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
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
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
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
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 ourselves...it 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