God’s Grace

Outline

  1. Propositions Regarding Grace
  2. Grace Defined
  3. The Problem of Spiritual Death
  4. Categories of Grace
    • Pre-Salvation Grace
    • Salvation Grace
    • Post-Salvation Grace
    • Dying Grace

Pertinent Passages

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.  2 Corinthians 8:9

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed… 2 Corinthians 9:8

He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.  Ephesians 1:5-8a

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

Link to PowerPoint Presentation

1. Propositions Regarding Grace

Before we discuss categories of God’s grace, we need to lay a foundation of propositions, which should lead you to the conclusion that you need to listen!  First, if you are an unbeliever, you need to understand that Jesus Christ died for you and offers you eternal life.  Secondly, if you are a believer, you should conclude that God has provided a fantastic life for you.

If you are a logical person, I want you bear with me and make an assumption about God and His provision for you. If you are an unbeliever, the first assumption I want you to make is this:  God exists as eternal love.  Secondly, because God exists as eternal love, He has revealed himself to objects of His love, the human race.  So, ask yourself, “Am I a member of the human race?”  If so, He has revealed Himself to you.  Ask yourself another question, “Have I believed in Jesus Christ?”  If you are already a believer in Jesus Christ, He has revealed Himself to you in a very special way.  Because God has revealed himself to you, to each one of us, He has done so in a manner that makes sense.  He makes sense in everything He does.  Since God makes sense, He has a personal plan for everyone He loves.  Conclude this: “I am a human being, so God loves me!  He love me, therefore, He as a plan for my life that makes sense.  Because God has a plan for my life, I owe Him a hearing.  If I am an unbeliever, that plan begins with my salvation.  If I am a believer, it continues from this moment with listening to the teaching of the Word of God.

2. Grace Defined

When speaking of any attribute of God or of any of His policies, such as grace, we always have to start with who and what He is. Because His grace policy emanates from His person, every aspect of His personality, we need to consider every one of His attributes when considering grace.  God is eternal love, so love characterizes grace.  God is eternal, so His grace is eternal, far superseding this temporal life. Because He is perfect integrity, His grace expressions cannot violate any one of His attributes.  He cannot compromise Himself when bringing grace to bear upon any member of the human race. Because God is omniscient, He knows thoroughly to whom He is giving grace and exactly what that object will do with His grace.  God is perfect, so are His grace expressions!  This discussion can become endless!  Not only does His every attribute characterize grace, but grace also characterizes every attribute!  This is a very complex subject!  As we go though this study of grace, consider which of His attributes influence that particular aspect of grace.

Grace is all that God is free to do for members of the human race without compromising His divine essence, that is, His perfect character. Our Lord’s saving work on the cross forms the foundation of the Father’s grace plan because Jesus’ work removed the enmity barrier between the Father and humanity. Grace means favor, kindness, and mercy so it is free, unmerited favor and love from God alone, having nothing to do with our works or our attractiveness to God. Grace means that He gives us eHejjjjkkjkkkkall things, including salvation by grace through faith, freely, as gifts, totally apart from any form of human merit or any system of human works.  No one can ever earn these gifts or gain them by some system of merit. Neither does God compromise His essence in bestowing blessing on us.  As John indicated, God bestows grace upon us freely, with no strings attached!

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become a child of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  John 1:12-13

Grace manifests God’s holiness, power, virtue, efficacy, mercy, compassion, indulgence, forbearance, pardon; unmerited favor based on the exclusive work of God.  Because He is holy, His grace expressions fulfill the highest possible standards, that of His righteousness.  Because He is holy, His justice executes grace perfectly.  God graciously demonstrated His limitless power when He withheld the judgment of our sins until Christ was on the cross.  Grace manifests His integrity because expressing grace does not compromise His integrity.  His grace manifests efficacy in that He has fulfilled everything He set out to do.  Mercy and compassion come into focus when we consider on whom He has brought grace to bear.  He has focused His grace upon spiritually dead, undeserving members of the human race.  Indulgence, because He has pardoned all of those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ!  God evidences His grace toward the human race by providing perfectly for each person in the human race before, during, and after salvation. Let us look at a number of factors that specifically demonstrate or manifest God’s love for the human race.

