Grace alone

SERMON TOPIC: Grace alone

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 22 February 2015


Sermon synopsis: Sola gratia (by grace alone) is the teaching that salvation comes by God’s grace or “unmerited favour” only — not as something merited by the sinner. This means that salvation is an unearned gift from God for Jesus’ sake.

2 Cor 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
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The Bible teaches that mankind is born in a state of sin. This is a consequence of ‘original sin’, a sinful nature which we inherited from our first parents.

We are born sinners as a result of ‘the fall of man’ through the first sin of Adam and Eve in Eden.

Adam is the ‘federal head’ of the entire human race and we all inherit our sinful nature from him.

Rom 5:15 …the many died by the trespass of the one man… 16 The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation… 18 just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men … 19 through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners…

Original sin

In the 5th century, a debate that affected the understanding of grace in Christianity took place between Pelagius and Augustine of Hippo.

Pelagius (c. 354 - c. 420/ 440) was a British monk who denied the doctrine of original sin inherited from Adam, which was articulated by Augustine of Hippo. His doctrine became known as Pelagianism.

Pelagianism is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that our will is still capable of choosing good or evil without Divine aid. Thus, Adam simply “set a bad example” for his offspring. Pelagianism views the role of Jesus as “setting a good example” for the rest of humanity (thus counteracting Adam’s bad example).

In short, men have full control of their own salvation. Religion’s purpose is to teach us virtue, from which we can expect reward from God. By great efforts, it is possible for those in the flesh to achieve moral perfection.

Pelagianism does not explain why Jesus Christ had to die for anyone’s sins; if men can redeem themselves by their own efforts, atonement by Jesus on the Cross was at best a vague sort of moral example.


Pelagianism was opposed by Augustine, who taught that a person’s salvation comes solely through a free gift, the grace of God, and that no person could save themselves by their own works.

The taint of original sin in fact did extinguish God’s grace in men’s souls; no matter how righteously they conducted themselves, their virtues could never make them worthy of the infinite holiness of God. Men can no more endow themselves with grace than an empty glass can fill itself.

While we may have ‘free will’ in the sense that we can choose our course of conduct, we nevertheless lack true freedom to avoid sin, for sin is inherent in each choice we make. It is only by God’s sovereign choice to extend His grace to us that salvation is possible.

Mainly through the influence of Augustine, Pelagianism was condemned as a heresy at several local synods, including the Council of Diospolis and the Councils of Carthage.


Martin Luther taught that men were helpless and without a plea before God’s justice, and their acts of piety were utterly inadequate before His infinite holiness. 1

Were God only just, and not merciful, everyone would go to Hell, because everyone, even the best of us, deserves to go to Hell. 1

Our inability to achieve salvation by our own effort suggests that even our best intention is somehow tainted by our sinful nature. This doctrine is sometimes called total depravity… 1

As opposed to the treasury of grace which believers can make withdrawals from, in Lutheranism salvation becomes a declaration of spiritual bankruptcy, in which penitents acknowledge the inadequacy of their own resources and trust only in God to save them.1 1 Wikipedia

Bondage of the will & total depravity

Luther considered his book “The Bondage of the Will”, to be his greatest work, apart from translating the Bible.

Paul explained total depravity and the bondage of the will as follows in Romans 7:14-25, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

The bondage of the will

What is grace?

The NT word that is usually translated ‘grace’ is in Greek charis (χαρις). which literally means “that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness”. 1

In Christianity, divine grace refers to the sovereign favour of God for humankind — especially in regard to salvation — irrespective of actions (‘deeds’), earned worth, or proven goodness. 1

GRACE = God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

John 1:16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.

2 Cor 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

Luther deplored the idea of a cruelly judgmental Heavenly Father quite as much as his severe terrestrial one. Why, he wondered, would a God of Love be more inclined to condemn than to show tenderness and mercy? “We have made of Christ a task-master far more severe than Moses.”

1 Wikipedia

The doctrine of Grace

Like many others in his time, Luther was terrified of a God who wanted vengeance on sinners. He was obsessed with trying to please God. The medieval church taught that a person had to earn God’s acceptance. 1

Luther kept his monastic vows with an intensity that went far beyond the already strict requirements. He wore himself out with prayer and fasting. He wore out his superiors with his excessive and regular confessions of his sins (often taking up hours on end to list each and every individual sin).

He submitted reverently to all ascetic ‘severities’, said 25 Paternosters with the Ave Maria at the 7 appointed hours of prayer… 2

Luther had written after his conversion, “If ever a monk got to heaven by monkery, I would have gotten there.” Luther desired to attain heaven at whatever cost. He would do anything to appease the roaring conscience of sin that hovered over him, and the dreadful wrath of a God who sat in judgment of his every deed. 2

Luther wrote, “If I had kept on any longer, I should have killed myself with vigils, prayers, readings and other work.”

