The Gospel of Grace
The Christian worker (pastor, evangelist, missionary, teacher, etc…) must be first and foremost an expert in the gospel. Understanding and communicating the pure gospel of grace is essential to the work of ministry. The gospel is not a formula for self-improvement. It is about Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. In order to clearly communicate the gospel we must be able to clearly understand the difference between the law and the gospel, clearly distinguish between them and understand the purpose of God’s law. When human works are added to the gospel (when the law and gospel are confused), the gospel ceases to be good news. When the law and gospel are mixed together, the transforming gospel is corrupted, becomes impotent and is reduced to human achievement. It is the pure gospel that saves and transforms.
Three Types of Law
Three Purposes of the Law
· Show me my sin and God’s hatred of it.
· Trouble my conscience and drive me to Christ, the only remedy for my sin.
· For believers only: Once I am converted, the law teaches me how I should respond to the grace we have received. It shows me what I should do and should not do.
Two Tables of the Law (Ten Commandments)
· The first 3 commandments – Relationship with God – Loving God
· Commandments 4 thru 10 – Relationship with one another – Loving our neighbor
“For by the works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith.” Romans 3; 20 – 25
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And it is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2: 8 - 9
The law tells us about ourselves. What it shows us is not good.
The law is unrelenting in its demand.
The law tells me what I must do.
The law is perfect, we should keep it. However, we fail to keep the law.
The law demands but does not enable compliance.
The law diagnoses the disease but offers no cure.
The law shows us our sin and God’s hatred of it.
The law demands perfection and nothing less.
The law troubles my conscience and drives me to Christ.
The Gospel tells me what God has done.
The gospel declares that salvation is a gift – pure and simple.
The gospel tells us that God is pleased with us because of what Christ has done.
The gospel declares that we do not become holy people by doing holy things. God justifies us, He declares us to be holy because of Jesus.
The gospel declares that we are not saved by our spirituality but though faith in Jesus Christ alone.
The gospel shows us the pure grace of God in Jesus Christ. It shows us that God is not against us but for us, even to the point of death on a cross.
The gospel demands nothing but gives all.
The gospel shows us that there is nothing we can do to change God’s attitude toward us, we deserve God’s wrath, we cannot work our way into God’s grace or favor.
The gospel is not a recipe for self-improvement; it declares sins to be forgiven for the sake of the suffering and death of Christ.
The gospel never finds righteousness, it only gives and bestows righteousness.
The gospel declares that God alone justifies the ungodly. We contribute nothing.
The gospel is the good news of God’s favor lavished upon us and we deserve none of it.
The gospel tells us that being spiritual (praying, fasting, reading the Bible, etc) does not make us right with God – only Jesus does.
“The gospel does not require anything that man must furnish; not a good heart, not a good disposition, no improvement of his condition, no godliness, no love of God or of man. It issues no orders, but changes everything. It puts love into his heart and makes him capable of all good works. It demands nothing but gives all.” C.F.W. Walther.
Permission is granted to use this Bible Study outline for personal study and small groups only.
Bob Krepps © 2010 all rights reserved