Saved by Grace Not by Faith

Ephesians 2:5 ,8

even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

Prosperity gospel preachers love to emphasize the need of faith to obtain all of God’s blessings. They constantly imply that faith is the cause of whatever you desire. And when you don’t get what you desire, the problem is because “your faith isn’t strong enough – you need more faith.” A misunderstanding of faith, your belief, has caused the harm of many disciples within the Church over the ages. 

First, your faith doesn’t save you. You are saved by the finish work of Jesus Christ. Before you even knew Him, before you even asked for forgiveness, and yes even before you realized what His life and death and resurrection meant to you and humanity, your relationship with God was already restored. You were just ignorant of the event.

Faith is the pathway to the promise land; the escalator to God. Grace is God’s unmerited favor upon you. God so loved you and me He orchestrated world events to restore mankind’s direct access to Him. Faith is the tunnel that gives you and I access to Him. And that tunnel is Jesus Christ.

Through Jesus Christ we have direct access with His God. When Father God looks at you and me, He is looking through the prism of Jesus Christ. This is why He considers you and me as righteous; because He is looking at you and me through the righteousness of Jesus.

When people ask me when was I saved. I tell them about 2,000 years ago when Jesus completed his human mission on earth. However, I didn’t start to accept that truth until my 17th birthday when I began to follow Him. Jesus restored humanity’s relationship with God 2,000 years ago and I didn’t become His apprentice until my late teen years. His grace and faith saved me. When my head and heart came to the realization of this truth, I began to walkout through faith His way of life – the Bible calls it “being saved.”

Yes, we all “been saved” by the Grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. And we are “being saved” as we follow Him and allow the Holy Spirit transform our hearts and minds into His image. And we shall “yet be saved” when our bodies are resurrected and changed into eternal souls.

So, remember you have been saved apart from faith; faith doesn’t save you. You and I have been saved by God’s unmerited favor upon us. However, faith is the pathway to see, understand, and experience the richness of God’s salvation now and into eternity.     

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Enough Grace for Everyone

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Us humans, often mistakenly view life from a very limited perspective. We see all the limited resources around us and fight to grab a little piece for ourselves before the next person takes it from us and we are left with nothing.

And then there are some of us, who are so afraid of what so little we have, we want more and more until someone questions us that maybe we should have our own hoarder reality show. As a nation we recently witness the hoarding of toilet paper and cleaning supplies during the pandemic crisis.

Yet if God be our provider, why do we panic? Isn’t it true one’s character and heart are always revealed during a time of crisis?

When Jesus finished preaching to the crowd, he instructed his disciples to feed them. But his apprentices were dumbfounded. How could they feed 4,000 – 5,000 men, women, and children? All they could find around them was a young lad with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Limited resources compared with the problem to solve. Yet God’s grace was on display. At the end of the day, all the people were fed and 12 baskets of leftovers were collected.

Today some of us would have taken the lad’s food just for ourselves, or maybe only fed the disciples and left everyone else fend for themselves. But Jesus, showed that there is always enough for everyone when God is involved.

God is able to provide all our needs, in every area of our life, so we may continue be his witness as we work and share His goodness with others. God’s grace is not limited to only a few. He loves us all; and is willing to give us more than we deserve. Yet He is also very wise and knows how much we can manage without destroying ourselves and others.

So, don’t limit God. He makes the impossible possible. He has enough Grace to share with every single one of us.      

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Grace for All

Matthew 5:45 

…For he (God) makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

God chooses favorites. And the human race is His favorite.

Through Jesus Christ, He has inclusively brought all people together in Him as one.

Though many may ignore Him, disassociate themselves from Him, and even throw insults against Him, He still looks at us as His children because of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus gave His teaching on the love of God and how God demonstrates His love towards all, He is showing us His grace is open for all.

He wants all to know His kindness and generosity is for all of us to experience His way of life. Yet He also knows that some will choose the opposite. But still it doesn’t refrain Him from changing His character of showering us with His Grace whenever He chooses.

No one on earth has the corner market for God’s Grace. We can’t earn it through good work. We can’t control it through rituals or secret anecdotes. God gives as God chooses.

He doesn’t give out his grace only because you are a Christian. He bestows His grace on every person no matter their religion, political affiliation, nationality, ethic origin, sexual orientation, education bias, financial condition, or age.

When Jesus came walking on this planet, he hung around more with the undesirables rather than the elite, famous, or influencers of his time. His associates included women, fishermen, tax collectors, terrorists, the uneducated, and the working nobodies of the community. Yet He fed them with God’s words and teachings and gave them a taste of the Kingdom life. And yet, He also had contact with certain religious leaders and heavy market makers of his time. No one was left out.

God’ Grace is open for all.     

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Grace is God’s Favor

And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Acts 6:8

When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose… Acts 11:23

So, they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. Acts 14:3

Wherever God is, grace abounds. Grace is God’s unmerited favor upon others. Grace is God’s expression of His generosity and love for us.

Our view of grace is typically short-sighted and so often limited. We say prayer over dinner and call it grace. Others speak about God’s forgiveness of sin and call it grace. Still others receive an unexpected blessing and call it grace. How do you view grace? 

