Sharing Grace

Sharing Grace

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour 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 Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” (Titus 3:1–8)

 

The text here presents us with a picture of ourselves. We were by no means good people. We were foolish. We were rebels. We believed the devil’s lies. We were slaves to the passions of the heart and of the flesh. We lived in envy and treated people in evil ways. We were hateful and hated others. That is by no means a good picture of us. It is not into our goodness that God’s grace appeared, but into our wickedness. We did not deserve our salvation, but He saved us, washed us from our sins, poured out the Holy Spirit upon/within us, gave us new life, and has counted us righteous in His sight. God freely saves us despite ourselves.

With this in mind, we are told that grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts (Titus 2:11-15), and to maintain good works (Titus 3:8). We are taught that we are saved so that we might give glory to God (Hebrews 2:10) and for the purpose of good works (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Among the most important of good works that can be done is that of showing grace to others. Our text tells us that we should be obedient and submissive to those who are in authority to us. Grace will teach us that we should pray for our rulers and all who are in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-5-6), and that we are to obey those in authority over us (Romans 13:1-7). Often this is an act of grace, because we are not submitting and obeying because we agree with those in authority, but despite the fact that we do not agree. Considering that Paul wrote of submission and obedience to rulers when Nero, the enemy of all that is holy, was Caesar, we know that such must come from the grace of God.

Grace is also to be manifest in our treatment of our fellow men. We are told that we are to do good to all men, especially those who are our fellow brothers in the faith (Galatians 6:10). Not only so, but we are to not be brawlers, or contentious and strife filled people. Strife only occurs where pride is (Proverbs 13:10), and we know that pride and grace do not co-exist well at all (James 4:5-6). We are to humble ourselves to have good relationships with others rather than habitually striving with them. Furthermore, we are told to be gentle, or reasonable. That reasonableness is mentioned by Paul as moderation (Philippians 4:5). Our text also speaks of meekness, or gentleness. God’s people are not to be harsh, but loving and kind. Too many people act as if they have the right to show anger and wrath to those with whom they disagree. Such people know so very little about the grace of God. Had they known the grace of God, they would realize that God has not treated them as their sins deserve (Psalm 103:8-17), but has graciously forgives sinners who deserve His wrath. Grace teaches us to love even those who are our enemies (Matthew 5:44-45).

When Jesus would teach us about how to treat others, He reminds us of how much He cares for even the smallest of the lost sheep (Matthew 18:1-14), and sternly warns us that we dare not be an occasion of stumbling for anyone. He warns us that we would be better off dead than to be a stumbling block. He continues from there and calls us to seek reconciliation with our brothers when division arises (Matthew 18:15-18). Following up on that, Jesus gives a parable regarding forgiveness that demonstrates that those who truly know the forgiving mercy and grace of God will show the same to others (Matthew 18:21-35). We are commanded to forgive, or show grace, as we have been forgiven and shown grace (Ephesians 4:32). If we do not do so, we are warned about how judgment will be for us: “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (James 2:13) The one who refuses to show mercy and grace gives evidence of not having known or experienced mercy and grace, and will receive neither in the day of judgment. Where grace is present in the soul, it will manifest itself in the way we treat other people.

This cannot be emphasized enough, because we are called to an unworldly godliness. We are called to show Christ in our behavior. Far too often we show bitterness, anger, wrath, and impatience, even to those we call our brothers and sisters in Christ! I will be quick to admit that I have failed in many ways in this respect. Sadly these things have not been taught among us as they should have been. That will be no excuse for us, however, when we stand before God. God’s grace is transforming grace. He will not leave us as we were before we trusted Him. God, in His grace, has shown us love, mercy, forgiveness, justification, sanctification, and much kindness, despite our sinfulness. If we are not careful, we will treat others as if they must earn our goodwill, and will tend toward a harshness with those who disagree with us or wrong us. This is not the way of grace. Grace will cause us to treat others with the same kindness as God treats us. God’s grace will not leave us hateful and hating one another, therefore let us yield to the authority and transforming power of His grace in order to show kindness and love to all with whom we come in contact.

