Most of us understand that we are saved by God’s grace, His unmerited favor, that we couldn’t save ourselves, so we needed Jesus to save us. But many of us aren’t certain that God’s grace will preserve us, keeping us right with Him. We wonder whether God might reject us someday because we don’t work hard enough to stay right with Him, that we might lose our salvation. So we are filled with doubt.
Is that you today? Either you’ve never trusted Christ Jesus for your salvation and therefore you haven’t experienced His saving grace. Or you’ve believed on Him, but now you’re plagued with doubt because you haven’t understood God’s preserving grace. You think He might save you, but then reject you because of your lack of faith or continued struggles with sin?
In chapter 11 of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he explained that God had not rejected Israel, but by His grace, had always preserved a remnant of Israel for Himself. We can trust that God not only saves us, but preserves us by His grace.
God is just and righteous and He has revealed Himself to all of us through the glory of His creation and He has a plan for the good news about Jesus to be proclaimed to the whole world too.
In chapter 10 of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he described how God had given Israel every opportunity to hear the gospel and respond by faith, yet only a remnant of them had believed. We can be part of God’s plan to give everyone an opportunity to respond to the gospel.
How have you responded to God’s plan for our salvation, for making us right with Him? Many of us are like the Jews of Paul’s day. We believe that we can be good enough to please God. You can knock on most doors in this city and ask people to answer, “If you died today and stood before a holy God and He asked, ‘Why should I let you into My heaven?’ What would you say?” Most will answer, “I tried to be a good person.” They think they can climb into heaven by their own self-effort, their own “trying to be good.” Or they think it’s by be religious: “I go to church/synagogue/mosque.”
Yet, the Bible teaches that we can only receive God’s salvation through faith in Christ alone. However, even this triggers our flesh. We hate being told there is only one way to do a thing. In chapter 10 of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he explained why Israel had failed to receive God’s salvation because they had sought to establish their own by keeping the law, rather than placing their faith in Christ alone. We can see why God’s salvation can only be received through faith in Christ alone.
Perhaps you’ve heard people question God’s justice and goodness. Questions like: If God is good, why is there evil in the world? If God is just, why does He allow suffering? If God is truly loving, why would He send anyone to hell? If God is fair, why is faith in Jesus the only way to be made right with Him? Aren’t there many paths to pleasing God? What about the person who has never heard? Many see these and other questions as reasons not to believe in God’s existence or to believe in some man-made version of Him instead.
Have you questioned God’s justice and goodness? Or have you learned that your arms are too short to box with God? In chapter 9 of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he dealt with the question “Is God unjust?” The Spirit inspired Paul to answer that God’s justice is beyond question. We can understand that God’s justice is beyond question.
“Has the Word of God failed?” Or putting it in the present, “Can the Word of God fail?” Or making it more personal, “Will God’s Word fail for me?” How do you answer that? Now I know you good Christians are answering it with, “No, no way, not ever! God’s Word cannot, will not ever fail!” Yet, we live like it will. We try to earn our way to pleasing God, though His Word says salvation is a free gift. We doubt our salvation, though His Word says that we can be assured that nothing can separate us from His love in Christ Jesus.
What if you could rest and live in the knowledge that God’s Word never fails? In chapter 9 of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he expressed his great sorrow that the vast majority of his Jewish brothers had rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Yet, he was convinced that God’s Word had not failed.
The gospel, which means “good news,” is news that can change our lives. Indeed, as Christians “living by God’s gospel of grace” is the most live- giving way to live! Some have called this “preaching the gospel to yourself everyday.” What do you preach to yourself everyday? In other words, what news or message are you constantly repeating to yourself? Some of us constantly remind ourselves of past failures or mistakes. As a result, some live in a constant state of guilt and shame. Some of us feel stuck and unable to make changes in our life that we want to make. We’ve tried self-improvement, but we keep seeing the same person looking back in the mirror.
But what if we could live by faith in God’s gospel of grace? Why would this be important and life giving? In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he taught them the importance of living by God’s gospel of grace. We can see the importance of living by God’s gospel of grace.
It is good to be reminded of the gospel every day, 365 days, of every year of our lives. Why? Because the gospel isn’t merely the starting point of our faith; the gospel is the daily sustenance of our faith. As Christians, we need to remind ourselves of it everyday! What does the word “gospel” mean? It means “good news.” It’s the good news that God so loved us that He gave His Son Jesus to die for our sins that we might believe on Him and receive eternal life.
In the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he saw it as of first importance to remind them of the Gospel. We can understand the importance of being reminded of the Gospel.
Do you want to glorify God with your life? You can’t do it by making life about you. When we make life about us, we attempt to steal the glory, the credit, the praise, for ourselves. But when we make life about loving and serving one another, according to the power and gifting of the Holy Spirit, God gets the glory.
In Peter’s first epistle to the Church scattered in Asia Minor, he gave them instructions on how to glorify God together. We can obey these instructions to glorify God together.
How many of you have felt the pain of a troubled or broken relationship? If you’ve been breathing for even a couple of years, then you’ve felt the hurt that comes from conflict between you and your parents, your siblings, your friends, your neighbors, your spouse. How many have said, “I can never forgive him!” Or, “What she did was unforgivable!” Or, “This is the end of our friendship or marriage. There is no hope of reconciliation!” But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can learn how to reconcile and stay together!
In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he gave the church instructions on how to rightly treat one another and stay together as one body in Christ. We can stay together as one body in Christ.
Parents have questions… Practical questions like: How and when should I discipline my child? How do I get them potty trained? And spiritual questions like: When is my child old enough to confess faith in Christ? What about baptism and the Lord’s Supper? How can I be sure that they are saved? In answering these questions, we have God’s Word as our guide, but we must also take into account the child’s level of maturity. Have you noticed that every child is unique? No two are the same. And as they grow, they change. So the parenting style that seemed effective when they were small, doesn’t work when they’re older.
Godly parents recognize their call to be leaders who make disciples. If we want to be effective, we have to match our parenting style to every child’s situation. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul told them that he had discipled them like a parent according to their situation, sometimes gentle and affectionate like a mother and sometimes strong like a father in order to release them to live up to God’s calling. We can parent our children following God’s Word to match our child’s situation with a goal of releasing them to the Lord.