The Facet of Grace
We want to mention now that we are
back in this
auditorium. Those of you who would like
to bring your cassette recorders to make any copies of the Bible
welcome to do so. The tape room is up
stairs here, the first room. All you
have to do, as a matter of fact, is go up to the room after the service. Larry is up there. Just
check on the form the tapes that you
want and he’ll see that they are delivered to you.
You are welcome to use these. There’s
no charge for these. You may keep them or
you may return
them. We just want you to use the Word
in any way that you find useful and that the Lord lays upon your heart.
Shall we bow in a Word of prayer? “Our heavenly Father, we ask thee now to
us in these moments that we gather about thy Word that thou will give
guidance and understanding and open our hearts that God the Holy Spirit
glorify thy Son and use these things to the building up of an
within our own souls. We pray in
We are studying now in this basic
doctrine series. We have come to the point
where we are
considering what it is to be a mature Christian. We
have come to the basic first quality which
is understanding the grace of God. If
you have missed the first one, you’re going to be in a little bit
of a problem
this morning because there’s some background material that has
eluded you. Sometimes people feel that
things go by so
fast in our services that you don’t understand what we’re
talking about or some
of the things that are being said. But
you must understand that there is background material that has been
if you stay with us long enough you will in time have these things
re-explained, and you will get the picture.
However, if you take advantage of the tapes that are
available, you may
very readily, while you’re driving along in your car or some
other way, catch
up on the things that you missed.
So we’re talking about what the
Bible calls edification, a
structure of spiritual maturity in your soul.
Believers are the target in this age of grace of all
attack. Every satanic device, all the
wiles of the devil are directed against you as a Christian as once they
directed against Jesus Christ who is no longer available to that
seated to the right of the Father in heaven.
Now the only defense that you and I
have against this
satanic attack and all of its subtleties is the defense that comes from
building a structure of spiritual maturity within our souls—this
all of its various facets, the foundation of which is a grasp of Bible
doctrine, of divine viewpoint, of what the Bible teaches, of
His ways. That’s why the local
important because the local church is the place that God has designed
to be the
dispensary of Bible doctrine. It is your
business to get it in one way or another.
It is your business first of all to go to a church
where you can get
it. It is your business to avoid a
church where you are given inspiration.
There is a considerable debate and a
rising tide of conflict
even within conservative seminaries on the issue that we here at Berean
20 years ago: What is a local church all
about? I spent one year out of Dallas
following what preachers are supposed to do; knocking on doors;
indifferent adults; going through all the motions of church techniques
devices; and, using the principals of Christian education that appeal
lust patterns of people to make them feel they have a place in the sun
attract them in other ways than the Word of God.
After one year of that, I sat down in
this modest little
town in which we lived in at the time.
Irving, now has almost 100,000 people, but at the
time 2,500 people, and
three horses. And I said if God gives me
25, 30, or 40 years in the ministry, what will I have out of this kind
ridiculous procedure? And it struck me
then that the way that you appeal to people in the first place, the way
draw them into a church operation in the first place, is the way they
continue. If you meet them at the door
with a greased palm, “Hail fellow well met,” and a
complimentary, “You’re a
wonderful wonderful person” type of routine, then that’s
the dose you’re going
to have to keep giving them every time they show up if you expect them
coming back, except that the shot has to get bigger and bigger and
it’s so monstrous that you can’t produce it.
So we have the site and the spectacle
of pastors who are
running around doing all kinds of things except preparing the word and
dispensing the Word because the local church has imposed some
of what the preacher is supposed to be, all of which violate his call
scriptural patterns. Now (we are faced
with) this problem, this business of the local church being a place of
inspiration. This is the easy way out,
by the way.
When you hear a preacher get up and
you can’t say, “He has
actually explained the Word to me,” (you don’t have
anything). (If instead you have to say,)
“He’s given me
a lot of inspiration. He has talked in a
mellifluous voice and he has made very moving statements and
they’ve been very
beautiful and he’s quite an orator in his approach, and he has
made a few
points, but basically I’ve been inspired,” you don’t
have anything. That inspiration is going
to drip out of you
like a hole in a sack of flour before Monday morning rolls around. You have been conned.
