GOD’S UNMERITED FAVOUR BY RAYMOND MCGOUGH

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God’s unmerited favour
By R. McGough Introduction To simplify the gospel of the Kingdom of God or as it is more commonly known the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ; the New Testament uses one word, and that word is the term grace, we will recognize how important our understanding of this will be as we explore further this important attribute of God, one of his many attributes. We will also look at the Old Testament’s definition of grace. Thomas Olden‘s definition: “Grace is the favor shown by God to sinners. It is the divine goodwill offered to those who neither inherently deserve nor ever hope to earn it. It is the divine disposition to work in our hearts, wills, and actions, so as actively to communicate God’s self giving love to humanity.”(1) Before you and I can understand the meaning of grace, we must first of all experience it, for that to happen we need to acknowledge our own sinful nature, and our need of grace. When we come to that point of recognizing our need of God’s grace and we do something about it, by accepting his grace. Jesus then honours us: “(Matt.5:3.) “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” The grace of God as seen in the New Testament’s understanding of it is that the word brings together all of the benefits of God to mankind, one of them being the most important doctrine of all salvation, all freely given to us by God. But more importantly, the grace of God is in the invisible power he provides to those who are fettered by their own self will, and which also brings his healing to their bruised spirit. If there is an expression to sum up the doctrine of Salvation it can only be grace. We must also understand that it is God who makes the initiative to bend down to his fallen race to provide salvation towards them. I have previously said that the grace of God can also be found in the Old Testament, but the fullest fulfillment of it is in the New Testament which was made visible in God’s Son Jesus Christ. However, we will look at the Old Testament’s understanding of it. The attribute of grace found in the Hebrew of the Bible is the word chen, which is a noun, translated as either grace or favor. The two most prominent words for grace which are to be found in the Old Testament are the adjective, gracious, and the verb, to be gracious. Our adjective, “channun” and then the verb, “chanan”. Nehemiah the prophet writes in his book of the adjective, “gracious,” Hebrew: “channun.” (Neh.9:17.) “…But you are God, Ready to pardon, Gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, Abundant in kindness, And did not forsake them.” He has had first hand experience of God’s gracious acts towards him, and his people. We can also find that this word gracious is more often than not extended to include the term compassion. (Ps. 111:4.) “He has made his wonderful works to be remembered; The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.” God is very different in his nature compared to fallen humanity. (Jonah.4:2.) So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah,

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Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” We need to look at Jonah’s reaction to God when he was given his directive of what he was to do. It was one of immense displeasure and anger. (Jonah.4:1.) But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.” Quite a contrast to God’s attitude who wanted to show compassion to the people of Nineveh. (Jonah, 4:11.) “And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left- and much livestock?” (Isa.30:18.) Therefore the Lord will wait that he may be gracious (chanan) to you. He continues to wait to show his unmerited favor to the fallen in today’s world made visible to us through Jesus Christ his Son the next part of the study from the New Testament perspective. We find the New Testament’s definition of grace from the fourth gospel according to John, but we turn to Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth for its technical definition: (2.Cor.12:9.) And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Grace in this context comes from the New Testament Greek word, charis, (khar-ece); Strong’s # 5485; The term comes from the root expression, chara. Meaning to rejoice, and charis causes rejoicing. The chief word to describe God’s grace which he provides to sinful mankind is described as unmerited favor, a free gift, a blessing that is certainly not deserved. Turning to the fourth gospel according to John, he more than any other New Testament author brings the activity of God’s grace towards mankind to the final pinnacle in his narrative of it, describing the birth of his Son Jesus Christ to the world, God becoming man. He becoming the flesh of a man is the significance of becoming the Incarnate one. (Jn.1:14.) “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth.” It can be said that the grace of God the Father reaches its height in the visibility of it appearing in the birth of human flesh in his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, the ultimate pinnacle of his grace, the unmerited favor manifested to us in his Son the Lord Jesus Christ, he is the visibility of the Father’s grace towards us. John.1:16. “For of his fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” John instructs us that the grace of God comes from his fullness. He does not give from the impersonal nature of his separateness from this world; on the contrary he is very personal, he, and the Son are one that makes him very personal. (Jn.14:11.) “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me, or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.” We can go as far as to say, God meets our needs in the person of the man Jesus Christ, God, and man, his Son, our Lord, providing to us his power, and provision. To know the grace of God towards us is to know the love of his Son Jesus Christ as fully as our spirit and intellect can receive or intelligence. (Ephes.3:19.) “…to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

