Truths About God’s Grace by Roger Rohde, Aug. 20, 2017

Truths about God’s Grace

Romans 11:1-6, 13-24

Grace is an essential element of Biblical truth.  Grace is one of the key

points that separate Christianity from all other religions.  It became one of the five

solas of the Reformation.  The word “sola” means “”alone” or “only.”  There were

five solas emphasized in the Reformation of the church in the 1500s: Sola

Scriptura – Scripture alone; sola fide – faith alone; sola Christus – Christ alone;

sola Deo Gloria – glory to God alone; and sola gratia – grace alone.  Our text leads

us to consider the importance of God’s grace for ourselves and for the mission

God has given us in our lives.

The first truth from today’s text is that God’s grace rejects no one.  Previous

to our text Paul noted that the Jews had rejected the Gospel of Christ as Savior,

and hence the Gospel was proclaimed to the Gentiles.  Based upon that fact Paul

asks the question: “Did God reject His people?”  Can the Jewish people no longer

be saved by the Gospel of Christ?  Paul’s response is that God does not reject

anyone from hearing and being blessed by the Gospel.  Just because the Jews

rejected Jesus as the Messiah does not mean that God now rejects them and

doesn’t want the Gospel proclaimed to them.

Paul points to himself as an example of this truth.  In Acts chapter 6 and

following Paul, then known as Saul, had a hard heart with regard to Jesus being

the promised Messiah.  Saul involved himself in arresting Christians and having

them imprisoned or put to death.  Yet, in Acts 9 it is revealed to us that the Lord

spoke to one of His disciples, a man named Ananias and said: “Go to the house of

Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is

praying.  In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands

on him to restore his sight.”   Ananias responded: “Lord, I have heard many

reports about this man and all the harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.

And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call

on Your name.”  Jesus responded to Ananias: “Go!  This man is My chosen

instrument to carry My name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the

people of Israel.  I will show him how much he must suffer for My name”

(verses11-16).

Paul notes that if God had rejected the Jews after they despised and

crucified His Son, Paul would never have become a Christian, the great missionary

to the Gentiles, and a writer through whom God gave us much of the Bible.

 

God’s grace rejects no one.  Do we?  Do we turn our backs on certain

people because they do not fit into our perspective of being “worthy of God’s

grace?”  If God called you instead of Ananias to go and meet up with Saul, would

you have do it?  For us to answer that question positively would probably be

hypocritical.  The truth is we struggle loving our enemies, praying for those who

persecute us, and ministering to people in Jesus’ name who do not fit into the

way we feel people should be.

The second truth found in today’s text is that God’s grace is an act of God’s

doing and it is for all people.  Paul notes in our text that if salvation is by grace,

and it is, then it is no longer by works.  If it were by works, it would no longer be

grace.

The word “grace” literally means “undeserved love.”  It is not a love given

us because we have been such good people or we were such an obedient people.

No, our receiving God’s grace has nothing to do with us deserving it, for in fact we

are unlovable.

God bestows His grace upon us because His heart is so filled with

undeserved love for us.  His mercy and grace come our way not because of

anything good within us.  The Bible defines our hearts as “deceitful” and

“desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9).  We are told by God that “none of us are

righteous before God, nor do we seek Him” (Romans 3:10-11).  We were like all

people “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).  God’s grace is a pure

gift of His doing.  “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son that

whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  Paul

noted in Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you are saved through faith and that not

of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast.”  The

forgiveness of sins and the sure hope of everlasting life in heaven we have in

Christ solely rests on God’s grace and what He did for us as He offered up His Son,

the Lamb of God, as the only complete sacrifice for sin.

The third about God’s grace in our text is that God’s grace leads to true,

humble, and God-pleasing adoration of the Lord.

In our text God uses the illustration of “some branches” (referring to Jews

who did not trust in Jesus as the Messiah) being removed from the olive shoot,

which is God’s church.  They were removed and Gentiles who trusted in Christ as

Savior were added to the church.  This does mean that we as Gentiles can

personally boast about being God’s people and better than others.  No, Paul

points out that the branches do not support the root, but the root supports the

 

branches.  Our place in the Christian church as God’s people is because of God’s

grace, which has its root in Jesus, the Root of Jesse, the true source of salvation.

Paul, therefore, tells us not to be arrogant about our place in the Christian

church.  It is by God’s grace that we are children of God and heirs of everlasting

life.  We are in humble adoration to sing the praises of God and His grace.  Paul

reminds us in I Corinthians 1:30-31: “It is because of God that you are in Christ

Jesus, Who has become for us wisdom from God that is, our righteousness,

holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in

the Lord.”

The fourth truth about God’s grace found in our text is that God’s grace is

meant to move us to minister to all people.  This brings us back to the first point

in our outline: God’s grace rejects no one.  Paul tells Pastor Timothy and hence all

of us: “God wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”

(I Timothy 2:4).  How about us?  Do we really want everybody to be saved and do

we so relate to others that we show our interest in them being saved?

In our text it becomes quite clear that God has not given up on the Jews

and neither should we.  In fact, God’s so loves and desires the salvation of all

people that we should always look upon, treat, and reach out to others as people

God wants in His kingdom, because He does.  God has not forgotten Jewish

people though many have rejected Him.  In His grace He is still seeking to bring

them and all unbelievers unto Himself that they may be a part of the heavenly

family.  God’s plan for you and me is to be so changed by God’s grace in Christ

that we will become all things to all people that by all means we may save some

(I Corinthians 9:22).

Has God’s grace truly changed us so you that in Christ’s love we are

reaching out to all people?  Jesus’ love reaches out to sinners.  He was time and

again ridiculed for eating with sinners, having Himself touched by them, and

forgiving them of their sinful activity.  Yet, this is precisely why Christ came to this

world.  He said: “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost”

9:11).  Because of this grace we are saved today.  Will we now deny this

grace to others by failing to bring this Gospel to sinners?  Do we in faith embrace

and live by God’s grace in Christ Jesus.?

If so, then we need to stop thinking of ourselves as better than others.  We

need to stop turning our backs on certain people because they don’t meet our

qualifications.  We need to be filled, molded, and shaped by God’s grace in Christ

Jesus and appropriately displaying it in our lives.  That’s what Paul did.  That’s how

 

God’s grace changed his life.  We conclude with these words of the Apostle Paul

which hopefully will be a motto and truth of God’s grace by which we all live: “I

am what I am by the grace of God, and God’s grace was not wasted on me.  I

labored harder than all the other apostles, nevertheless it was not I, but God’s

grace in me” (I Corinthians 15:10).  Amen.

No comments yet

Comments are closed

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church All rights reserved 2017