1. God's Grace Overcomes Sin
2. Repentance and the New Birth
The first book of the Bible, Genesis, tells the story of man's creation and fall. There we find that "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Being created in the likeness and the image of God gave them a distinctive nature and place in creation (Genesis 1:26-28; 5:3; 9:6; I Corinthians 11:7; James 3:9). Being created in God's image and likeness means that man had a spiritual nature and was righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:24).
Man was not created to be a puppet but was given an intellect with freedom of will. This means he was free to choose to obey his Maker. To make man's freewill meaningful, God gave him the power of choice in the Garden of Eden. Man chose to disobey (Genesis 2-3).
This disobedience resulted in the fall of man. Thus it made him a sinner and gave him a depraved nature (Romans 5:12, 19; I Corinthians 15:21-22; I Timothy 6:5). One consequence of this sin was man's separation from God (Psalm 5:5; 11:5; Isaiah 59:2; Habakkuk 1:13). By nature God is holy (this is the most often mentioned attribute of God; see Exodus 15:11; Leviticus 19:2; Psalms 99:9; 145:21; Isaiah 6:3; I Peter 1:16; et.al.), and therefore He can not tolerate sin. Thus sin brought about a breach between the holy God and sinful, fallen man.
The Love of God
God is also a God of love, so He provided a way of redemption. God chose Abraham and his descendants to prepare man for the coming Redeemer, Jesus Christ. John writes in the beginning of his gospel how "the Word [Jesus] was made flesh and dwelt among us . . . , full of grace and truth. . . . And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses; but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:14-17). God had first shown man his need for salvation through the Mosaic Law. He now deals with man under the New Covenant of "grace and truth" brought by Jesus Christ.
John, in very familiar words, states that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3:16-17). Paul explained God's love further: "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. . . . God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" (Romans 5:6-10). Paul then makes it clear that reconciliation is a "free gift" and that the believer will "receive abundance of grace" (Romans 5:15-17). Grace now reigns "through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 5:21). The full implication of grace is not clearly understood by many. Let us look at this subject in more detail.
Grace is defined as "the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflections in the life" (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). The dictionary definition reflects the biblical concept of grace: "unmerited divine assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification" (Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary). It is "unmerited favor." Grace offers salvation, which we do not deserve, instead of eternal damnation which we do deserve. Yet grace is more because it changes our hearts.
Salvation is made available to us through the grace of God, which is appropriated through faith. Paul wrote that we are "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:24; cf. 3:26; 4:16, 24-25; 5:1; I Corinthians 1:21). The Mosaic Law did not justify, "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace" that we are justified (Romans 4:16).
After Paul discussed justification by faith and grace in the book of Romans, he emphasized the effect grace has on believers. He did this when he answered the question, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" His answer was "God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" He explained that "we are buried with him [Christ] by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." He then went on to explain that "our old man [self] is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Because of this, sin is not to reign in the Christian, "for sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 6:1-14). Study the whole chapter 6 of Romans, and you will find that grace is powerful enough to produce new life in Christians so that instead of living in sin they will want to follow Christ.
Grace will produce change in a person, and if there has been no change, the grace of God has not come upon him. As Paul wrote, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10). The evidence of grace is a walk of good works. We see this aspect of grace stressed in Paul's letter to Titus: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and wordily lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:11-14; see also 3:4-8).
Examples of Grace
There are several Scriptures that exemplify how grace produces changes in believers. Let us review some of these here.
Paul is a most impressive example of grace at work. He persecuted the disciples but was turned to a new way by grace (Acts 9). Years later he wrote about this grace. It was Jesus Christ our Lord from "whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations" (Romans 1:5). He wrote to the Corinthians that he came to them "in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God" (II Corinthians 1:12). It was "according to the grace of God which is given unto me" that he built up this church (I Corinthians 3:10). He had persecuted the church, "but by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all" (I Corinthians 15:9-10). To the Ephesians Paul explained that he was made a minister of the gospel "according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power" (Ephesians 3:7). Grace was the force that made persecutor Saul into Paul, an apostle and a servant of the Lord. It was God's grace that produced the holiness in his life that they observed.
There are many examples of the operation of grace upon large groups of people. At Antioch the gospel was preached to the Gentiles, and "a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord." When the church at Jerusalem heard this, they sent Barnabas to investigate what happened. And "when he came, and had seen the grace of God," he knew that God was at work among them (Acts 11:21-23).
At the Jerusalem conference, which was called to decide how Gentile Christians relate to the law, Peter stated how the Holy Spirit was "purifying their [the Gentile's] hearts by faith." Following this statement, Peter said, "We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus we shall be saved, even as they" (Acts 15:9-11). Thus we see that cleansing and grace were closely connected.