1 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada 2 The German Reformation by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon

Not by works

But even these superhuman efforts did not bring peace to his tormented soul. When he said his first mass, he was “utterly stupefied and terror-stricken” at the thought of standing before the Almighty God. 1

On Luther’s pilgrimage to Rome in 1510, we have the story of the 28 stairs at the Lateran Church, which led to a room filled with relics of the saints. These were supposedly the same stairs Jesus walked on when He appeared before Pilate, and angels had miraculously moved “Pilate’s Staircase” to Rome. Pope Leo IV decreed an indulgence of 9 years out of purgatory for every step — if you went up on your knees saying the Pater Noster (“Lord’s Prayer” in Latin ) on each step. Luther, whose parents were still living, wanted to release the soul of Grandfather Heine from the flames, so he was saying the prayers and even kissing each step as he went. 2

Luther got to the top of the steps and suddenly the great verse of Romans 1:17 flashed into his mind: “The just shall live by faith.”

He sprung to his feet and hastened from the place in shame and horror. That text never lost its power upon his soul. 3

1 Glimpses of Christian History 2 References: 1996 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, Geddes MacGregor, Dictionary of Religion and Philosophy 3 “The Great Controversy” - E.G. White

Not by works

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Through his laborious studies of the Scriptures, Luther came to see that the guilt that consumed him could not be lifted by more religion, and the God he dreaded so much was not the God that Christ has revealed. Shooting forth from the book of Romans (1:17), another thunderbolt crossed his path: “Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that ‘the just shall live by his faith.’ Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which, through grace and sheer mercy, God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of Scripture took on a new meaning, and whereas before the ‘justice of God’ had filled me with hate, now it became to me inexpressibly sweet in greater love. This passage of Paul became to me a gate to heaven…” 1

1 Glimpses of Christian History

Not by works

According to Luther only the unearned, unmerited grace of God can save anyone. No one can have a claim of entitlement to God’s grace, and it is only by His generosity that salvation is even possible.

Grace, then, is God’s initiative and choice to make a path of salvation available for men. 1

Grace is an attitude of God towards mankind by which He provides a benefit, without consideration of merit. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Faith in the fact that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the scriptures, 1 Corinthians 15:3,4. 1

It is by God’s Grace (unmerited favor), therefore, that salvation is granted to man, on the condition that we put our faith (piðstiv, meaning belief or confidence, in other words, trust) in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that is, belief that Jesus is from God, Jesus is the Messiah (Messiðav, anointed one, also the Hebrew word for Christ) and that his death on the cross has the power to take away our sins, thus making us blameless in the sight of God. 1

1 Wikipedia

Not by works

Not by works

2 Tim 1:8-9 …God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.

Rom 11:5-6 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

Peter, addressing Jewish believers, says of Gentile believers, “He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” Acts 15:9-11

Eph 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works…

However the same passage goes on to show that works are a fruit of the convert:

Eph 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Not by works

Titus 3:3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Even Abraham received the promise by grace through faith:

Rom 4:13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.

Not by works

Paul wrote the epistle to the Galatian churches explicitly warning them about being caught up in trying to earn their salvation by works and external acts like circumcision.

Gal 5:5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

We earn wages, but a gift is free:

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Not by works

Gal 2:14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? 15 “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.17 If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Not by works

As Luther studied and taught, he gradually began to realize that the NT teaches that grace cannot be earned. God freely accepts people. This became the doctrine of ‘justification by grace through faith.’ 1

God is not obliged to save anyone; men cannot make themselves good enough to earn their way into Heaven on their own initiative, or give rise to a duty on God’s part to save them. It is only through the redemption bought by Christ’s sacrifice that anyone is saved, and the path of salvation for men lies in participating in that redemption. 2

Rom 3:21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 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— 26 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.

1 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada 2 Wikipedia

Not by works

Eph 2:2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…

Rom 5:15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the 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!

Eph 1:6 … his glorious grace, which he has freely given us…

A gift

Jesus taught the concept of grace. He told parables that underlined that grace was God’s to give, God’s sole prerogative, and that it was freely offered. 1

Parables such as well known story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 contain the teachings of Jesus on grace.

A son demands the family fortune and subsequently wastes it, then returns home expecting little in the way of good treatment. However the father welcomes him handsomely, despite the objections of his other son who had stayed at home and served dutifully.

1 Wikipedia

A gift

Similarly, the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Matthew 20:1-16, tell of an employer (who represents God) who hires some workers early in the day, some later, and some an hour before quitting time, then pays each of them the same amount. When the workers who worked all day complain, the employer’s explanation is, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matt. 20:15-16)

Like the wages of the labourers in the parable, grace is God’s gift at God’s sole discretion.

There is a common thread in these parables of Jesus: the grace of God is something that upsets settled human notions about merit, about what is deserved, and what is due as recompense.

