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1. Introduction

This lesson will teach us about grace when you are born again. Some theologians refer to saving grace. We will see that there is nothing different between the grace that occurs when you are born again and the grace required to empower you for anything else.

2. Is There a Saving Grace? 

A. Definition of Saving Grace.

Saving grace describes a theological term for a special grace that brings a person into the family of God through Jesus Christ. It comes from the scripture in Ephesians:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10

In our lesson on Transformation Through Salvation, we will look at this verse in great detail.

B. Historical Perspective.

We must understand the historical perspective of the term ‘saving grace’ and when Paul wrote this.
Paul addresses significant issues across the region’s churches that Judaism was countering. Judaism required the following of the law- the question of circumcision.

And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Acts 15:1

So, Paul addresses the problem of works-based salvation from your sins. The Jewish believers said that the Gentile believers needed to undergo circumcision and attend the Sabbaths (See Sabbath Rest) and Passover, Pentecost, Day of Atonement, feasts of Trumpets and Tabernacles.

having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in itSo let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival (feast) or a new moon or sabbaths,

Colossians 2:14-16

When the law was nailed to the cross, so were the Sabbath and feasts.

C. Luther’s Reformation.

Luther’s sound spiritual truth is central to the reformation: “Salvation is not by works but by grace”. This ministry states this as a foundational truth in its Statement of Faith.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8

However, we must remember that Luther’s reformation was a reaction to the extremes of the Roman Catholic Church, which had gone into deception. They stated that to be saved required work for the church’s service. For example, giving finances to the church would help you. Therefore, the reformation was a reaction – and when there are reactions, it can result in an opposite response that can lose its original meaning. 

3. Penal Substitution View of ‘Saving’ Grace

A. What is the Penal Substitution View?

Martin Luther and later John Calvin’s works resulted in a “Penal Substitution” View that needed a special saving grace rather than just grace.
Penal substitution teaches that God is—so He MUST punish sin. Therefore, in the Penal Substitution View, a new believer in Christ gets a ‘free pass’ from God’s judgment, and Jesus is the “asbestos suit” against God’s fiery wrath. If, as these people say, God is filled with rage, it raises the critical question, “Does mankind need saving from an angry God?!”
(See also ‘Propitiation- Mercy or Judgement‘ AND ‘Covenantal Atonement‘.)

B. Grace is not Just Unmerited Favour.

From the Penal Substitution View grew the popular definition of grace as an unmerited favour.

In Grace, we see that unmerited favour is not a helpful definition of grace.

4. Covenantal View of ‘Saving’ Grace

Entrance into the family of God through the new birth and New Covenant by receiving these gifts of grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

There is no ‘saving’ grace because grace for ‘salvation’ does not need to be separated from all other ‘types’ of grace.

When a seeker becomes a believer, how is grace imparted?

5. Grace is Imparted when we are Adopted into the Family of God

A. Jesus’ Death.

The first thing that happens is Jesus’ death atones for our sins and sicknesses.

B. We Become the Righteousness of God.

We receive an impartation of His righteousness and become the righteousness of God.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21

C. Holy Spirit Fills.

As a result, we become a new creation and receive a new heart. Once we have God’s righteousness, the Holy Spirit can enter us.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 

Ezekiel 36:26
D. New Life.

Jesus’ Covenant brings breath and new life, and this life is eternal. In the same way, the Holy Spirit breathed life into Adam and Eve, and the Holy Spirit breathed life into us.

And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.

John 20:22

E. Impartation of the Spirit of God.

We receive an impartation of the Spirit of God into our new hearts.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15

F. The Spirit of God cries out from within our Hearts.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

Galatians 4:6

G. An Heir of God and a co-heir of Christ.

We also receive an impartation of becoming an heir of God and a co-heir of Christ.

and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Romans 8:17

6. Grace CAN be Completed Without Any Work on Man’s Behalf

A. Jeremiah’s Call.

Jeremiah did not have to do anything to be called because it occurred before birth.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:5

B. The call of Paul.

Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.
Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Acts 9:1-9

6. Grace CAN Require Work on Man’s Behalf

A. We can Fall Short of the Grace of God.

looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

Hebrews 12:15

B. We can Resist God’s Grace.

Believers can resist God’s grace contrary to what Reformed theology teaches.

We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:1

C. We can become Strong in Grace.

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:1

Did you notice that somebody had to exert energy in all three scriptures?

7. God is Sovereign and Can Choose to Exercise Grace Alone or Have us Exercise Grace as Well

A. God, in His Sovereignty, may act monergistically (by Himself).

We see this in the life of both Jeremiah and Saul.

B. God, in His Sovereignty, can work synergistically.

Paul is encouraging the Philippians to practise everything they have learned, heard or seen and to put them into practice.

The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:9

Exercising grace doesn’t need any waiting on God. We should imitate what we see godly men and women of God do. Under God’s inspiration, Paul encourages us to do it!

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:1

9. Our Walk With God

A. The Concept of God’s Sovereignty.

We need to understand the concept of God’s sovereignty in our walk with God.

  • Learning to wait for God -If we are the type of person who always steps out by faith, believing that God will bless our actions (synergistically), there may come a time when God puts us in the waiting room, and He will not work with us until we learn to wait for Him.
  • Learning to step out in faith- If we like to wait for God to move (monergistically) slowly, then there may come a time when God will not speak to us about the next step. He may want us to step out in faith after praying and exercise grace in our lives, and then He will work with us.

10. How do we Tell Which Season we are in?

A. Get alone with God if you are the synergistic type!
B. If you are monergistic and expect God to do it all, step out in faith if nothing seems to be happening.
C. Remain Teachable.

Being teachable will help us avoid getting stuck in a theological rut, where we may continue doing the same things in the same way and not see the fruit we want to achieve.


11. We Have an Imperishable Seed – that will Grow

A. Conformed to His image.

The imperishable seed will conform us to the image of His Son.

having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

1 Peter 1:23

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Romans 8:29

12. Summary

  • We now see that God’s plan is much more than redemption!
  • Grace is much more than saving us from our sins!
  • It is making us into glorified sons and daughters who will reign forever.

© Use by Permission. Awakening Impact Ministries/ Dr Neville van Eerten D.Miss. 2024

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