Do we really understand being children of God, and the coming Kingdom of God? A look at transforming our lives and the conversion process.
[Jorge de Campos] Brethren, do we know, what is the mission of the church? The mission of the Church of God is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God in all the world, make disciples in all nations, and care for those people. In other words, preach the gospel and prepare the people, as we have in our logo, right on the front of the podium, as we can see that. Quite often, we may just talk about the gospel of the Kingdom of God. But as I stated it, the mission of the church is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. So, what is the gospel? It is the good news – the word gospel means good news – it is the good news of Jesus Christ and the good news of the Kingdom of God. Now the gospel of the kingdom of God is the good news of that royal family – which would be a kingdom, right? – a royal family that will rule the earth, initially, but ultimately, will rule the universe – beyond the earth. That, therefore, is the world ruling government of God, and in a short-term – if we just look at it in a short-term – is that government that is going to come under the rulership of Jesus Christ to destroy the present evil world’s governments. It will wipe out Satan’s power, which affects this world, and indeed, it will be a miraculous event by God alone. You and I are honored to be given an opportunity to be the children of God in that royal family to rule with Jesus Christ.
But, you know brethren, the Kingdom of God – and for you and I to take part of the Kingdom of God – you and I could never be there, but for the good news of Jesus Christ – of what He has done for us. That good news of what He has done for us is actually all God’s grace toward us. It is His loving kindness through Christ our Lord that makes it possible – so you and I can then be, ultimately, the children of God. And therefore, the final outcome is for us to be able to rule with Him. But, you know, we don’t deserve it. None of us deserve it. And therefore it is a gift. It’s a gracious gift, due to God’s loving kindness and gracious act toward us through Christ that enables that to be a hope for the future. Turn with me, please, to Romans, chapter 1 – to Romans, chapter 1, and we’ll start in verse 1.
Romans 1:1 – Paul a bondservant in Jesus Christ and called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God – to the good news of God – which He promised before through the prophets in the holy scriptures…. So it had been promised long ago.What is this gospel of God? What is this good news that comes from the Father? Verse 3: …concerning His son Jesus Christ our Lord. The good news of God – the gospel of God – is about His Son, Jesus Christ. …our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh. The promise of God, which was promised long ago, is about Jesus Christ our Lord. Look a little bit further in verse 9 of the same chapter.
V-9 – For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son – in the good news of Jesus Christ – that without ceasing I may make mention of you always in my prayers – the gospel of Christ – of the Father’s son, our loving brother. Look a bit further in verse 16 and 17.
V-16-17 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God to salvation. The good news of Jesus Christ is how God, through His loving kindness, makes it possible for us to be saved. That is good news! So that ultimately, you and I can be sons and daughters in that royal family to rule the whole universe – ultimately. That is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. There is a requirement to believe. Now, you know, in James it talks about “even the demons believe,” so it’s not just any belief. It is a specific type of belief, right? It is what we call faith – living faith – right? – living faith, not a dead faith. It is a living faith. It is a faith that requires repentance, that requires a transformation of the old man for the renewing of our minds into a new man. That is a living faith. So yes, we believe, but that belief stirs us, motivates us, inspires us to action, which is repentance. Now this action does not pay for our past sins. Correct? It doesn’t pay but, because of the grace of God - of His lovingkindness toward us – we are motivated to want to do what is pleasing to Him. Verse 17 – Romans 1, verse 17: …for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. As it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” From faith to faith. You see, Christ, the Word, gave up His divinity and His power, and became a man, and died for us because He trusted – He had absolutely unquenching faith – that the Father would resurrect Him. That is the faith of Christ. And because of that, we have to have faith in Christ and in the Father – that because of His grace, He will also forgive us and pay for our sins. So, it is from faith to faith. But it’s not a dead faith. It requires action. We have a study guide – a Bible study guide – that covers this subject – I have a few extra copies at the back if you don’t have it – which is Living Faith. And that living faith leads us to change ourselves through the power – through the help – of the Holy Spirit – from the old man to the new man. We have to do our part. But it is required – repentance and change. We have to do our part, but that does not pay for our past sins. It is important to understand this difference and we’ll go a little bit more into that today.
