20 Aug Grace: The gift you can’t earn
With fall around the corner, the EP Books family wants to encourage you to start fall strong by recommitting to the study of scripture. This month we’ve been featuring the works of Alec Taylor, A Pilgrim’s Treasury and Pilgrims Under Pressure. These daily devotionals are the perfect tool to get your personal time with the Lord back on track.
In each of Taylor’s books you will quickly note the author’s love for the Word of God, but also for the words of God. He has written a booklet titled An ABC of Bible Words, and we hope you will enjoy this excerpt:
We need to know the meaning of Bible words if we are to grow in our appreciation of our great salvation.
The noun “grace” (Hebrew “chen; Greek “charis”) means an undeserved favour or unearned gift. The grace of God is God’s love in action towards people who deserve his wrath. A.W. Pink writes,
Grace has been defined as the unmerited favour of God; and if unmerited, then none can claim it as their inalienable right. If grace is unearned and undeserved, then none are entitled to it. If grace is a gift, then none can demand it. Therefore, as salvation is by grace, the free gift of God, then he bestows it on whom he pleases. Because salvation is by grace, the very chief of sinners is not beyond the reach of Divine mercy. Because salvation is by grace, boasting is excluded and God gets all the glory. (The Sovereignty of God, page 25, Banner of Truth edition)
The importance of grace
Paul described his message as the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). Any teaching that suggests that we can obtain salvation by our own works (eg. by living a “good” life, being thoughtful and kind, doing penance, suffering in purgatory) is a different gospel. The gospel of the grace of God must never be compromised (Galatians 1:6−9). The New Testament writers used the word grace in the opening and parting greetings of their letters, eg. in all the letters from Romans to Philemon. The last verse of the Bible contains the word grace.
God is the God of Grace
The Father – The God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10).
The Son − Full of grace (John 1:14).
The Spirit − The Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29).
God’s grace is:
Sovereign: A.W. Pink comments, “He bestows his favour on whom he pleases, often on the most unlikely and unworthy’(‘The Sovereignty of God’, page 26, Banner of Truth edition). Paul argues this in Romans 9:10−23. The grace of God brings salvation (Titus 2:11).
Free: Any attempt to gain salvation by works is to set aside the grace of God (Galatians 2:21).
The riches of God’s grace
God sovereignly chooses hell-deserving sinners, granting forgiveness of sins through the blood of his Son, but that is not all! He overwhelms us with his love and kindness, giving us blessing upon blessing (Ephesians 1:3−11). Is it any wonder that Scripture speaks of the riches of his grace? (Ephesians 1:7; 2:7; see also Psalm 103:1−14).
Let us think about the riches of God’s grace:
- Salvation by grace (Ephesians 2:8−9)
- Election by grace (Romans 11:5−6; 2 Timothy 1:9)
- Calling by grace (Galatians 1:15; cp. Genesis 6:8)
- Justification by grace (Romans 3:24; Titus 3:7)
- Faith coming by grace (Acts 18:27; Ephesians 2:8)
- Spiritual gifts by grace (Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:7; 1 Peter 4:10)
- Standing in grace (Romans 5:2; 1 Peter 5:12)
- Grace to serve God (Hebrews 12:28)
- Grace to lead a godly life (2 Corinthians 1:12)
- Praise because of grace (2 Corinthians 4:15; Ephesians 1:6)
- Scripture − the word of his grace (Acts 14:3; 20:32)
- Sacrificial giving − a mark of grace (2 Corinthians 8:1−9)
- When we pray, we come to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16)
- Grace for strength in temptation and suffering (2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 1:7; Hebrews 4:15−16)
An appreciation of God’s grace will:
- Help keep us humble (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:−6)
- Cause us to be full of wonder, love and praise to God.
John Newton, after being saved from a wretched, godless life, wrote, Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Other hymns about grace include:
- Sovereign grace o’er sin abounding
- Grace, ’tis a charming sound
- O how the grace of God amazes me
For you to ponder
We are to continue in the grace of God (Acts 13:43), and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
How do you go about fulfilling these responsibilities?
For more than 25 years, Alec Taylor has produced Pilgrim Bible Notes, initially for his own church. These notes have been carefully revised by the author to present a full year of notes in this new hard cover format.
These daily studies from each Bible book give a basic knowledge of God’s Word.
Available now for $23.99 / £14.99
For over twenty-five years Alec Taylor has laboured to produce the Pilgrim Bible Notes that have benefited and blessed the people of God. From the labours of those years, Alec has carefully selected the readings in this volume to give a ‘through the year’ daily study and devotional. Like its predecessor, A Pilgrim’s Treasury, this volume will richly reward the regular reader with treasure from the living Word.
This new volume has readings from: Ezekiel, 1 & 2 Peter, Daniel, the Gospel of John, Ezra, Haggai, Nehemiah, 1, 2 and 3 John, Ecclesiastes, Psalms 1-12 and Revelation.