How can grace be earned

Wonderful grace

In the article "God Loves You" we learned that God loves us and that He has demonstrated this through wonderful works. In this issue I intend to look at the basis of one's relationship with God. There would be no reason for this consideration if there weren't many different kinds of relationships established on different levels. The need for this inquiry becomes even more important when one considers the fear many Christians fear that their relationship with God will one day end, perhaps because of mistakes that (they believe) God does not please. This section shows that our relationship with God cannot be ended because that relationship is based on grace, not works.

1. What is grace?

The word grace, which is used in the German translation, is the Greek translation of the word "CHARIS" and that means "free, undeserved favor". In the Bible it means "God's undeserved favor". The importance of explaining this word correctly and precisely enough cannot be emphasized enough, for far too often people confuse grace with works. However, grace and works are absolutely different things. Romans 4: 4 tells us:

Romans 4.4
"It's like this: if I do a job, I am entitled to a wage. It is not a gift, but I have earned it." ( Hope for all )

The word gift in this verse is the word "charis" in the Greek text and, as we have learned, means grace. What this text is telling us is that if someone works for something, what he gets for it is a reward. What he gets for this is not a gift, because he worked for it and he deserved it. Likewise, the Word of God tells us that if God gives us something by grace, it means that it is a gift. We didn't work for it and we didn't need any special qualifications. It is clear that either we deserve something through our works or we have received it through grace. You can't do both at the same time. The difficulty in understanding and accepting this is why many Christians, instead of rejoicing over what they already have by grace and using it to build their relationship with God, continue to try to work out what they already have to have. Another passage that defines the word grace and compares it to works is in Romans 11; 6th

Romans 11: 6
"But if it is by grace, it is not of works; otherwise grace would not be grace." (Luther)

This verse explains to us, once again, what we have already seen: if one has earned something through works it is no grace because otherwise "grace would no longer be grace" !!! How clear and pure is God's Word. Many of us, as we study the word of God, think that it must mean something other than what is said; Ultimately, we need to understand that God's word means what it says and says what it means. It is a kind of refusal to accept when we look at the word of God as if gift equals reward and grace equals works. We go to the Word of God with the ready-made idea that we have to do something to get a correct position before God and then we see in the Word of God that the correct position has already been obtained through grace through the consummation of the Lord Jesus Christ and then care we turn to what is wrong with the word. Rather, we should ask ourselves what is wrong with our ready-made ideas. When you read the Word of God, NEVER HAVE PRE-BUILT IDEAS. You should read it so that your ideas adapt to the Bible and not the Bible to your ready-made ideas. When we look at the concepts of salvation and righteousness contemplated here and see the confusion involved, it is no wonder that God pays so much attention to making it clear that when He says grace is also about grace and not works !!! May we understand and appreciate that God pays so much attention to us.

2. Righteous, salvation by grace

The good news contained in the part of God's Word addressed to the believers after Pentecost is that Jesus Christ fulfilled all the necessary conditions for us to be righteous and saved only by believing in him. That's really good news, isn't it? The letter to the Ephesians tells us:

Ephesians 2.8
"For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is God's gift; not of works, so that no one should boast." (Rev. Elberfelder)

Likewise: Romans 3: 20-24, 28
"For one thing is certain: with deeds as required by the law, no man can stand before God as righteous. Through the law we first learn to know the full power of sin. But now God's righteousness, namely his saving fidelity, is evident He has opened a way to life that does not lead through the law and yet is in accordance with what the law and the prophets testify.This way consists in faith, that is, in trusting what God through Jesus Christ All experience God's saving fidelity, which stands in this faith. There is no difference here: All have become guilty and have lost the glory in which God originally created man. Completely undeserved, out of pure grace, God leaves them stand as righteous before judgment - because of the redemption that came through Jesus Christ. " "Because for me it is clear: only on the basis of faith God accepts people and lets them stand before his judgment as righteous. He does not ask about achievements as the law demands." ( Good news )

In the above passage, as in many others, it is stated that our salvation and our existence before God, i.e. our righteousness, is not based on the many good works that we do, have done or will do, but on the grace of God. Referring to the previous text, even if you were to fully obey all laws, you cannot be righteous before God; for it is written that no one can be righteous by the works of the law. It also says that "all have sinned". And even if you don't make a single mistake in your life (which never works when I look at myself and I think it doesn't look any different with you), there is still the mistake Adam made, which is from generation is passed on to generation. But praise to God that another way is provided for us, which makes us righteous before God and this way is called grace. Yes, someone did the work for this gift, which is freely available to us. So that was neither you nor me, it was the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 3 tells us about this perfection through Jesus Christ:

