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The Wednesday Word: Grace! Grace! Grace! Part 2

by D. G. Miles McKee

Ephesians 2: 8-10.

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast…..”

Matthew Henry’s commentary on our text says: “Every converted sinner is a saved sinner. Such are delivered from sin and wrath; they are brought into a state of salvation and have a right given them by grace to eternal happiness.

“The grace that saves them is the free, underserved, goodness and favour of God; and He saves them, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, by means of which they come to partake of the great blessings of the gospel; and both that faith and that salvation on which it has so great an influence are the gift of God.”

Salvation is entirely by Grace. Paul says in Ephesians 2:1: “You has he made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins.” We were spiritually dead. We had no spiritual understanding. What did we deserve but a good burial? …If even!

In Ephesians 2:2-3 however, as we read on, we learn the strangest thing, we discover we were dead but walking .. literally we were “walking dead men”…. We were zombies-like walking according to the world system, which is against God, and following “the prince of the power of the air,” which is Satan.

There’s a story about a graveyard in an area in Ayrshire, Scotland, where once a stranger was buried. It greatly distressed the people of that particular parish, so much so that they put a notice up on the outside of the graveyard that read, “This graveyard is reserved exclusively for the dead who are living in this parish.” Funny!

But we were living dead people. We were alive, just like Adam was physically alive after he had sinned, but nevertheless spiritually dead. We were living and were dead, but God made us alive. Grace! Grace ! Grace!

Here’s a good way of looking at grace… Notice in Ephesians 1:1 the apostle calls believers saints. However, look at what we once were. Ephesians 2:1-3..

Dead,

Walking in the devil’s path,

Children of disobedience,

Children of wrath.

And what made the difference? It was grace.

In addition, 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us we are chosen by grace;

In Ephesians 1:7 we learn that we have redemption by grace;

We are adopted by grace Ephesians 1:5.

By that same grace we are accepted Ephesians 1:6.

By grace we have the forgiveness of sins Ephesians 1:7.

By that same grace we have been made alive together with Christ Ephesians 2:5.

He has glorified us by grace Ephesians 2:6.

Nowhere in the Bible is credit given to man regarding his salvation. It is all of grace! The making alive, the undeserved favour, the faith, the union with Christ, the good works that follow after salvation are all the gifts of Almighty God!

Is it any wonder then that Paul would write in Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

To “glory” is “to boast”. Paul is saying that we cannot boast in anything except the cross of the Lord Jesus. That’s another way of saying that we are saved by grace. All our prosperity, all our accomplishments, all our doctrinal understanding, and even all the accumulated knowledge over our lifetime is nothing to glory about. We can boast only in the grace of God as seen in the cross, the cross of Christ! Glory to His name!

To be continued.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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The Wednesday Word: Grace! Grace! Grace! Part 1

Ephesians 2: 8-10.

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Ephesians has been called the Alps of the New Testament because some of the things taught in it are amazingly glorious. Here are but two of them …

1) We are saved by grace plus nothing, and

2) We are saved by grace minus nothing.”

The Greek word for grace is “Charis.” It means, ‘unmerited and undeserved favour.’ It is, ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’

Martyn Lloyd Jones said, “There is no more wonderful word than ‘grace.’ It means unmerited favour or kindness shown to one who is utterly undeserving. It is a free gift to those who deserve the exact opposite, and it is given to us while we are ‘without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

We are saved by grace!

We are delivered from the wrath to come by grace (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

We are given eternal life by grace (Romans 5:21).

Religion knows nothing of grace. Religion seeks to find favour with God by doing something (Romans 10:3). In religion, good works are a premium. But under grace, the sinner is freely declared not guilty. Have you grasped that for yourself?

But there’s more. The believer is not only forgiven he is also acquitted. And how is this done? It is done simply on the merits of another person, the Lord Jesus Christ (Leviticus 16; 1 Peter 3:18). Now that’s grace!

In Ephesians 2:6-9, Notice what grace isn’t!

‘It is not of ourselves.’

There was and is nothing we could do to deserve salvation. We may say, “What about faith? Isn’t that something I do?” No! Faith is a gift of God. It is not of works lest anyone should boast.

Have we then no work to do in this great matter of our justification? In a nutshell, NONE!

What work can we work to obtain personal salvation? NONE! What work of ours can buy forgiveness or make us worthy of Divine favour? NONE!

Has the Lord commanded that we crawl around the earth on our hands and knees? NO!

