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Post  Admin on Tue 10 Aug 2010, 2:20 pm

THE TRANSFORMING GRACE OF GOD
Part One of Three*
By Pastor James Gray*
*
Paul knew the secret of living the Christian life. He knew that if
believers were to live sensible, be examples of good works, purity, and
adorn the doctrine of God, it would come not by the Law. It would take
the Grace of God. Grace is the basis and motivation of Christian living.
It is the transforming power of our salvation. All the previously
mentioned transformations in Titus 2:1-10 are the products of Grace.
Grace is the reason we can be all we are meant to be.
GRACE HAS APPEARED.
The Christian life is possible because the Grace of God "has appeared."
The word appeared is the Greek word epiphane, meaning became visible,
appearance, manifestation. It is an emphatic aorist indicative,
stressing grace as a historical actuality. The grace of God has entered
upon the stage of history. It is observed in three ways:
First, grace is seen in historical redemptive acts. Throughout history
God has displayed His grace. It is seen in the garden, in that physical
death was not instantaneous, but rather the grace of God made provision
for sinful man. Noah found grace, and was spared the judgment of the
flood. The nation Israel was founded upon grace. This nation was not
chosen because it was numerous, nor because of its power, but simply by
His grace. The redemptive acts throughout the history of this nation are
a visible display of His grace.
Second, the greatest visible manifestation of God's grace is seen in the
sending of His Son. Christ was the Grace of God embodied. In fact, the
Greek word epiphane is where we get our word epiphany, which means the
revelatory manifestation of divine being. God revealed Himself in and
through His Son. Christ was God incarnate. He was the embodiment of
Grace. Christ is the clearest manifestation of grace available to man.
He who "existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a
thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a
bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in
appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the
point of death, even death on a cross" (Phil. 2:6-8, NASV). That is
Grace! No wonder the gospel writer declares that during the incarnation
they beheld His glory, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). The
incarnate Christ was grace and truth manifested in flesh; the historical
appearance of God's grace. Leon Morris is correct when writing that
"nowhere do we see more clearly what the grace of God means than in the
Word made flesh" (John 1:14).
Third, the Grace of God is historically manifested on a personal level
at the point of our personal salvation. At the moment of our salvation
God's grace is manifested and applied to us on an individual level. "For
by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves. it is
the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8). The transforming power of God's grace
is still being manifested. This transforming power begins at the point
of salvation.

*Don't trust to hold God's hand; let Him hold yours. *
*Let Him do the holding, and you the trusting. *
*-- Hammer William Webb-Peploe *

THE TRANSFORMING GRACE OF GOD*
*Part Two of Three*
*By Pastor James Gray*
GRACE BROUGHT SALVATION.
The reason for the historical appearances of grace was to bring
salvation. That is the goal of grace. God has manifested His grace into
order to bring salvation to all men. It is redemptive in purpose.
Bible students are divided on what the phrase "to all men" is to be
coupled with, the "hath appeared," or with the ''bringing of salvation."
It seems that it should be connected with the bringing of salvation to
all men. This is the most natural reading of the Greek text. The literal
reading of the Greek text is "For appeared the grace of God which brings
salvation for all men." The phrase is a dative in the Greek and thus
suggests the scope of salvation. It describes the universality of God's
grace that brings salvation. It is for all men. Grace makes salvation
available to all, regardless of age, race, sex, position, or circumstances.
It is important to note that this widespread scope does NOT mean
universality of application. Salvation is available to all, but its
saving effect is dependent on personal application to oneself by faith.
"By grace are ye saved through faith." The Grace of God is the source of
our salvation, but faith is the channel. Faith is the channel that
permits saving grace to flow into our lives. Grace makes all men
savable, but faith is the element that actualizes salvation in
individuals. The imperative of grace is to "believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ and thou shall be saved" (Acts 16:31).
GRACE TRAINS US.
To this point the Apostle Paul has centered upon what grace has done.
Now the Apostle centers upon what Grace does. The verb tense changes
from past to present tense, thus the word teaching or instructing. It is
an action that is going on now. The Grace of God is continual in the
life of the believer. Notice Paul designates the recipients of this
instruction as "us," those who have personally accepted by faith His
salvation by grace. Once grace starts flowing by salvation through
faith, it continues to flow to train us in holiness.
The student should notice carefully that it is not the Law that is
active today in training us. Paul in the epistles makes it very clear
that the Law, although holy and good, is powerless to change us. Its
purpose was to reveal the knowledge of sin (Galatians 3:19), to reveal
our guilt before God (Romans 3:19), and to lead us to Christ (Galatians
3:24). However it could not and cannot justify us before God (Romans
3:20,28). The Law made nothing perfect (Hebrews 7:19). Just as the Law
cannot justify, it cannot sanctify, the reason is that it is "weak
through the flesh" Romans 8:3). Believers in this age of grace are not
under the Law (Romans 6:14). When will we as believers learn the truths
that the Apostle Paul gives to the church? That Christ is the end of the
Law for righteousness (Romans 10:4). Too many believers today are like
the Galatians who think that having begun in the spirit, they can now be
made perfect by the Law (Galatians 3:1-4). C.R. Stam is absolutely
correct when writing, "Efforts to keep the Law will never establish
one's righteousness; rather they will establish his unrighteousness. "

