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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 – What does that mean? (Pt 5) Soli Deo Gloria

Glory to God alone Romans 11:36

Soli Deo Gloria was one of the five mighty battle cries of the Reformation. It means that we, in all matters, are called to Glorify God alone.

But what does ‘To Glorify’ mean?

It means simply to honour and praise the Lord alone. To Him alone belongs magnificence, excellence, pre-eminence, and dignity. We are called to worship Him. And why not? He is God after all. No man can take credit for what Yahweh has done, and no man can compare Himself to who He is.

He is perfect in all His ways (Deuteronomy 32:4). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Light (1 John 1:5). Soli Deo Gloria

He is Love (1 John 4:16). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Fire (Hebrews 12:29). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Sovereign (Deuteronomy 3:24). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Holy (Leviticus 19:2). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Merciful and Gracious (Psalm 103:8). Soli Deo Gloria.

He did all the work in salvation. He is, therefore, worthy of all the praise and all the honour. Soli Deo Gloria.

He gave us the faith to believe the Gospel. Soli Deo Gloria.

He baptized us into the salvation provided by Christ’s doing, dying and rising again. Soli Deo Gloria.

He ransomed, redeemed and reconciled us. Soli Deo Gloria.

Here’s a striking fact…..all things are for His glory, not ours! Yahweh, speaking through Isaiah (48:11) tells us; “For my own sake, even for my own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.”

God’s salvation is for Himself and for His Glory! Soli Deo Gloria.

Many folks sincerely believe that they give glory to God for their salvation. But it’s all in their imagination for they cannot say that they give glory to Him alone. They are clinging to grace + their contribution of good works. But, this is not Bible salvation. Salvation is of the Lord from beginning to end.

Soli Deo Gloria.

As a result of the Gospel, we can lead lives which glorify God. We have been ransomed, redeemed and reconciled to God Himself in the person of His Son, the God/Man Jesus Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria.

It is no wonder then that Paul says in 1Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Soli Deo Gloria.

In practical terms, Soli Deo Gloria means that everything we do is to be done for God’s glory. Man’s pride and glory are excluded. We are to be motivated and inspired by God’s glory and not our own. He is the goal of our salvation. We, of course, are the beneficiaries of His matchless grace, but we are not the center of God’s plan. Ephesians 1:10 informs us of God’s ultimate intention saying, “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”

That’s how the future looks!

Soli Deo Gloria

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Faith is the ticket which we use to get our souls out of pawn

Spurgeon 6I must tell you a singular story, which was related at our church meeting, because there may be some very poor people here who may understand the way of salvation by it. One of the friends had been to see a person who was about to join the church; and he said to him, “Can you tell me what you would say to a poor sinner who came to ask you the way of salvation?” “Well,” said he, “I do not know — I think I can hardly tell you; but it so happened that a case of this sort did occur yesterday. A poor woman came into my shop, and I told her the way; but it was in such a homely manner that I don’t like to tell you.” “Oh, yes, tell me; I should like to hear it.” Well, she is a poor woman, who is always pawning her things, and by-and bye she redeems them again. I did not know how to tell her better than this. I said to her: — ’Look here; your soul is in pawn to the devil: Christ has paid the redemption money; you take faith for your ticket and so you will get your soul out of pawn.’” Now, that was the most simple, but the most excellent way of imparting a knowledge of salvation to this woman. It is true our souls were pawned to Almighty vengeance; we were poor, and could not pay the redemption money; but Christ came and paid it all, and faith is the ticket which we use to get our souls out of pawn. We need not take a single penny with us; we have only to say, “Here, Lord, I believe in Jesus Christ. I have brought no money to pay for my soul, for there is the ticket, the money has been paid long ago. This is written in thy word: ‘The blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin.’” If thou takest that ticket, thou wilt get thy soul out of pawn; and thou wilt say, “I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven, I’m a miracle of grace.” May God bless you, my friends, for Christ’s sake.