First, God possesses or expresses perfect virtue love for those in the status of spiritual death, that is, all unbelievers.  Remember, every human being is born physically alive but spiritually dead.  By virtue love, I mean that God loves unbelievers solely because of His integrity and His character.  This concept is contrary to the love we humans generally express.  One to whom we express love has to fulfill certain norms or standards we possess in our souls.  However, God focuses His love upon every member of the human race regardless of qualification for His love.  God’s virtue love, then, includes every member of the human race, without exception.  His plan includes everyone.

Jesus Christ demonstrated virtue love for all humanity, all members of the human race, when He went to the Cross and received the imputation and punishment of every sin ever committed by every member of the human race.  He did not leave anyone out because their sins were too bad, too numerous or too heinous.  God the Father demonstrated His virtue love to us when He withheld punishment for all our personal sins, gathered them up then imputed them to Christ and judged them on His body.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

Secondly, God manifests His love toward us by His personal love for every believer in Jesus Christ.  He loves us personally because after believing in His Son, the Father finds something loveable in us.  As believers, we qualify for His personal love because there is a factor in us that fulfills God’s standard of perfect personal love.  We fulfill that standard because the Father imputes His own righteousness to every believer when he believes. We fulfill His standard of personal love because He has given something to us. We have not earned God’s love!  Because He loves us personally, He logistically supports every believer forever.

 3. The Problem of Spiritual Death

We have just noted that God graciously provided the potential for salvation for those in spiritual death.  Let us take a minute to briefly define and discuss spiritual death to develop a basic understanding of it.  This is an important issue because every human being is born spiritually dead.  In the course of this study, we will define spiritual death, then document it in the Scripture and finally describe some its characteristics.

Every member of the human race is born physically alive yet spiritually dead because Adam’s original sin targets every corrupted human body for imputation.  Because Adam, the genetic father of the human race, sinned, then resultantly suffered genetic corruption, every human being suffers genetic corruption.  That corruption, named theologically, the old sin nature, receives the imputation for Adam’s original sin, causing spiritual death at physical birth for every human being.  As a real imputation, Adam’s original sin targets for imputation, the genetically formed old sin nature in the cell structure of the body.  At the same time, God creates and imputes perfect human life to the format soul of every human being. God creates human life and imputes it to the soul at the point of physical birth.  Now, let me say that again, and this time, add a diagram for clarification:

You were born spiritually dead because your genetically formed old sin nature formed a target for the imputation of Adam’s original sin. As a real imputation, Adam’s original sin gravitates to your genetically formed old sin nature residing in the cell structure of your body.

The genes that Adam, and every father after him, passed down to subsequent generations are corrupted.  However, at the same instant, God creates perfect human life and imputes it to the soul of every human being.  God creates human life and imputes it to the soul at the point of physical birth.  Every human being, then is born physically alive yet spiritually dead.

            What does it mean to be spiritually dead?  What kind of practical application can we gain from this fact?  What can we apply?  Spiritual death results in a great barrier between human beings and God.  Human beings cannot circumvent this barrier.  Furthermore, spiritually dead human beings cannot understand anything related to God, the spiritual life or to God’s Word, including the Gospel.  Unbelievers, because of spiritual death, possess only a body and soul, with no physical, soulish or spiritual means of understanding any facet of divine phenomenon.  Therefore, apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit, no unbeliever, no one spiritually dead, can comprehend anything related to the Gospel.  That is a real draw back of spiritual death!  Oh, and one more drawback: the one who perpetuates his spiritual death until physical death is bound to theLakeofFireforever with no hope of redemption.  The unbeliever, then, can parlay his spiritual death in to total separation from God forever.

            Paul wrote about this in his Letter to the Romans.  I have presented this verse twice, first without comment, the secondly, with comments in brackets.

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through that sin, so death spread to all men because all sinned  Romans 5:12 RBT

Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered the world [Adam’s original sin], and death [real spiritual death] through that sin, so [real spiritual] death spread to all men because all sinned [when Adam sinned]. Romans 5:12 RBT

Those who are spiritually dead are completely separate from God with no means whatsoever of ever establishing any kind of positive relationship with Him.  By rejecting our Jesus’ work on the cross, the spiritually dead eventually parlay their human life into eternal condemnation in theLake of Fire.

