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Grace - Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer

Grace by Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer

Author's Preface

THROUGH false emphasis by many religious leaders, Christianity has become in the estimation of a large part of the public no more than an ethical system. The revealed fact, however, is that the supreme feature of the Christian faith is that supernatural, saving, transforming work of God, which is made possible through the infinite sacrifice of Christ and which, in sovereign grace, is freely bestowed on all who believe. God has given instruction to those who are saved, it is true, as to the manner of life which is consistent with their new heavenly calling and standing in Christ; but in its spiritual blindness, the world, led by its blind leaders, sees in Christianity only the rule of life which is secondary. The blindness of the world at this point, with the consequent neglect of all that is vital in the Christian faith, is both anticipated and explained in the Word of God.

The two foundation truths which determine all spiritual perception are that, by divine arrangement, (1) the Spirit is given only to those who are saved, and (2) spiritual understanding is made to depend exclusively on the presence of the Spirit of God in the heart.

The precise body of truth which may be understood only through the ministry of the indwelling Spirit is described as, “things” related to the Father, “things” related to the Son, “things” related to the Spirit, “things” to come, and “the kingdom of God”. We read:

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually [by the Spirit] discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).

“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him” (John 14:17).

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ … should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:3, 4).

“The world by wisdom knew not God” (1 Cor. 1:21).

“He that is spiritual judgeth [discerneth] all things, yet he himself is judged of no man” (1 Cor. 2:15).

“Now we have received … the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Cor. 2:12).

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (John 16:13–15).

“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him” (1 John 2:27).

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:9, 10).

“Through faith we understand” (Heb. 11:3).

Spiritual understanding is not, therefore, dependent upon human sagacity or learning; it depends only on the teaching of the indwelling Spirit. Possessing this Biblical testimony, misunderstanding at this point is without excuse.

Likewise, the terms upon which men may now be saved and thus receive the Spirit are as clearly defined in the Scripture. Salvation is by grace through faith. It is the result of the transforming work of God for man, and not the result of the work of man for God. It is that which God does for the one who trusts the Saviourhood of Christ. By that trust, Christ is personally received as the divine Redeemer who shed His blood as a sufficient ransom for the guilt and penalty of sin, as the One who reconciles by having taken away the sin of the world, and as the divine Propitiation who, as Substitute, met every indictment brought against the sinner under the holy government of God.

Since the Spirit is given only to those who are saved through faith in Christ, they alone are able to receive the particular body of truth which the Spirit teaches. Neglect of this fundamental, unalterable fact is the key-error of all modernism.

It is assumed by the modernist that any person whose education has qualified him to be an authority in matters of human learning, regardless of the new birth and the indwelling Spirit, is also qualified, because of that learning, to speak with authority concerning the things of God.

That the leaders of modernism are unregenerate men and therefore themselves spiritually blind is self-revealed by their attitude toward that truth which forms the only basis upon which, according to the Scriptures, a soul may be saved. When men avowedly disbelieve that the death of Christ was vicarious and substitutionary, they have rejected the only grounds upon which, according to the Word of God, the saving work of God righteously can be wrought for the sinner. Rejecting the saving truth of the Gospel, these men could not be saved upon any promise or provision of God. Though educated, religious, and sympathetic to the ethical ideals of the Bible, such men, being unregenerate, are of necessity totally blind to all that body of truth which is said to be imparted by the indwelling Spirit. Preaching and teaching under these limitations, Christianity is represented by these men as a system of ethics only.

The first step in spiritual understanding is the knowledge of God as Father. “Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Mt. 11:27). “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

Until God becomes real to the heart by the direct ministry of Christ as Saviour, all His ways and works are unreal. Not knowing God, the unregenerate mind is not satisfied with the explanation of the origin of things which declares that God directly created things as they are. To such a mind, it is actually easier to believe in a supposed natural development from nothing to something, and to hide all attending problems resulting from this theory behind the mists of a measureless past. If God is not real, there could be no inerrant Book; the Bible must be fallible as man; nor could God be manifest in the flesh; the Son of God must be of illegitimate birth, and though the greatest of all teachers, to them, He is really no more divine than ordinary mortals. These blind guides are forced to give some explanation to the meaning of the death of Christ. They therefore contend that He died as an heroic martyr, a loyal patriot, as a wonderful moral example of fortitude, or to show the wickedness of sin. They utterly reject the only reason given in the Word of God for the death of Christ—He died that others might not die. They brand this saving truth as “immoral,” and “unworthy of the goodness of God.” They understand little of the resurrection of Christ, His present ministry in heaven, and nothing of the revelation that He is coming again. To these religious leaders, there is no supernatural; for God is not real. There could be no immediate salvation through the Spirit. The salvation in which they believe is assumed to be the result of a self-created character, and the life to be lived is represented only as an heroic struggle of the flesh. If unregenerate men could understand anything better than this, the Word of God would be proven untrue.

