Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sunday Sermonette

The Gift of Grace

"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." (James 4:6)

The grace of God is not something to be earned, for it is "unmerited favor." We can never deserve salvation or the many other blessings which God provides, but "the gift |meaning 'the grace,' or 'the free gift'--Greek, charis| of God is eternal life" (Romans 6:23). "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8). "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9).

It logically follows that if God in Christ has lavished such abundant grace toward us, we likewise should manifest grace toward others. But such grace in us is no more achievable by human effort then is God's grace toward us. Grace is always the gift of God--received in humility, never in pride.

As our text says, a proud person can never be a gracious person, for God will not give His gifts to those who are proud. James is here paraphrasing Proverbs 3:34: "Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly." The apostle Peter also brings out this truth: "Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5). Finally, as Paul says, even true Christian leadership is a gift of grace. "I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesi ans 3:7-8). We should never forget that all God's blessings come by His grace alone, and He gives grace to the humble, not the proud. HMM

h/t: Henry M. Morris, Institute for Creation Research

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