The course of human history has been a succession of failures. The human mind seems to continue to take itself to the realms of false light. This in itself is a sign of the total depravity of mankind. Romans 3:10-18 tells us, "...There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes." The only hope for mankind is for God to intervene in the course of human events. And that is exactly what God did.
Paul said in Galatians 4:4, that "In the fulness of time," (at the right time), God sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world.
Everything that God demands from members of the human race is to be fulfilled "in" or "through Jesus Christ." This is God's plan, therefore it is an unchanging plan. If there were something that man was required to do in this plan, then man would have no security in this plan. Wherever man is allowed to do anything for God, there is always an element of inconsistency and insecurity. However, God's plan is totally dependant upon God's work, and since that is the teaching of the Scriptures, then my soul is as secure today as if I were now walking the streets of heaven.
In Romans 5:15-21 Paul compares the two men in which God has dealt with the human race, Adam and Jesus Christ. "But the gift (salvation) is not like the trespass (referring to Adam's sin that is passed on to every human being at the point of physical birth). For if the many died by the trespass of the one man (Adam), how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation (to all), but the gift followed many trespasses (many sins were committed by many people from the fall of Adam to the cross), and brought justification (or righteousness). For if, by the trespass of one man (Adam), death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass came condemnation to all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness came justification (righteousness) that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. The law entered (came in, was given) so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
In the previous passage I want you to notice that the word "gift" is found 5 separate times. A gift refers to something that is free. It is not worked for. Therefore, salvation and the blessings that go with it are not founded on works at all. God's plan is of pure, unmingled grace. God's plan is totally centered around His Son Jesus Christ, and the work He did. Therefore, there is nothing to be done by us.
I also want to point out that everything that has happened to the human race, is said to be from one of two sources: Adam or Jesus Christ. Paul gives a very extensive comparison of these two men and their impact on the human race in Romans chapter five. Paul also said in I Corinthians 15:22, "As in Adam all die (spiritual death, leading to physical death). even so also in Christ shall all be made alive (spiritual life at the new birth, resulting in resurrection)."
Just as God dealt with Adam in the garden, and he represented us in the fall and the consequences of that fall, so God also now deals with the human race through the last Adam, Jesus Christ. He is man's representative before God. God justifies man based on his relationship to Jesus Christ through faith. After justification has been accomplished, God blesses man based upon man's knowledge of Jesus Christ. Therefore, because of God's unique and fantastic plan, and because of the work of Jesus Christ that has already been completed, there remains NOTHING MORE TO BE DONE BY ANYONE. It has all been done. Therefore, the human requirements of God's demands to a holy law and perfect righteousness no longer exist. The only thing left for man is to accept what has been done, or to reject what has been done. And that decision determines the destiny of each and every individual human being.
Jesus Christ as a man, stood before the Father "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). God's acceptance of Christ is our acceptance. Every office He holds, we hold.
He is the King, and we will reign with Him forever. We are royalty because He is royalty.
He is a priest, and we share His priesthood as royal priests in the family of God.
He was a prophet in that He was a communicator of divine truth, and we are all prophets in the sense that we are to communicate divine truth as His ambassadors.
All that Christ possesses belongs to us. By divine decree, there exists such a union between Christ and all those who believe in Him that all Christ did, His people did. We share in His sufferings, and we will also share in His glory (Romans 8:17).
Colossians 2:9 tells us that in Christ "dwells all the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form." Then in John 1:16 it says that "His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace." Meaning, "one grace blessing after another grace blessing." In other words, if you have trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, all the fulness of Christ is yours. It is yours to supply all your needs. It is yours to restrain you, keep you, and to preserve you. The fulness of power and love and purity, which is stored up in the Lord Jesus Christ, is yours. And it is all through the plan called "grace."
It is very important to note that the principles of grace have always been taught, and there never was a time when they weren't taught. Sometimes it was very little, and very obscure, but they were still taught. God has always provided the truth in all areas at all times. Just because it wasn't accepted, or even noticed, doesn't mean it wasn't there.
The high points of grace teaching was the teaching of the apostle Paul in the first century. And from that point on, the true teachings of grace have declined drastically. But thank God that all those grace teachings of the apostle Paul have been written down and preserved in the Word of God.
Therefore, these principles of grace that you are about to read are not anything new. This is what was taught in the first century by our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles of the early church. Many Christians will think that this is something new only because they have never heard it before. Christians have been taught false and misleading doctrine for so long that when they read the truth they think that it is false doctrine.
The teachings of grace you are about to read is what the true Christian life is all about. The Christian life is not a system of do's and don'ts. It is not a system of rules and regulations. It is not a system of morality and ethics, and it is not a code of conduct. It is a system of thought. This thought has its root in the Word of God. True Christian thought can only be obtained through the consistent learning of the Word of God. Romans 12:2 tells us "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND (thinking)." Not by being good, not by turning over a new leaf, not by being moral and ethical, and not by being politically correct. But "BY THE RENEWING (renovating) OF YOUR MIND." This refers to your thinking. Philippians 2:5 says "Let this MIND (thinking) be in you which was in Christ Jesus."
Therefore, as you read these lessons on grace, don't be quick to reject, or quick to find fault. I pray that you would maintain an open mind, and remain objective.
This and much more will be explained in the following lessons on the "Biblical teaching of grace."
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Copyright 2000 by Robert H. Kreger. All rights reserved. Anyone may reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.