Gene Cunningham - August 11, 2022

Gain Grace?

Lewis Sperry Chafer in his systematic theology tells us that there are three essential factors that relate to the grace of God. Three things about the grace of God that we need to keep in mind. And these are very important. Number one, You cannot gain the grace of God through merit You cannot gain it through merit neither before or after your salvation. See, a lot of people want to do this little trick: We'll put the cross here as the point of salvation, and they'll say, If you want to enter salvation, you have to work. Paul says, "No!" Romans 4:3-4 makes it very clear. We were saved by faith without work. Ephesians 2:8-9 says the same thing. We are saved by grace. You cannot be saved by works (this is just another word for merit.) "Look what I've done." You cannot gain the grace of God by merit. But some come along and say, "Well... " don't have to work for your salvation," "...but you better work to keep it." It's the same thing. It's the same thing. If you don't work, you're going to lose it. Then it's not a gift, is it? What is God, an "Indian Giver?" When he said, "He who believes in me shall never perish..." He had the fine print like, you know, used car salesmen have? "Buy this car. It's a great car." "And for one down payment, you can drive it for a year..." "...without making a payment. Unless you happen to breathe, eat..." "...drink, sleep..." (the fine print there.) "...And then we charge you $10,000." Right? Who would turn the Lord Jesus Christ into a used car salesman? So you cannot gain the grace of God by merit. Now get ready, because here's point number two. You cannot lose the grace of God by demerit. The you can't lose it by demerit. Someone came up and said, "But what if we deny Jesus?" Well, we have an example of that, don't we? A guy named Peter. By the way, wasn't he the leader of the Apostles? By the way? Didn't he not only denied the word, he denied Him three times? And by the way, not only did he deny Him three times... he cursed and swore, "I never knew Him!" And when you swore in those days, you didn't say, "Hell, no!" When you swore in those days, you took an oath on the God of heaven. Imagine saying, "I swear by the God of Heaven..." "...that I don't know who He is." That's about as bad as it gets. And when Jesus told him, "You're going to deny Me three times tonight," what was the very next thing He said? "Let not your heart be troubled..." "You believe in God, believe also in Me." And when God gives grace to you, He is not going to give it to you because you are good, and He's not going to take it away from you because you're bad. God loves you with an infinite love. And when you trust in His Son as your Savior, He loves you like He loves His own Son, Jesus Christ. So you cannot gain the grace of God through merit. You cannot lose the grace of God by demerit. And you can only receive the grace of God by faith. What is faith? Because see, now people are trying to redefine faith. Faith is "belief," is it not? "Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. He didn't jump through hoops. He didn't turn cartwheels. He didn't do anything spectacular. God told him something and he said, I believe it. I believe it. How simple is faith? I'll tell you how simple it is, Jesus said. "Except you become as little children," " cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." Because I'll tell you something I've learned. I've had five kids and ten grandkids. I never had a one of them when I showed them a picture for the first time of an elephant, and I said, "There is an elephant." They don't look at it and say, "No, that's a giraffe!" They never saw an elephant before in their life, and they can hardly talk. And they go "Melefunt". Yeah, that's an elephant. And you know what? The next day, the next week, I show on the picture and I say, What's that? They say, "melefunt." They believe it. They just believe it, right? Like a little child. That's how we need to become. Faith is so simple.

From Series: "The Simplicity of the Gospel"

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 All little children begin the learning process in life the same way. They learn by faith. Because they know that they don’t know, they are humble. They have never seen an elephant, or a whale, but if you show them a picture book, they learn to identify whatever they are shown. If they are told, “This is an elephant,” they don’t argue and say, “No, I think that is a chicken.” They believe what they are told because it is in their child-like nature to trust. Only as we grow do we begin to assume a level of knowledge, based on what we have learned by faith. As adults we turn more and more to reason (rationalism) and science (empiricism), where we learn by trial and error. Gradually, we begin to turn away from the faith we had as little children. Here, Jesus is telling His disciples that they need to “turn around, go back” to being like little children. They need to come to Him in simple, child-like faith if they would enter into His heavenly kingdom. The same point was made on another occasion (Mark 10:13–16). When we return to the simplicity of child-like faith, we come to Jesus through His Word in humility. And Peter, the leader of the disciple band, assures us “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5b). It is time for us to turn back to the simplicity and humility of little children and hear the voice of our heavenly Father!

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