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WHEN GRACE IS NOT GRACE

By Curtis Pugh

 

            Most religious folk think that there are certain things that you must do to qualify for God's grace. In other words, they say, God saves by grace but in order to get God to be gracious to you you must be do this or that or the other thing. The popular idea is that there is some religious exercise or work that a sinner must do in order to please God and get Him to dispense saving grace.

            At least four things are wrong with that approach. First of all, if there is anything a person must do in order to obtain God's grace then grace is not grace. We know that because God's Word says, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work,” (Romans 11:6). The context of this verse has to do with God's election (choice) of whom He will save, but the principle extends to all matters of grace. What the verse says is that grace and works cannot be mixed. Either a thing is a matter of grace or a matter of works. Obtaining salvation is either a matter of works or a matter of grace. It cannot be a matter of both works and grace. If you have done something in order to be saved, you have changed grace into works. You have earned God's favor. Grace means unearned favor.

            The second thing wrong with the idea that a sinner can do something to qualify for grace is this: there is absolutely nothing that a lost person can do to please God. Proof: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God,” (Romans 8:7-8). Lost sinners are so bad off because of their fleshly minds – their corrupt sinful minds – that they cannot do anything pleasing to God. Selfishness and greed enter into their motives and are unacceptable to God. Plain words from God's Word, these: and true ones.

            The third and fourth things wrong with this approach is that no one naturally understands his lost condition and no one seeks after God. “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God,” (Romans 3:11). The Holy Spirit must first regenerate the sinner before he or she can understand his or her hopeless and helpless condition. Only in a regenerate condition will a sinner seek after God. That is why the Lord Jesus told Nicodemus “...Ye must be born again,” (John 3:7). Being born spiritually has absolutely nothing to do with a human act of the will. It is “...not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” (John 1:13). Remember: “...Ye must be born again.”


Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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