The Only Right Response to Grace
“..walking in newness of life”

By Jon W. Quinn
 Have you noticed that there are at least three different ways that people respond to the grace of God. Some eagerly accept the great benefits of the gospel as it fills up their lives to overflowing. They are primarily interested in serving God and everything else is secondary. We'll call them group number one.

Then there is group number two. They really are not interested at all in their souls or in God. They cannot identify at all with Jesus' death and prefer not to be bothered by it at all.

Last there is the group that really do not fit either of the above groups. They are religious to an extent. They are probably decent folks and would take offense if you suggested that perhaps they ought to treat Jesus' Lordship in their lives with a little more seriousness. We will call them group number three.

Now we have a problem. There are three distinct groups which we have considered but as we turn to the Bible these three groups become only two! (See Matthew 25:31-46 for example.). We can easily discern where our groups numbers one and two fit. But our group number three has to go somewhere too. They have to join with one of the first two groups. Which one will it be?

Examples of the Right Response to Grace
Simon Peter’s brother, Andrew, was one of the two who heard John speak and followed Him. “He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, 'We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus..." (John 1:40-42). This reaction of Andrew is typical of dedicated, God-fearing men and women as they welcome Jesus into their lives by faithful obedience. These men had been waiting for the Messiah. They are excited! They are happy! They run to tell others! They follow Jesus eagerly learning what He has for them. They are by no means perfect, they each will have struggles to wage, but the zeal, love and dedication is there. They have no part in our groups numbers two or three. They are in group number one.

The faithful of the early church were the same way. No half dedicated, "just too busy with other things" disciple is ever commended by the Lord. But look at the examples of the zealous! They would turn obstacles into opportunities (Acts 8:1-4). They had a keen sense of fellowship, or sharing with God a very important task. They were God's "fellow workers" and so the word "sounded forth" (1 Corinthians 3:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8).

Those who do not have this dedication about which the Bible speaks cannot give the proper testimony to others. If the joy and sincerity isn't there, then who will listen? If there is no "walking in newness of life" then why change at all?

Our Silent Testimony
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." (Colossians 3:17).

There are two aspects of the things we tell others about our Savior. We tell them about Jesus by the things we do as well as the things we say. In fact, we show by our deeds what we truly believe in our hearts. If we are not convinced that Jesus ought to be our Lord, then our actions will bear that out whether we are willing to admit it or not. It does not matter how loudly one may shout that he loves the Lord, if the deeds of faith are not there then the claim is an empty one.

Jesus said that His disciples would "let your light shine among men that they may see your good works and glorify God" (Matthew 5:16). There are many other passages which teach the same truth. The old saying that "actions speak louder than words" certainly has a Biblical basis (James 2:14-18; 1 John 3:16-19). "And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments..." (2 John 6).

Our Verbal Testimony
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17). We must accompany our deeds with information on why it is that we are happy and content. We base our principles and code of conduct solely on what God has revealed. We, like Andrew of old, tell others that we "have found the Messiah".

We must lead others to the realization that the Scriptures are the only proper basis for right and wrong. That they are the revealed will of God. It will do little good to convince someone that the Bible teaches this or that if they are not first convinced that it is the only accurate guide for life. And even then, if our own life does not show others that we hold Biblical principles in the highest esteem, then how can we impress upon them the value of Knowing God? As the Lord pointed out through Paul, "You who boast in the Law, through your breaking of the Law do you dishonor God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." (Romans 2:23,24).

Please make sure that the things you say about God are matched by the things you do! Else the enemies of the cross will only be given another excuse to blaspheme.

The Basic Message
Briefly, men and women need to be convinced that they are sinners in need of a Savior. They also need to be informed that the Creator of this universe is a God who loves us all but cannot tolerate sin because He is also a just God. People need to be convinced that nobody can save himself and so if salvation occurs at all then it must be from a source outside of must be by God's grace. People need to see Jesus on the cross as our only hope and evidence of both the love and just nature of God. Finally, that mans' response to God's grace must be an obedient, enduring faith.

Our message will only be listened to if we really believe it. And if we do, then we will live it as well. We mentioned three groups at the beginning. The second (2 Thessalonians 2:8) and the third (Revelation 3:16) are sorely lacking; be in the first.
From The Bradley Banner 12/9//2014
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway
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