Now it is your business to see to it
that you do not put
yourself under a preaching ministry that gives you inspiration as the
rather than exposition. There is even in
seminary circles now a great conflict rising because seminaries tend to
men to be professionals in the ministry; the kind of boys who never
hands; the kind of boys who walk out and there are certain things they
do because they’re preachers; and, that they wouldn’t jump
in and produce
because it needs to be done. We’re
having a professional view of the ministry which is casting a sweetness
light flavor upon people, and it builds big congregations, and these
equated with accomplishing spiritual results and success in the
work. This is going to come increasingly
to a head.
I was looking over a little brochure
we wrote 20 years ago
in which we were trying to lay out in this modest little city what was
difference about Berean Memorial Church, and we had come to a
different concept about what the local church was all about, and there
another church in the city that had this concept, and all of the other
as a matter of fact, were strongly antagonistic to it.
Because once you accept the idea that the
local church is a place to explain the Word of God, that puts the
the hot seat. That means he has to
study. That means he has to know his
business. That means he has to do the
hardest kind of preaching. That means
the greatest demand of productivity on his part.
It sure is nice to visit people and to
chit-chat with them
and to eat their cookies and to drink their tea and to socialize and to
them feel that he’s a really wonderful pastor.
But this issues is coming to a head.
More and more there are young men who are rising up
in the ministry who I’ve
discovered were just as smart as I was.
And they’re through playing games, and
they’re not going to invest their
lives in what seminaries often train you to invest their life in. They’re going to be, in the Lewis Sperry
Chafer tremendous tradition, expositors of the Word of God. No gimmickry.
No conning techniques. Dr.
used to tell us in class, “I’ve called you men into this
seminary. God has brought you to this
seminary for one
purpose, and that is to teach you Word of God.
And I’ll tell you one thing, that after I am
dead, you do not have
something to preach, that is the doctrine of the Word of God, I will
in my grave. And he had the right
idea. He got the right concept as to
what men were to be trained to do and he produced a school to do it.
Now you’re going to have to
decide what kind of a church you
want to go to. You’re going to have
tell your friends about this. All of
these people who are in the circle of your acquaintance who are
around, who are desperate for a real relationship to God, who are
into the emotionalism of the tongues movement, or who are being
their receptivity to the Word of God.
The person who sits in church and says, “I
don’t like the preacher. I
don’t like the way he says it. I
don’t like his personality.” What
does that have to do with the Word of
God? You listen to people who object to
something you’ve heard a minister say, how often they don’t
say, “Now you see
here’s what he said but here’s what the Word of God
said.” That’s how the Bereans
of old did. What they say is,
“Here’s what he said but
he’s so arrogant. He thinks
he’s God. Who does he think he is? Just look at him. Listen
to the way he talks.” And they
attack everything except the fact of
was he wrong or was he right.
Now when you have developed some grace
orientation, which is
what we’re talking about this morning, you’re going to be
objective. You’re going to sit right
there and you’re
going to be just as relaxed when the Word of God is laid out as you can
matter who does it. I don’t care if
Buddy Rouch up here. You’re going to
relaxed and receptive to it. It
make any difference once you get grace-oriented because then
objective. Is it the truth or is it not
So you keep your ears open.
You’re going to hear some interesting things
because there are some
young men who are getting fed up and who have been fortunate to be in
that are oriented to what the local church ministry should be. It has one business: to
give you enough Bible doctrine right
information that you can become a spiritually mature Christian. The first step is orientation to God’s
So we learned last week from 2
Corinthians 5:17 that
Christians are a beautiful new breed in God’s order of creation. There’s a result of the grace of God. The exercise of God’s grace toward us
only on who and what God is. It is His
being true to His own essence and it has nothing to do with us. Grace is the favor that God is now free to
bestow because of what Christ did on the cross, to free God to do this
us. If you are disoriented to the grace
of God, my dear friend, you are going to have a disastrous Christian
this is the key to living, to be oriented to grace.
Paul in Galatians 5:4 says,
“Christ is become of no effect
unto you. Whosoever of you are justified
by the law, ye are fallen from grace.”
And there are a lot of Christians in good
evangelical churches because
they never learned it in the first place.
In Hebrews 12:15, we read, “Looking diligently
lest any man fail of the
grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and
many be defiled.”