What do we have here? We have a gracious gift from God – for us to be His children – for us to be the children of God – first begotten, and then later, born again. Begotten means begotten by the Holy Spirit after baptism and born again at the resurrection. Turn with me to Ephesians, chapter 1, and verse 5 – we’re breaking into the sentence.
Ephesians 1: 5 – …having predestined us to adoption as the sons by Jesus Christ to Himself – the Father. Brethren, I have mentioned this before, but I want to emphasise again, the translation from the Greek, saying adoption, is incorrect. The word there should be sonship, not adoption. The Greek word is huiothesia, which means son of – rather huio means son of – thesia is sonship. It was the placing as sons. There is nothing wrong with adoption. It’s not speaking bad of adoption – please – but what it is saying is, here we have God of the God kind, and now we have man of the mankind. If you were adopted, you would always be of mankind. It’s like – a bad example, but it is an example – if you were to “adopt,” like some people do, this dog – “I have adopted him into the family.” It is a dog and you can treat him as a son – and some people do – but he will always be a dog. He will not be a human being, because he is a different kind. If you and I were adopted by God, we would be mankind, not Godkind. But we are not adopted. We are made sons. We are begotten by the Holy Spirit – which is a seed coming from the Father – and that seed gets into the spirit in man – which is like an ovum – and the seed, which is the seed of the Father, begets with that ovum, and now, a baby starts growing in the womb of the mother, which is the church, until it is born again – after 9 months or whatever time period it is for you and I, spiritually speaking, to grow and mature until the end – until the resurrection. We are not adopted sons. We are genuine sons of God. It is not just in this section of the Bible where it talks about adoption. In other places where it talks about adoption – or it’s been translated as adoption – adopted sons – is an incorrect translation, because the Greek is sonship. But you see, the translators did not understand it, and therefore it was the best thing they could do. But it says, “God has predestined us to sonship as sons through Christ to God the Father Himself.” In other words, God has predestined that mankind would one day become of the Godkind. That does not mean that He has predestined you and I to definitely be there because it’s our choice now. We can mess it up, but His desire is for us to be there. In other words, He gives us that goal. He makes everything possible for us to obtain that goal, but now it is up to us whether we are going to walk the walk or not. So He says: …having predestined Himself to us as sons according to the good pleasure of His will. According to the good pleasure of His will – that is another way of saying according to His grace – according to His loving kindness and desire to do things for us. Why? It says here in the following verse: to the praise of the glory of His grace. As we heard in the sermonette, to the praise of the glory of that wonderful “thing” – which is a bad word again – but it is just that greatness, which is His grace – which is His loving kindness toward us. It is just so glorious – the loving kindness that He has for us – it’s so big! It’s so enormous! It’s mind-boggling. That’s what it says: so that we can give Him glory and praise. In other words, this is something that He has given to us freely. That is His good pleasure. He has given it to us freely. What? To be His children – to be His royal children – His royal family – His royal, governing, ruling family.
God the Father has predestined you and I to be sons and daughters of God through Jesus Christ’s free sacrifice. This is His good pleasure. That is His will. That is His grace. That is His loving kindness towards us. That is the grace of God toward us, which is manifested – which is made possible – through Jesus Christ and His different offices. What do I mean by that? Well, because He is our Lamb, because He is our Creator and made us, because He is the Savior, because He is the King of kings because He is the High Priest. And all these roles that He plays all work together for that one goal – for you and I to be sons and daughters of God. That is His grace toward us. So, you and I can enter the kingdom of God, with that royal ruling family, by becoming the children of God. And that is the grace of God. That is the good news of God. That is the gospel of God, which includes, obviously, the gospel of Jesus Christ – that is only possible – the good news – through Christ. And that means it also includes the gospel of the kingdom of God, which is the final outcome of the goal that He has for us.
That all includes, obviously, therefore, Christ sacrifice, which includes being justified freely. In other words, we have been made right with God freely, through Christ blood upon our repentance and faith – conditions for baptism: repentance and faith. That is through the redemption of Jesus Christ. In other words, because Christ buys us back to life. Therefore, because of that, we receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. Again, another gift, which gives us the strength, and the help, and the capability to overcome, because, by ourselves, we can’t. Through that Holy Spirit, and the help of the Holy Spirit, we are being sanctified every day. And due to the work of the High Priest, we can approach the heavenly throne and ask for mercies as we mess up, in our daily lives, as we do – but we are trying our best. So, we are being sanctified by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we overcome until the end.
