HAVE YOU MET GRACE? 123, (MUNGU MTUKUFU),655,389,378
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
“This is the time of grace we do not need the law. The law was only important for the Israelites. The time of grace is the time of enjoying God’s blessings – to be rich and to be healthy. We can live the way we want to be. We are angels and gods who have no need of being governed by the law”. Surely you must have met with people who say that this is the time of grace. Haven’t you? That the law is now done away with. That now we can live the way we want. Surely, someone must have told you that you don’t have to struggle with sin once you become a believer.
But I want to point out to you that the this is not true from this passage. I want us to consider what God has done in giving us the grace, and what is the work of grace to us and in us.
1. THE GRACE OF GOD HAS APPEARED TO YOU
The grace of God has appeared. The grace has appeared to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. What is this grace of God? The grace of God is the gospel. The Gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ the only Son of God has come in the human body under the law, (“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons “– Gal 4:4-5) and lived a perfect and righteous life. That He died a sacrificial death on the cross on behalf of His people paying the penalty of their sins. That He therefore perfectly took away the wrath of God having satisfied God’s justice. This was attested by God by raising Jesus from the dead on the third day after His death.
The gospel is what is described in v14, that Jesus Christ, who is the great God and Saviour, gave himself for us to redeem us from lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for His own possession eager and zealous for good works. Therefore, the gospel is about our redemption. What would be better news than this good news we have of our redemption from the bondage and slavery of sin?
This is the grace because it is by hearing the gospel and believing in Christ that sinners are justified. It is through the gospel that Christ is introduced and made known. It is by the gospel faith is born and raised. It is the gospel that introduce us to the wonderful promises of salvation and life everlasting by faith in Jesus. The gospel is the grace of God considering that God has done all this in order to justify terrible sinners like you and I and whoever who will trust upon Jesus’ work of redemption as his own. This is the grace of God bearing in mind that sinners are justified freely by God. This is the grace of God considering that sinners who deserve eternal condemnation in hell are saved from this great peril. This is the grace considering that sinners are given power to become the children of God. This is the grace of God considering that sinners are made heirs of eternal inheritance in glory!
It is the good news to you that this grace has appeared. It was hidden in the past but now unveiled the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col 1:23-27)
Consider the many Rendilles, Somalis, Ormos, Turks, Chinese and other millions who have not heard this gospel. Consider your great grandparents who died without the gospel and therefore without hope. Why are there so many people even today who do not go to church to hear the gospel? What is so special with you and not them? Why do you think God chose you to be here today? Why is it that you are sitting here now hearing this great message of the graciousness of God? God wants to reveal His grace to you. This grace is coming to you even at this moment. And the message is that Christ is sufficiently able and more than able to save you to the uttermost were you to draw near to Him.
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Heb 7:25)
Have you met with the gospel? “Of course I have heard the gospel” – you tell me. “But…” I ask, “Are you a beneficiary of the promises of the gospel?” If not then you have not met with grace. Who could miss the rising of the sun? The appearing of the grace is like that.
But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. (Mal.4:2)
2. THE GRACE OF GOD BRINGS SALVATION TO ALL WITHOUT DISTINCTION
What does this grace of God do? The passage is very clear that this grace brings salvation – this is the work of grace, bringing salvation. The gospel invitation goes to any person without discriminating, to the elect as well as to the reprobates, it goes forth without any discrimination to all men. When Jesus invites the weary and the heavy laden to come to Him, He does not say it is only the black or the young or the old any grouping of people – it is to all regardless of any of their background of tribe or tongue or race or any such thing. He promises rest to whoever comes. He promises satisfaction and content to whoever eats of His body and drinks of His blood. He promises any willing person to go and buy freely without money.
The grace is effective in this particular work to bring salvation, not just to one person, or two, it brings salvation to all people. Not just to the Jews but even to the Gentiles, not just to the white but to black people as well, it is whoever who calls upon the Name of the Lord who shall be saved. Whether young or old, rich or poor, prudent or ignorant, savage or modern – in the kingdom of God all are there. The commonwealth of God is diverse. The love of God is extended to whoever believes.
It is very reassuring that there is no one who will not be saved because she is a woman or a man because he is a man, old or young and so forth. There is no one who will not be saved because he is rich or poor because grace does not bypass the rich because they are rich but because of their sin. Grace that has been revealed rises on all in the same manner that the sun benefits the wicked as well as the righteous. Salvation is for sure and real to whomever who will go to the Lord by faith. Salvation is not for the animals, but to all people. People are the ones that Christ died to redeem. If you consider yourself a person, then salvation would be yours now if you would believe in Christ. Salvation is not for the angels, “For surely it is not angels that He (GOD) helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham”. (Heb 2:16). Salvation is for the people who like Abraham live by faith and not by sight. Salvation is for the particular people who will realize their need and run for mercy to Jesus Christ the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.
