March 17, 2012

We Are Saved By Grace Received Through Faith

  •  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?
    1. Photo of ‘Safeway saves you more sign’ in Edmonton
    2. Paul -“you were all dead in your transgressions” (Ep. 2.1)
    3. Problem is God is holy and separated from the unholy
    4. Any rebellion against God’s Commandments is sin
    5. Augustine taught ‘Original Sin’ – born in sin and w/o hope which we can interpret as a dangerous tendency to sin
    6. Pelagius (c 400) debate ended in heresy charge for teaching rational humans could save themselves by a perfect life
    7. Pelagianism has re-surfaced in our time in Liberal Theology that denies the need for repentance and for God’s grace
    8. Good News is that God “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (Ep. 2.5)
    9. ‘Saved’ means being saved from separation from God (i.e. hell), receiving the Holy Spirit and eternal spiritual life

  1. How Are We Saved By Grace?
    1. Thomas Aquinas describes ‘grace’ as love, gift and response
    2. Grace is the love that a king might show favoured individuals
    3. Grace is a gift freely given – underserved / unearned favour
    4. Grace is the love response of one who receives a gift
    5. Important point is that grace is unexpected & freely given
    6. Augustine taught that grace is ‘imparted’ given to a person – i.e. in the form of the Holy Spirit
    7. Grace brought person into relationship, led to personal transformation, spiritual growth and eternal life
    8. 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
    9. Grace is amazing because it is given without being earned
  1. What do we mean by ‘faith’?
    1. Luther originated the idea of “justification by faith alone”
    2. Justification = a sinner made just in the eyes of God
    3. Reformation issue – by faith vs. by Church membership
    4. Faith is believing and trusting -not just knowledge, doctrine
    5. Faith is trust in the sense of willingness to act, depend on
    6. Faith unites the believer emotionally to Jesus – ‘believe in’
    7. Baptism question is “Do you put your whole trust in His grace and love” (BAS p. 155)
    8. Bottom line is a relationship of personal faith

  1. How can I develop a relationship of personal faith?
    1. How did you develop a relationship of personal faith with your best friend or spouse?
    2. First of all you have to know their history – I read the Bible
    3. Secondly you have to spend time talking – I pray daily
    4. Thirdly you spend time doing things together - celebrating
    5. Finally you have to work out any important differences

  1. Lent is a time to work out our differences with Jesus
    1. 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?

  1. 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 sin
Good News to be celebrated and at the centre of our lives

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