Romans 3: 23-26
"All are guilty and have lost the glory in which God originally created man. Completely undeservedly, out of pure grace, God lets them stand as righteous before his judgment - because of the redemption that came through Jesus Christ. He has God set up as a sign of atonement before all the world. His blood that was shed on the cross has redeemed the guilt - and it will work for all who accept it in faith. God has thus demonstrated his righteousness after he previously committed the wrongdoings of the Let people go unpunished, in the time of his patience. Yes, now in our time God proves his righteousness as loyalty to himself and to his people: He asserts his legal claim and himself creates the justice owed by people, and that for all who trust only in what he has done through Jesus. " ( Good news )

The redemption is IN JESUS ​​CHRIST, not in what you and I have achieved. This is very important if we are to understand the relationship we have with God. Our relationship is based on God's grace and perfection in Jesus Christ, NOT on our worth, achievement, or success. We are righteous before God 24 hours a day. The reason for this proper standing has been given to us by grace. It was given to us out of undeserved favor and love that God has for us. It is righteousness FROM God, NOT righteousness from us, i.e. self-righteousness. This VON is there to show us the source of justice. This source is neither you nor I, but God. Galatians tell us:

Galatians 2:16
"But we know that no human being can stand up before God as righteous because he obeys the law. Only those are recognized by God who accept in trusting faith what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. That is why we also have ours Trust placed in Jesus Christ in order to gain approval from God by trusting him and not by fulfilling the law; for no man can stand before God with deeds as required by the law. " ( Good news )

Once again we see that it doesn't work through works. If it were so I could say, "Look, I have done more than you. I deserve it more than you". Nobody deserves anything from God. It is God who through his love sacrificed his Son, so that by believing in Him we are righteous and saved. That is right grace! Wonderful grace!

3. "It was made to us"

A simple look into the thoughts and ideas of many Christians suggests that the idea of ​​righteousness through works, i.e. self-righteousness, is already ingrained in their minds. However, the Scriptures, of course, do not support this idea. Indeed, what Scripture emphasizes here is that it is not our ability to acquire a right to stand before God, but only through the sacrifice that Christ achieved can we stand before God. 1 Corinthians 1:30 tells us about Christ's achievement regarding our position:

1 Corinthians 1:30
"But through him you are in Christ Jesus, who was made for us by God ..." (Luther 1984)

Once again we see that it is THROUGH HIM, meaning through God that we are now in Jesus Christ. It is not because of our worth or ability but because of the grace, love, and goodness of God that we are in Jesus. In the previous verse (verse 29) it says "Before God no one can imagine what he can do". We'll see in a minute who we can imagine what.

1 Corinthians 1: 30-31
"But through him you are in Christ Jesus, who was made for us by God (made in the Greek translation) for wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that as it is written (Jeremiah 9: 22-23): "He who boasted, let him boast in the Lord!" "(Luther 1984)

Jesus was made for us by God for all of these things. HE BECAME (simple past). It is not said that WE were made for him. It was made to us. He was made for us by God for wisdom and for righteousness and for sanctification and redemption. Do you know why we are righteous, redeemed and holy before God? Because Jesus Christ WAS MADE us to do all of these things. When was he made this? If you believe. If you believe you have become righteous, you are saved, and you have been sanctified. I know it would be very logical if God would tell us the following: "Look, do this for the first time and work that and then you will be saved and become righteous, etc." And that is exactly what is often taught, but God has never taught that What God teaches us in His Word is that all we have to do is believe in Jesus Christ to be righteous and saved. I often remember when I condemned myself in my heart because I felt I had some works to do to be in a right position before God and I failed. It is impossible to develop a relationship with God unless you know that you are starting that relationship righteously and saved. Once you have realized this, you can Use rights to build a relationship with God. When you have a good relationship with God, the works will arise as good fruit from it. These are not works that you planned to do for God, but works that GOD has prepared beforehand " for you (Ephesians 2:10). This is how you start. If you start doing good works to get a good position before God, then you have missed the mark. You will always experience damnation because you try to earn yourself justice by works, that is impossible. When you begin to understand that Jesus Christ was made for you righteousness, salvation, etc., and all of these things are gifts (by GRACE) to you, if you believe that, then you can go on and do the works that God is preparing for you Has. The works are not the basis or the meaning of the relationship with God, but they are a fruit of that relationship.

4. The breastplate of righteousness

Ephesians 6 gives us a further understanding of the role of justice. There we speak of God's armor that God has given us for spiritual warfare.