Three general characteristics result from spiritual death. 

1. Total Depravity- Theologians call the first characteristic, total depravity.  From God’s perspective, from the moment a human being is born, he is depraved!  Now, do not react to this truth and throw this book into the trash!  Every human being who passes from this life before reaching the age of accountability arrives in heaven, face to face with our Lord!  Grace intervenes at every point!  Theologically, total depravity means that every human being is born desperately needing a relationship with God yet is unable to establish one.  If a person does not check his total depravity by faith in Jesus and continual spiritual growth, then that depravity will fully develop with trends toward both moral and immoral degeneracy.  You can look at historical and current events and attribute everything from heinous criminal acts to misguided acts of so-called good to one or both trends of degeneracy.  Immoral degeneracy really needs to further explanation! You may wonder why lovers cheat, why people lie, why people hurt each other, why greed turns to criminality and war and so on.  These people express their immoral degeneracy by violating God’s Laws of Establishment, both destroying and destabilizing society.  Moral degeneracy exhibits a far more subtle thought process, though just as destructive and certainly, just as sinful.  Often the nicest people you know involve themselves in moral degeneracy.  This degeneracy includes self-righteousness, pride, legalism, all various brands of arrogance.  Gossip is one outward manifestation of moral degeneracy as one of the seven worst sins listed in the book of Job.  A very prevalent manifestation of moral degeneracy involves creating restrictive legislation, which while appearing beneficial to society only removes freedoms from law-abiding citizens!  In another manifestation, wealthy people attempt to right a wrong by throwing money at it or creating an association to study it!  They only way to right a wrong is to bring God’s grace to bear upon it! 

2. Spiritual Helplessness- We have noted the helplessness and hopelessness of the spiritually dead person’s ability to establish a saving relationship with God.  Without a saving relationship with God the Father through the saving work of Jesus, the unbeliever is bound to theLake of Fire for eternity.  The unbeliever, the spiritual dead person, must be related to the Father if he is to be saved!  Grace, once again, intervenes!  God the Father, by means of His salvation plan, enacted by Jesus Christ has established the means for the unbeliever to gain such a relationship!  God, both the Father and Son have already done everything necessary for every unbeliever to appropriate a saving relationship with them!  God the Holy Spirit plays a significant role in this relationship as well.

3. Dichotomy- Another aspect of spiritual death deals with the attributes of the unbeliever as contrasted to the believer.  Those under the condemnation of spiritual death possess only a body and soul.  Theologians call this state, dichotomy.  Believers, on the other hand, those who have been regenerated or born-again, possess body, soul and a human spirit.  Theologians call this trichotomy.  The human spirit acts as an interface with God the Holy Spirit as well as a repository of divine phenomenon.  This is a simplistic explanation of spiritual death.  Certainly, there is much documentation concerning this and other facets in the Scripture. God has intervened with grace upon grace to solve the problem of spiritual death. 

4. Categories of Grace

Now, we come to a categorical description of grace.  First, we will look at pre-salvation grace, everything God did for us before salvation in order to bring us to the point of salvation.  Secondly, we will look at the aspects of grace involved in our salvation.  Thirdly, God has graciously provided every believer a spiritual life, by which he lives a life of meaning and happiness.  This last category of grace answers the question; after salvation, what?

     A. Pre-Salvation Grace

God provided three categories of grace for the purpose of turning the mind of the unbeliever toward Himself, then accomplishing salvation for those expressing faith in Christ.  The first is nature; the second, establishment truth; and thirdly, the work of the Holy Spirit.  Each of these deserves thorough explanation. 