Has He decreed that we should whip ourselves and deprive ourselves of everything good? NO!

So, what work has God commanded us to do to obtain salvation?

Once more …NONE!

Romans 4:5 “To him that works not, but believes in Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” There is only one work which can save us, and that work is not ours, but the work of the God/Man. And that work is finished (John 19:30). It can never be repeated. Salvation is all Grace, Grace, Grace!

SAVED!

‘Saved’ is another great Bible word from our verse. It means deliverance. It means life in contrast to the death. It must be remembered that God is obliged to save no one. All of us have sinned and rebelled. All of us deserve death, not salvation. God was not and is not bound to come and rescue a defiant humanity….that’s why we love GRACE!

In Ephesians 2:1 the Word says, “You has he (God), quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sin.”

He is speaking of spiritual death here and in the past tense. We were dead! But, things are different now. We have been made alive. We are saved. We are no longer under wrath…..we are saved. And how did we get saved? … Grace! Grace! Grace!

John Stott puts it this way: “You were saved through faith, and even this faith by which you are saved is God’s gift.” This is an essential truth. We must never think of salvation as a kind of a transaction between God and us in which He contributes grace, and we contribute faith. For we were dead and had to be brought alive before we could believe.”

To be continued.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Jesus + Nothing

No church saved us.

No religious act on our part saved us.

We were, are and will be entirely saved by Christ alone.

We are saved by the free, unconditional, invincible grace brought to us in the doing, dying and rising again of Christ Jesus the Lord.

For when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. That’s you and that’s me! For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet perhaps for a good man, someone would even dare to die. But God commends His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

That’s priceless!

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (see Romans 5:6-10).

Christ’s sinless life and atoning death have been accepted by the Father as ours. His doing and dying of two thousand years ago is the only ground of our acceptance with God today.

“Here we have a firm foundation;

Here the refuge of the lost;

Christ’s the Rock of our salvation,

His the name of which we boast.

Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,

Sacrifice to cancel guilt!

None shall ever be confounded

Who on Him their hope have built.”

Thomas Kelly

Christ alone has been found pleasing in the Father’s sight. So, since repetition is the price of learning, let’s say it again….There is but one reason and only one reason for our acceptance by God—Christ Alone!

There is no other way to God but in, through and by Christ.

Let us not forget that Jesus unashamedly claimed to be God in human flesh appearing. If, therefore, the one true and living God has come to save us, what other way to God can there be? Since Christ alone is God, we can ruthlessly and immediately dispense with all other supposed ways of salvation. They are all fabrications of men’s imaginations and devising. There is only one salvation, and it comes to us in Christ alone.

When we declare that we are saved by Christ alone, we stand opposed to the teachings which state that Christ’s sacrifice is insufficient without the addition of some manner of sacrament administered by clerics. What sheer, Christ belittling, nonsense is this?

Others say that Christ saves but not without our good works. How they cling to their inferior and flawed works as they fear to rest entirely on the good works of the Saviour … yet they damn us for not joining them in their folly.

Others say that Christ’s sacrifice is worthless without us adding faith to the equation. They say that our believing does the saving! Thus they oppose the teaching of Christ Alone. While it is true that faith apprehends the Gospel, faith is not our Saviour. We rest, not on faith, but on Christ alone.

Enemies of the cross urge the necessity of something more than Christ alone for salvation Without their particular addition they say that we cannot be saved. In these schemes, Christ’s sufficiency as the Saviour is consequently denied.

When we follow their logic, we must conclude that the Christ in whom they trust is at best a partial saviour. He lacks something, a certain something, provided by them that somehow augments His person and work.

What a dishonour to Christ Jesus. God has come here to rescue and save His people yet He is incapable of saving without the help of some form of mediation on man’s part. Sheer rubbish!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: Set Apart Forever!

Hebrews 13:12: Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without (outside) the gate.

Grace people are often falsely accused of teaching that anyone can sin and get away with it.

We don’t teach that at all.

What we do teach is that, because of grace alone, we are in Christ and, in Christ, there is a superabundance of grace to cover us when we fall. We are sanctified, redeemed, purchased and legally set apart unto God by the blood, and nothing can destroy that which God has accomplished. Since believers are the recipients of eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12), we will neither be re-sold into the slavery of sin nor prised away from the Saviour. We cannot fall from His loving, powerful hands.

We are set apart, forever, because of Gospel grace. We are in the New Covenant. The blood has made us perfect in the sight of God.