Notes On Romans Chapter Nine

Romans 9 Notes

:6  at issue is the promise of God to Abraham “the word of God”  See Rom 3:1-3

Not all the seed of Jacob are truly Israel (Mt 3:9-11;Rom 2:27-29;Jn 8:41-44)

:7  not all physical descendants of Abraham are counted as his children…..Ishmael wasn’t (Gal 4) Isaac, the son of promise, was counted as the son.  Why?  He was the son according to the promise: Ishmael the son according to the flesh.

:8 Children of promise counted for seed  (Rom 4:16;Gal 3:13,14,26-29)

:9-12  The promise not according to works, but of God.  Note that faith is not a work (Rom 4:4,5)  

What is God’s purpose in election? (Isa 42:8;Rev 4:10,11;Eph 1:3-7,13,14)

:13 Esau hated???????? Comparative statement, not absolute hatred from eternity past.  (Mal 1:1-5;See also Gen 29:30.31;Deut 21:15,16;Prov 13:24;Lk 14:26;Jn 12:25) 

:14  Does this mean that God is unrighteous? After all, He made promises to Israel.  Now He is denying the blessing to some of Israel while accepting some who are not of Israel. Is this unrighteous?  By no means!  (Gen 18:25;2Tim 4:8;1Pet 2:23)  There is no doubt that God is righteous in all His ways.  (Ps 145:17)

:15  The quote concerning sovereign mercy and grace. Is it truly given indiscriminately?  No.  When we view the context of Ex 33:19 we find that God is having mercy because of His covenant of promisethat He made with Abraham (Ex 32:11-14).  God is merciful and gracious to whom He will because He is keeping His promise to bring the seed of Abraham, the children of Israel into the land of promise!

:16  Salvation is not self-caused or self-determined. It comes because of God’s work in man.  Man does not bring it to pass through his law-deeds.  (Rom 3:1-4:25)  God determined to send a Savior.  He then determined that all who believe would be saved.  This is justification by faith alone that Paul is teaching. (See also Jn 1:10-13;Jas 1:18)

The issue of mercy is simple:  No man deserves mercy: it comes to those who ill-deserve it, just as Israel did when the original statement was made.  Thus, salvation is freely given to sinners; not inherited, or earned by works of the law.  (Eph 2:1-10;Tit 3:1-7)

:17  Pharaoh’s placement and destruction.  He was placed where he was that God would be glorified in him.  (Ex 9:16;Ps 106:8)  

If one truly believes in unconditional election, it would seem that they would need to believe in the supralapsarian view point of election, too.  Here we see Pharaoh raised up to be destroyed.  Nothing is mentioned of the fact that God hates to see the wicked die (Ezek 18:31,32;33:11).  Yet we know that God does hate to see the wicked perish.  Why is it not mentioned that God hates to see the wicked die?  Pharaoh had passed the point of no return with God.  He had hardened his heart (Ex 1:7-14).  This is also fulfillment of the promise to Abraham that God would judge those who oppressed Israel (Gen 12:3;15:13-16) The true meaning of this is found in the fact that Pharaoh was hard-hearted, and would have been just as wicked if he had lived in China as a pauper.  Pharaoh was being judged for his sin, not created for the express purpose of destruction with it being absolutely necessary that he sin and be destroyed, because that’s how God made him.    This passage is but another fulfillment of promise.  It also illustrates that God has mercy on the children of promise!!!!  (We have already seen these children to be those who are justified by faith in Christ Rom 4:16;Gal 3:13,14)

Whom does God harden? (Prov 29:1)Those who harden themselves against Him.  (Gen 15:13-16 cp Deut 2:30 Sihon hardened himself because the his iniquity, and the iniquity of his people had gone as far as God would allow it to go.)  (Job 9:4)Man is given the choice of hardening his heart, or not hardening it.  In fact, man is commanded to not harden his heart  (Ps 95:8;Heb 4:7,8)

:18  On whom does God have mercy?  On the ones He chooses to show mercy to……….those who are children of the promise, not children of the flesh, or hardened ones. (I think one could make a case here that the children of the flesh and the hardened ones are one and the same.  They are those who are not children of promise, because they will not accept the gospel by faith.)