It is equally true, that, those who are spiritually blind are unconscious of their blindness until they are saved by the grace and power of God through Christ. Coming thus into the light, they testify, as all who have ever been saved have testified: “Whereas I was blind, now I see.” They, like all the unsaved, could be aware of their blindness if they would receive the testimony of God concerning their own limitations; but this is precisely what they will not do. Therefore, a notable neglect of the most vital truths of Scripture and the denial of the essential glories of divine grace is to be expected from these religious leaders who reject the only grounds of salvation through the substitionary death of Christ.
Modernists content themselves with borrowing some ideals from the Bible while reserving the right to reject whatever is not desired. Those portions which are acceptable to the unregenerate mind are received and taught as being authorative on the basis of the fact that these ideals are in the Bible. Here, indeed, is strange inconsistency on the part of men who pride themselves on their scientific reasonings.

The unsaved preacher or teacher, being able to comprehend only the ethical teachings of the Scriptures, is a living proof of the truthfulness of the divine Testimony. He cannot see the kingdom of God. He sees nothing of the glories of divine grace—the things of the Father, the things of Christ, the things of the Spirit, and things to come. He blindly ignores every dispensational division of the Word of God and is, therefore, free within himself to draw material from the kingdom teachings of Christ and from the law of Moses while constructing his world-improvement, sociological theories which he imposes on a Christ-rejecting world.

Men of this character are sufficiently numerous in this day of apostasy to be responsible for the present-day impression that the sole objective of Christianity is the improvement of human conduct. Being blind to the real principles and purposes of saving grace, they teach that it makes little difference what is believed, it is the life that counts. Against this is the overwhelming testimony of the Word of God that every aspect of salvation and every blessing of divine grace in time and eternity is conditioned only on what is believed.
Influenced by these misunderstandings concerning the Truth, few serious-minded young men will choose to enter the ministerial profession; for it would mean the assumption of the role of a mere moralist. Common modesty generally precludes such an assumption. On the other hand, when the essential message of Christianity is seen to be the measureless, transforming grace of God with all of its eternal glories in the new creation in Christ, it is a challenge to the deepest impulses of the heart, and offers a ministry for which one may well sacrifice all.

Christians are ambassadors for Christ and are commissioned to preach the Gospel to every creature. This ministry does not consist in either the education or the moral improvement of lost men while they are on their way to hell; it is the proclamation of the mighty, redeeming, transforming grace of God which offers eternal life and eternal glory to all who will believe.
If it shall please God to use this exposition in any measure to the unfolding of the riches of His grace, the labor expended in its preparation will not have been in vain. This very inadequate treatment concerning the grace of God is committed to Him that He may in some way use its message to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

LEWIS SPERRY CHAFER.  March, 1922. (Public Domain)


Chafer, L. S. (1922). Grace (pp. vii–xiv). Philadelphia, PA: Sunday School Times Company.

Discipleship is Dynamic, Relational, and All of Grace

Discipleship is Dynamic, Relational, and All of Grace

Discipleship is Dynamic, Relational, and All of Grace

Discipleship in most Christian circles is treated as a separate part of the Christian Experience.  However, biblical discipleship is part of the salvation message and refers to the believer’s daily walk.

Biblical discipleship begins at the point of faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross and continues until he takes us home with Him in glory.  This may be expressed as, “We are being saved from the penalty of sin, and are now being saved from the power of sin and we will eventually be saved from the presence of sin.”

Jesus says that His disciples will live according to His Word,

“If you abide in my word, then you are truly My disciples” (John 8:31).

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in my and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Disciples are like sheep who are secure and daily follow Jesus as their Shepherd,

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd” (John 10:14-16).

The following acrostic is a simple outline illustrating God’s GRACE in discipleship.

G — GOSPEL

The good news is that our salvation is all of grace by faith in Christ — not of any self-effort as expressed by the Apostle Paul,

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

He continues regarding our daily walk of grace (our sanctification),

“For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk I them”  (Ephesians 2:10).

The Apostle reminds us that this life is not a do-it-yourself-kit or a self-reformation program, but,

“it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure”  (Philippians 2:13).

The Christian life is all of God!  It is His grace from start to finish!

R — RELATIONSHIP

It is often taught that we believers are “saved to serve.”  In other words, God saved us because He somehow needs our help.  Obviously, in Genesis 2 and 3 we find that God served Adam and Eve rather than they serve Him.  He placed them in the Garden of Eden where all their needs were supplied.  In fact, God, desiring their fellowship, also walked with them in the cool of the day — relationship!

