God’s Grace

biblePaul’s epistle to the Romans. Wow! What an amazing letter. In the Roman letter, Paul seeks the occasion to refute a rumor pertaining to his view and handling of God’s grace. The theory of God’s grace is being perverted today just as much as it was in Paul’s day. An examination of Rom. 3:1-8 reveals the heart of this perversion. In Paul’s day, some were arguing (wrongly) that man’s unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly. Therefore, the unrighteous do God a service in their unrighteousness. Therefore, God is unjust in bringing His wrath upon the unrighteous since they do Him a service. Again, in Rom. 6:1, some had concluded that sin was really bad, but grace was really, really good, so much so that grace was twice as good as sin was bad. Therefore, they conclude, let us sin abundantly so that we might receive a double portion of God’s grace. Paul’s reply to such a perverse theory: “God forbid!”

farmingRecall Paul’s words to the Galatians. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Gal. 6:7-8) To think that one may sow to the flesh and reap everlasting life is a mockery against God. It is absurd to think that God will bestow the reward of the righteous upon the unrighteous. If this absurdity be true, both righteous and unrighteous will receive the same reward. As much as I like my odds in such a judgment, it is too good to be true. Paul responds, “God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?” If both righteous and unrighteous receive the same reward, what kind of a judgment would this be? More importantly, what kind of a judge would God be? Such fallibility and carelessness is expected among our earthly judges. But is the Heavenly Judge fallible and careless in His judgments? No. Our God is a righteous judge (II Tim. 4:8, Rev. 19:2, Rom 2:5). He will render to every man a reward that is worthy of his deeds. (Rom. 2:6) Heaven is not a consolation prize, but a reward for those who “by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality.” (Rom. 2:7)

Paul was a marvelous thinker on many different levels. His epistles may be challenging for the Christian to understand at times. Peter gives us this advice in II Peter 3:16-18. “Do not be led away with the error of the wicked!” “Do not fall from your own steadfastness!” Let the unlearned and the unstable twist the scriptures to their own demise. Let them pervert God’s grace and reap the consequences. But as for you and all of Christ’s church, “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

James Luedecke
Siloam Springs, AR


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