So this morning we move on from the
fact that we are a new
breed created by the grace of God to defining grace orientation. By this we mean knowing what your role is in
the plan of God. Paul was the apostle
distinctively of the grace of God. In
his experience he was well aware of the contrast between what he
what God’s treatment of him was.
In writing to his young
protégé Timothy, in 1 Timothy
1:14-15, Paul says, “And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly
faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all
acceptation that Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief.” There wasn’t any doubt in Paul’s
mind as to
how he stood and what he deserved.
Furthermore, Paul was well aware of the fact that he
was nothing, and
this is a basic step toward becoming grace oriented.
In 1 Corinthians 15:10, we read,
“But by the grace of God I
am what I am, and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain,
labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I but the grace of God
with me.” Hebrews 12:15 says,
diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God.”
Now you’re in Paul’s place.
You’ve been called into grace.
You are what you are by the grace of God, but
you had better look diligently lest this beautiful positon of freedom
liberty to which you have been called and in which you stand should be
So it was that Paul could say (this
apostle of the grace of
God who knew what he was and knew what he deserved) in Galatians 2:20,
last part of that verse, “The life which I now live in the flesh
I live by
faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Everything he was because of God’s
grace. So all we are, all we do is
solely by the grace of God. This covers
your health. This covers your mind. This covers your ability, your appearance,
your skills, your possessions, and your visions, and God alone gets the
thanks. God alone gets the credit for our
Now there are certain things which
will destroy your feeling
for grace. There is a pride within us
that expresses itself in certain ways that destroy grace, and
it’s a sign that
you’re not oriented to grace. If
here this morning rejects eternal security.
If anybody in this auditorium here says, “I
don’t think that once I
become a Christian that I’m certain that I’ll go to heaven,
that I’ll always be
a Christian. There’s a hellish
that a lot of Christians are taught to go through by which they wake up
morning and they never know whether they’re going to make it
through that day
safely enough to still be going to heaven.
Vast numbers of churches teach their people that the
minute they don’t
behave themselves they’re headed for hell once more.
This is the person who thinks that his sins
are greater than God’s provision through Jesus Christ, and
that’s pride. If you’re so
overwhelmingly proud that you
think that your sins are bigger than God’s plan, you have another
Another destruction of orientation to
God’s grace is the
Christian who breaks down under the pressure of trials—the
Christian who thinks
his troubles are greater than God’s provision.
God says that he doesn’t bring any trial, any
temptation into your life
that is greater than you can bear, and He provides a way out. We’ve got some proud Christians running
around who like to whine and bemoan the trials and the pressures and
difficulties that come into their lives because they think God has
up and been unfair and unkind and made a mistake in bringing this upon
after they’ve prayed so much and they’ve done so much. We also have Christians whose pride leads
them to produce a false spirituality.
They think that their works of human good, their
morality, their taboos,
their personality and habit changes are all better than the plan of
that’s a false spirituality. It’s
pride that makes you walk around with that attitude.
We’ve got some Christians who
run around and every time they
see somebody with a little flare in their pants at the bottom they get
out to measure it, and beyond a certain point this guy’s in
trouble. If you’re running around
measuring the flare
on the bottom of trousers you’re not oriented to grace, and you
measure the flare between your ears because something is out of order.
We’ve got these Christians who
are guided by their emotions
too. They think that how they feel about
something is a better guide than doctrine.
You know how it is. You’ve
to these people too. You’ve
them what God as said from their book and they say, “Well, I
don’t know. I just feel this way
about it.” Who cares what you feel
about it? Is your feeling more accurate
than what God
has said? So you’ve got all these
do-gooders in the world because they’re operating on their
call love. They’re the most
characters on the subject of love and on the subject of emotions. It’s because they’re disoriented
grace. It’s a subtle pride that
works within their being.
You have some beautiful examples in
the Bible of people who
are disoriented to grace. God even
warned His people Israel in the Old Testament, and they lived under the
law. Yet God treated them in grace and
He warned them about forgetting about the grace of God.
In Deuteronomy chapter 8 beginning at verse
11, God warned them through Moses, “Beware that thou forget not
the Lord thy
God in not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes
command you this day, lest when thou hast eaten and art full and has
goodly houses and dwelt therein, and when thy herds and thy flocks
and thy silver and thy gold are multiplied, and all that thou hast is
multiplied, then thine heart be lifted up and thou forget the Lord thy
brought thee for the out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage
thee through that great and terrible wilderness wherein were fiery
scorpions and drought where there was no water, who brought thee forth
out of the rock of flint, who fed thee in the wilderness with manna
fathers knew not that He might humble thee and that He might test thee
thee good at thou latter end, and thou say in thine heart, ‘My
power and the
might of mine hand have gotten me this wealth.’”
