More Grace

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble

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” (James 4:6).

The Bible does not say God gives more grace to the righteous. It does not say He gives more grace to those who live right and strive for holiness. Nor does it teach that grace is the by product of high standards. It simply says He gives grace to the humble.

Believing in Jesus Christ, how that He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures, does not suddenly make us “super saints” who stop sinning. But surely you already knew that. As Bible believing Christians we do not believe in “quietism” which is a form of mysticism that teaches God annihilates our will and leaves us with no choice. God, in His sovereignty, “chose” to give humankind a free will. That’s His doing and His plan. He made us that way. Do you believe that?

I know a lot of folks tag us “free will” believers with the erroneous idea that we think believing is our part and our work. I don’t believe that. The ability to believe is not our work, the ability to believe is His work. God created the first man with a free will—that makes it His work. But in His sovereignty and divine will God has chosen for humankind to have a free will with the ability to either believe or not believe. It’s been that way since the beginning. Eve had a choice. Adam had a choice.

Search the word “believe” in your New Testament and you’ll find this to be the only means of obtaining life in Christ. God reached, God provided, God came, and God said. Will you believe? The “election” that pertains to Christians is based solely on being in Christ through the instrument of belief. Search the words elect, chosen, and ordain and read the chapter and verses around them and you’ll see that belief is always the means. And do not ignore who is being addressed in the chapter. Read the scriptures in context and you’ll always find this to be true; believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. If you are not in Christ by belief in Him—you are not the elect.

But remember, belief is also the gift of God and is therefore not our work. We should each know that He does not impose His perfect will on us. He does not make or force us to believe. But God chose and ordained before the foundation of the world that any man, woman, boy, or girl who believes in Jesus Christ is “in Him” and is therefore justified, forgiven, cleansed, and made the very righteousness of God. Our “election” is contingent on believing the written record with our God-given, God-designed, God-created, free will! The sovereignty of God is connected with the free will of man.

Our entire life, before and after believing in Christ, we’ve used our God given free will to believe or not believe. Think about your own life and how that’s been true. God doesn’t make you believe and obey. But through our entire Christian life there’s been His abounding grace. Abounding grace that is undeserved, unmerited, and unearned. Grace that is still working and providing that eternal liberty in Christ—that liberty from Satan, that liberty from condemnation, that liberty from judgment, and that liberty from His wrath. What this means is that God does not require for us to first “clean-up” and “shape-up” before we can receive His abundant grace. But one thing is clear; He will give grace to the humble and He will resist the proud.

So what does all of this mean? As His children we must live in humility while in the valley of sin and wretchedness as well as when on the mountaintop of spiritual victory. That’s the point. There is never permission to be lifted up with pride based on those times of good lifestyle choices. We must purpose to live in a posture of humility and realize anything we do that is fruitful as born again Christians is a result of our vital connection to the True Vine—Jesus Christ! It’s all by His grace. We can never take any credit.

The Christian life is Christ in you. Remember this great Bible truth and let it motivate you to live a life of humility. “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

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One Response to “More Grace”

  1. Dale Says:

    EXCELLENT teaching, Brother Forrest! I don’t believe I’ve ever heard or read a clearer explanation of the relationship of “believing” to salvation by grace. It rings so true with my personal salvation experience. I wrestled for a long time with the issue of believing (though I couldn’t have explained it to you at the time) before God, by His grace & through His sovreign will, brought me to the point where I “chose” to place my confidence in the finished work of Christ.

    I think this teaching may be at the heart of the difficulties so many have with eternal security. There are times when my flesh has the upper hand (sin) & my “belief” becomes faint. Thank God my salvation is vested in my decision to accept, once for all, His grace to believe. If I were relying on MY ability to “believe,” my salvation would come-and-go with my ability to “believe.” As said one poor sinner, “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.” That statement would be confusing to one who fails to understand that “belief” is a grace gift.