We will first look at nature as a means of awakening the unbeliever’s thoughts and turning them toward God.  Nature, or “that which has been made” is clearly outside of the unbeliever’s soul.  God designed nature to impress upon the soul of the unbeliever the reality of His attributes. Nature observed therefore awaken one’s thinking as to its Source.  We will look at how God prepares the unbeliever’s soul for this awakening in a few paragraphs.  Now, in order to establish the veracity of God’s revelation of Himself through nature, we need not involve ourselves in a study or development of logic.  The Scripture communicates this fact very clearly:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.  Romans 1:18-20

In this passage, Paul offers evidence that God has every right to condemn those who do not respond to His gracious authority, demonstrated by belief in Jesus Christ.  You demonstrate your response to the Father’s authority, initially by believing in His Son, Jesus Christ.  The passage clearly states that evidence of God’s existence undeniably impresses all who glory in nature.  God’s actual invisible attributes are evident and understandable through nature.  Is this a conundrum?  Is God’s invisible nature is clearly visible through nature?  Note that Paul is not saying that God’s attributes are only visible to the believer, but to every unbeliever!  Let us turn to the Greek of this passage, just to make sure that our translation is accurate!  Does the Scripture say, did Paul really write that God, through His creation, revealed His invisible attributes, His power and nature, then made them comprehendible?   We will look at the Greek words that make up the above underlined concepts.

First, “that which is known about God” is τὸ γνωστὸν TO GNOSTON.  These words refer to “those things which can be known” or whatever pertains to “what can be known.”  GNOSTON is the adjectival form of GNOSIS, denoting intelligent comprehension, being sure of what you know.  The next two words, τοῦ θεοῦ TOU THEOU mean “of God.”  The next word, φανερόν PHANERON, the nominative neuter singular adjective, means “apparent, evident or readily seen.” To whom are the attributes of God apparent? The next words, ἐστιν ἐν αὐτοῖς· ESTIN EN AUTOIS, mean “apparent to them,” unbelievers! How is this possible?  God made it so!  The next words, clearly reveal this: ὁ θεὸς γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἐφανέρωσεν HO THEOS GAR AUTOIS EPHANEROWSEN:  God made it evident to them!  The indisputability of this fact lies in the fact that the Scripture clearly states it! The first grace factor then, is God’s creation, by which He turns the mind or thinking of the unbeliever to Himself.  Only arrogance blinds the thinking of the unbeliever.

The second factor deals with the preparation of the unbeliever’s thinking to receive the revelation of God through “what has been created.”  Some insist that believers must first “soften up” the unbeliever to make him receptive to the Gospel of Christ.  Such was the conclusion of some in my seminary classes.  How can we, the question was posed, prepare the thinking of the unbeliever to hear the Gospel then believe in Jesus Christ?  The answer to the question is this: nothing! God has already done so, first, by nature, then by His system of establishment law.  You see, the arrogant unbeliever will never see any of God’s attributes in nature.  Arrogance precludes grace comprehension in whatever form.  How, then, does God prepare the unbeliever’s thinking to see Him in nature?  How does God protect the unbeliever from arrogance, Arrogance, after all, is Satan’s primary means to controlling the human race.  God did so by establishing a system of law, establishment law, to enable members of the human race to respond to bona fide authority.  If a child is raised up with respect for bona fide authority in whatever context, that person will respond to the authority of the Spirit when he or she hears the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Establishment Law is the system of thought which brings about teachability or genuine humility within the soul of every human being.  If a person develops respect for authority, he will, because of humility, see God in nature, then set his mind toward Him.  Thieme calls this turning of the thinking toward God, positive volition toward Him.  When the mind is set toward God, then He has the responsibility to reveal the Gospel of His Son to that person.  A person may travel for hundreds of miles or God may send a missionary to him.  A man in fourteenth centuryJapanturned his mind toward God, so He caused a Portugese Bible to wash up on the shore near him.  Immediately sensing the importance of that Bible, he sent for Jesuit priests to explain it to him!  This is God’s grace at work!  The arrogant unbeliever will reject any Gospel presentation or revelation of God’s attributes found in creation unless some crisis converts that arrogance to humility.  

Now, by virtue of God’s revelation of Himself through that which has been created and by virtue of unbeliever humility, we have an unbeliever who is open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Because he is an unbeliever, however, he still cannot understand the things of God.  Paul taught this to the Corinthians:

But the soulish man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 RBT

At the right time in that unbeliever’s life, God will, most assuredly reveal the Good News of Jesus’ work to him.  This Gospel presentation may come in different forms, many times and from many sources.  This Gospel presentation becomes the third grace factor God brings to bear upon the thinking of the unbeliever.  God does not bring emotional factors to bear upon the body of the unbeliever to accomplish salvation!  He brings thought to bear upon the thinking of the unbeliever because thought, the very thinking of Jesus Christ, is the power of God!  He does this by sending the Holy Spirit, who plays the role of the human spirit and communicates the Gospel that He hears to the unbeliever, so making that divine phenomenon comprehensible to him.  Because the Holy Spirit teaches the unbeliever, the Gospel is no longer foolishness to him but the very “power of God for salvation.”