Now God says don’t you do that
because that is
disorientation to the grace of God. Instead,
verse 18 says, “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God for it
is He who
giveth thee power to get well, that He may establish His covenant which
swore unto thy fathers as it is this day.”
You and I are nothing, and God is everything. Whatever position and whatever satisfactions
you possess, it’s because God’s grace has given these to
In Matthew 26:33 you have the example
of disorientation to
grace on the part of Peter. Matthew
26:33 says, “Peter answered and said unto Him (to the Lord),
‘Though all men
shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be
offended.’” Now Peter was
confident of his reliability
and of his devotion to the Lord. And
because he lacked grace orientation he was preoccupied with what he
and how great was his sincerity.
There is a godly sincerity that the
Bible speaks of, but
there is an ungodly sincerity which is usually a cover-up for people
know the Word. So they make up with
inspiration. Now Peter had probably just
attended some … service where they were all singing around the
guitar, and they all got to feeling really good. And
Peter says, “You know I can just really conquer
the world for you Lord.” And he was
disoriented to the grace of God that he was sure that whatever else the
the disciples would do, he’d stand. And
he was the greatest failure of all. If
he had been oriented to the grace of God, he would not have been trying
dissuade the Lord from the cross. He
would have realized that Jesus neither needed his help nor his
performing his mission.
The Lord Jesus Christ was an example
of a person who did
have orientation to grace in His humanity.
And he built this orientation to the grace of God
the same way you and I
have to build it (Luke 2:40). That is
through the doctrine of the world. The
Bible says, “And the child Jesus grew and became strong in
spirit, filled with
wisdom (that’s doctrine), and the grace of God was upon
Him.” He recognized His
father’s provision, Hebrews
10:5 tells us. He recognized and
respected the Father’s will (Hebrews 10:7).
When He was on the cross (Luke 23:34), He prayed for
Certainly you remember Stephen and the
grace of God. Here was a man dying an
unjust death at the
hands of religious people. As His soul
and spirit left his body and went into the Lord’s presence, Acts
7:60 says, “He
kneeled down and cried with a loud voice, ‘Lord, lay not this sin
charge.’ And when he had said this
fell asleep.” Stephen went out of
life in a magnificent explosion in the glory of the grace of God.
Well how do you develop grace
orientation? Please turn to Romans 8:28. Many of you have liked to quote this
verse. Let’s take a look at it a
more in detail. “We know that all
work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the
according to His purpose.” “We
the Greek word “oida.” It is
perfect tense but it is used as the present tense, meaning that here is
something currently that we possess in the way of knowledge as
Christians. That that we possess is the
doctrine. It is in the active voice
which means that Christians secure this doctrine through their own
response to what they hear. It is in the
indicative mode because it’s indicating that doctrine is a real
possession. It’s the truth.
It is ignorance of doctrine that
covers ups worldly sincerity,
and worldly sincerity is demonstrated by the cry for everybody to be
loving, and with emotionalism. The means
to this kind of spiritual knowledge is that grace system for perceiving
spiritual things that brings us to full knowledge so that truth is
within our human spirit, and this we have for use in building spiritual
maturity. This is the knowledge that
includes the techniques of the Christian life.
If you are a functioning mature
Christian, you’ll know that
there are certain techniques by which you operate in your Christian
life. If you don’t know these
not operating in the Christian life. For
example, if you don’t know the technique of confession of sin,
you can’t even
begin operating as a Christian. That’s
number one, the technique of confession of sin.
There’s the technique of the filling of the
Holy Spirit. If you don’t know how
to be filled with the
Holy Spirit by confessing every known sin so that you are a spiritual
Christian, you’ll make no progress. And
if you don’t practice the technique of confession, if you
don’t practice the
technique of the filling of the spirit, you’re in trouble. The technique of faith rest that we’ll
looking at in more detail. Dependence
upon the plan of God and His movement through your life so you’re
maneuvering and being devious and running around.