And therefore, at the end – at our resurrection, or if we are still alive, at our change – we’ll be changed into spirit beings at the resurrection if you and I remain faithful to the end. Then, as the born again children of God, we’ll then reign with Christ as kings and lords under the King of King and Lord of Lords. This is God’s grace to us. This is His gracious kindness to us that we don’t deserve. You know, you and I have done nothing to earn it. It is not a salary. We’ve done nothing to earn it. It is just His lovingkindness toward us – His grace toward us.
The gospel is about Christ the King, because it is through Him that it is possible. He is the enabling – He’s the manifestation – of this grace of God to us. Because of that, then, we can pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.” So, everything that God is doing is through One, and that is Jesus Christ. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the good news of His teachings and of God’s grace toward us.
So, what is the grace of God? That is my theme today, and I’m only starting, but I think you are now understanding a little bit better, what is the grace of God. Brethren, yes it is, and includes, unmerited pardon, but it includes more than that, as you can see.
Turn with me to 1 Corinthians, chapter 15, and verse 10.
1 Corinthians 15:10 – But by the grace of God I am what I am. We all can say that. We are what we are, because of God’s grace – otherwise, we wouldn’t even have been born. How can you talk? Because God has given you the ability to talk. How can you walk and stand up straight? Because God has given you that ability. It’s when you seek…my wife, now, suffering with her back, we realize there’s nothing I can do. It’s God’s grace. It says: …by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than they all – this is Paul talking about his specific situation – yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Here is Paul praising God for the grace that he has been given, as we heard in the sermonette.
The word grace in Greek is a word called charis – or, if you were to say it in more Greekish form - charis. But let’s just call it charis. And it is used more than 170 times in the New Testament. It is a root word that has various meanings. For instance, let me mention a few, just to give you an idea of charis.
For instance, you know about when Christ was young, and it says in Luke 2:52, that He grew up and:
Luke 2:52 – …increased in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. You remember that, right? But, do you know that the word favor in Greek is charis? It’s grace. You see, it’s a root word that means favor. God has a lot of favor toward us – a lot of outgoing concern and love towards us.
Another example: There is an English word derived from charis. Do you know what it is? Charisma. Charismatic – a person that has a charismatic personality. It comes from charis. In other words, he’s got some sort of personality, that when you are next to him, it’s just, “Wow!” – he just kind of influences you. I remember once I happened to be next to Nelson Mandela and I could see, or feel, or sense…he was a charismatic type person. He just had the sort of demeanor that was pleasant – charismatic.
For instance, it talks about when Jesus was with different men…in Luke, chapter 4, it says His speech was filled with gracious words. In other words, He came across as being charismatic – wonderful charming words. You and I are told, “Let your speech be seasoned with grace” – with salt. Now, we look nowadays, some people come on the news – not to mention names – but their speech does not have a lot of grace – seasoned with salt. I am not saying they are not speaking the truth, but it says, “Speak the truth in love.” So, we’ve got to be gracious in the way we say the truth. So, grace – charis – has got different meanings. For instance, you know of a thing, like a gracious gift – you know, a gift is...in the Bible, it talks about…in Corinthians, where they prepared the gift – and it’s charis – a gift.
Also, we have another word similar to grace. I mean, I mentioned one that is similar to charis, which is charisma. We have a word that is similar to grace, which is called gratitude – thankfulness. Gratitude. It comes from the same root word charis. We are supposed to give thanks. Thanksgiving is a type of showing gratitude.
So, grace has so many angles to it. Think about it. But, I think the one that is most important – for the purpose of this sermon – is the grace of God, which is God’s loving merciful kindness to our lives – to us. But here’s an interesting point, that we really need to keep very deep in our thinking process. God’s grace toward us – His loving mercy and kindness and gentleness and just good things toward us – it’s just His good pleasure toward us – should stir us up to action to return the same to Him and to others. That is an important point! In other words, it should motivate us to transform our lives, which is the process of conversion from the old man to the new man. See, there is a difference. The grace did not pay for our sins, but should stir us to action – motivate us, transform us – to help us to transform, by the help of God’s Holy Spirit, so we become different people.
Probably the best example that I may have to help you understand the grace of God to us, is the motherly love of a mother to a young baby – and the father as well. But, you know what? Those two loving parents, when that baby is small, they will do everything and anything for that baby. They will even give their life, if they could. Isn’t that so? That is probably the best picture of God’s grace towards us. He is our dad. He is our heavenly loving Father. And He loves you and I so dearly, that He wants everything of the best, like you so want for your little ones. You do everything for your little ones. If you are a grandfather or grandmother, you know the love you have for those little ones. If you are a mom or a dad, and you have a tiny baby, you know what that is. I know there are some sad cases, in this world, where people have no love – and that is so sad. But, the picture of that loving, fatherly and motherly, tender, loving care of outgoing love for those children, is probably the best analogy that I can use to show you the grace that God has for us. He says He will never leave or forsake us. Would you ever leave or forsake your children? No. And how it pains us when the children go the wrong way, doesn’t it? It pains us. How it pains the Father when we go the wrong way! But He wants us to come back - like the story of the prodigal son, isn’t it? He really wants us.
So, this loving, gracious kindness from God surely includes unmerited pardon, but brethren, it’s so much more than that, isn’t it? It includes yes, forgiveness of sins. Yes, it includes free justification. It is a gift of eternal life that’s given to us on the condition that we don’t stay the same way. Because He’s not going to give us eternal life if we are just going to be continuously doing evil. Repentance doesn’t pay for past sins. Sin is forgiven graciously by Christ’s sacrifice and His blood. But, now that we are forgiven, we must change. We must be stirred to action. This grace of God includes eternal life, but you know what? It includes so many other things. You can think of health. You can think of blessings, talent – some people have amazing talents. They can sing. Yesterday, I heard that young sixteen-year-old girl, Jackie Evancho, singing the national anthem. She’s got a beautiful voice! God gave her that. It is God’s grace to her. It is a gift! I mean, we heard the choir sing so beautiful. Can you imagine the angelic choir at the resurrection when they will sing? Brethren, there will be such wonderful things. God gives us many gifts – talents, abilities. They are all part of God’s grace. We didn’t do anything to deserve it.
So brethren, the key thing in God’s grace is that it must, and it should. motivate us and strengthen us in the faith, so that we exercise godly virtues to be like Him – to imitate Christ – to put on the full stature of Jesus Christ, which is the image of the Father. Now, turn with me to John, chapter 1, verse 17 – it says:
John 1:17 – For the law was given through Moses – indeed – but grace and truth – grace and truth – came through Jesus Christ. God’s grace is manifested to us through what Christ has done and is doing for us, and giving us the power of His Holy Spirit and all that. Grace and truth.
Look at verse 14 – just a few verses before that in John, chapter 1.
V-14 – And the Word became flesh – that’s Christ, who became flesh – and dwelt amongst us and we beheld His glory – the glory as the only begotten – Jesus was the only one that was begotten that way – of the Father. You see, you and I, physically, were begotten of a physical dad. Jesus Christ was the only one begotten of a spiritual dad. He is the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
That brethren, that is the faith that has been given to us through Christ, through the apostles – that faith that was once delivered to us. And unfortunately, this world has perverted that grace by saying you are saved as you are. In other words, you don’t have to repent and be transformed and changed – that grace does not – at least, that is what the world says – inspire, motivate you to change. You are saved as you are. In other words, they deny Jesus Christ, because the grace that came to us from Christ is to motivate us to become like Him. Look at Jude, 3 and 4.
Jude :3-4 – Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary – in other words, he wanted to write to us about the salvation, but instead of doing that, he found it necessary to change the topic or the theme of this letter. I found it necessary to write to you, exhorting you to contend earnestly – in other words, to fight, hold on – for the faith, which was once for all delivered to the saints. Why? Verse 4: Because certain men have crept in unnoticed in the church of God, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men – who did what? – who turn the grace of our God into lewdness.
