Chinese Translations: GB Big5

The Message:
Promise & Conditions

God's Graciousness

Having prepared his disciples to receive it, Jesus goes on to communicate the promise itself, which may be summarized as God's graciousness to us. And it is this promise which he revealed more extensively through the apostles in the New Testament letters. Under the righteousness which is of the law, the object of faith was one's own performance. But it is different under the gospel of grace. Concerning this distinction, Paul writes:
"Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." Rom 3:20-22
Under the gospel of grace, one does not work in order to obtain righteousness. But rather one is justified by simply believing, apart from his performance.
"When a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness."Rom 4:4,5
This is not to say that one's salvation status is completely uncorrelated from one's performance. For our faith will reveal itself through its applications. What we believe will become evident by what we do, as for example Paul writes in 2Cor 4:13 "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.
 
Under the Law
Under Grace
We are because we do
We do because we are
Righteousness is obtained by perfect behavior
Righteousness is obtain through the forgiveness of sins
A person justifies himself
A person is justified through the atoning work of Jesus Christ.
A person works for his righteous status
A person accepts righteousness as a free gift from God.

The Person & Work of Christ

What are the requirements for the promise to be applicable to us? It is not sufficient to simply presume that the promise applies to us. God requires faith in Christ. And realize that the "faith" referred to here is not a trivial thing, but rather the quality of faith that Jesus had been describing all along. It is a conviction.

Under the gospel of grace, God's grace is the thing which is actually promised, but Christ and his atoning work on the cross are the manifestation or even the personification of that grace. "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." John 1:17 Jesus declared: "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." John 3:14,15 Jesus was referring to an event in Numbers chapter 21 in which God had Moses erect a bronze serpent and put it on a pole for people to gaze upon, which would heal whoever had been bitten by poisonous snakes. And this in combination with the cross became the medical symbol that you can see on back of ambulances today. Christ on the cross now became the object of faith as that bronze serpent was. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."John 3:16

Christ as Savior
Justification and Sanctification

In believing in Christ, one must believe that their sins have been forgiven, Christ having atoned for them. For this is part of the New Covenant promise, "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." Heb 10:17. But this is only one aspect of obtaining righteousness through Jesus Christ. Having been forgiven, one is justified. One's sins have been removed, having been even forgotten by God. But the Christian is still a sinful person. The sinful nature remains. For one to live as a righteous person, it is not sufficient to simply be forgiven. Therefore what is known as "Sanctification" is also included in the New Covenant, as it is written, "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest." Jer 31:33,34 Complete sanctification (a state of perfect sinlessness) is not achieved in this lifetime, but after death. "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing" Rom 7:18 (kjv) And thus the flesh has to die for sin to be removed. Living a righteous life in this lifetime then becomes a matter of control over the sinful nature dwelling in the flesh rather than simply the removal of one's sinfulness which will not be accomplished in this lifetime. For this lifetime God puts the Law in our minds and hearts - really the Spirit of the law. The practical implications of this are revealed in 1John 3:9 "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." (John is speaking in a lifestyle sense in referring to "sinning")

The Salvation that God offers through faith in Christ involves both

And though these are guaranteed once one has put salvific faith in Christ, they are not fully experienced in this lifetime. The redeemed have already effectively passed through the judgment, as Jesus said: "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24 But actually going through the judgment and being reckoned righteous on the basis of the forgiveness of sins will be quite an experience of itself. But the removal of one's sinfulness after death will be even a greater experience. It will be the completion of our salvation.

Justification is by the grace of God. And Sanctification is also by the grace of God. It is not that we are justified by grace through faith and then we must work to be sanctified. But rather that though we are not completely sanctified at the same time when we became justified, we are sanctified in the same manner in which we are justified. There is no such thing as a person born of God who lives a lifestyle of sin, because God through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us influences us to behave ourselves. (1John 3:9) And it is inevitable that "everyone born of God overcomes the world." (1John 5:4) For those born of God, "his commands are not burdensome." (1John 5:3) For this is simply part of the new nature of the redeemed. Graciously God sanctifies us. Yes this does involved a removal of our free will to an extent. But realize that God is going to completely remove our free will to sin later on so that we will no longer sin at all. This is part of the salvation that we yearn for - Salvation from one's innate sinfulness. Those who want simply to be saved from condemnation, but want to hold on to their sinful nature are not qualified to receive salvation. It's a package deal. Complete salvation (both justification and sanctification) or no salvation at all.