Adolph Saphir writes; “The Holy Ghost Himself witnessed by the prophet Jeremiah that the New Covenant was connected with complete and eternal forgiveness of sin. …The characteristic of the New Testament standing of believers is that they are free from sin in the sight of God and that always and forever. “No more remembrance of sin;” because Christ is seated at the right hand of God. This is our sanctification; this is our standing before God.”

Adolph Saphir: The Epistle to the Hebrews: Kregel Publications: Page 645.

Consider this;

“The Scriptures say, all our sins are removed- cast behind His back: (Isaiah 38:17).

They were cast into the depth of the Sea (Micah 7:19).

As far as the East is from the West, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).

But there’s more! Our sins are covered: (Psalm:32:1).

However, a thing may be covered and still have being. Therefore, God says they are blotted out, (Isaiah. 44:22)

Now our sins are not, they have no being. But God can remember things that are not. To remedy this, God says,

“I will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).”

(Adapted from Samuel Richardson, ‘Justification by Christ Alone,’ AD 1646)

If a priest of Israel sinned (Leviticus 4:2-5), he did not begin working harder. He didn’t say, “Now, wait a minute, I am not sanctified enough. I need to do more.” He did not look back, he didn’t look inside himself, —he almost didn’t do anything. He instead brought a bullock to the Lord. But, even that required a little work. Bullocks are substantial beasts. Work was needed to bring the sacrifice … this shows one of the flaws in the Old Covenant!

In the New Covenant, however, when we sin, we only need by faith to bring the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 10:10 we read; “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” We, as sinners, by faith, bring the offering that has been presented 2000 years ago. Back then, at Calvary, Christ offered Himself, and He is the offering we bring. But, we don’t have to carry him or lead Him, we simply, by faith, present Christ and His shed blood.

Someone asks, “How long do I have to wait to be restored after I sin?” The answer is simple, there is no waiting time. While there may be necessary time given in the church assembly, decreed for healing and restoration to service after a serious fall, there is no fellowship probation in Heaven’s courtroom. Bring the blood and enjoy instant communion with the Father. We have already been purchased forever. He does not cast us off and spurn us.

Jesus was numbered with the transgressors and placarded on the accursed cross. As our sin offering, He was reckoned as being sin. To the unbelieving Jews, He was a curse. Indeed, multitudes of people to this day find no beauty in Him.

However, this same, despised and rejected Saviour, who poured out His blood and died, rose from the dead, ascended to Heaven and entered the holiest place with His own blood. We look to Him and not ourselves. He is our hope. He is our confidence!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: ‘What does that mean? (Part 1)…Grace Alone

When we say we are justified by Grace alone, it means that, even though in and of ourselves we are unacceptable, we have divine acceptance through the doing dying and rising again of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Grace alone means favour and welcome shown to the rebellious and undeserving. Such is God’s grace that sinners are said to be justified freely (Romans 3:24). To be justified “freely” means not only to be declared ‘Not Guilty’ but also signifies that we are declared not guilty without any cause in us.

It is only through the Gospel that we see God’s gracious and righteous acceptance of unacceptable people. No amount of trying to obey God’s Law on our part could have obtained our acquittal. No amount of personal character or self-denial by us ever causes God to regard us as acceptable in His sight. We have His favour only by pure and undeserved grace. That’s part of what we mean by Grace Alone.

Grace pursued this sinner when I was pursuing sin. Grace found me, saved me and has kept me continually. Grace, you see, is not a one-time event. In this life, we stand in need of God’s unfailing and unceasing grace. If we are attempting to find acceptance and welcome before the Father because of our moral character, we have fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4).

Larry Criss says,

“I know this, I am a great sinner, and nothing less than great grace will do anything for me.

I need reigning grace, grace that is greater than all my sin.

I need grace to keep me from falling, and grace to present me faultless before the throne of God.

I need grace to live by and grace to die by.

Just as it was grace that called me, it is grace that will not let me go. If God’s great salvation is not grace from beginning to end, if anything about salvation is dependent on me, I have no hope at all. But thank God, that is not the case. God’s grace has kept me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”

From beginning to end, we are saved by grace. That’s another part of what we mean when we say we are saved by Grace alone.

Everything to do with our salvation is because of Grace. If we have been regenerated, it was by the power of God. That’s grace! If we have repented, our repentance was the sovereign gift of God. That’s grace. If we are believers, our faith was the sovereign work of God. That’s Grace!

To recap, if we are to be saved, God must save us by Grace alone. No combination of Grace and works will do. Salvation comes from the hand of the all gracious God.