(i) God’s unmerited favour The Apostle Paul’s interpretation of Grace Paul really knew from his encounters with the living God the experimental life of grace, because he experienced it in his life, as can be seen in his letters of the New Testament. He was the first apologetic of the faith. His interpretation of grace was through experience, and the

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guiding influence, and power of the Holy Spirit. The name apologetic comes from the expression apologetics, describing individuals who defend the Christian faith with a reasoned logic, Paul was such a person. Nobody better than Paul knew what the contribution of God’s grace meant to him, it radically changed his life. You can say, it revolutionized his whole idea of God. He rebuked those who after their conversion to Christianity turned back to the Law of Moses, seeking circumcision of the flesh. ( Gal.5:4). “ You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by Law; you have fallen from grace.” Estranged means no longer living with your husband or the husband is no longer living with his wife. Those who now looked to the Law after conversion had cut themselves off from Christ their justification was no longer under God’s grace. The apostle knew from part of his life long experience particularly before his conversion the futility of trying to keep the Law of Moses, and that it could not work you could not earn or work for your salvation. After his radical transformation to Christianity, from his confrontation with the risen glorified Christ, on the road to Damascus, he became the greatest exponent of God’s grace to humanity. He became the apostle of God’s grace the very first New Testament theologian. The grace afforded to Paul would leave its mark upon his earthly life. In point of fact, his calling was because of God’s grace which was extended to him, made visible by the risen glorified Lord’s meeting with him upon the road to Damascus. God’s unmerited favor in which the apostle Paul was one of its chief’s recipients, how fitting that he was called by God to write a doctrine upon this amazing subject, because he more than any other had experienced it in his life. Chief to Pauline thought regarding a more explicit elaboration upon the subject of grace is what is closely aligned to it in close proximity we have the power, which comes from God’s grace. The word grace still retains its meaning of unmerited favor, but from that favor we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, graciously provided to us from God. The unmerited favor of God provides to the believer through the gift of the Holy Spirit the ability to live a Christ like life, with that being the case God’s unmerited favor is expressed in the believer’s life. According once again to Pauline thought under the influence of the Spirit of God the grace which God freely bestows upon the believer gives that person the source of power, guidance, and direction. For those who know God through the grace revealed to us made visible by the resurrected glorified Lord, Jesus Christ, what is contained within that grace forwarded to the believer is the Spirit of God to them which will energize and give them the ability to overcome the enemy of this age. Turning to the fourth gospel according to John he makes the comment: “For of his fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” (Jn.1:16.) Quote “The fact that John states that grace comes from His fullness teaches that grace is more than God’s disposition or impersonal favor. It is God meeting us at our point of need in the person of Jesus Christ, including all His power and provision.”p1444. New Spirit Filled Life Bible. Publisher .Thomas Nelson. From a New Testament stand point the teaching of God’s grace or unmerited favour towards mankind finds its initiation in the gospel of God, otherwise known as the Good News of God the Father, which was revealed by his Son the Lord Jesus Christ to humanity, and continues to be revealed to mankind. We must continue going back to this very important doctrine, no matter how long we have been in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ to allow the Spirit of God to provide us with a fresh impetus. (Rom.1:1.) “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.” It is through grace (unmerited favor,) that mankind can be justified without any cost through being redeemed in and through Christ Jesus. Although in the text it reads, “Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” It is best understood as being delivered by the payment of a ransom, usually money, for someone who has been kidnapped, but in this case, particularly the New Testament’s meaning, it is the deliverance from the evil of this age, and the penalty of sin, paid by the blood that was shed upon the cross by Christ Jesus. He through these means justifies mankind, once they have accepted him are declared righteous in the sight of God the Father, and covered or imputed with his righteousness. (Rom.3:24, 25.) “…being justified without any cost by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (25) whom