Ephesians 6:13
"Therefore take the weapons of God! Only if you are well equipped can you withstand the forces of evil when it comes to battle. Only in this way can you maintain the field and achieve victory." (Hope for all)

I want to highlight two things in this verse. First, it is GOD'S armor. It is not armor designed by you. So, it's armor that was built by GOD. Second, it is you who put on the armor. God will not attract them to you. God provides them. Now you have to put them on. These two things are important in properly understanding the following verses. There it is:

Ephesians 6:14
"Prepare yourselves well for this fight! Truth is your belt and justice is your breastplate" (Hope for All)

It is the second part of the armor that we are focusing on today. This is the breastplate of righteousness. The various pieces of armor described in verses 14-17 were not named by accident. God has a reason for everything he says. Nothing is written in God's Word "by accident". So we have to ask ourselves, for what purposes the breastplate of righteousness was made. I think most of us know the answer. In armor, the breastplate protects the chest. And, as you know, the heart, the vital instrument for our life, is in the left half of the chest. That is why the most important task of the breastplate is to protect the heart. Biblically, the heart means the innermost part of the soul, the innermost being of man. What is in our heart determines what we are. Romans 10 tells us:

Romans 10: 9
"Because if you confess with your mouth:" Jesus is Lord! "And if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved" (hope for all)

When it says "with all my heart" it is not literally referring to the heart, for the literal heart cannot believe. It means much more the inner part of your soul, the innermost part of your being.

Proverbs 4:23
"More than anything else that is preserved, protect your heart! For in it springs the source of life." (rev. Elberfelder)

The Word of God calls us to take care of our hearts more than anything. Once again, when we speak of the heart here, what is meant here is the relationship to our innermost being. Certainly what is inside of us determines the challenges of life. So don't be surprised, because that's the very part that Satan fires his arrows at. If one of these arrows sticks in the heart, i.e. in our innermost being, then that's exactly what it wants. One of the weapons that Satan constantly uses to fire arrows into the hearts of sincere and devoted Christians is nothing but condemnation. Damnation is one of the best weapons because it makes the heart, inside of us, sick. It is a powerful weapon that Satan has to damage our relationship with God. 1. John describes the effects of this disease, which affects many Christians.

1 John 3:21
"Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God," (Luther 1984)

Be very careful with the word IF. Notice that it relates to the heart. Damnation is a serious disease that affects the heart, the inner being of a person. If there is damnation in our hearts then there is no confidence in God, and if there is no confidence in God then I wonder what kind of relationship we can have with God. The will of God is that we "rejoice at all times in the Lord" (Philippians 4: 4). It is absolutely impossible to be joyful in the Lord unless you stand confidently before him. However, Satan will not be able to bring damnation into our hearts when we have the armor of God in our defense. Now the question is, what part of the armor did God use to defend our hearts? Ephesians 6:14 tells us:

Ephesians 6:14
"Prepare yourselves well for this fight! Truth is your belt and justice is your breastplate." ( Hope for all )

That part is the breastplate of justice. But what justice is that? You see, we are used to reading this text with the ready-made idea that it is about justice through works.So we think that righteousness according to the verse is our self-righteousness. We say, "If I am good enough and do good works, then I am righteous". However, we forget that the Bible says "There is no one who is considered righteous in God's sight by the works of the law". This righteousness is not our self-righteousness but the righteousness of God. The complete armor has been provided for us by GOD. It is the armor OF GOD. It's not armor that we built. The Word of God does not say "put on your armor". It says "PULL ON" THE "WHOLE ARMS OF GOD". If the armor is from God, then whose armor breastplate is the armor? It's god. Whose, therefore, is the righteousness that the breastplate is? Is it your self-righteousness that you have achieved through your good works? No! It is the righteousness of God, because the whole armor is from God and therefore every single part. You didn't build anything on this armor. You just put them on. In the case of righteousness, this means that you know deep down that you are righteous before God, by His grace, and therefore you do not even need to try to achieve a self-righteous position before God. You understand that "no one is righteous before God by the works of the law" and that "all have sinned and have failed the glory of God and are righteous by HIS VOLUNTARY GRACE". You must accept that grace is grace and works are works. Understand that when you say grace, you don't mean grace by works. As the Scriptures say, "If by grace, then no longer from works; otherwise grace is no longer grace" (Romans 11: 6, rev. Elberfelder). Then you have "ESTABLISHED the breastplate of justice". Otherwise you leave your heart unprotected and vulnerable to the disease called damnation. Satan will catch you with his cunning, because you do not wear the entire armor of God but something that you have made yourself. You put on the breastplate of self-righteousness instead of the breastplate of God's righteousness. HOWEVER, the breastplate of self-righteousness is declared false in God's Word. No wonder, therefore, when you put on this breastplate that you are vulnerable to the disease founded in Satan. If we protect our hearts with the true breastplate of righteousness from God, what is written in Romans 8: 1 will be fulfilled in our lives:

Romans 8: 1

Anastasios Kioulachoglou