A gift

If salvation were achieved by works (any human effort that intends earning), men could take pride in their efforts toward holiness, and God’s gift of grace would be diminished in contrast to man’s efforts.

However, salvation is a gift so there is no room for boasting:

Eph 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

1 Cor 15:9-10 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

Rom 3:24-28 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus… Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

No boasting

you are not under law, but under grace.

Rom 6:6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

Is grace a license to sin?

Jude 4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about a long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Rom 6:1-2 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age

Rom 3:24 … and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus …30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

If grace is simply a reusable “Get Out Of Jail Free” card, then the gospel will be reduced to a new type of indulgence system, except that you don’t have to pay.

Is grace a license to sin?

1 John 3:4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 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. 10 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.

Good works are something the believers should undertake out of gratitude towards their Saviour; but they are not necessary for salvation and cannot earn anyone salvation; there is no room for the notion of ‘merit’ in Luther’s doctrine of redemption. (There may, however, be degrees of reward for the redeemed in Heaven.) 1

1 Wikipedia

Is grace a license to sin?

James shows that faith without works is dead. By ‘works’ James includes both acts of charity, and righteousness according to the code of laws. Without these things, claiming to have ‘faith’ is a sham. Grace must be something that steers the Christian to avoid sin and practice charity. Without these signs, it seems unlikely that grace was ever there.

James 1:26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James speaks of works, not as the cause, but as a result of salvation.

James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder… 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone…26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Is grace a license to sin?

The NT exhibits a tension between two aspects of grace: the idea that grace is from God and sufficient to cover any sin, and the idea that grace does not free man from his responsibility to behave rightly. 1

Many parables of Jesus preach grace broad enough to forgive any sin, and to be available regardless of the seeming unworthiness of its recipient. Examples of this included the parable of the Prodigal son and lost sheep. However, Jesus also said: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

1 Wikipedia

The purpose of the Law

Luther maintained that God interacts with human beings in two ways—through the law and through the Gospel.

The law represents God’s demands—as expressed, for example, in the Ten Commandments. All people, regardless of their religious convictions, have some degree of access to the law through their consciences and through the ethical traditions of their culture, although their understanding of it is always distorted by human sin. The law has two functions. It enables human beings to maintain some order in their world, their communities, and their own lives despite the profound alienation from God, the world, their neighbors, and ultimately themselves that is caused by original sin. In addition, the law makes human beings aware of their need for the forgiveness of sins and thus leads them to Christ.

God also interacts with human beings through the Gospel, the good news of God’s gift of his Son for the salvation of the human race. This proclamation demands nothing but acceptance on the part of the individual. Indeed, Luther argued that theology had gone wrong precisely when it began to confuse law and Gospel (God’s demand and God’s gift) by claiming that human beings can in some way merit that which can only be the unconditional gift of God's grace.

References: 1996 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, Geddes MacGregor, Dictionary of Religion and Philosophy

The purpose of the Law

The law makes us conscious of sin:

Rom 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Rom 7:7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”

The law is instrumental in leading us to Christ:

Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ… (NASB)

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ…(KJV)

Gal 3:24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. (NIV)

The purpose of the Law

But the law cannot save us, because of our sinful nature:

Rom 8:3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man…

The passage goes on to show that:

Rom 8:4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

Rom 3:31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

The purpose of the Law

Jesus becomes the ‘federal head’ of those who put their trust in Him.

Rom 5:15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the 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! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 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. 18 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. 19 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.

Last Adam

Q: How did we become sinners?

A: By being born into Adam’s family

Q: How are we saved?

A: By being born “again” into the Last Adam’s (Jesus’) family.

1 Pet 1:23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

John 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

Last Adam

Q: How can we be born again? Nicodemus asked this same question, “How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” (John 3:4)

A: By believing (putting our trust in Him, not just acknowledging His existence)

John 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

Accepting Augustine’s concern for legal justification in salvation, Luther considered believers not so much made righteous, but covered by Christ’s righteousness.

Acknowledging that they have no power to make themselves righteous, the penalty for their sins is discharged because Jesus has already paid for it with His blood.

His righteousness is given to those who belong to him.

Last Adam

Grace is the distinguishing feature of the New Covenant:

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

By God’s grace: Jesus took our punishment.

Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

By God’s grace: we are justified (God’s act of declaring or making a sinner righteous before God).

Rom 3:24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus

Titus 3:7 so that, having been justified by his grace…

By God’s grace: we have forgiveness and redemption (purchasing back something previously sold).

Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

The benefits of God’s grace

By God’s grace: we have peace with God

Rom 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.

By God’s grace: we can approach God with confidence

Heb 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

By God’s grace: we have eternal life & are heirs

Titus 3:7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

This is the gospel (good news):

Acts 20:24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace

The benefits of God’s grace