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  Romans 1:16

When the unbeliever hears, understands and believes the Good News about Jesus Christ; that He died as a substitute for him and then was raised up on the third day, as per the Scriptures, his faith is still not effective for salvation.  Once again, God’s grace must intervene by taking that miniscule faith and making it effective for salvation.  In photographic processes of yesteryear, upon exposure to the correct level of light, a very slight latent image resulted upon the black and white film.  A very small amount of silver halide turned to silver upon exposure to light.  That latent image was photographically unusable and unstable until intensified made visible and stabilized by subsequent processing in developer and fixing solutions.  This process is analogous to the faith of the unbeliever.  That faith is latent, ineffective for salvation.  God the Holy Spirit takes that faith and “develops” into salvation, then “fixes” it by sealing the believer for eternity into the Royal Family of God. 

The Scripture teaches three ministries of God, which begin the moment hears the Gospel and takes him to the moment of salvation. 

     1. Common Grace- The first is common grace whereby God the Holy Spirit educates the unbeliever.  He takes the Gospel, which someone presents to him and makes it a reality to his thinking.  John scripturally documented this ministry of the Spirit:

And when He is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they do not believe on Me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and you do not  see Me any more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  John 16:8-11

     2. The Call from God- The fact of understanding the Gospel constitutes God’s call or invitation to the unbeliever to salvation.  Having understood the issue of the Gospel, to believe in the person and work of Christ, God now invites the unbeliever to believe what he has heard and understood:

God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.    1 Corinthians 1:9

     3. Efficacious Grace- The third, theologians call efficacious grace.  Efficacious grace is the act of the Holy Spirit whereby He takes the faith of the spiritually dead person, in Jesus Christ, and makes it effective for eternal salvation.  When this unbeliever responds to the divine call to believe in Christ, the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit causes the faith of the spiritually dead person to become effective.  It is the work of God the Holy Spirit to take that little bit of faith, that leaning toward the gospel, that faith in Christ and to make it effective for salvation, for eternal life.  Listen to the words of Paul:

In whom also, when you heard the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, in whom also, when you believe, you were sealed by the Holy Spirit with reference to the promise.”  Ephesians 1:13

“In whom” refers to our Lord Jesus Christ in whom we place our trust for salvation.  “When you heard” refers to common grace, your listening to and understanding the Gospel.  The Gospel is the content of common grace. When you believed, the Holy Spirit seals you, making your faith in Jesus Christ effective.  With reference to what promise? The promise of eternal salvation, of eternal life!

     B. Salvation Grace

Let us look at the second general category of grace, salvation grace.  This category of grace includes all that God has accomplished to save spiritually dead people. The Scripture teaches that there are four factors:

     1. Jesus Christ bore the imputation and punishment for every sin ever committed by those in the human race, hence, His saving work.  See the publication, Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, for more details of His vicarious work.

     2. God the Father judged every sin committed by members of the human race on Jesus’ body.

     3. God the Holy Spirit revealed the Gospel to the interested unbeliever when presented the message of good news.

     4. At salvation, God does forty things for every new believer.

God could not have made it easier for members of the human race to receive eternal salvation.  Unbelievers simply listen then apply a skill, a pattern of learning used since birth.  When a person accepts as true what someone teaches, he applies faith to that nugget of truth.  He does nothing to earn or deserve that fact.  He simply appropriates the information as true and incorporates it into his thought process.  If you take the fact of Jesus’ work, believe it, then you are a believer in Jesus Christ.  This is faith.  You can only gain the wonderful gift of salvation by believing in Jesus Christ. Faith alone in Christ alone is the only means to salvation.    

For you have been saved by means of grace through faith; and this [concept of salvation by grace alone through faith is] not from yourselves, [it is] the gift from God; not by works, that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

This is true for every generation in history.  For a greatly expanded explanation of faith, see the publication, Faith.  God imputes forty things to every believer at salvation.  The following is a list of the grace gifts God bestows on ever believer with Scriptural documentation but not an exhaustive explanation of it.  My thanks go to Bob Thieme who compiled this list.

