God’s Grace in the Gospel

A framework for understanding and explaining the gospel highlights God’s grace. It also highlights His justice. There are many foundational questions that people ask and are explained in a proper understanding of the good news of Christ and the redemption, or salvation, of His people. At the root of this is the basic questions of who we are as humans and who God is.

Who is God?

God is the Creator and Author of all of life, and all things. God started with nothing and created time, matter and space. God also created the lilies and the tulips, and He made the stars also; the vast space with billions of stars and planets. He is the only one with the knowledge and the power to create everything and establish how all things work together. God is also holy, He is set apart from us because He is perfect, He is pure, nothing compares to His glory. While we strive to live the best life that we can, we must all admit that we cannot achieve the perfection of God. God is sovereign, He upholds and guides all things according to His good will. We must admit that we desire, and attempt to shape our destiny by our own efforts, but we fall short. While the Bible does teach that man has a will to act and decide, we also understand that God has a will and acts in His world for His glory.

Photo by Caleb Woods on UnsplashWho is man?

God also created us and we are accountable to Him. He created us in His image, separate from the animals and the rest of His creation. God made mankind a little lower than the angels, but because of our sin we are unable to attain perfection in keeping God’s law. If we break any part of God’s law, we are guilty of the whole law. Mankind is totally effected by sin, this includes every aspect of our being: our mind, strength, and desires are all tainted by the ugliness of sin. Because of our own sin, we are unfit to stand before God and are separated from Him. Because of our sin, we deserve the punishment of death. We are unable to be reconciled to God on our own.

God draw us to Him?

Our natural will fights against God, we do not want to be confronted by God’s holiness. Yet, God draws us to Him despite our sin, through the work of His Holy Spirit, creating in us a new heart that overcomes our resistance. He gives us a heart of flesh, replacing our heart of stone. This is a gift of grace. God draws us to Himself through His Word and the witness of His Son, Jesus Christ. While we were still sinners and incapable of pleasing God by our own efforts, He gave us His gift of grace and made us alive in Christ. When we recognize our sinfulness in the light of His holiness, our resistance turns into a desire to come to Him because of the sacrifice He has made for us.

How does God save us?

Because of God’s love for His people, He sent His Son, Jesus, also called Christ because He was the promised and prophesied Messiah. He lived on earth facing the same temptations and struggles that all mankind faces, yet He lived without sin or rebellion against God. He never once broke any law of God. He suffered and died a horrible death through crucifixion, dying on the cross and paying for our sin as a substitute. His death satisfies the just requirements of the law for His children. Likewise, through His death, He takes on our sin, and by faith He also puts His righteousness on us. Christ has conquered sin and death and He gives His children the gift of eternal life through faith. He has sealed this promise with certainty through Jesus’ resurrection and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

What happens when we fail?

After God puts a new heart in us, initiating our faith, He also continues to grow our faith through the Holy Spirit. We can be sure of this because of His sovereignty and His love for us, that He will keep those who love Him to the end. We seek to follow His commands as a child who loves and honors their parent in obedience.

Does that mean that Christians, adopted by God, are perfect and never fall? Not in this life. While we live on this earth in our flesh, we still have that natural tendency to seek our own will and our own pleasure rather than God’s. Even when we are not faithful, God remains faithful. He does not abandon His children, but keeps them for himself. Thankfully, our salvation is not by our effort, but God’s. No one nor anything can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Salvation depends on God’s sovereignty, His faithfulness, and His ability to hold us.

Summary

This is a summary of what the settlers in Pella from Holland believed about themselves and about God, their savior. “They also believed strongly in God’s providence and in a religious calling by which God uses His people in the world. Dutch Americans believed they were among God’s chosen people.”*

Additional Learning

Prayer

Pray for the people of Pella and those who visit during Tulip Time, that they may see God in all his glory and sovereignty. Pray that the hearts of men will be drawn by God to repentance and faith.

Author: Jon Neifert
Posted on February 28 2017
We've so elevated the love of God over the wrath of God that we've air conditioned hell.
Steve Lawson