Charles H. Spurgeon-God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

A word to the ungodly

Spurgeon 3Now, just one word to the ungodly — you who do not know Christ. You have heard what I have told you, that salvation is of Christ alone. Is not that a good doctrine for you? For you have not got anything, have you? You are a poor, lost, ruined sinner. Hear this, then, sinner: thou hast nothing, and thou dost not want anything, for Christ has all. “Oh!” sayest thou, “I am a bond slave.” Ah! but he has got the redemption. “Nay, sayest thou, “I am a black sinner.” Ay, but he has got the bath that can wash thee white. Sayest thou, “I am leprous?” Yes but the good Physician can take thy leprosy away. Sayest thou, “I am condemned?” Ay, but he has got the acquittal warrant signed and sealed, if thou dost believe in him. Sayest thou, “But I am dead?” Ay, but Christ has life and he can give thee life. Thou wantest nothing of thine own — nothing to rely on but Christ, and if there be a man, woman, or child here, who is prepared to say solemnly after me, with his or her heart, “I take Christ to be my Savior, with no powers and no merits of my own to trust in. I see my sins, but I see that Christ is higher than my sins, I see my guilt, but I believe that Christ is mightier than my guilt;” — I say, if any one of you can say that, you may go away and rejoice, for you are heirs of the kingdom of heaven.

Charles H. Spurgeon- God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

Keep thine eye wholly on God and on nothing

December 28, 2015 Leave a comment

Spurgeon 6Lastly, I bid thee once more to keep thine eye wholly on God, and on nothing in thy self, because what art thou now, and what wast thou ever, but a poor damned sinner if thou wert out of Christ! I had been preaching the other day all the former part of the sermon, as a minister; presently I thought I was a poor sinner, and then, how differently I began to speak! The best sermons I ever preach are those I preach, not in my ministerial capacity, but as a poor sinner preaching to sinners, I find there is nothing like a minister recollecting that he is nothing but a poor sinner, after all. It is said of the peacock, that although he has fine feathers he is ashamed of his black feet: I am sure that we ought to be ashamed of ours. However gay our feathers may appear at times, we ought to think of what we should be if grace did not help us. Oh! Christian keep thine eye on Christ, for out of him thou art no better than the damned in hell; there is not a demon in the pit but might put thee to the blush, if thou art out of Christ. Oh that thou wouldest be humble! Recollect what an evil heart thou hast within thee, even when grace is there. Thou hast grace — God loves thee, but recollect, thou hast a foul cancer in thy heart still. God has removed much of thy sin, but still the corruption remains. We feel that though the old man is somewhat choked, and the fire some what damped by the sweet waters of the Holy Spirit’s influence, yet it would blaze up worse than before, if God did not keep it under. Let us not glory in ourselves, then. The slave need not be proud of his descent: he has the brand-mark upon his hand. Out upon pride! Away with it! Let us rest wholly and solely upon Jesus Christ.

Charles H. Spurgeon-God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

If thou join anything to Christ, thou wilt soon go into sin

December 21, 2015 Leave a comment

SpurgeonAnd, mark thee, once again, if thou lookest at anything save God, thou wilt soon go into sin. There was never a man who kept his eye on anything save Christ, who did not go wrong. If the mariner will steer by the pole-star he shall go to the north; but if he steers sometimes by the pole-star, and sometimes by another constellation he knoweth not where he shall go. If thou dost not keep thine eye wholly on Christ thou wilt soon be wrong. If thou ever dost give up the secret of thy strength, namely, thy trust in Christ; if thou ever dalliest with the Delilah of the world, and lovest thyself more than Christ, the Philistines will be upon thee, and shear thy locks, and take thee out to grind at the mill, till thy God give thee deliverance by means of thy hair growing once more, and bringing thee to trust wholly in the Savior. Keep thine eye, then, fixed on Jesus; for if thou dost turn away from him, how ill wilt thou fare I bid thee, Christian, beware of thy graces; beware of thy virtues; beware of thy experience, beware of thy prayers; beware of thy hope; beware of thy humility. There is not one of thy graces which may not damn thee, if they are left alone to themselves. Old Brooks saith, when a woman hath a husband, and that husband giveth unto her some choice rings, she putteth them on her fingers; and if she should be so foolish as to love the rings better than her husband; if she should care only for the jewels and forget him who gave them; how angry would the husband be, and how foolish she would be herself! Christian! I warn thee, beware of thy graces, for they may prove more dangerous to thee than thy sins. I warn thee of everything in this world; for everything has this tendency, especially a high estate. If we have a comfortable maintenance, we are most likely not to look so much to God. Ah! Christian, with an independent fortune, take care of thy money, beware of thy gold and silver; it will curse thee if it comes between thee and thy God. Always keep thine eye to the cloud, and not to the rain, — to the river, and not to the ship that floateth on its bosom. Look thee not to the sunbeam, but to the sun; trace thy mercies to God, and say perpetually, “He only is my rock and my salvation.”

Charles H. Spurgeon-God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856