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God sets forth as propitiation by His blood, through faith to demonstrate his righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.” The very undeniable fact is as we can see from the above texts which states that we have received God’s grace by the one man God’s Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The grace which is spoken of here was acquired by the death of the crucifixion of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, upon the cross, and then raised to life by his Father on the third day. Access to this grace can only come from our Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore; the doctrine of grace is developed further under Pauline thought, and theology, described as the grace of God, which can be seen in the gift of one man, which is also seen as the grace of that one man, Jesus Christ. So powerful is the love of God released towards us in the person of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, it enabled him to victoriously triumph over God’s judgment brought about by one man’s disobedience Adam, effecting the whole human race for generations to come until God’s Son our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world. Praise God! (Rm.5:15.) “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.” We can also say that the salvation afforded to us is of God’s gracious free will of unmerited favour summed up in one word his grace towards us. (Ephes.2:8, 9.) “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.” It can also be said that the unmerited favour of which we enjoy comes from the initiative action of the one triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by showing kindness, and love to us, which is of the grace of God, further to that, he rebirthed our spirits by the gift of the Holy Spirit to provide eternal life for the future, and energize us to please him in our earthly lives. (Titus.3:4-7.) “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, (5) not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, (6) whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, (7) that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (ii) God reforms his church From roughly the end of the third century A.D. onwards the doctrine of God’s grace towards all humanity had been almost lost to the traditions of men, and legalistic rules to be obeyed at all costs in order to gain salvation, the ecclesiastical trappings of the earthly church. It was a time of dark despair for lesser mortals as viewed by the Roman Catholic Church Hierarchy, but all was not lost, God already had someone in mind to revive his Church. The person whom God had in mind was born into the world in 1483 A.D. who would later on become a Roman Catholic Monk; little did he know of God’s plans for him. It was while he was studying that the Spirit of God came upon him giving him the proper interpretation of the Apostle Paul’s chapters in the New Testament upon the subject of God’s grace to all. From that tiny beginning Martin Luther would become to be known as the earliest reformer to start the great Reformation of the Roman Catholic Church of the 16th century A.D. But regretfully instead of listening to the truth of God, they excommunicated him, who promptly started a church under his own name, but that was not his intent, he had wanted to see his own church come under the reformation of God’s Spirit.

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God’s unmerited favour which is summed up in the one word, grace, waits for each generation to rediscover that all they need to live the Christian life to the full is to be found in God’s grace towards man. It is in the very grace of God that we find the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to grasp how to become more like our risen glorified Lord, Jesus Christ. (2) Quote. “Even evangelicals need to be reoriented