     1. The Accomplishment of Efficacious Grace: God the Father imputes gives to us His very own righteousness

Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all those who believe.  Romans 3:22

     2.   The Holy Spirit guarantees your salvation at the very moment you believed in Jesus Christ.  Sealing is the signature guarantee of God the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing four things: His ministry in common and efficacious grace, eternal salvation, eternal security, your portfolio of invisible assets.

In whom also, when you heard the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation; in whom also, when you believed, you were sealed by means of the Holy Spirit.  Ephesians 1:13

      3. Believers receive an eternal inheritance:

We have an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, that fades not away, reserved in heaven for those who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.  1 Peter 1:4

     4. God the Holy Spirit regenerates every believer, creating a human spirit for every new believer.  Paul calls the newly regenerated believer a new creature, who is no longer soulish.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16

For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Galatians 6:15

     5. God imputes eternal life to every believer.

And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  1 John 5:11

     6. God imputes divine righteousness to every believer.

…even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;  Romans 3:22

     7. God justifies every believer.

For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.  Romans 3:28

     8. God, through Jesus Christ, reconciled every believer to Him.

…namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  2 Corinthians 5:19

     9. Believers become recipients for Jesus’ propitiatory work on the cross.

..and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.  1 John 2:2

     10. Believers become recipients of the fact of unlimited atonement.  Jesus Christ died as a substitute for every human being.

…who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.  1 Timothy 2:6

     11. Believers become recipients of redemption, whereby Jesus paid for our release from the prison of inherited and experiential sin.

…knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.  1 Peter 1:18-19

     12. God the Holy Spirit baptizes every believer into union with Jesus Christ.

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.  1 Corinthians 12:13

     13. The Father adopts every Church Age believer into His Royal Family.

He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,  Ephesians 1:5

     14. The Father gives every believer every asset he needs to grow up spiritually.  Thieme classifies this constitutes a portfolio of assets giving every believer equal privilege and opportunity to glorify God in this Church Age. This point overlaps with other factors.

     15. God sanctifies believers in three categories of sanctification.  See Sanctification for details of this grace gift.

     16.  God elects every Church Age believer.

…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In loveEphesians 1:4

     17. God the Father predestined every Church Age believer in Christ.

He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,  Ephesians 1:5

     18. God has made every Church Age believer a priest.

…and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.  Revelation 1:6

     19. God has made every Church Age believer a Royal Ambassador.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  2 Corinthians 5:20

     20. God the Father indwells every Church Age believer.

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.  John 14:23

     21. Jesus Christ indwells every Church Age believer.

“In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.  John 14:20

     22. God the Holy Spirit lives in every Church Age believer.

Do you not know that you are atempleofGodand that the Spirit of God dwells in you?1 Corinthians 3:16

     23. God has made His tremendous power available to every believer to glorify Him.  This point includes many doctrines we will study down the road.

     24. God the Holy Spirit fills every believer who continues to be experientially sanctified.

Be filled with the Spirit… Ephesians 5:18

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.                          1 John 1:9

     25. God the Holy Spirit gives every Church Age believer at least one spiritual gift.

Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.  1 Timothy 4:14

     26. God removes all judgment from all believers.

He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  John 3:18

     27-28. God has delivered all believers from Satan’s Kingdom and entered us in Jesus’ Kingdom.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,Colossians 1:13

     29. Church Age believers are a gift from the Father to the Son.

My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  John 10:29

     30. Church Age believers have positionally been taken out from under tyranny of the old sin nature.

…in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,  Ephesians 4:22

     31.God has given Church Age believers access to Himself.

…for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.Ephesians 2:18

     32. God removes scar tissue from the believer’s soul at salvation.

I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.  Isaiah 43:25

     36. Qualified believers receive temporal and eternal blessings.

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.  Hebrews 10:35-36

     37. Qualified believers receive suffering for blessing.

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!  2 Corinthians 12:7

     38. Believers are on a secure foundation.

…having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone…Ephesians 2:20

     39. Church Age believers are related to Jesus Christ as taught by various Bible analogies: The Last Adam and the new creation, the Head and the body, the Great Shepherd and the sheep, the True Vine and the branches, the Chief Cornerstone and the stones in the building, the Great High Priest and members of the royal priesthood, the Groom and the bride and the King of Kings and the royal family of God.