Jesus demonstrated for us His desire for relationship as He taught and interacted with His disciples and followers.    He told of and revealed His intimate relationship with His Father.

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?  The words that I say to you, I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works”  (John 14:10).

We Christians are precious to God in that He has chosen to have a close, intimate relationship with us by dwelling within us, even as God dwelt within Jesus.  He promised His disciples,

“But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He bears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.  He will glorify Me, for he will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.  All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you”  (John 16:13-14).

Christ graciously saved us for relationship with Himself!

A — ALIGNMENT

Freedom and independence are the hallmarks of Americans.  Jesus uses the metaphor of goats and sheep to illustrate independent and dependent people (Matthew 24:31-35).  Goats are very independent and can take care of themselves, but sheep are very dependent and need someone to care for them.

As Christians we are no longer to live as independent goats, but as sheep dependent upon our good Shepherd,

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand, My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30).

God graciously saved us in order to bring us into alignment with Himself and His purposes!

C — CHRIST IS LIFE

The emphasis of our American upbringing, education, sports and recreation is focused on our being the very best we can be.  Often Christians are challenged that God deserves excellence in everything.  So, we try harder and harder to please God by attempting to improve the old Adamic nature.  This always proves to be fruitless, as the Apostle Paul cries out,

“Wretched man that I am!  Who will set me free from the body of this death?”

And then with a sigh of relief,

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord”  (Romans 7:24-25)!

Jesus Christ came to redeem us from sin and from the futility of trying to live up to the Law [the standard of life that He designed for mankind].  The Apostle Paul answers,

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly… For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:6, 10).

The focus of the Christian life must always be upon the Lord Jesus Christ — and Him alone.  “Christ is our life” (Colossians 3:4).  The writer of Hebrews refers to the Christian life as a life of resting daily from our creative work as God did on the seventh day from His creative work.  But as God continues to actively keep the universe going, we are to rest upon Jesus Christ to keep our lives by His life.

“There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.  For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.  Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest”  (Hebrews 4:9-11).

God graciously dwells within us to live out His perfect life in, through and with our faithful participation with Him.

E — EXHALT CHRIST

Much of the emphasis of the church today is upon preaching and teaching the Scriptures, worship music, evangelism, programs for self development, service, addiction recovery and community outreach.  These are all good and commendable, but mostly mankind centered.

Jesus Christ is the Head of the Body, the church, both universally, and locally.  He should be revered and allowed to lead every aspect of one’s life and ministry, whether it be corporate worship, programs, boards, committees, and the like.

Jesus said; “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:32).

Lifting up Jesus wherever we are and whatever we are doing is a privilege — not a burden.

The Apostle Paul encourages us to preach and teach Christ always,

“We preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:23-25).

IN CONCLUSION

Biblical discipleship begins at the point of faith in Christ and continues through life until Christ takes us home with Him to heaven.  The grace of discipleship is that Jesus Christ is the source and fulfillment of the disciple’s daily life— from beginning to end.  Truly it is ALL OF GRACE!

About the Author:

 

Pastor Bingham is the founder of CupBearers, and was for 17 years a missionary with Cadence International and has been the Pastor of Rocky Mountain Evangelical Free Church for 32 years.  He also served on the CMF Board of Directors for several years. 

Shepherding Grace Ministries
PO Box 1930
Englewood, CO 80150-1930
http://www.ShepherdingGrace.org

Not Deplorable....But Love God

Not Deplorable...But Love God

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Romans 12:3

A certain American politician recently called another American politicians' supporters 'deplorable' which was extremely bigoted, hateful, and uncalled for. Many Christians were lumped into that 'deplorable' category by this individual. Extremely sad and very hurtful. Because a person holds certain things in high regard and believes a certain way, they are not tolerated by the one who would scream 'deplorable'.

You who love the Lord are no where near deplorable. You are a child  of the most High God. You may make mistakes yes but God forgives you if you ask. Those who ridicule you and don't understand you need prayer and need to be shown love. Hatred of others is not the answer but rather pity for those who are so mean for no apparent valid reason.

Whatever you do don't fight back at those who are ugly to you. As hard as it may be, try to pray for them. People did not understand Jesus and mocked Him and ultimately hung Him to die on a cross. Stand firm in your beliefs and pray for those who don't love the Lord or His people to come to a saving knowledge of Him.

PRAYER:  In this political climate I find myself  in here in America, help me as I seek stand for the truth no matter what. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Becky Juett Miller

God's Lemonade Stand

https://www.facebook.com/GodsLemonadeStand/

https://www.godslemonadestand.blogspot.com


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