That is what we have today in traditional Christianity. They are turning the grace of God into lewdness – in other words, into an excuse to continue sinning. “You’re saved as you are.” We have to repent. The grace of God needs to lead, to stir us to action to be transformed – to change the old man for renewing our mind into the new man. By doing that, they deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. By doing that, they are actually denying God Himself – the purpose of why He’s giving us that grace. That is why the other apostle, Peter, said, in 2 Peter, chapter 3, verses 17 and 18 – just a few pages behind – 2 Peter, chapter 3, verse 17 and 18 – as he finished his letter – his last letter – Peter – he said:
2 Peter 3:17-18 – You therefore beloved, since you know this beforehand – there is going to be a judgment – the time is going to come – beware lest you fall from your own steadfastness, being led away into the error of the wicked. What is the error? That you don’t have to repent. You don’t have to change. You can stay in your sins. You’re saved as you are. Just come to the Lord and you are saved – the error of the wicked. Verse 18: But grow – you see, the grace of God is designed to stir us to action to change and to grow in what? To become more like Christ. To become more like Christ – that is why it says – in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – to become more like Him because He is the grace of God being manifested to us. So we’ve got to grow to become more like Him. So, we’ve got to get to know Him. And therefore, as He lives in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, we become more like Christ, and we are growing in that grace – we become more like Him. We imitate Christ.
Do you remember the story of the woman caught in adultery? Caught red-handed! No mention about the man – self-righteous hypocrites! – but anyway, it’s true. Then they all walked away. You see, that is the grace of God. But what did Christ say? You know the story. “Go and sin no more. Let this grace motivate you to change and be transformed to sin no more.”
Look at Titus, chapter 2 – Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews – Titus, chapter 2, verse 11:
Titus 2:11 – For the grace of God that brings salvation – yes, we can see the grace of God brings salvation – has appeared to all men – yes, through Jesus Christ – teaching us – teaching us – in other words, training us, not to stay as we are but teaching us to change, to repent to become more like Christ – teaching us – what – to deny worldliness and ungodly lusts – so, we have to put away the old man. We should live soberly, righteously and godly – in other words, put on the new man – teaching us to change – looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior – our great God and Savior – Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us – buy us back – from every lawless deed and purify us for Himself – in other words, we are to change, then – we are to become pure – purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Yes, we have to do good works! We have to do works – good works, but the good works don’t pay for the sins. The sin is paid gratis, freely. Gratis another word from grace – gratis, grace, freely - gratis. But now, that motivates us to good works. Look in the same book, Titus, chapter 3, verse 4 – just a little bit further down.
Titus 3:4 – But when the kindness and the love – the kindness and the love – of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly – whom He poured – that’s the Holy Spirit – God poured His Spirit on us - abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace - we have been made right with God freely by His grace – because of that, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. We are made righteous by His grace – free by His loving kindness.
Now, think about it. Think about it. Say you want to show grace or kindness to somebody. All right? Maybe there is somebody, and maybe the kindness you want to show is to give them some money. I am just using this as an example. You want to give them some money, but you know what? You have limits. You can only give so much because then you have no more. There’s limits. You say and can give up to a point, but you’ve got limits. But, you know what? God’s got no limits. He can give, and give more, and give more. In other words, His capability to give grace is abundantly rich. He is not poor. He is not a miser either, but He is not poor. He can just give it, and more, and more, and more, and He wants to. But as well you know, that sometimes when you give to people, you have to be careful. So God knows how to work with us. The point here is, that His grace has no limit.
Look at Ephesians, chapter 1, verse 7 – we read this a little earlier here, but I just want to emphasize this specific sentence here.
Ephesians 1:7 – In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. In other words, He’s got plenty more to give. He is not going bankrupt on that grace. He has plenty more to give. Look in chapter 2, verse 5, of the same book.