Under the gospel of grace:

Reckon yourself to be forgiven of sin. But also reckon yourself to have a new nature, the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. It is not a sinless nature at this time. It is a dual nature - one of spirit and flesh. But one which makes it natural for you to live the Christian life. And reckon that you will become a sinless person after death, your sinful nature having been removed.

How do you know whether you've been born of God?

How do you know whether you've been born of God? Look at your behavior. Examine your lifestyle. "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-- unless, of course, you fail the test?" 2Cor 13:5

What kind of test?

"We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." 1John 2:3-6

 "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother."1John 3:9,10

"We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.  Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him." 1John 3:14,15

 "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  This then is how we know that we belong to the truth." 1John 3:18,19

"Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us." 1John 3:24

Christ as Lord

"If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Rom 10:9
It is not sufficient to simply accept Christ as Savior. Many Christians today may not realize this. Accepting Christ as Savior only does nothing for the person. Christ must also be accepted as Lord as well.

Acknowledging Jesus as Lord is not simply a matter of mouthing the words, but rather in the spirit of 2Cor 4:13 "I believed; therefore I have spoken.", a person believes Christ is the Lord and therefore verbally acknowledges it. But what does "Lord" mean? To the Apostles one aspect of this is that to acknowledge Jesus as Lord is to acknowledge him as the Lord of the Old Testament.

The New Testament declares Jesus 
to be the Lord of the Old Testment

New Testament quote about Jesus
Taken from the Old Testament 
Hebrews 1:10 He also says (about Jesus), "In the beginning, O LORD, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands."  Psalm 102:24,25 "So I said: "Do not take me away, O my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations. In the beginning, O LORD, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands
Romans 14:8-11 (speaking of Jesus) It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the LORD, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'"

Tit 2:13 while we wait for the blessed hope-- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ

Isaiah 45:21b-23 There is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.
Acts 2:21 "'In the last days', God says, 'I will pour out my Spirit on all people ... And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.'

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both LORD and Christ.

Joel 2:27-32 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. 'And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people ... And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls. 
Romans 10:9,12,13 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is LORD," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ... For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-- the same LORD is LORD of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved."
2Thessalonians 2:1,2 Concerning the coming of our LORDJesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the LORD has already come. Joel 2:27, 31,32 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed ... The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved;
Acts 2:25 David said about him (Jesus): "I saw the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:1-2,8 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the LORD, "You are my LORD; apart from you I have no good thing." ... I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

The Practice of Treating Christ as Lord

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"Luke 6:46

There are many who acknowlege Christ as Lord, but then don't do what he says. This is like in the Catholic church where many respect the pope, but then they think nothing of getting divorced or having abortions. If Christians acknowledge Christ as Lord but don't do what he says, then they haven't really accepted him as Lord. For the faith that saves is an application oriented faith. And while Christians like to consider themselves servants of God, many don't like to be treated as servants.

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations." Matt 28:18,19

Another aspect of his Lordship is the extent of his authority. We have not only the responsibility to make disciples, but we have the right to do so. There are not only secular authorities, but even "authorities" in the visible church who attempt to usurp Christ's authority by hindering Christians from going and making disciples. Those who may reckon themselves as "authorities" go outside their legitimate realm of authority when they hinder Christians from carrying out Christ's commands. The apostles ran into such a situation in Acts 5:28,29 with the religious authorities

"We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood." Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!"

Summary

When we present the gospel of grace, God graciousness is central to the promise and is expressed through the atoning work of Christ. However, while this is well understood in modern Evangelicalism, what is often not understood is that:

Verses quoted from the NIV version

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015