity isn’t about us, it is about Christ. It isn’t about our life, it is about His life. It isn’t about our work, but His work in us. It isn’t about our “doing”; but it is about His “done”! Grace has called us to a spiritual rest that stands back and beholds the salvation of the Lord. It is a believing and a receiving of God’s gracious gift that touches every place of our lives.
Satan has done much through false teaching and error to move the church from her rest and freedom in Christ. This paper is written to help the reader to separate himself from religious systems that promote rules, regulations, morality, and doing as a means of acceptance by God. There has been so much apostasy throughout Christian history to the point that bible grace is often seen by many religious institutions as a false teaching because it goes against their human requirements for salvation. But the truth is that biblical grace arrived on the earth in the face of Jesus. The New Covenant is a covenant of grace. Grace isn’t a new teaching. Instead it is a glorious and liberating doctrine that can bring Christians into Christ’s fullness.
Acts 15:10-11 Now therefore why do you tempt God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples, a yoke which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? (11) But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, according to which manner they also believed.
The law that came by Moses was full of human effort. It was a system of requirements that had to be met by men. The law was good and righteous but it gave men no power to do right. (Rom. 7:12) It never praised them for doing good and always condemned them when they did wrong. By the deeds of the law no man could be declared righteous by God. (Rom. 3:20,28) Around twenty years after Jesus resurrected from the dead and returned to heaven there was an argument among the Jews who professed faith in Christ. The argument concerned whether or not Gentiles had to keep the Law of Moses in order to be saved. (Acts 15:1,2) In other words, the question was, “Is salvation about our doing or completely about God’s doing”?
The interesting thing about the meeting was the admission that no one at any time had ever lived up to the standard of the law. So, if none could live up to the standard, and the keeping of the law was necessary to be saved, then who could be saved? The common sense answer is no one. Why then would we want to spend so much of our time trying to please God with that which can’t please, namely, human effort? Only the Son pleases the Father; and we are only pleasing to the Father because we are accepted through the Son. (Lk. 9:35; Eph. 1:6) And we can only be accepted through the Son by grace. (Eph. 2;8,9)
The Law Of The Spirit
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (2) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Neither the law nor any human effort could rid man of the resident evil of his sinful flesh. It is intrinsic to his very being that he received from Adam. There was no law from Moses that could free man from condemnation and personal guilt before God. (Heb. 9:9) Therefore God through grace provided a greater law; the law of the Spirit which would come through grace.
Romans 8:1-3 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
The reason there is no condemnation is because of what the scripture had stated previously; and that is that man through grace by faith is declared righteous by God and thus can stand before God. No man can stand before God by human works or effort. We can only stand by grace which is completely void of all human effort. Grace alone brings the application of Christ’s righteousness to the believing heart. To place a single work to merit salvation is a complete alteration of the gospel which brings the anathema/cursing of God to any who would dare declare God’s fullness in Christ is insufficient and must be propped up by any human effort.
Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
Galatians 1:8-9 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. (9) As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
To The Reader
The grace of God has appeared to all men through Jesus Christ our Lord. Since grace has come you should seek it out as the wise men sought out Jesus two thousand years ago. The one Who came in grace and truth must be received by truly believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Only in this way can we come into a relationship with God as His children. Once we are His then we must continue in grace with all its benefits and power. It is the only way we can serve God acceptably.
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
May God help you escape the gravitational pull of do-do religion and bring you into His fullness by grace alone.
Read the next article on Grace: Grace that Came Part 2