40. Believers’ salvation is eternally secure.

…who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  1 Peter 1:5

     41. God will give believers a resurrection body.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,  John 11:25

     42.  God has given Church Age believers the ten problem solving devices.  This is an entire study with many references.

     43.  God has given Church Age believers the completed Canon of Scripture.

    C.Post-Salvation Grace

Post-salvation grace includes God’s total divine provision for the fulfillment of His plan, His will, and His purpose for every believer’s life.  God leaves every believer on earth to fulfill his own role in the angelic conflict whereby he proves by his utilization of grace that God is fair to send the devil and his fallen angels to theLakeofFire.  By giving you time on this earth, God expects you to play an incredibly important role in the angelic conflict.  Every believer is indeed a Christian soldier with grave responsibilities in the conflict that rages around us.  The Apostle James described the grace that God provides us to fulfill that role as, “greater grace.”

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God makes war against the arrogant, but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6

Greater grace supersedes than both pre-salvation and salvation grace.  It is the greatest grace of all.  The Apostle John describes post-salvation grace as grace exchanged for grace.  The believer exchanges salvation grace for post-salvation grace:

From His fullness, we have all received even grace in exchange for grace.  John 1:16

Because God has saved every believer by grace, then every believer should live by that grace.  Three categories of grace factors come to mind when thinking of our responsibilities in the angelic conflict: our portfolio of invisible assets, logistical grace and the extraordinary blessings for both time and eternity.  We will look briefly define these three categories of grace but save an in-depth study for a later verse.

Portfolio of Invisible Assets [Abridgment of Thieme’s study]:  I am sure you have seen stockbrokers with their briefcases full of documents, if not in person, then in the movies.  Those documents, though only paper, often represent fortunes in financial assets.  Though you cannot see the wealth represented in those documents, it is, nonetheless, real.  So it is with the assets God has given you.  He has given you incredible wealth in the form of His power to accomplish His plan for your life.  These assets are invisible, only visible when looking through your spiritual eyes.  As you get to know God through your spiritual life, you will come to a point of maturity when you will echo Paul’s words:

but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

These things, Paul quotes from Isaiah, are only visible to those who love God, who has prepared them for your benefit, fulfillment and power. 

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, Ephesians 3:20

Worthy of praise is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  Ephesians 1:3

In each of these verses, Paul speaks of power and blessings He has provided for us.  Just as a person who does not understand stocks is ignorant of the value of the stockbroker’s documents, a believer without understanding the Word of God is ignorant of the assets God has provided.  If you remain ignorant of these assets, you will never be able to use them.

These assets consist of the work of God the Father did for you long before He created the world.  These assets make possible the fantastic blessings God has prepared.  By means of these assets, God the Father everything you need to live in the devil’s world, to grow in grace and to fulfill His plan for your life and finally to die with honor and integrity.  If you use these assets, you will life a rich, fulfilling life.  If you do not, blame only yourself for a wasted life. 

Moses provides an excellent historical illustration of a man who saw his assets, made them his first priority in life thereby fulfilling God’s plan for his life.  Listen to Paul’s commentary of Moses:

By faith he leftEgypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.  Hebrews 11:27

In this verse, faith refers to the thought content of what Moses believed. The dynamics of faith is thinking the thoughts of Christ, the Word of God.  Though he was the prince ofEgypt, he saw the greater eternal value of the assets the Father provided for him, therefore turned his thinking to the plan the Father had prepared for him.  The power and anger of King Thutmose III paled when he saw his divine assets. The better translation is “as seeing the invisible” because the Greek word from which “invisible” is derived, is neuter, not masculine.  By means of his spiritual life, Moses perceived the invisible as being the greater reality, so he based his life upon the Father’s plan for him.  His perseverance serves as a great pattern for our lives.  He spent 40 years maturing in the desert then returned to the Egyptian court to play out his role in the angelic conflict.  His spiritual growth did not stop but continued as he lived a life of great pressure never taking his eyes off the temporal and eternal assets the Father prepared for him.  Though Paul used Moses, a man who lived during the Age of Israel, to exemplify one who lived his life on the basis of the assets God gave him, He has provided “the much more” for believers in this Church Age.

