Grace – the key word in our salvation. We are saved by God’s amazing grace. It is so profound, so incredible, so powerful, yet we often take it for granted or don’t really understand it. You see, we are helpless to save ourselves, no matter how “good” we are or try to be. God’s grace is His free gift to all those who trust in Jesus and His finished work on the cross for forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Ephesians 2:8-9 says;”For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift from God, not as a result of works,so that no one may boast”. Indeed God’s hand of grace is powerful, but what does it include? In order to help us understand the depths of grace, I like to use, what I call “the five fingers on the hand of God’s grace”. Here they are:.
JUSTIFICATION This is a legal term that, simply put, means that our guilt is gone. Romans 4:25-5:1 says: “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ“. The eternal weight of our sin has been lifted from us through the blood of Jesus as He took our guilt on Himself, and we go free. Think of it like this…you are in the Supreme Court of Heaven and the Heavenly Supreme Court Justice sits on His throne to determine your eternal destination. The prosecuting attorney, Satan, stands up and presents an eight hour detailed case of every sin you have ever committed, accompanied with exhibits and documentation. Finally, when he is done, he glances at you with a smug look of victory and wheezes, “the prosecution rests”. Now it is the defense’s turn. Jesus your defense attorney stands up and gives only a three sentence case as He says “This person has repented of his sin and has trusted in me as his Savior. I took His guilt upon Myself at the cross. He is Mine”. And then he sits down. The Supreme Court Judge asks you to stand up, looks you in the eye and pronounces His verdict: ” You are declared innocent because the debt of your sin has been paid in full. Your guilt is gone. You are free to enter into My heaven”. That’s justification!!
REDEMPTION This is a word taken in the context of the slave market when a slave obtained his or her release through the paying of a ransom. Romans 3:23-24 says: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; and Colossians 1:13-14 says :”For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins“. We have been redeemed not with money or material things, but with the blood of Jesus. You see, a price had to be paid for our sins, and God set down the mandate that blood had to be the price: “And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22). A pretty steep price to pay, a price that we couldn’t pay. Only perfect blood could pay the price . The only perfect One is God, but God is Spirit. How could this be done? The incarnation of God. Jesus, the second person of the Trinity became man to shed his blood so that the price of redemption could be paid. Because we are redeemed by Jesus’ perfect blood, our redemption is eternal. The price has been paid in full and cannot be “refunded”.
PROPITIATION This literally means to gain or regain the favor of; an expiation. 1 John 2:2 says: “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world“, 1 John 4:10 says : “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”. and Romans 3:25 says: “whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith…”. Propitiation basically means that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross totally satisfied the demands of our holy God. God accepts the blood of His Son on our behalf and because He does so, the enormous barrier of sin that separated us from having a relationship with God has been obliterated. We can now come into the presence of the Father through the blood of His Son.
RECONCILIATION This parallels propitiation and means to change from enmity to friendship. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 says: ” Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Think about your checkbook. When you receive your bank statement the balance of the bank is different from what you have in your checkbook. In order to make sure you have the correct balance you must reconcile your balance to the bank’s by adding and/or subtracting outstanding checks, deposits, and other charges. Thus you bring the two into agreement. The same with us and God. He is the standard and we must be reconciled to Him in order to have a relationship with Him. Jesus brought us, sinners condemned to eternal hell, into agreement with God’s holy standards by dying on the cross for us. The result? We are now have a wonderful relationship with God!
SANCTIFICATION This means to set apart. 1 Corinthians 6:11 says: “ Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God“. and Hebrews 10:10 says: “By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all“. SInce we have been justified, redeemed, propitiated, and reconciled, we are now children of God. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit who gives us everything necessary to live a life of holiness that brings honor to God. We are His people belonging to Him, and now we must choose to be His bond slave and turn away from enslavement to the world. We must consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ, because we have died with Christ to our sin (Colossians 3:3; and see my 4/8/10 blog “Dying to Self – the Key to Life”).
Those are the five fingers on the hand of God’s grace – justification, redemption, propitiation, reconciliation, and sanctification. What a marvelous grace we have been given. The next time you sing “Amazing Grace” remember the incredible truths that are inherent in God’s grace.