At Ephesus, Paul closed his speech to a group of elders by commending them "to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). These leaders were not to remain stagnant. Grace is able to build men up and sanctify them. The term sanctify means "to be made holy," and this is accomplished by the influence of the Holy Spirit upon the person (Romans 15:16; II Thessalonians 2:13; I Peter 1:2). Sanctification is the goal of the redemption brought by Jesus Christ (John 17:17, 19; I Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; Ephesians 5:26-27; cf. 4:23-24; I Thessalonians 4:3; 5:23; Hebrews 2:11; 10:10; Jude 1). Redemption frees us from sin and brings about a life of holiness (Romans 6:22; Ephesians 1:4; I Thessalonians 4:7).
To the Corinthian Christians, Paul wrote that he was thankful for "the grace of God which is given you by Christ Jesus," so that they would be enriched. (I Corinthians 1:4-5). These Gentiles came from a heathen background, and by grace they had a new enriched life as saints. Yes, the Corinthian Church had its problems, but the Corinthian believers were to solve them and continue to grow. They were to "be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you . . . The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all" (II Corinthians 13:11-14).
After the Fall, man was not left in a hopeless and sinful condition. Through the love of God, Jesus gave His life and was raised to bring justification by grace to all. Jesus told Paul that he would be sent to the Gentiles "to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me" (Acts 26:18). Paul was given grace to accomplish his mission. Today we can receive the same grace in our lives, and also receive forgiveness and to be sanctified so that we can walk in newness of life as disciples of Jesus Christ.
II. Repentance and the New Birth
At the start of His ministry, Jesus preached, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17) and "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15). Later He stated, in answering the Pharisees, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32). When Jesus sent out the twelve disciples midway in His ministry, He told them to call for repentance. Mark wrote, "And they went out, and preached that men should repent" (Mark 6:12). Jesus told his disciples, "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead on the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations" (Luke 24:46-47).
The Greek word translated "repent" involves a change of mind and turning away from sin. It involves a change of mind about Jesus Christ and about obeying His and God's commandments. It involves a renunciation of sin and turning away from sin. It involves turning toward God and living a life in total obedience to His will.
John the Baptist told the multitudes to "Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance" (Luke 3:8; cf. Matthew 3:8). Fruit is a figurative term that refer to works, that is, obeying God's will. It is the natural outcome of repentance.
To help us understand how important it is to repent, Jesus told a parable about one lost sheep out of a flock of one hundred, and how the owner rejoiced when it was found. He said, "Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance" (Luke 15:7).
What is involved in repenting can be seen in a parable Jesus told Jewish leaders when He asked from where the baptism of John came. He spoke of a man who asked his two sons to work in his vineyard. One son responded, "I will not: but afterward he repented and went." The other son said he would go, but didn't. What counted was not the promise to work, but the action. The same is true of repentance. What counts in real repentance is a change of mind with a change of direction (Matthew 21:28-32).
Emphasis on repentance is found throughout the New Testament; it was preached by the apostles and other church leaders. After Peter preached his first sermon, his hearers "were pricked in their heart" and asked, "What shall we do?" He answered "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:37-38). In his second sermon he preached, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (3:19). Some Bibles translate this as "Repent therefore, and turn again." Later, when he described what Jesus' death meant, Peter said, "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins" (5:31). When Simon offered money to Peter to buy the gift of God that marked the Apostolic Age, Peter told him, "Thy heart is not right in the slight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgive thee. For I preceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity" (8:19-23). Simon needed a change of heart and actions; he needed to repent. Repentance was not meant only for Israel: "God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life" (11:18). Paul told the men at Athens that God "now commandeth all men every where to repent" (Acts 17:30). Paul testified to the Ephesian church leaders about "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" 20:21). Repentance and faith were important parts of the Gospel message. Later when he told King Agrippa about the Gentiles, Paul said, "They should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance" (26:20). Here Paul emphasized that repentance involves turning to God and changing behavior, that is, to do the works of obedience.
In Romans Paul wrote that man should not count on God's kindness and forbearance and patience to escape the consequence of sin. Men should realize that "the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Romans 2:4).
When one sees the holiness God demands, and His kindness, and recognizes his own sinfulness, he should be grieved. This grief should produce the results that occurred in the Corinthian Church. They "sorrowed to repentance. . . . For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation" (II Corinthians 7:9-11).
Peter wrote about the judgment we all face, stating, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering [patient] to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). The Lord's desire is that none should perish; therefore He is patient and gracious so that we can repent.
The New Birth
Repentance involves, as noted above, a radical change of mind and heart. When man's repentance is real, God's grace will the cause him to have a "new birth." When Jesus was asked about who was the greatest in the kingdom, He said, "Verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." The new birth involves a complete turning in a person's life. The Christian will be childlike because of his new birth, and will have a complete change in his willingness to learn. He will listen to the Word and accept its teachings without questioning them. The new birth will cause him to become a "child of God" (Matthew 18:1-4; cf. Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:17).
Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Explaining how one could be born again, Jesus stated, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:1-15). Later Jesus said that "it is the spirit that quickeneth [gives life]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63; cf. II Corinthians 3:6). The Holy Spirit and the Word bring about the birth of a new spiritual man in the believer.
Twice in his first epistle, John wrote about being "born of God." He wrote, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (I John 3:9-10). Then near the end of the book he wrote, "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not: but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not" (I John 5:18). If one is "born of God," he does not make a practice of disobeying his heavenly Father, God. But this does not mean that Christians cannot occasionally stumble, but when this happens, "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). God is always gracious toward His children.
Paul's writings help us understand the new birth. He wrote, "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:5-6). Things of the flesh come from our inherited sinful nature. Later Paul stated, "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if be that the Spirit of God dwells in you" and "if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Romans 8:9, 13). The Spirit brings new life that produces a change in mind and deeds.
To the Corinthians Paul wrote, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17). To the Ephesians he wrote that the Christian is a "new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). Thus the new man is restored to the position he had before the Fall, and is righteous and holy. In Titus, "after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:4-7). God's mercy changes the believer by a washing of regeneration and renewal.
The results of the new birth can be seen in the parable of the sower. The seeds "fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold" (Matthew 13:8). Jesus explained, "He that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirty" (Matthew 13:23). The new birth brings about a change that produces good fruit--the doing of God's will.
Repentance and the new birth result in discipleship. Discipleship means that the Christian is totally surrendered to Jesus and follows His teachings. Examples of discipleship can be found in the Gospels. When Christ said to Peter, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men," there was action. "And they straightway left their nets, and followed him." Jesus then saw two brothers, James and John, mending nets and called them. "They immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him" (Matthew 4:18-22). Jesus passed "Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him" (9:9). According to Luke, Jesus said to him "Follow me. And he left, and rose up, and followed him" (Luke 5:27-28). The call to follow was marked by a willing response and immediate action.
Jesus once stated, "Think not that I come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." "On earth," in this statement, refers to men in general. The lack of peace would come about because men would not all respond to His call to follow. He next stated that any one who loved another person more than Him was not worthy of Him, "and he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 10:38-39). Jesus later told his disciples, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 16:24-25). Thus discipleship is an all important and necessary part of redemption.
When a man asked Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life, He said, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments," and He enumerated some of them. Then the man responded, "All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?" Jesus then said, "If thou will be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." This grieved the man and he did not follow because he was wealthy. In response to his action, Jesus pointed out to his disciples that it was hard for those with riches to enter the kingdom. When told this, the disciples thought this was a hard saying, and wondered if they could ever enter the kingdom. Jesus said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:16-26; cf. Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30). God's grace can produce seemingly impossible changes in us.
Once Jesus was approached by three men requesting to follow Him. Jesus' response to them gives some indication of what is involved in discipleship. One was quick to say, "I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest." Jesus told him to consider the cost, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." Another received a call to follow but responded, "Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father." He would follow later after doing something else first, but Jesus responded, "Let the dead bury their own: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." Another had a similar response, "I will follow thee: but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house." There can be no delay. As Jesus noted, "No man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Discipleship can be a hard way. One must count the cost and not look back after taking up the cross (Luke 9:57-62).
Jesus noted that the example of sheep could help us to understand discipleship. When the "porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. . . . The sheep follow him. . . . A stranger will they not follow." Later Jesus explained, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life: and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:1-30).
Those who follow will change their walk and be free of sin. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). He noted, "If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light" (Luke 11:36). He also once told some believers, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." When questioned about this, Jesus said, "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." The disciple is not a slave of sin, but a son of God who loves to do his Father's will (John 8:31-36).
In John 15, Jesus explains how fruit bearing relates to discipleship. "He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." Then He explains, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. . . . If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love " (John 15:5, 8-10).
Discipleship is a narrow and hard way that is quite different from what many picture Christianity to be. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few that be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14; cf. Luke 13:23-24).
Lordship of Christ
Discipleship means coming under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Today the use of the term "Lord" is common and popular, but Jesus points out some aspects of it in the Sermon on the Mount that are little understood. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven." He will tell some who claimed to do many things in His name, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23).
Jesus asked a question that needs to be answered by many today. "Why call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). Following this question, He told a parable concerning the importance of keeping God's Word. Jesus stated, "Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them . . . is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock." When the floods came, his house stood. But "he that heareth, and doeth them not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth." When the stream broke against it, it immediately fell (Luke 6:47-49; cf. Matthew 7:24-27). There is no way to answer Jesus' question about not following His teachings. Those who follow what Jesus taught have a firm foundation and assurance of eternal life.
Repentance, Faith, New Birth, and Discipleship
Repentance, faith, the new birth, and discipleship are all necessary conditions for salvation. It would be wrong to believe that only one of these conditions was necessary for eternal life. All these are necessary conditions, and they are interrelated. The fact that these are interrelated is obvious. The sinner must repent in order to believe. Yet he must have some faith in order to repent; otherwise he could not. Repentance means he has changed from his rebellion against God. This change in mind and spirit involves being born again. Being born again, the Christian will become a disciple of Jesus Christ. Although repentance, faith, the new birth and discipleship are distinctive concepts, they work together to bring about salvation. They cannot be separated into a series of steps. They are not four steps to be taken one at a time; they are to occur simultaneously.
But today many believe the only necessary condition for salvation is an intellectual assent of faith in Jesus. They misinterpret Paul's statement, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9; cf. Romans 3:28). They elevate this statement above all others and believe there is no need of repentance, the rebirth, or discipleship. Salvation is by faith alone, they say. But salvation is by grace alone. It is by God's grace that we repent, believe Christ, are born again, and become disciples of Christ.
Those who misunderstand Paul's writings on "justification by faith" fail to consider the struggle the early church had over keeping the Mosaic Law. Jesus explained that "the law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached" (Luke 16:16). The Law has served its purpose and, as He taught in the Sermon on the Mount, was fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18). The good news of the kingdom of God replaces it. John also notes this change and makes a sharp distinction between the two: "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17 NASV).
Paul explained the purpose of the law and grace in Romans. The law established a standard of holiness no man could keep so that "all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified." The law brought knowledge of sin and not justification. But man can now be "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:19, 20, 31; see 3:9-31).
Many of the New Testament epistles were written to show that it was not necessary for Christians to keep the Mosaic Law to be saved. We must keep this in mind today when studying these books. The emphasis in Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews on justification by faith is concerned with the relation of the Old Covenant to the New Covenant (Romans 3:21; 9:30-32; Galatians 3:10-14; 23-24; Hebrews 8:13; 9:15; 10:1; Acts 13:38-39). This emphases on faith does not mean that repentance, the new birth, and discipleship are not required. Often when these books speak of faith, these other teachings are considered an aspect of faith or necessary results of faith.
If the reader has any doubt that the Christian is not to sin, he should study Romans 6. This book written about "justification by faith" has some of the strongest teachings that the Christian is to "walk in newness of life" and not have any part of sin. And he should also study Paul's epistle to the Ephesians and see there is a place for good works because Christians "are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).
Come and Follow The redemption brought by Jesus Christ is available to all who will believe, repent, obey, and follow Him as disciples. These are all important and necessary for eternal life. No person should think that faith alone will suffice. Faith alone will not nullify Jesus' teachings on repentance, the new birth, and discipleship.
Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). This promise still stands today. Searchers will find that repentance, the new birth, and discipleship are all made possible because of God's grace. All should remember too that "many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14). Many fail to "enter . . . in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because straight is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14, cf. Luke 13:23-24). God is ready to justify (to declare the sinner righteous before God) all who will come to Jesus by His grace.
Read the Bible
This booklet has attempted to show how God's grace has made redemption possible through His Son Jesus Christ. The reader is encouraged to turn to the Bible and read and search its passages to understand its message on redemption and God's will for your life.
The reader may wish to start a Bible study program by reading first the Gospels, especially Matthew and John. We should constantly read and study the Bible. To learn about God and His plan for us, we need to read, read and read the Scriptures. Only then can we see for ourselves what Scripture teaches.
One who studies the Word sincerely and prayerfully in humility will find truth there. And we will find God's call to holy living.
The writer is the author of Christian Evidence, How We Know the Bible Is God's Revelation, The Authority of Scripture*, Redemption Realized Through Christ, and The Biblical Concept of the Church*
* coming soon
A Message on Redemption:
This booklet, following the practice of earlier books in this series, quotes extensively from the Bible to show how this redemption is made available to man from a biblical viewpoint.
The reader may realize this booklet teaches a view different than the Roman Catholic and most Protestant churches teach. But its teachings are not new. They are the same held by the early church and other remnant groups, such as the Anabaptists-Mennonites, throughout church history.
Listen to the radio program A Call to Holy Living
For more on this subject, read Redemption Realized Through Christ by Leland M. Haines available from:
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