THE GRACE OF GOD IS CONTINUAL IN THE LIFE OF THE BELIEVER.

*THOUGHT FOR THIS WEEK*
*Life is easy when you're up on the mountain*
*and you've got peace of mind like you've never known*
*But then things change and you're down in the valley*
*Don't lose faith for you're never alone*
*For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.


THE TRANSFORMING GRACE OF GOD*
*Part Three of Three*
*By Pastor James Gray*

*
Today it is Grace that trains us. The word instructing is the Greek verb
paideuo, and actually means to train a child, to bring up a child. It is
the training process. Grace schools believers in holiness. The Grace of
God does not stop with salvation, but is active and continuously
operates. It offers not only the escape from condemnation, but aims
toward the goal of transforming our character. It is the operating
principle in the life of believers which educates us to be what God
wants us to be. The aim of this educative process is clearly stated in
typical Pauline fashion, both negatively and positively.
Negatively, it trains us to deny "ungodliness and worldly lust." The
word deny is ameomai meaning abrogate, renounce or forsake. It is also
interesting that this word is found not in the present tense as one
would expect, but the aroist tense. D. Edmond Hiebert tells us that,
The aorist participle indicates that grace aims to lead the believer to
the place whereas a definite act he will voluntarily make a double
renunciation of the past ("Titus," The Expositor's Bible Commentary,
11:440).
Thus, it seems that Grace training is deeper than the Law. It acts upon
the will, not just the mind. The Law can teach mentally what is right or
wrong, but it could not change the heart or the will of man. Grace
changes the motive of man, not just the mind of man. When one correctly
understands the Grace of God it will transform him. He will come to the
place where he will deny ungodliness (the irreverence of the old life),
and worldly lust (passions characteristic of the world). He will live on
a higher plane.
Positively, it will train us to "live soberly, righteously, and godly in
this present world." This is the highest plane. Again the word live is
in the aroist tense. Hiebert makes the observation that:
Live may mean "come to live" but more probably means that our entire
course of life should be consistently characterized by three qualities
(stated as adverbs). In the original these adverbs stand emphatically
before the verb (TItus, 11:440).
First, we are to live on the plane of being sober-minded. The Greek
word, sophronos, has already been found in various forms in the epistle
(2:2, 3, 5, 6). It describes one whose mind is well balanced; the
balanced mind set. It means self-controlled. Grace trains us to control
the inward attitude.
Second, we are to live on the plane of righteousness. The Greek word is
dikaios, which signifies being just, without prejudice or partiality. It
describes how we are to live outwardly, in faithfulness to the demands
of truth and justice in relation to others.
Third, we are to live on the plane of being godly. This is the Greek
word eusebos, denoting pious, devout, reverently. This speaks of our
upward attitude toward God, being devoted to God in reverence and obedience.
This training is not futuristic, but for "this present age." These
characteristics are to be present now. Grace not only instructs, but
transforms us to live on this plane here and now. Believers are to rise
to the higher elevation of Grace. Grace has appeared to transform us
into all God intended us to be, and elevates us to the highest plane.

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, my victorious Lord, how often I attempt to be
the one who directs my life. I confess that when I lead, victory is not
the result. Lord, help me to count on You to lead me in Your triumph,
even in the difficult situations that I frequently encounter. In Your
triumphant name, I pray, Amen.

*If you are blessed by this devotional,please *
*forward it to your friends*
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