Grace, What's That?
I wanted to share an overview of the Grace class that meets every Wednesday night. It is a study through the book of Romans. While we have been meeting for several weeks, you are still welcome to join us. I also anticipate leading this class again in the future.
We began our class learning about the "just to good to be true" good news. We were introduced to just what it means to be saved by grace. Continuing through the lesson we learned that no one will be without excuse, all have been offered salvation and the knowledge of God. Salvation is a package deal, we not only are saved from our sins, but also from our diseases, sickness and infirmities. Included in the package is our property. During our second lesson we got a little side tracked and learned about the Spirit, Soul and Body and how they work.
We learned about the purpose of the law and how those who are under grace and no longer under the law. The effects of the law were discussed. Faith also becomes a big factor when we are saved by grace and know how to access grace with faith becomes an important step in our walk with Christ. Since grace is a free gift we must come to an understanding that there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn God's favor.
Holiness comes when we are saved and the moment we are born again we are created a new creature in Christ, old things are gone, our sin nature is dead and gone. Our born again spirits are now as holy as they ever will be. We have put on the righteousness of Christ. We are dead to sin and our brand new born again spirit is sealed with the Holy Spirit, sin cannot enter into our born again spirit. The sins that we commit now come from our soul, (mind, emotions, etc.) all the left over junk our old nature taught us still remains. The way we overcome that is by the renewing of our mind. The renewing of the mind comes through God's Word. Our soul was not saved or born again, only our spirits. The body was not born again either and it just follows who is in charge.
Without the renewing of the mind we can become the slaves to sin, that which dominates our soul or we can renew our minds and become the slaves of Christ. Desire for purity should be the desire of our hearts from the moment we are born again, but, it takes work. We learned the difference between Romans 7 and 8. Romans 7 explains the struggle when we try to please God with our performance, Romans 8 goes into telling us how we are victorious by the renewing of our minds and allowing Christ to work through us and live by grace. We actually become and act according to how we think.
When we are born again we enter into a new relationship, a marriage like relationship. We can do that because the spouse, the old sin nature died and we are freed to remarry. This happens within our inner man which most people aren't aware of. To many Christians today relate the spirit to the soul. The soul, as mentioned earlier is your intellect, emotions, will, and personality. This soul was married to the "old man" the tyrant sin nature. When you were reborn that old tyrant died and your new born again spirit become married to your soul. The problem, and the difference between Romans 7 & 8 is that the old man taught you a lot of bad stuff, and that remains in your soul. Now we must work to destroy that old way of thinking by the renewing of our minds with God's word, which Chapter 8 describes.
Because our old sin nature was held under the law, the law was our schoolmaster, the law strengthened sin and made it come alive in us. Without the law there was no sin because it was not alive, as soon as the law came, it made sin come alive in us and pointed out that we could not save ourselves and needed a savior. Because we are now in Christ after being born again, that old schoolmaster no longer rules, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ for we no longer walk after the flesh but after the Spirit. By letting this brand new spirit live through you, there is no condemnation, no judgment, no sentence against you. We are as Jesus is in our spirit.
Being born again frees us from the law and being free from the law with a brand new born again spirit enters us into being the righteousness of God through Christ. This separates us from religious mindset like the pharisee's had. They were learned and lived by the law. The problem is that the law could not be completely lived. There is only one person who ever completely lived by the law and that was Jesus Christ. We are not under the law when we are in Christ, we under grace. Nothing wrong with doing good works, which we should be doing, but we must do them with the right motive. We cannot make or earn more of God's love by doing good works, God doesn't love us anymore by doing good works and He doesn't love us any less for not doing them. His love is unconditional! Grace and works do not mix.
Finally as we wrap up this in depth study of Grace the power of the Gospel, we must realize that salvation is not based on you being holy, it's based on heart belief and mouth confession. This, is of course, is much more than just saying some words. It's talking about a firm commitment, a complete reliance, and an absolute trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master. You're dependent on Him for salvation. Romans 10:9-10.