GRACE

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.

Romans 3:23,24...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.

Romans 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.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

To speak of Jesus' blood was an important first-century way of speaking of Christ's death. His death points to two wonderful truths- redemption and forgiveness. Redemption was the price paid to gain freedom for a slave. Through his death, Jesus paid the price to release us from slavery to sin. Forgiveness was granted in the Old Testament times on the basis of the shedding of animals' blood. Now we are forgiven on the basis of the shedding of Jesus' blood- he died as the perfect and final sacrifice.

Grace is God's voluntary and loving favor given to those he saves. We can't earn salvation, nor do we deserve it. No religious, intellectual, or moral effort can gain it, because it comes only from God's mercy and love. Without God's grace, no person can be saved. To receive it, we must acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves, that only God can save us, and that our only way to receive this loving favor is through faith in Christ.

Romans 3:25,26 God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished- he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Justified means to be declared not guilty. When a judge in a court of law declares the defendant not guilty, all the charges are removed from his record. Legally, it is as if the person had never been accused. When God forgives our sins, our record is wiped clean. From his perspective, it is as though we had never sinned.

Redemption refers to Christ setting sinners free from slavery to sin. Christ purchased our freedom and the price was his life.

Christ is our sacrifice of atonement. In other words, he died in our place, for our sins. God is angry at sinners. They have rebelled against him and cut themselves off from his life-giving power. But God declares Christ's death to be the appropriate, designated sacrifice for our sin. Christ then stands in our place, having paid the penalty of death for our sin, and he completely satisfies God's demands. His sacrifice brings God's grace to us.

Romans 5:12-19 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned- for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a Command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgement followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

God's love for us is so undeniable; and what a promise this is to those who love Christ! We can reign over sin's power, over death's threats, and over Satan's attacks. Eternal life is our now and forever.

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