- God’s grace saved the rebellious Hebrews from physical death as they trusted God and gazed at the image of the snake on a pole.
- John 3.16 promises faith saving “whoever believed in Him” (Jesus)
- It is important to know how this really works – what it means to us
1.What do we mean by being saved?
- Photo of ‘Safeway saves you more sign’ in Edmonton
- Paul -“you were all dead in your transgressions” (Ep. 2.1)
- Problem is God is holy and separated from the unholy
- Any rebellion against God’s Commandments is sin
- Augustine taught ‘Original Sin’ – born in sin and w/o hope which we can interpret as a dangerous tendency to sin
- Pelagius (c 400) debate ended in heresy charge for teaching rational humans could save themselves by a perfect life
- Pelagianism has re-surfaced in our time in Liberal Theology that denies the need for repentance and for God’s grace
- Good News is that God “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (Ep. 2.5)
- ‘Saved’ means being saved from separation from God (i.e. hell), receiving the Holy Spirit and eternal spiritual life
- How Are We Saved By Grace?
- Thomas Aquinas describes ‘grace’ as love, gift and response
- Grace is the love that a king might show favoured individuals
- Grace is a gift freely given – underserved / unearned favour
- Grace is the love response of one who receives a gift
- Important point is that grace is unexpected & freely given
- Augustine taught that grace is ‘imparted’ given to a person – i.e. in the form of the Holy Spirit
- Grace brought person into relationship, led to personal transformation, spiritual growth and eternal life
- Luther taught that grace was ‘imputed’ – a divine attitude whereby the person was still a sinner in their own eyes but forgiven in God’s eyes and encouraged to be transformed
- Grace is amazing because it is given without being earned
- What do we mean by ‘faith’?
- Luther originated the idea of “justification by faith alone”
- Justification = a sinner made just in the eyes of God
- Reformation issue – by faith vs. by Church membership
- Faith is believing and trusting -not just knowledge, doctrine
- Faith is trust in the sense of willingness to act, depend on
- Faith unites the believer emotionally to Jesus – ‘believe in’
- Baptism question is “Do you put your whole trust in His grace and love” (BAS p. 155)
- Bottom line is a relationship of personal faith
- How can I develop a relationship of personal faith?
- How did you develop a relationship of personal faith with your best friend or spouse?
- First of all you have to know their history – I read the Bible
- Secondly you have to spend time talking – I pray daily
- Thirdly you spend time doing things together - celebrating
- Finally you have to work out any important differences
- Lent is a time to work out our differences with Jesus
- Take some time for self-examination:
i. In what ways have I failed to love God?
1. What are my idols / other gods?
2. What words come out of my mouth?
3. How am I in rebellion against God?
ii. In what ways have I failed to love my neighbour?
1. How do I bend the truth, gossip?
2. Am I angry or holding a grudge?
3. Do I think about what others need?
4. Do I want things that belong to others?
- The Good News is that we are saved by grace
· We cannot earn our way into heaven by works
· Grace is not a licence to sinGood News to be celebrated and at the centre of our lives