Grace and Choice

by Rev. Vince Finnegan on October 19, 2008
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John 1:16 and 17 "Grace upon grace" is a way of expressing that we have received through Jesus Christ abundance of grace or favor. Superlative grace has been bestowed upon the Church; we have been given favor superior to all that had been under the Law--superior to all other things that God has conferred on men. However, we should not conclude that grace and truth began with the advent of Jesus Christ. All of God's dealings starting with Adam and Eve and everyone thereafter have been according to His grace and truth. Consider the following regarding Israel.

Deuteronomy 7:6-8 They were separated from all other people in the world to Yahweh. God selected them to be His own because He loved them and to keep the oath to their fathers. He did not call them because of what they had done or would do but because of grace.

Deuteronomy 14:2; 26:18 and 19 The calling has always been by grace and is a mutual arrangement in that man must respond to the call by obedience to God's commands. The calling of God is not a forcing, manipulating, or coercion; rather, it is a loving invitation that must be responded to by a freewill choice. The called must respond, and God will even help us to respond the right way if we ask for His help.

Deuteronomy 7:11-12; Deuteronomy 28:1

The blessing of God abounds to those who are called by His grace; yet, man still has the responsibility to respond with faith that is manifested in obedience. Faith is more than a mental acknowledgment of truth. Genuine faith always has corresponding action or works.

Ephesians 2:8-10 Salvation is available to humanity by the accomplished work of Christ and not by man's works. Having this grace does not nullify the requirement to have faith and to have the corresponding works that always are connected to it. Salvation is a gift, but it is not forced upon people. We must accept salvation by operating our free will to make Jesus Lord in our lives (which implies obedience to his commands). He is not Lord if we ignore or discard his commands that are a part of the new covenant communicated in the New Testament.

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