Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

March 1, 2022
Gift of eternal life comes through God’s grace alone

There are many things we could speak of regarding God; many of them beyond our full comprehension. For example, God is eternal, and even though that statement has been said countless times, the full reality of God never having had a beginning — that He’s always been — is truly beyond our finite comprehension.

Another wondrous aspect of God is that He is the only true God. God says of Himself in Isaiah 43:10, “Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me.” God says that again in Isaiah 44:6, “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.”

Certainly many people believe there is more than one God in existence. Many religions teach that as well. But God is quite clear, He is the only God. There has never been any other God, and there never will be any other God. He alone is God – praise His Holy Name.

I could speak of God’s omnipotence, His omniscience, His omnipresence, or of His great love with which He loves us so much that He was willing to send His Son on our behalf so that we might be able to receive forgiveness, salvation, and the gift of eternal life by way of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone.

But of all the countless things I could speak about regarding God, today I want to talk about His grace. Without a doubt the grace of God is in many respects unfathomable. Of course you might ask, “What is there about God that isn’t truly unfathomable?” I would have to agree. But I say that God’s grace is so beyond us when I consider what the Bible reveals to us about God. God is Holy, Just, and Righteous, and yet He desires to have fellowship with us, even though apart from Christ we are unholy, unjust, and unrighteous.

Why in the world would God ever desire to extend His saving grace to us so that we could have fellowship with Him, especially considering what it cost God in order to establish that fellowship? The truth is, from a human perspective, there is no good reason for God to desire to have fellowship with us, or to save us in order to have that fellowship; that is why our salvation and eternal life is by grace, and grace alone.

I believe grace is a very misunderstood aspect of God. Many consider God’s grace as simply His kindness. People who are kind are often gracious, but that is not what is going on when God extends His grace to us regarding salvation and exaltation.

Certainly God is gracious. Matthew 5:45 says that God causes the sun to shine on both the good and the evil; He causes the rain to fall so that everyone can grow crops, and have water to drink. He gives children to all people, whether they love God or not. This is God’s “common grace” that is poured out upon all people.

But there is another aspect to God’s grace; I am referring to God’s “saving grace.” This grace abounds beyond anything we could ask, or even imagine. This is grace that flows from the unimaginable, sacrificial heart of God. This is a matchless grace that has the power not only to fully forgive when we repent, but to give life, the gift of eternal life. (John 3:14-16; Romans 6:23)

Many people think that they must do whatever they can to please God, and after they have done all they can that God will give them His grace. Others have come to believe that grace apart from works is not grace at all.

But God speaks of His saving grace at length in the Bible. Grace is mentioned over 130 times in the Bible. Two important places are found in Ephesians 2:8-9, and Romans 4:1-14.  God ties grace and faith together in those two passages. God makes it very clear that apart from faith we cannot be pleasing to God (Hebrews 11:6), and that works have nothing at all to do with salvation and eternal life. Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

In fact, as Jesus was talking to the Jews about eternal life they asked Him what “works” they could do to earn exalted life, and He told them quite clearly, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29).

Remember, without faith you cannot please God, and it is by grace you are saved “through faith.” I say that because it is not enough to believe “about” Jesus, you must believe in Him by putting your faith in Him alone, believing that He can forgive you, and He alone can give you the “gift” of eternal life. Apart from faith in Jesus Christ alone you cannot be saved; you cannot receive the gift of eternal life.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus invited those who are weary to come to Him, and He would give them rest. Jesus is talking to those who are weary with trying to save themselves, weary with trying to be good enough to earn eternal life. Accept Jesus’ invitation today. Turn to Jesus in repentance and faith, and He will give you rest; He will give you salvation and the gift of eternal life.

Jon McCartney is pastor of First Baptist Church of Tooele.

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