People love to say to young people,
“You’re going to have to
decide what you want out of life. You
have to decide what you want out of life.”
Isn’t that cute. And
says, “Oh beautiful. Beautiful. That’s what people should do. Decide what you want out of life.” When you get oriented and spiritually mature
through the Word of God, then faith rest comes in, and you’re not
around making decisions and determining what you want out of life. But you’re saying, “God,
what’s the next
step.” And you won’t know any
what’s coming out of life for than the man in the moon does. All you’re going to know is what’s
step. And God is going to unravel and
it’s going to be an adventure all the way down the line.
It includes the technique of learning
doctrine. If you are not learning doctrine
in one way
or another, as we talked about at the beginning, you are destroying any
progress in the Christian life. If
you’re not occupied with Jesus Christ, your soul is not occupied
Christ (this is a basic technique), then you’re occupied with all
trivia. You will someday (and those of
you who are older perhaps have a little better chance than those who
younger) when we run your funeral service, you will be standing there
thinking this thing over while we’re running this service and
saying, “Boy did
I ever blow my life. As I look back now
at what I have left, I just frittered away because I was occupied with
and I had so many things that I thought were so important for me to run
all day long. Nobody ever said to me,
‘Hey friend. Sit down and take
a pencil and start adding up in a week’s time (and determine) how
much time is
run on self-preoccupation, and how much time is spent preoccupation
Christ?’” That’s what
you’re going to
have left for eternity.
Now the Bible says we know.
We Christians have a source of information and
knowledge so we know
certain things. “We know that all
things,” and this expression refers to the variety of sufferings
that come into
a Christian’s experience. Now you
not deserve those sufferings, or you may deserve them.
You may have brought them on yourself.
But whether you do or not, what the cause is
makes no difference in the results of this suffering, and do you know
going to do? This suffering is all going
to “work together.” “Work
kind of an interesting Greek word her, this “work together.” It’s “sunergeo.” “Sunergeo” means:
This part, “ergeo” means
“work,” and this
part “sun” means “with” or “mix.” So
that God takes everything in our lives and He mixes it together.
Now if you can imagine a lady baking a
cake, and you imagine
the most hideous abominable things that she could throw into that cake
you’d look at it and you wouldn’t want to touch it and eat
it with a ten foot
pole. And yet somehow after she got
through throwing all the tobacco sauce in, and the calf brains and the
eggplant, out came the most beautiful delicious cake you’d ever
eaten. Now that’s what God says he
takes and he
works together and he mixes it and out it comes as beautiful divine
Now just think for a moment what He is
saying. This incidentally is only for this
life. Revelation 21:4 tells us that
going to be any sorrow, any griefs in heaven.
So this is for time. And
that He’s going to take all of your failures, He’s going to
take all of your
weaknesses, He’s going to take all of your negative volition,
He’s going to
take all of your slander, all of your immorality, all of your
He’s going to mix them together and He’s going to produce
divine good. Because the word for
“good” is this word in
the Greek, “agathos,” and this is a good, a thing which is
good in itself. It has value in itself,
intrinsic value, like
gold. Gold is good anywhere you find it. It has a value in itself.
And this is the kind of thing that God
produces that is good. Furthermore, this
happens to be a word that indicates a result.
All things work together to result in good. It is God’s good so it’s divine
All of these things, all of these
trials, all of the things
that constitute our experience produce divine good.
Now how can that be? Because
of the grace of God. It doesn’t
matter who you are or why those
things are there. It only depends on
what God is. And God’s grace takes
everything we experience and mixes it into a good result.
There is a grace factor in your
Christian suffering. Your suffering
combines with doctrinal
understanding in your soul and it produces divine good.
If doctrinal understanding is not there, your
suffering will produce bitterness and you’ll end up out of
fellowship. God makes the resulting good a
blessing. This thing is a great blessing
So here you have, of all things, God
saying, “I’ll make your
sufferings a blessing to you.” If
suffering is not a blessing to you, it’s because you’re out
of the plan of God. This is a great thing
that God should even
bring suffering. In heaven there can be
no suffering so He can’t show us how great is His grace and His
love for us,
but He does that now. It’s only
Now God’s plan is perfect, so
it’s greater than any problem
that comes into our life. There’s a
solution for every trial when you’re ready to receive it. I’m glad to say that no matter how you
up your life, I’ll tell you on the authority of this verse, that
it’s going to
come out good. Now hear it again. I don’t care how you mess up your life,
how you’ve messed up your life. Within
this auditorium, there’s all the trains of human tragedy and
human mess-up of one
kind or another. All the things that you
know that nobody else knows. But God
says that no matter you mess up your life you can’t ultimately
make it turn out
bad. He’s going to take every rotten
stinking bit of it, and He’s going to mix it together, and
it’s going to be
good that is good within itself because it’s divine good.