Have you met with this grace? If you say that you are a Christian and yet not saved, I want to assure you that you have not met grace yet. If you have no place for Christ in your life, may I tell you that you have not met with the grace of God yet. It is until you confess faith in Christ that grace has worked in your heart. Grace came to rescue man from the greatest possible evil, namely the curse of God upon sin. Again grace came to bestow upon man the greatest possible boon, namely, the blessing of God for soul and body throughout all eternity.
3. THE GRACE OF GOD TRAINS YOU
This wonderful grace is an amazing teacher, sorry, not just a teacher but a trainer, a coach! This gospel revelation is to teach, and not by way of information and instruction only, as a schoolmaster teach his pupils, but by way of principles and authority, as a coach or a commander. It directs what to shun and what to follow, what to avoid and what to do. The gospel is for practice and right ordering of life.
You need to meet grace because these are what she teaches:
a) To abandon sin:
Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts; to renounce and have no more to do with these. Put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man which is corrupt; that is, the whole body of sins, here distributed into ungodliness and worldly lusts. “Put away ungodliness and irreligion, all unbelief, neglect or disesteem of the divine Being, not loving, nor fearing, nor trusting in Him, nor obeying Him as we should, neglecting His ordinances, slighting His worship, profaning His name or day (hate and put it away all these). And worldly lusts – all corrupt and vicious desires and passions that prevail in worldly men, and carry out to worldly things the lust of the flesh also, and of the eye, and the pride of life, all sensuality and filthiness, covetous desires and ambition. Seeking and valuing more the praise of men than of God - put away all these.” An earthly sensual conversation suits not a heavenly calling.
b) To love that which is good:
To live soberly, righteously, and godly, etc. Religion is not made up of negatives only; there must be doing good as well as eschewing evil. Putting off and putting on, turning away from sin and turning to God. In these together is sincerity proved and the gospel adorned. We should live soberly with respect to ourselves, in the great control of our appetites and passions, keeping the limits of moderation and temperance. Doing good to others, according to our ability and their need – this seems a part of justice and righteousness, for we are not born for ourselves alone, and therefore may we not live to ourselves only. We are members one of another, and must seek our neighbors’, another's good, 1Cor_10:24; 1Cor_12:25. Selfishness is a sort of unrighteousness; it robs others of that share in us which is their due. Godliness secures and promotes all interests, not particular only, but general and public, and so contributes to the peace and happiness of the world. Live righteously therefore as well as soberly. Godly towards God, in the duties of his worship and service. Regards to him indeed should run through all. Whether you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God, 1Cor_10:31.
But there is an express and direct duty also that we owe to God, namely, belief and acknowledgment of his being and perfections, paying him internal and external worship and homage, - loving, fearing, and trusting in him, - depending on him, and devoting ourselves to him. Observing all those religious duties and ordinances that he has appointed, - praying to him, praising him, and meditating on his word and works. This is the world that we are in now, and that which is to come. The present is the time and place of our trial, and the gospel teaches us to live well here, not, however, as our final state, but with an eye especially to a future.
c) To be heavenly minded
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Hope for heaven because it is the great thing we look and long and wait for. It is a blessed hope because when attained, we shall be completely happy for ever.
And the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. This denotes both the time of the accomplishing of our hope and the certainty and greatness of it: it will be at the second appearing of Christ, when He shall come in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels, Luke_9:26. His first coming was in meanness, to satisfy justice and purchase happiness. His second will be in majesty, to bestow and install his people in it. Heb_9:28. The great God and our Saviour (or even our Saviour) Jesus Christ; In his second coming he will reward his servants, and bring them to glory with him. Our hope is Christ himself, who is called our hope (1Tim_1:1), and blessedness in and through him, even riches of glory (Eph_1:18 The comfort and joy of Christians are that their Saviour is the great God, and will gloriously manifest himself at his second coming. Power and love, majesty and mercy, will then appear together in the highest luster, to the terror and confusion of the wicked, but to the everlasting triumph and rejoicing of the godly.
4. THE GRACE OF GOD HAS COME TO YOU NOW!
The grace has come in this present age because godliness is required in this life not just in heaven –it must start in this life and extend in the one to come. The grace has come to each one of us now – so no one here has the excuse of walking out of that door saying that he does not know what God requires of him. You are required now to respond to this word that you have heard now. Righteousness is required of you today whether you are saved or not – you must show what grace has done in your life as the work of grace if you are a Christian. If you have not been saved you must walk out of that die beating your breast crying to God to be merciful to you a sinner like the penitent publican.