from time to time. Philip Yancey, Scott Hoezee, Chuck Swindoll, and Jerry Bridges have provided the evangelical community- and all Christians, for that matter- with life transforming treatments of the liberating truth of the grace of God to help us in that process.” We see what the grace of God meant to Paul in his conversation with Timothy in his first letter to him. (1.Tim.1:13, 14.) It is in Paul’s testimony to Timothy in which we find the goodness of God’s grace towards him. This unbelievable goodness of God’s grace is extended to all who accept his Son Jesus Christ as Lord, believable, and yet unbelievable the mercy God wants to extend to man through the grace of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. “… although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violently arrogant man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. (14) And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” Grace, that is, God’s unmerited favour is available to the whole of mankind, while they still live, and breathe under God’s control, with his limitless patience towards every man and woman, to allow them to consider the claims of the gospel of his Son Jesus Christ upon them. The very same claims he has upon you, and me. (1.Tim.1:15-17) “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptances, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. (16) However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.(17) Now to the King eternal, immortal invisible, the only God who alone is wise, be honour and glory forever and ever.” Amen. Patience and longsuffering as God sees it can only be described of him alone, because it is infinite, and eternal, as he is, gracious in his grace towards us. The highest moment of the manifestation of God’s grace towards us must be when he stooped down to the earth in the person of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who becomes a man, but he is both God and man, but no longer has the power as one who is God. What an astounding humiliation for the one who is God to be stripped of his power to please his Father on our behalf, nothing like it had been seen before, and never again, this plunges the depths, and beyond of both the Father, and the Son’s magnanimous favour towards us, which is not merited by us in any capacity, commonly known as our Lord’s Incarnation, God becoming man and God in the flesh, and it can be said it is the greatest sign of God’s unmerited favour towards us or one of the earliest signs of. The Apostle Paul often spoke of it in his contributions of his writings to the New Testament. See his second letter to the church at Corinth. (2.Cor.8:9.) “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich.” (iv) The mercy that God provides through grace. Everything in Pauline thought and theology, especially salvation comes under the heading of grace, including our Christian life. Most importantly relating to the Pauline 6

theology on grace, another aspect of it comes under the sub heading of our Christian life is consecration, and sanctification of each individual disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ of which Paul exhorts the practical side of in his letter to the church at Rome: we can see this in its universal world wide application to God’s people wherever they are. (Rom.12:1.2.) “I beseech you therefore; brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” The mercies of God of which you and I enjoy can be said are the cornerstone of what Paul has already said in His letter to Rome. God’s mercies in which he supplies to us through his grace, as revealed towards us in the person of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ is the proper instrument to interpret the next three chapters of Paul’s letter to the saints at Rome, (Rom.9-11.) which has met with controversy from some areas. As has been said earlier, consecration is for our bodies. It is not an airy fairy idea or a heavenly celestial concept with no substance, grace should affect the whole of our lives not something that is remote in our imagination. But it is inappropriate to analyze or study the remaining doctrines outside of the doctrine of grace; they are all under its banner, the doctrines of predestination, election, assurance, apostasy, and glorification, and much more. The very centre of Paul’s doctrine of grace which we find in the gospel of God or God’s unmerited favour which also finds its expression in the good news of God finds an expansion of this in Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, (Rom.8:28-30.) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (29) For him He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called, whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified these He also glorified.” All of these come to us from the unmerited favour of God which is under its umbrella. God’s tremendous promise has brought, and brings comfort and great encouragement down through the ages to the believers of every century, that everything works for our good, because of our love for God, once again the mercy and the goodness of God that he continues to shower upon us. Further elaboration of that is the fact that nothing will ever separate us from God. (Rom.8:37, 39.) The assurance of the assuring words of God that he will finish the work he started within us, marvelous is his mercy, and compassion to behold. However in the continuing three chapters of Romans the apostle Paul introduces the idea of predestination, and then stretches it to include election, that which has caused down through the centuries great debate. What was the significance behind his words, when he used the phrase: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined,” Whatever the interpretation surely the only one to think of is that he, and she, whom he already knew, before anything was, he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the goal he set in motion for every believer, sanctifying them into the one body, known as the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, which every believer is a member of introducing the doctrine of sanctification, and to then be resurrected on the final day,and then glorified with our Lord, totally beyond our human reasoning to grasp hold of , but

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our spirit rejoices immensely at the prospect, what we have here is reality, not a dry as dust academic Biblical Theology. I was given a sound piece of advice from one of my tutors at college quite a long time ago, and it has stuck with me, there is no such thing as a closed systematic theology, you cannot stick God in a book, and close the covers upon him, the Bible is there for us to get to know him, and through his Spirit, he speaks to us outside of it, because he is outside of it. The will and purpose of God is worked out in his method of sanctification of the present life, and the church, and carries on into the life to come in the new bodies provided to us, raised, and then glorified ( Rom.8:30.). “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called these He also justified; and whom He justified these He also glorified.” A note of caution in regard to Paul’s ideas on the doctrine of predestination, he did not intend it to be thought of as coming from a god who must cause his control to be absolute over the individual person, our God is not like that. We can see that in the previous text from Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, he speaks of being called by God, with that being the case the response of accepting God’s calling is down to the individual. We can say, with confidence that the doctrine of predestination is experienced by God’s people who know him experientially through his grace or unmerited favour which predestination is part of which he bestows upon them. (v) God’s grace an active part of the Christian life.