Ephesians 2:5-7 – Even when we are dead in our trespasses He made us alive together in Christ – by grace you have been saved. In other words, by His grace, freely we have been saved from the penalty of death. Yes, we’ve been saved. We’ve been rescued. We’re not yet spirit beings, but we have been saved from the penalty of death. …and raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. You are not yet sitting in heaven today. You’re sitting right here! – in case you are mistaken. Feel it. It’s talking about spiritually, that you and I have access to the heavenly throne when we pray and we have access to the Father. Continue reading here: That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace. You see, He is going to show it even more – what He has for us, that you and I cannot even comprehend, because we are physical. He’s got even more in that box of chocolates. Verse 8:
Verse 8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith – yes, living faith – and that not of yourselves – it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. It is not our works – none of us. We have been saved from the death penalty. We’re saved from being part of Satan’s world, spiritually speaking. Sure, we are still in the world, but we are being protected. We are now under the government of God’s kingdom. Even though the kingdom is not here yet, you and I are under the laws of that kingdom, and we have to live according to those laws and principles. Continue now in verse 10:
V-10 – For we are His workmanship. That is so powerful! We are God’s work. Quite often we say, “I can’t be a preacher. I can’t speak. I can’t do the work.” We are God’s work! How we are using God’s Holy Spirit, and through that, transforming our lives – through the help of the Holy Spirit – that is part of God’s work in us. That is another important component of “preparing a people,” which happens to be you and I – preparing us to be able to rule in the world tomorrow. We are His workmanship. That means we are required to change. That is the goal of grace – of God’s grace – for you and me to be changed to become more like Christ. You see, Jesus Christ became a beautiful person – well, He is a beautiful person. You and I are also to become beautiful people – charismatic people, full of grace, being an example, doing the same things.
But you see, there are two pitfalls with grace. There are two pitfalls. The thing about…here is grace, here in the middle, and there’s a pitfall to the side – whatever side it is – that here, you don’t have to do anything – as we read in Jude 1:4 – an excuse for immorality. Then there is the other pitfall. And the other pitfall is, that “I’ve got to do things to be able to receive grace.” For instance, “I’ve got to be circumcised,” or, for instance, “I have to wear tassels,” or whatever. There’s the other pitfall. “You know what? “I have to have works to be justified.” This is a problem Paul encountered, for instance. And you read that in the book of Galatians. Because he was encountering Jewish people that had come from Jerusalem, and infiltrating, and talking about this other direction – to say, “Yes, you have been baptized, you gentiles. Yes, you have received God’s Holy Spirit, but that is not good enough. You have to be circumcised!” And Paul said, “Gentiles, you don’t need to be.” That’s Galatians. That’s what the book of Galatians is saying. We are not saved by works. We are justified freely by grace. Does it mean now that we can sin? NO!
Look at Romans, chapter 6. That follows Romans, chapter 5, of course. And there, before, in chapter 5, it says we are justified by grace. Then, in chapter 6, it says:
Romans 6:1 - What shall we say then? – in chapter 6, verse 1 – Shall we continue in sin that we will have more grace? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? You see, we are justified as a gift. You and I have done nothing to earn that justification. With that justification, God has passed over – has looked over our sins.
Look at Romans 3, verse 25. You can read that whole section, but I want to emphasize this one little point. Okay, starting in verse 24:
Romans 3:24-25 – Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God set forth as a propitiation – other words, as a mercy seat, as something to forgive us, right? – by His blood through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God passed over the sins that were previously committed. As we approach the Passover, here is an important understanding to the meaning of the Passover. God has passed over our previously committed sins by His grace. Therefore, yes, the Passover ceremony is a solemn assembly, but it is also a joyous occasion, because of that sacrifice – of that gracious act. God has passed over the sins that were previously committed. So now we’ve got to change. We’ve got to be motivated to change.
You see, brethren, there are two big pitfalls. There is the pitfall, “Yeah, you don’t have to do anything,” and the other pitfall, that you see in the book of Galatians, that Paul said, “Hey, we’ve been called by the grace of God.” Let’s look at it. Let’s look at it – Galatians. Galatians, chapter 1, verse 6:
Galatians 1:6 – I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel – not that there is another gospel, but it is a perversion of the gospel by saying, “Yeah, you have been baptized, you received the Holy Spirit, but you still need to be circumcised. You still need to do these Jewish things.” No, we don’t. No, we don’t. Look in chapter 2, verse 21.
Galatians 2:21 – I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. If righteousness…if you are being made right with God, if you are being justified by obeying the law, by being circumcised, or by doing ceremonial law, or whatever it is – if you are being made right by that, then Christ died in vain. So, what law is he talking about? Look at chapter 3, verse 19.