Now the connecting link between our
trials and failures in
this good is the knowledge of the Word of God.
We know that all things, all the sufferings and
experiences result in a
good. And who are the recipients? “Them that love God…,” a
certain group that
loved God, that’s one. And then
are another (group of) recipients: “…
them who are called.” And the
such, again, that indicates that it’s talking about the same
people. Them that love God, Christians who
by their faith in Christ put themselves in the position where they love
How do you love God?
Well you love God because of your position in Christ. Jesus Christ loves God and you are in
Him. Therefore you love God.
But you also love God as a result of
doctrine. Doctrine develops love in your
being so you love God in your experience.
Remember that in Matthew 18:21, this
same Peter that we’ve
been talking about asks the Lord how often he should forgive people who
wrong. The Lord’s answer was no
limitation. 1 John 1:9 which is the key to
for our sins in our practice puts on limitations. Psalm
78:39-40 tells about how God in the Old
Testament had no limitations on His grace.
Now Peter matured spiritually in time. As he went through his own life he learned
better from his early days, and the result was that he gives us that
advice in 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace and in the knowledge
of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ.” “But
grow in grace.” How do you grow in
grace? Through the knowledge of our Lord
So we’re back again to something
that we know. Doctrine in our human
spirits is converted
into grace. Peter did grow in
grace. How did he grow?
Well this verse that we teach our children
tells us. 1 Peter 2:2 says, “As
babes, desire the pure milk of the Word that ye may grow on it.” That’s how he grew and developed
Now Peter lays aside all of the
things, he says, that are
opposed to grace orientation in 1 Peter 2:1.
“Wherefore laying aside all malice and all
guile and hypocrisies and
envies and all evil speakings. Any of
these things that hinder our growth in grace, Peter says, put them
aside. Use the correct technique of
confession. Use the technique of grace
perception. God’s provision is ready
to build this
structure of maturity.
You know the story in Matthew 18:23-27
about the king who
had a servant who owed him a large sum of money: 10,000
talents, which amounts in our money to
$10 million. He couldn’t pay so the
forgave him. Now the parable tells us a
story. The king is God.
All men are born with sins, with a debt that
we cannot pay. Only Jesus Christ was
freeborn. He died spiritually for us and
paid the price. This servant who had
been forgiven $10 million had another fellow servant who owed him money. He owed him a very small sum, 200 denarii
which amounted to $20, and he asked him to pay this debt.
When the man said, “Would you give me a
little time?” he threw him into prison.
This is a beautiful example of the lack of grace
orientation. This man who had bene
forgiven $10 million
wouldn’t give $20 in somebody else.
If you and I do not deliver unlimited
forgiveness to those
who offend us, God will call us up to account.
A graceless mental attitude is going to bring
discipline into your life
every time. The discipline is going to
continue and the pressure is going to mount until we confess and until
Orientation to the grace of God. There are a few ways to demonstrate it as we
tie this up. Our orientation to the
grace of God is going to be evidenced to people. James
and John in Luke 9:51-56 are with the
Lord in Samaria. They observe the
disrespectful attitude of the Samaritans toward the Lord, so they asked
Lord whether they shouldn’t call down fire from heaven to destroy
people. Now that’s not being
But these men knew the Scriptures. They knew that in 2 Kings 1:9-12 there is the
story of how Elijah brought down upon the soldiers of King Ahaziah this
destruction from heaven. Now why was it
alright for Elijah to do that and not for them to call that down upon
these Samaritans? Because it’s a
different age. It’s a different ball
game. In the age of law everything was
just and the
decisions and the punishments were swift.