“Not what my hands have done

Can save my guilty soul;

Not what my toiling flesh has borne

Can make my spirit whole.

Not what I feel or do

Can give me peace with God;

Not all my prayers and sighs and tears

Can bear my awful load.

No other work save thine,

No other blood will do;

No strength save that which is divine

Can bear me safely through.”

Bonar

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Next time (God willing) By Christ Alone …What does that mean?

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

There are some who preach the doctrine of election as though it were a line of sharp pikes to keep a sinner from coming to Christ

November 7, 2016 2 comments

Spurgeon 1Lastly, this precious truth is full of comfort to the sinner, and that is why I love it. As it has been preached by some it has been exaggerated and made into a bugbear. Why, there are some who preach the doctrine of election as though it were a line of sharp pikes to keep a sinner from coming to Christ, as though it were a sharp, glittering halbert to be pushed into the breast of a coming sinner to keep him from mercy. Now it is not so. Sinner, whoever you may be, wherever you may be, your greatest comfort should be to know that salvation is by grace. Why man, if it were by merit, what would become of you? Suppose that God saved men on account of their merits, where would you drunkards be? where would you swearers be? you who have been unclean and unchaste, and you whose hearts have cursed God, and who even now do not love him, where would you be? But when it is all of grace, why then all your past life, however black and filthy it may be, need not keep you from coming to Jesus. Christ receiveth sinners, God has elected sinners; he has elected some of the blackest of sinners why not you? He receives every one that comes to him. He will not cast you out. There have been some who have hated him, insulted him to his face, that have burned his servants alive, and have persecuted him in his members, but as soon as even they have cried, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” he has given them mercy at once, and he will give it to you if you be led to seek it. If I had to tell you that you were to work out your own salvation apart from his grace it were a sad look-out for you, but when it comes to you thus: black, there is washing for you! dead! there is life for you! Naked! there is raiment for you! All undone and ruined! here is a complete salvation for you! O soul, mayest thou have grace to lay hold of it, and then thou and I together will sing to the praise of the glory of divine grace.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Salvation Altogether by Grace (2 Timothy 1:9)- Delivered on Sunday Morning July 29th, 1866

Men did not put their lives in danger for a watered down Gospel, but put their lives in danger for the doctrines of the Grace of God

Spurgeon 6Moreover, my brethren, this doctrine overwhelms as with an avalanche all the claims of priest craft. Let it be told to men that they are saved by God, and they say at once, “Then what is the good of the priest?” If they are told it is God’s grace then they say, “Then you do not want our money to buy masses and absolutions,” and down goes the priest at once. Beloved, this is the battering ram that God uses with which to shake the gates of hell. How much more forcible than the pretty essays of many divines, which have no more power than bulrushes, no more light than smoking flax. What do you suppose people used to meet in woods for in persecuting times, meet by thousands outside the town of Antwerp, and such-like places on the Continent, in jeopardy of their lives? Do you suppose they would ever have come together to hear that poor milk-and-water theology of this age, or to receive the lukewarm milk and water of our modern anti-Calvinists? Not they, my brethren. They needed stronger meat, and more savoury diet to attract them thus. Do you imagine that when it was death to listen to the preacher, that men under the shadows of night, and amid the wings of tempest would then listen to philosophical essays, or to mere moral precepts, or to diluted, adulterated, soul-less, theological suppositions? No, there is no energy in that kind of thing to draw men together under fear of their lives. But what did bring them together in the dead of night amidst the glare of lightning, and the roll of thunder-what brought them together? Why, the doctrine of the grace of God, the doctrine of Jesus, and of his servants Paul, and Augustine, and Luther, and Calvin; for there is something in that doctrine which touches the heart of the Christian, and gives him food such as his soul loveth, savoury meat, suitable to his heaven-born appetite. To hear this men braved death, and defied the sword. And it we are to see once again the scarlet hat plucked from the wearer’s head, and the shaven crowns with all the gaudy trumpery of Rome sent back to the place from whence they came-and Heaven grant that they may take our Puseyite Established Church with them-it must be by declaring the doctrines of the grace of God. When these are declared and vindicated in every place, we shall yet again make these enemies of God and man to know that they cannot stand their ground for a moment, where men of God wield the sword of the Lord and of Gideon by preaching the doctrines of the grace of God.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Salvation Altogether by Grace (2 Timothy 1:9)- Delivered on Sunday Morning July 29th, 1866