Galatians 3:19 – What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions. That’s the ceremonial law that was added. Yes, we still have to keep God’s laws – God’s spiritual laws – but the law that was added to point to Christ – to point to the Holy Spirit – that doesn’t justify us. That was just symbolic until Christ came. Now we’ve got Christ. Now we’ve got God’s Holy Spirit, and that’s what we need. But the spiritual law is still applicable. We’ve still got to change. We’ve got to be transformed. We’ve now got to obey God. You see brethren, there are two pitfalls. We can go this way or go that way. It’s a balance. It is a precarious balance.
Look at Hebrews, chapter 13, verses 8 and 9.
Hebrews 13:8-9 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. Don’t get carried about with all these little funny ideas that are going to come into the church – and they will come. Brethren, they will come. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. What food is he talking about? The food of the sacrifices. If you just look in verse 11 – two verses down. He’s talking about: For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin…. So you see they kill the animals for the sacrifice for sin, and they took the meat, and they ate it. And they thought now that the ceremonial, ritual laws, which were added for transgressions – they concerned foods and things like that – “Yeah, we need to do that.” No! So, do not be carried about by these funny ideas that are going to come. Grace is a gift of God.
There are many gifts that come from God’s grace. There are many blessings. There are many talents. We focused on one, which is the sacrifice Christ, but you know, there are talents, there are abilities, there’s intelligence, there’s discernment, there’s wisdom – that comes from God. It is His grace to us. The ministry in the church is a gift to the church. The ministry in church is a gift to the church. Look in Ephesians, chapter 4. Look in verse 7:
Ephesians 4:7 – But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Christ has given us different talents, different capabilities, but look in verse 11:
V-11 – But He Himself gave some – to the church – to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. Why? Verse 12: For the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry. In other words, to enable you and I – true Christians – to be able to serve. Why? For the edifying of the body of Christ – to build up the church of God. Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of – Jesus Christ – the Son of God to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. You see, it should stir us to action. The grace of God is for us to become more like Christ. A little bit further you read – a very good section for you to read, then, in chapter 5, verse 1.
Galatians 5:1 – Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. Imitators imitate Christ. In other words, reflect Christ in your life.
In 2 Thessalonians, chapter 1, verses 11 and 12:
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 – Therefore we also pray always – and I think, brethren, I think we all should pray for this as well – for each other – for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling. Brethren, to be in God’s church is a calling. It is a special calling at this time. Let’s be worthy of this calling. Let us do our part in this calling. …and fulfill – in other words, let us do our part – and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness – in other words, let us fulfill that grace – and the work of faith with power. How do you do that? Because we are replicating, we are copying, we are imitating, we are becoming like Christ, and therefore, we are fulfilling that same grace by becoming like Christ – becoming gracious like Christ, which is the grace of God which is manifested on earth. We’ve got to become like Him. So, His grace motivates us to replicate and copy Him. Verse 12: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you. In other words, as we learned in the sermonette, so that the praise may be going to God, because God through His grace has led us to become gracious like Him – to replicate, to copy, to imitate Him, and that will glorify God through us – or in us – to the glory of God. …may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, what is the grace of God? The grace of God is God’s gracious gift for us to be able to enter in the royal family of God – as children – as sons and daughters of God. That ruling family that will rule the universe through Jesus Christ’s free sacrifice, which is also God’s glorious and gracious gift. Then we are being justified freely by that grace upon baptism, upon repentance and faith, through the redemption which is in Christ. Then we receive freely the gift – through God’s grace – of the Helper, which is God’s Holy Spirit. Then using the Holy Spirit, we’ve been sanctified daily, as we overcome to the end, through the help of the Holy Spirit and the work of the High Priest – our heavenly High Priest – which is Christ. We then, ultimately at the end, will be changed into spirit at the resurrection, provided you and I remain faithful to the end. Then you and I will be given the gift – or the blessing – to reign with Christ as kings and lords under the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And this is only one of His graces because He is so rich in them. He’s got so many others. And you know, we don’t deserve it, and it is all God’s grace. So what? So what? The so what is, that this is a special calling. This a special calling. And we pray that His grace in us may then reflect Jesus Christ in our lives, so that God’s name, and Jesus Christ’s name, may be praised and glorified forever and ever! Amen.