From the very beginning of our conversion to Christ Jesus the unmerited favour of God will be active in each of us until we are called home. Grace is not static; it is active in all who commit themselves to God. Grace is always active in the believer God’s unmerited favour being shown to others, through each individual believer, from that we can see God is always active in the believer, illuminating his favour upon them like light shining in the darkness of this world. No where else in the New Testament than the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth is this better expressed concerning the active dynamics of grace in the believers life.( 1.Cor.15:10.) “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” Therefore from the Apostle Paul’s point of view, although he was laboring for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it was not really him that was doing it, but the grace of God compelled Him. How do we understand this? I think a good analogy would be to think of the Apostle Paul as an earthen vessel with the active dynamic grace being in him, driving him on for the purposes of God. I think we can safely say that this is an indirect reference to God the Holy Spirit, who resides in the spirit of every believer. He works to bring God’s grace into our lives, he executes or initiates in the beginning at the moment of conversion our salvation, part of God’s grace, and mercy towards us. To some extent it concerns predestination, and election, but not the whole picture. The apostle Paul was very Christological, that is to say, that in his theology, closely entwined with Christology, as far as he was concerned, almost everything, I would go so far as to say, in his view everything is related to Christ, particularly the doctrines of predestination, and election taking the centre stage.

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(vi) God the Father elected us in and through His Son Having ended on the note of predestination, and election under the grace of God or his unmerited favour, we will now look at his process of the divine election, and also look at the other contributors of this doctrine outside of Paul to the New Testament. But we will look at it primarily as being chosen by God through his Son the Lord Jesus Christ. This marks out the believers as being the recipients of God’s unmerited favour, the choice is of God’s, not because we deserve it or have earned it, only because he loves us. Jesus is recorded by the Apostle Matthew vocally speaking upon this doctrine, (Matt.24:22.) “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” Now we turn to what the apostle Paul taught upon the subject: (Rom.8:33.) “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is a God who justifies,” he also writes of the election to the saints at Colosse. (Col.3:12.) “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;” The greatest exposition of our predestination, and election, in my view, is found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the saints at Ephesus. (Ephes.1:3-14.) When reading this passage of Scripture one cannot help but notice its highly Trinitarian content, that is to say, what is on view here is the three persons of the godhead, each equally God in their own right, but still one God, but that is another study. We still have under consideration God’s doctrine of grace or his unmerited favour of which believers receive the blessings of on a daily basis. I have already said earlier, the initiative of the grace, which we have already received, comes first and foremost from God the Father; the idea of it finds its root in Him, as does everything, infact everything of this passage points to him, he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, (1:3,) provided to us his redemption, (1:7,) given to us his divine seal, (1:13.) Equally as important, all of these blessings from God the Father are provided to us in his Son Christ Jesus. Although the whole idea of God’s unmerited favour is provided to mankind finds its root in him, his choice is to reveal it in, and through Christ. The same idea is carried into Paul’s letter to the church at Colosse, continuing the theme of everything that God does is in and through his Son Jesus Christ, concerning creation, and redemption ( Col.1: 15,16.) “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (16) For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” Therefore, although the whole plan of the doctrine of grace proceeds from God the Father his choice is to reveal it to mankind through his Son Jesus Christ. What is unanimously agreed in the passage under consideration is the origin of choice belongs to God of those whom he has chosen for himself (1:4,) “…just as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world,” He, is God the Father, Him, is his Son, Jesus Christ. God the Father planned it, executed through God the Son, Jesus Christ by the help of God the Holy Spirit. God had already chosen those who would be his, which is covered by the doctrine of predestination, who they are is left to his knowledge of them, who will be revealed, when they respond to the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not everyone will be saved, because God does not force himself upon anyone. See the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: ( 1.Cor.1:18.) “ For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved

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it is the power of God.” We must never think of God the Father and the Son working separately, both work along with each other in harmony. Not only has the Father chosen us for himself, he has also adopted us in and through his Son Jesus Christ. (1;5.) “ … having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,” When we think of God, we must also think of the three individuals, not necessarily in that order, but each of them make up the trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, commonly known as the godhead or the one triune God. All three are involved in the grace that is forwarded to us. (vii) Whom God already knew. What is the foreknowledge of God as he sees it? We can only look to his word to be able to supply the answers, especially, once again the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. ( Rom.8:29.30.) “ 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. (30) Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified these He also glorified.” The inescapable conclusion from the beginning of the passage is the fact that not all will meet the remit of the first clause of the sentence, “ For whom He foreknew,” because it only concentrates upon those who voluntarily have accepted God’s Son Jesus Christ to be Lord, and which is the only course open for God’s predetermined plan to conform them into the image of his Son. Therefore, the Apostle Paul is focusing upon God’s plan for his elect, which also indirectly speaks of those who have chosen not to believe. It is upon this basis of what God already knew in regard to who would accept or reject his Son Jesus Christ as Lord the former he has destined for glory. But down through the ages from the 16th century A.D. onwards a number of weak interpretations of God’s word have come to the fore. The thoughts of the hyper Calvinistic views on predestination are one of them. But would Calvin agree with it? We will never know. They reject the above conclusion; foreknowledge according to their thinking is on personal terms with no acknowledgement to God’s intervention of choice to provide his salvation to us on his previous knowledge of our decisions. The hyper Calvinistic interpretation on predestination is very extreme adding on things I believe are in error. We have the idea coming from their conclusions that because God has already chosen the elect, there is no necessity to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, that somehow or other God through his Spirit will speak to them individually on a personal basis, because he already knows who they are. I agree God will speak to individuals on a personal basis, but that is not the only way he works, it also denies the great commission that our risen Lord gave to his apostles. Evidence of this is found in the gospel according to Matthew: Matt.28: 18-20. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (19) Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. The reality of living in the Spirit of God can be seen here, you can feel Him speaking to us through the various passages of Scripture that has been under our scrutiny.

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Why, while studying the teachings concerning the doctrine of God’s grace do we look at the thoughts of men upon the subject? To hear what the Spirit of God had to say through them, to uplift our spirits, and guard them from error. However; a rebuttal of the extreme views of the hyper Calvinistic understanding of predestination came from the Theologian Jacob Arminius born 1560 and died 1609 his contribution to the debate became known as Arminianism which holds the view that the hyper Calvinistic interpretation of predestination is in error, because it only offers atonement to a limited few. The Arminius stance on predestination is that our election is according to the predetermined knowledge of our faith, which is possessed by God who provides us with the belief to believe that his Son, Jesus Christ died for the whole world, making his grace, something you find hard to resist. Arminius accepts the possibility of falling into apostasy, that is, denying the claims of Christ upon the life of a believer, after accepting them, and moving away from faith. Is it possible to loss faith? I do not believe so, but it is possible to show a form of godliness, that requires neither faith, nor salvation. We can read of this in the Apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy: 2.Tim.3: 2-5! (2) For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, (4) traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, (5) having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” The passage just mentioned from Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy is proof that not every believer who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord is in any shape or form genuine, but that is another study. Turning to the doctrine of God’s grace for the whole of mankind the question must be asked what part will God’s own people Israel have? The argument being grace is for all, even although the individual is free to choose his own path rejecting the offer of grace, but we are talking about a whole race of people, who have rejected the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, who formerly belonged to God under the Old Testament, if we are able to phrase it as such? What are we to therefore make of God’s sovereign will and purpose of his saving grace for the whole of the human race? Are we really sure, and positive about the outcome of our faith, can God really be trusted? We need to ask the question of how God’s people the Jews, and the Gentiles all fit together under the Lord’s plan of salvation, an integral thread of the Doctrine of God’s grace. Paul the Apostle addresses such vexing questions in his letter to the believers in Rome, although it takes three chapters to sufficiently answer in detail what the remedy would be, the remedy being God’s mercy. (Rom.chs.9-11.) See Paul’s Letter to the believers in Rome: (Rom.11:30-33.) “For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have obtained mercy through their disobedience, (31) even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. (32) For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. (33) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” He, that is Paul, addresses the issue at hand, while writing to the believers in Rome. What is of chief concern are both the disobedience of God’s own people, the Jews, and the Gentiles, including the rest of the nations in the 11

