"Abundance of Grace"
It is possible to wrongly communicate and emphasize the grace of God in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not possible, however, to overemphasize His freely given favor in His Son.
"Some affirm that we say let us do evil, that good may come" (Romans 3:8).
"Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 5:20-21).
No less than the Apostle Paul was accused of preaching licentiousness as he proclaimed the redeeming grace and truth of Christ. A faithful presentation of the Gospel always elicits such slander in the minds of those who have not read and studied the Bible enough to actually have an opinion regarding this most vital of matters. We cannot fail to come away from a legitimate consideration of Scripture without being overwhelmed by its joyous declaration of the freest gift ever given. The Old Testament foretells of such grace - "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1). The New Testament fulfills the foreshadowing - "The grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many" (Romans 5:15). Thus, we must join Paul in proclaiming a salvation already paid for in full, and a gift that we fail to receive and experience only if we seek to pay for it, or reject it outright. "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:4-5).
There will, of course, be those who use God's grace as a license to walk after the flesh. In such cases, the problem is not with the message, nor is it always the messenger (faithful Paul, again, being the prime example). There will always be souls who misinterpret and misuse Truth to their own advantage. The devil is far from being above the use of God's Word in his attempts to deceive (i.e. - the wilderness temptation of the Lord Jesus, Matthew 4). We must not allow such distortion to cause us to alter our presentation of the freest gift ever given. The Lord Jesus sacrificed too much for believers to compromise our communication of the grace that flows from the wounds of Calvary. Thus, we either proclaim a salvation "without money and without cost" and "not of works", or we proclaim no salvation at all (Ephesians 2:9).
Law-based legalism never leads to the quality of love God seeks to birth and empower in human hearts. Only the grace and truth of the Lord Jesus accomplishes such an authentic work that changes the heart as the basis for empowering a life of faithfulness that meets the test of spiritual authenticity. "They which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17). A growing awareness and understanding of God's freely given favor in Christ leads to a growing response of faith and faithfulness in the hearts and lives of those redeemed by grace, amazed by grace, empowered by grace, and inhabited by the Lord of grace.
"Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear."
Weekly Memory Verse
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.