Don’t Receive God’s Grace in Vain

2 Corinthians 5:20-21; 6:1-2 ESV

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

“Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

“’In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’

“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Jesus Christ died for us on that cross not just to forgive us our sins, and not just so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. For, he shed his blood to buy us back for God so that we would now honor God with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20).

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:11-14 NIV).

When we believe in Jesus with God-given faith we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life in him. With regard to our former way of living for sin and self, we put that off, we were renewed of the Spirit of God in heart and mind, and we put on the new self in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Now we walk (in conduct) no longer according to our flesh, but according to the Spirit, yielding our lives over to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, which is our acceptable worship of him, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed of the Spirit of God in the renewing of our minds (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 12:1-2).

Nonetheless, if that does not describe at all our salvation from sin and our walks of faith in the Lord Jesus, then perhaps we have received God’s grace in vain, or else we have received the wrong kind of grace, a false grace of human origin which makes no such demands for repentance, obedience to our Lord, and submission to his Lordship over our lives.

But let me say this: Our salvation is not a one-time experience and then we live our lives and then one day we die and go to heaven. Our salvation is progressive, for we are to die daily to sin and to self, and daily we are to submit to Christ as Lord and walk in obedience to his commands. This is a process of sanctification, so it will be ongoing.

So, we aren’t going to do all of this perfectly. But as we grow in the Lord, and as we obey him, and as we submit to his will for our lives, we mature in our walks of faith, and we grow to be more like him. But lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse for deliberate and habitual sin against our Lord. We are to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.

2 Corinthians 6:3-10 ESV

“We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings…”

But there are people today who claim to be followers of Jesus, some of whom also claim to be teachers of the word of God and/or are serving in positions as pastors of churches or as Bible teachers, who are putting obstacles in people’s ways to keep them from hearing and receiving the true gospel of grace. For they are teaching a “cheap grace” gospel, instead.

So, if people do receive this “cheap grace” substitute for God’s true grace, they are receiving it in vain because it is not God’s true grace, and thus it has no value to them. It provides nothing other than a lie, and a false hope, and a false sense of security. And it gives them permission to keep living in deliberate and habitual sin against God which secures them hell, not heaven.

The author of this “cheap grace” is not God, but Satan, who is a liar and a deceiver, and who wants people in hell, especially on the promise of heaven as their eternal destiny. For, Satan is against all that is of God, and his goal is to destroy Jesus Christ, and his gospel, and his followers, and any potential followers of Jesus, too.

This “cheap grace” is passed off as God’s true grace, but it makes no demands for repentance, turning from our sins, following our Lord in obedience, or for submitting to him as Lord of our lives, which is what God’s true grace is all about, which is setting people free from their slavery to sin so they can live free from the control of sin and of Satan.

Therefore, if you are receiving this “cheap grace,” thinking that you are receiving God’s true grace, and so you have not died with Christ to sin, and you have not been resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, because you have not put off the old sin nature, and you have not put on Christ and his righteousness, then, indeed, you have received God’s grace in vain.

For, if we live according to the flesh, and we make sin our practice, and righteousness is not what we practice, then we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God. But if we walk according to the Spirit, and we live to please the Spirit, then from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. For, we are all going to be judged by God by our works.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

2 Corinthians 6:11-13 ESV

“We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.”

If you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, and if you are speaking this truth into people’s lives, and if you are exposing the lies and the deceptions of Satan and of false teachings and false gospels, and if you are teaching what Jesus taught, and what his New Testament apostles taught, you aren’t going to have many friends, not even within the gatherings of the church.

Many people in your life, even within the gatherings of the church, and even within your families, and even friends and neighbors and co-workers, etc., will withdraw from you, and they will not want to hang out with you. Some will call you hyper-religious or legalistic or crazy or self-righteous, and they may even accuse you of teaching a false gospel, too.

For, the cheap grace gospel is what is permeating much of today’s church, at least here in America, and it is widely accepted. Not only does it teach what is false, but it strongly attacks the truth of the gospel and accuses it of being legalistic and of teaching “works-based salvation” or “Lordship salvation,” as some people call it. So, please read your Bibles in context, for in there you will find the truth, and stop accepting what tickles itching ears.

More Precious Than Silver

Lynn DeShazo

Who can weigh the value of knowing You?
Who can judge the worth of who You are?
Who can count the blessings of loving You?
Who can say just how great You are?

Lord, You are more precious than silver.
Lord, You are more costly than gold.
Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds,
And nothing I desire compares to You.

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