heart, and mind of Paul. He first addresses their disobedience towards God that is, the Gentiles, and other non Jews, who are believers. He further as a Jew himself converted to Christ makes an astounding claim that it is through his people’s disobedience God’s chosen race, that they have received mercy. Israel will always be God’s chosen people; the church is the vine that has been grafted on to the true Israel, like the Apostle Paul who was converted to Christ the Messiah. Even although, even now Israel was still continuing to be disobedient, when seeing the mercy afforded to the Gentiles by God that at some point they may be provided with the same quality of mercy. But going back to what Paul had said earlier, (11:26, 27.) And so all Israel will be delivered, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion; And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; (27) for this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” Not all of God’s chosen race will be saved, the Apostle Paul does not teach it in his letter to the church at Rome. (10:2, 3.) “For I bear them witness that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” You therefore cannot have a right relationship standing before God, unless you come to him through faith alone in Christ. When the apostle uses the word all, he is meaning it in the sense he used it for the Gentiles (11:5, 25.) (5) “Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (25) For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own estimation, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” There will be a huge turning of God’s own people Israel to Christ, once the fullness of the Gentiles is reached. However; both Jew and Gentile including the whole of humanity God destined to be disobedient towards him in order that he would show mercy on all. ( 11:32.) “For God has shut them all up to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.” The challenge that continues before us is the fact, which will always be the case, until we are called home is the battle of our faith against our unbelief. The conclusion of chapter eleven turns our eyes to the greatness, and the glory of the omnipotent eternal God. (11:36.) “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Our response is to fall on our knees in worship giving Him all the praise and the glory. Salvation comes from God’s grace, otherwise known as his unmerited favour, that is, the doctrine, we are studying, believing or belief to believe God’s salvation, which comes from his grace, is another doctrine, which is under the doctrine of his unmerited favour, commonly known as his grace. There is more to discuss concerning the doctrine of God’s grace, which he affords to us, making it visible in the person of his Son, the risen. Glorified Lord. Jesus Christ. A note of caution, the study of God’s word is not to inflate our oversized intellectual egos, rather bring us closer to God with the help of God the Holy Spirit in making us more like his Son, our risen Lord. Jesus Christ in the lives we lead on earth. By this very same grace that God has given to us, he has provided Spiritual gifts to each of us, but not to be used selfishly for our own ends, they are for the edifying ,and building up of the body Of Christ ,which we are members of being his church. The Apostle Paul writes of this in his first letter to the believers at Corinth. (1.Cor.12:7.) “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” Almost an echo from the Fourth Gospel from the pen of John, the apostle of Jesus Christ. (Jn 1:16.) “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” We who 12

have received the grace of God must in turn show that grace to one another, who are in the body of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, which is his church.

Bibliography (1) P106. Truth Aflame. Author. Larry.D. Hart. Publisher .Zondervan. Scriptures from the New Spirit Filled Life Bible New King James Version. Publisher. Thomas Nelson.

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