God’s Grace is Sufficient

How does grace work after we obey the Gospel?  What about this, do the best you can and God’s grace takes care of the rest?  Have you heard this used to explain how grace works, and how we stay in good standing with God after we obey the gospel?  How many times has this been used over the years when explaining how God’s grace works to new Christians?  How many accept this as a way grace works? But is it founded in scripture?  If Christians first have to do the best we can before God’s grace kicks in, it makes man responsible for reaching up to God first and achieving a required level of righteousness.  How do you know when you’ve done your best?  Could you have done better if you had tried harder? You would have to be more righteous than someone else if your best is better than their best.  Is God’s idea of your best the same as your idea?  Do you see the quicksand you get into if this is your idea of God’s grace?                   

                                                                 

In 2 Cor. 12 God’s word says Paul was told “My grace is sufficient for you.” And in Eph. 2 Paul writes “you are saved by grace through faith and that not of yourselves it is the free gift of God not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
 

So, since God’s grace is sufficient, and we are saved by grace, and salvation is the free gift of God and not of works, God’s grace takes care of it ALL.  His grace reaches down to us while we are in the gutter of sin and lifts us up to sit with Christ. Eph. 2:4-6.

 

So, how are we made alive with Christ?  God gives us a clear and concise answer in Acts 2:36, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” In Romans 6:4 we are “raised from the dead so that we too might walk in newness of life.”  This “newness of life” is explained in Eph. 2 when Paul says “..created in Christ Jesus for good works.”  So, do we work? Yes! But not in an effort to earn or deserve God’s grace but rather in joyful service prompted by love for God who first loved us. Romans 5:1-2. (we are standing in grace).

 

But what about sin you may ask. 1 John 1:9 – 2:1 says if we sin Jesus is our advocate with the Father, and if we confess He will forgive us. If you, through faith, have been baptized into Christ, and continue to walk in this new life, rejoice!  You are standing in His Grace and not striving to reach it!

 

Keith Williamson
2017


A Story Needing to Be Told

Phyllis and I have had our departure for Indonesia delayed by three weeks. We were scheduled to return on September 27, but several factors changed that schedule. Nothing serious; just routine documentation.

That could have been disappointing for us, but I learned many years ago that waiting for God’s timing presents unexpected opportunities. Darron Fleming, one of the elders for the Highland Village church of Christ, had made contact with one of the young leaders of a refugee group who was a World Bible School student. He met with them once a couple of weeks ago and asked me along to preach last Sunday. The young man translated from English to the Karenni language.

The younger people in the group of twenty-two who sat on the floor of the apartment where they gathered had lived their entire lives in a refugee camp on the Burma-Thailand border before they were helped by the United Nations to come to the United States.

Darron had to leave early to attend an elder’s meeting. Later, after the sermon was over, I said to the refugees, “Let’s go to the place where our congregation meets for Sunday evening services.” Seven came with us.

Then things started falling into place like pieces of a puzzle. Milton Wilson has been filling in frequently as the congregation is looking for a fulltime minister. He was surprised to see the Burmese visitors at the 6 o’clock service. Three of the refugees work for Milton’s wife, who has a business of her own. As they expressed delight at seeing each other, John Reese was introduced to them as a newly-installed elder for Highland Village. They were excited to learn that John is the director of World Bible School. Also, I had a chance to talk to them about World English School and the opportunity to learn English with the Bible as textbook, since I taught that material once in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Phyllis and I are committed to return to Malaysia and Indonesia within the next three weeks even as we praise God to see the coming together of these people today. Only the Lord knows where all of this is heading, but joy and expectation overtook us all on this special Lord’s Day.

Duane Morgan – October 2017