First Posted: 5/8/2009
Salvation and grace are forever linked. Salvation has its existence and availability only because our heavenly Father is a God of grace.
This is true not just because the apostle Paul said it, but because God proves it to mankind every time a lost soul surrenders to the Lord Jesus Christ.
All of us were once spiritually dead because we lived in sin. Our obligations and interests in the world consumed our minds and hearts so that we lived for ourselves and the world.
We gave no thought to being obedient to our heavenly Father, and we preferred pleasing ourselves over pleasing Him. This condition came naturally to us since we are all born into sin, and we walked alongside Satan, the prince of the power of the air.
We were selfish and self-centered, living as slaves to sin as we fulfilled the desires of the flesh and of the mind. We were, as Paul wrote, children of wrath. What does it mean to be a child of wrath? It is living every day in the presence of an all-powerful God who is angered at the sight of wickedness.
But God who is rich in mercy did not leave us alone in our sins and trespasses. God loved us with a great love and it is in His love we see how inseparable are salvation and grace. He has given us life together with Christ, and Paul explained so there should be no doubt that is by grace ye are saved.
This life we have together with Christ is a spiritual one in which we have been raised with Him. We were formerly dead in our sins, but because of Jesus we are born again into a living hope. The apostle Peter wrote about this living hope in Jesus: Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).
In Christs resurrection we are given the privilege of being joined to Him, and we sit together in heavenly places in Christ. In 1 Peter 1:4, the apostle explains sitting together in heavenly places brings an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. One day we will fully see the riches of Gods grace and truly understand the kindness of our Father through Christ Jesus.
It is only by grace that we are saved through faith, and this is a gift from God. We are given a gift we did not pay for, select or design. Salvation does not come by way of our works. Instead, we are Gods workmanship, made alive in Christ to do good works.
What are those good works in us? They are the works the results of Gods grace in all who receive salvation in Christ Jesus.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church, Lumberton, N.C. [email protected]