But today grace orientation means knowing that God
works in a different
way. Jesus Christ brought us grace and
So you go through the Scriptures and
you learn that Peter
progressed above all the other disciples from this position where he
was a very
graceless person, and we’re encouraged by the fact that he
progressed so we can
progress. He progressed in his salvation
toward being grace in his security and in his contact with God.
In the Old Testament the Jews had the
Urim and the Thummin
which was a system of flashing lights on the breastplate of the high
and God gave his will in that way. You
and I as Christians have a guidance system that is much superior, but
not oriented to grace, that guidance system breaks down for our
of the mind of God. Peter’s advice
to gird up our loins like a fisherman and pursue the grace of God. Hebrews 13:9 says that it is a good thing to
be oriented to the grace of God, and it is basic to serving Him.
So how do you and I know how we stand
on our own grace
orientation facet? How far have you
matured in grace? Here are some ideas to
give you some guidance: Ask yourself, do
you understand the principal of grace from the word of God? Do you grasp the principal of grace and what
that means? That it has freedom within
the restrictions of the Word of God.
Romans 4:3 says, “For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God and it was counted unto
him for righteousness. And to him that
worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace but of death.
But to him that worketh not but believeth on
Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for
righteousness.” Then in Romans 11:6,
we read, “And if by
grace then it is no more of works.
Otherwise grace is no more grace.
But if it be of works then it is no more grace,
otherwise work is no
more work.” First of all, do you
the principal of what it is to operate by grace, what God means by
Secondly, are you applying grace to
the maximum in your
experience? That is, is it a way of life
with you? 2 Corinthians 1:12 says,
our rejoicing is this: the testimony of
our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with
but by the grace of God we have behaved ourselves in the Word, and more
world and more abundantly toward you?
Are you applying grace in your experience? Is it a way of life with you?
Do you live by grace? You
You can examine and evaluate yourself.
And then do you continue to grow in
grace as 2 Peter 3:18
tells us to grow in grace? Now it
mean that you’ll never fail in grace again.
There will be times when you will fail.
Paul writes in Galatians 2:11, “But when Peter
was come to Antioch I
withstood him to the face because he was to be blamed for before
came from James he did eat with the Gentiles, but when they were come
withdrew and separated himself, fearing them who were of the
circumcision.” Here’s Peter
who tells us to grow in grace,
who made great strides in grace, and he breaks down all over again.
But do you grow in grace?
Are you every year, day-by-day, becoming more
relaxed, more at ease,
more confident in what God is doing for you and not what you’re
You may test your grace orientation if
you recognize that
you are the products of God’s grace. If
you have some delusions about what makes you so great, you’re not
grace-oriented (1 Corinthians 15:10). You
can test yourself as to whether you ignore the grace principal (2
6:1). There are a lot of Christians who
haven’t learned to live and let live.
Those are the people who are weak on grace.
Does your grace overflow into the
lives of others? 2 Corinthians 8:7 tells
about the grace of
giving and how it overflowed into the lives of Christians who were in
need. And when people come up against
you, do they feel that you’re operating on grace toward them? There are some people that you’re with,
had many Christians say this to me. They
describe some oppressive situation out of which they have come. Sometimes it’s a church.
And they just tell me how miserable and how
ill-at-ease they were. I’ve had
tell me they visited this family, and “They are so legalistic. They are so disoriented to grace that it was
just terribly uncomfortable to be around them.”
I had one man tell me that “I
worked in this place for a
while. It was a school.
And they were so legalistic that I felt
guilty I turned my television set on.” One
of our missionaries told about walking down the mission compound with
television set in his hand, and some of his missionary friends were
out on the front steps on the door were yelling, “Hey, sin. Bad.
Devil.” And there
people, you’re just miserable around them because they’re
You can test yourself as to whether
you reflect God’s grace
to His glory and not abusing your liberty (Ephesians 1:6).
You demonstrate it to the world (Ephesians
2:7). Your speech is seasoned with grace
(Ephesians 4:7, 29). You treat others in
grace, especially those who deserve it the least (Ephesians 4:32,
3:13b). You pray confidently because you
are grace-oriented (Hebrews 4:16). You
don’t become bitter (Hebrews 12:15).
Best of all, you’re a stable person (1 Peter
5:12). You can examine your life. You can see where you stand in reference to
the orientation of the grace of God.
Dr. John E. Danish, 1971
to the Basic Bible Doctrine index
the Bible Questions index