Thieme separated the assets available to Church Age believers into four categories: primary assets, secondary assets, personnel assets and unique assets.  The primary assets consist of both position in Christ and escrow assets.  Because of position in Christ, every believer has the same opportunity as well as the same privilege to mature spiritually.  God offsets any physical handicaps a believer may posses before salvation by means of position in Christ. Secondary assets relate firstly, to the believer’s desire to grow spiritually.  Though God has provided Jesus’ thinking as the content of faith, the believer must merge that provision with his own choice to exploit that provision by consistent Bible study.  God then tries and tests every believer’s faith as he grows, by means of suffering for blessing assets. Suffering for blessing comes in three categories related to the level of the believer’s spiritual growth: for spiritual self-esteem, providential preventative suffering; for spiritual autonomy, momentum testing; and for spiritual maturity, evidence testing. This second category of assets also pertains to impact upon the human race, which results from spiritual growth.  Maturing believers produce spiritual production because they are maturing spiritually.  God not only rewards this production but it also becomes a witness to those in the believer’s periphery of God’s integrity, love and mercy.  Spiritual maturation also invisibly and positively affects the believer’s community, nation and the world during his lifetime and beyond.  God the Holy Spirit personally determines under what personnel asset the believer functions.  The Spirit distributes spiritual gifts to every believer at salvation determining his or her function within the body of Christ.  The unique assets overlap with the forty gifts God bestows at salvation.  This relates to the power God distributes by means of His indwelling.  Every Church Age believer uniquely benefits from the Father’s, the Son’s and the Spirit’s indwelling.

Paul delineated the importance of this portfolio in his letter to the Hebrews:

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.  Hebrews 10:35-36

Because this short paragraph does little more than to introduce this incredible portfolio of assets the Father has bestowed upon ever Church Age believer, we will take up a more detailed study in the future.

Logistical Grace – We will take up a detailed study of logistical grace in Philippians 1:6.

Temporal and Eternal Blessings – God distributes these blessings to the believer who has gained the capacity for them by spiritual growth.  These blessings far supersede those designed to keep the believer alive.  Bob Thieme applied the term, escrow, to this category of blessings because God the Father has already prepared them for us and deposited them in Christ for distribution upon the believer’s achieving spiritual maturity.  If you do not grow up spiritually to claim them, they remain on deposit forever as a reminder of lost opportunity.  The only time believers can gain the capacity for these blessings is time.  Though you gain capacity for these blessings by spiritual growth in time, God distributes these in both time and eternity.  If you qualify for them in time, consider that distribution simply a down payment of those blessings you will receive in the eternal state!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  Ephesians 1:3

but just as it is written, “Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

 Riches and honor are with me, Enduring wealth and righteousness. Proverbs 8:18

   D. Dying Grace

The final category we will study takes the believer from this life in to the next.  God removes a believer from this life for one of two reasons.  In the first, He rewards the believer for fulfilling His grace plan.  God blesses that believer as he passes from this life into the interim state to the maximum, under dying grace.  On the other hand, for those believers who chose not to exploit God’s grace in time, He reserves the right to discipline them until their dying breath.  Both the Apostle John and the Apostle Paul termed this latter category of death, the sin unto death:

If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin not face-to-face with death, he shall ask and He [God the Father] will give life to him who does not sin face-to-face with death.  There is a sin face-to-face with death; I do not say that he should ask concerning this category.  1 John 5:16 RBT

Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? Romans 6:16

God provides dying grace to every mature believer as a reward for fulfilling His plan, yet from human eyes, that mature believer may seem to be dying from miserable circumstances.  God provides maximum happiness and soul stimulation for the mature believer regardless of his cause of death:

Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones.  Psalm 116:15

The mature believer faces death without fear never experiencing its sting:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”  1 Corinthians 15:55-56

God provides matchless grace for every human from the moment of birth to death.  Every human being decides whether to or not to exploit His power to experience fullness of this life and eternal life forever.

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