The Hebrew old Testament definition is “favor.” The Greek new Testament defines grace as “unmerited favor.” So hereafter whenever you see the word “grace” in any of my writings, you may know the general context refers to the “unearned favor from God.”

When some people speak about “karma” which is doing good and receiving a blessing in return for their action, a cause and effect relationship, they do not consider this grace but the result of the “universe” responding to their actions. The Book of Job discounts this theory. We can do everything perfectly according to God’s law of love and receive harm in return. God blesses because He chooses too; not because we earned it.

When one realizes that everything in this universe and on this planet is the result of God’s unmerited favor upon humanity, one gets a bigger picture than the religious connotations expressed within the spiritual world.

In churchie circles, grace is most often associated and limited within the context of the forgiveness of sins. Yet in the practical world grace abounds all around beyond forgiveness of sin.

For example, creation is an outcome of God’s grace.

The goodness that flows out of evil events is God’s grace in action.

The Spirit of real unity among people of differences demonstrates His grace upon us.

The changes in a person’s countenance from total self-selfishness to concern for others first is God’s grace melting the hardness of heart.

When pride is stripped away to open up a heart of humility is grace in action.

When food is place on the table to eat, think of the work of many hands coming together for the common good. The farmer planting and toiling the ground, the sun and water fertilizing and impacting the seeds; the machines and hands harvesting the crop; the truck drivers hauling the wheat and vegetables to market; the stores packaging and distributing the products for the people to purchase and prepare meals for their families; all are the byproduct of God’s grace. Without God’s approval, such could never happen. (Ever see how quickly a worldwide pandemic shuts down nations).

The business person who is on the brink of going out of business and laying off hundreds of family breadwinners receives a check at the last minute from an unexpected place to make payroll – experiences God’s grace in action.

The parent with a sickly child told by doctors there is nothing more they can do – but receives news from the nurses that the child “miraculously” woke up 100% healthy this morning.

And yes, when one’s eyes are open to capture a glimpse of God Almighty and the bountifulness of His generosity and love for us, is only His grace touching lives for His glory and our benefit.

So, remember grace comes from the central source of all creation – God. Grace is His expression of love and generosity so often expressed through the hearts and hands of people like you and me. Grace is God’s unmerited, generous favor!

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Priceless Grace

Luke 4:12

And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a book “The Cost of Discipleship” where he coined the phrase “Cheap Grace”. His intention was to emphasize discipleship which he felt was being neglected. Like we all do at one time or another, we emphasize one point while distancing others. He did the same.

Grace is priceless. All the money in the world cannot purchase it. Grace is the outer expression of God’s inner character. There is nothing cheap about God. His grace has been around as long as HE has.

When most of us write or speak about cheap grace, aren’t we speaking from our humanistic perspective? As mortals normally do, we place a value on everything from our view. Therefore, my purpose today is not to critique his book and concepts but simply borrow his phrase – cheap grace.

My definition: cheap grace is our lackadaisical attitude toward God when we intentionally, deliberately and repeatedly abuse HIS goodness in our life.

God is always good. His mercy and compassion are always overflowing. He wants what is best for us. Sometimes though, we take advantage of HIS kindness and love by placing ourselves in planned difficult situations which deliberately requires HIS intervention on our behalf.  

Like the little child desiring one of mom’s freshly baked cookies hidden in the upper cabinet of the kitchen, I am no different. As a child in great need to satisfy my sweet tooth, I would drag the chair over to the other side of the kitchen, place a box on top of the chair and then climb on top so I could reach the upper shelf where the cookies were hidden. I don’t recall how many times I fell or how many times I succeeded to obtain a cookie before dinner, but I do recall once falling and being caught by my mother before hitting the floor. I think the act of being caught hurt more than the spanking I received.

I’m not sure how long I continued to seek those cookies, but this I knew through it all. Mom still loved me even after my disobedience. And the price of hurting oneself for one of her treats was worth the risk.    

I still catch myself at times behaving the same way with God. I abuse his love more times then I can count. Jesus himself faced such a temptation from Satan at the beginning of his public ministry but never gave in. He was tempted by Satan to leap off from the top of the temple (commit suicide) stating that because He was God’s Son, God will catch him. But Jesus didn’t succumb to the liar’s temptation. Instead Jesus quoted Scripture reminded everyone that we are not to put God to the test.

God is always good. And knowing HE is always good allows the carnal heart to sometimes take advantage of HIS goodness. This attitude though runs the risk of slowly destroying one’s consciousness. The more times we give in to the temptation, the easier it becomes to fail the next time. And the more we become like that child thinking we are getting away with something in the short term but not realizing the next one may be life threatening.

Cheap grace is taking advantage of God’s love. The action is not from love, but of self-indulgence.

Thankfully though, Jesus Christ knows our human condition and heart. He has already forgiven us for our ignorant stupidity. And more importantly, loves us so much that he will continually discipline us until we change. So, the quicker we stop abusing HIS love and allow HIM to live out HIS life in us and through us, the richer life becomes and the deeper the relationship grows where our desire is to truly respect and honor HIM in every way.

Every test is an opportunity to grow stronger in HIM. The outcome is victory. The reward is a greater faith in HIM. The prize is to experience life more abundantly. The result is a deeper, more meaningful relationship with our King.

Yes, we are more than grateful for the priceless grace of God.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved