One of the most overlooked and misunderstood aspects of the wonder of God’s grace is the fact that grace, and grace alone, gives us access into His presence. Click here to listen to my last sermon.
Let’s look at some familiar scriptures, some popular, some not:
Eph. 2:1-5 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live… like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace that you have been saved”.
Eph. 2:17-18 “He [Christ] came and preached peace to you who were far away [Gentiles] and peace to those who were near [Jews]. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit”.
Eph. 3:8-12 “Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given to me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence”.
Rom. 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand”.
These verses are telling us some rather shocking truths:
- Apart from grace we are dead in our sin. This death is first spiritual and ultimately physical and eternal. This is certainly not a popular statement these days but it is biblical.
- Apart from grace we are “by nature objects of [His] wrath”. This conclusion is even more offensive to our post modern minds. It is offensive because we have not really considered the nature of the word “nature”. Liberal theology has convinced many of us that we humans are basically good by nature. All we need from God is a little forgiveness and we are good to go on being “basically good” in our own strength – because we are “by nature basically good”. If this is true grace is merely a cosmetic facelift and optional for those who aren’t too worried about their wrinkles.
- Apart from grace no one has any access into the Father’s presence. The Father is completely inaccessible to us, apart from grace. This biblical conclusion just doesn’t make much sense to us given our new fact that “we are basically good by nature”.
- Because of his grace we not only have access into the Father’s presence but we may approach him with freedom and confidence.
All of these 4 statements are basic to an accurate biblical understanding of grace. Nothing I have said should be new to most of us. Yet, the sad fact is that these truths have been repeated so many times that they have lost much of their significance. But, repetition alone is not responsible for us becoming somewhat cavalier about grace.
The main reason we become cavalier about grace is because we misunderstand the holiness of God. We throw the word around and sing about it, but do we really understand the word? Until we come to understand the holiness of God, grace, like “holiness” has little meaning for us. It is easy to ignore what you think you understand but don’t.
The next blog post will examine what God’s holiness means and hence why grace is so amazing. Hang in; it will be worth the wait.