Lesson 4 - Grace Orientation

Grace Orientation

Definition of Grace Orientation

Grace is all that God is free to do for mankind on the basis of the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Grace is undeserved mercy and unmerited favor. Grace is the title of God’s plan and His policy for mankind. Orientation is defined as familiarization with a particular person, thing or field of knowledge. To orient means to set right by adjusting to facts or principles; to put oneself into correct position or relation or to acquaint oneself with the existing situation. Grace orientation, therefore, means to become familiar with God’s grace plan and grace policies by adjusting to the facts and principles found in the Word of God, which puts you in correct relation to God and others. You will never be grace-oriented until you understand that your personal sins don’t condemn you. Adam’s original sin, which was imputed to you at birth, is what condemns you (spiritual death). This means that God’s grace was operational when He imputed Adam’s original sin to you, because condemnation must precede salvation. This is just another part of God’s ingenious grace plan of salvation.

Grace in Salvation

“For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

The maximum expression of God’s grace is the Cross. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for all sin. Therefore, sin is not an issue in salvation. (I Peter 2:24) We are free to accept or reject God’s free gift of eternal life. The plan of God is for all of mankind to come to know His Son, Jesus Christ. (II Peter 3:9) Because Jesus Christ completely satisfied the righteousness and justice of God, God is now free to give eternal life and the other 40+ spiritual assets at salvation. (John 2:1-2) Our salvation brings glory to God. (Hebrews 2:9) When we trust Christ as our personal Savior we are adjusting to God’s grace. (Romans 3:24)

God’s grace has always been operational in relation to mankind. Even under the Law, God’s grace was at work in the lives of believers and unbelievers alike. God, in His grace, has revealed Himself to the entire human race beginning with Adam. Salvation for mankind has always been on the basis of God’s grace by faith and faith alone in Jesus Christ. Even the Mosaic Law was a grace gift from God, to show the unbeliever his need for a Savior and to guide him to the Cross. The Levitical offerings pointed to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:20, 4:3; Genesis 15:6; Galatians 3:24)

 

Grace in the Christian Life after Salvation

“But He gives more grace. Wherefore He said, God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

In the Christian life, when allowed to do so, God the Holy Spirit does all the work of producing the character of Jesus Christ in a believer. (Romans 8:29, Galatians 5:22-23) We should be truly thankful that God’s plan does not depend upon us, but upon Him. If you have your eyes on what you are doing for God, or even what someone else is doing for God (even the pastor), you will never be grace-oriented. Our focus should always be on what God is doing. God treats us in grace because of His character. Therefore, we are able to treat others with grace by using Divine Viewpoint Thinking.

God has a perfect plan for each one of us, but it is up to us to discover that plan. The filling of the Holy Spirit, which means we are being controlled and guided by Him, is a grace provision from God. This gives every believer the potential to understand His Word, regardless of education or IQ. Therefore, we are commanded to be strong in grace. (II Timothy 2:1) We are to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. (II Peter 3:8) We find grace in our prayer life. (Hebrews 4:16) There is stability in grace. (I Peter 5:2) God gives us grace to become the person He wants us to be. (I Corinthians 15:10) God’s grace is always sufficient in our time of suffering. (II Corinthians 12:9) God is waiting to show His grace to every believer. (Isaiah 30:18-19) The Christian life, under grace, is a system of thinking. (Romans 12:1-2)

Grace versus Works

The opposite of grace is legalism (keeping the law or doing human good works). (Romans 11:6) Legalism is performing human good works in an attempt to gain the favor or approval of God, either for salvation or spirituality. Producing human good brings glory to man. Producing divine good brings glory to God. Human works added to faith in salvation cancels grace. (Galatians 2:16) Human works added to the Christian life cancels grace. (Galatians 5:1)

Examples of Legalism

1)    Trying to work your way to heaven.

2)    Trying to impress God with your manner of life, money, church attendance or reformation of the devil’s world, etc.

3)    Saying that you must do good works in order to keep from losing your salvation.

4)    Telling other believers how they must act, dress, talk, etc. in order to appear spiritual. In other words, forcing certain taboos on others.

 

Galatians 5:1 says to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Liberty means that Christ has set us free from law-keeping and legalism (the yoke of bondage). He accomplished this by introducing a new covenant between God and man called Grace.

 

Application of Grace Orientation

1)    Learn and apply the Word of God to our daily thoughts and experiences. II Timothy 2:15; Romans 12:1-2; II Peter 3:18

2)    Love one another as Christ has loved us. I John 4:7

3)    Share your faith with others. Matthew 28:19-20

4)    Be tolerant of others. Philippians 2:1-4

5)    Pray for others. James 5:16

6)    Stop living in the past. Philippians 3:13-14

7)    Stop feeling guilty for past failures or sins. Psalms 103:12, Hebrews 12:1-2

8)    Stop worrying about everything. Philippians 4:6

9)    Let others see the light of Christ in your life. Ephesians 5:1-17

10)    Begin to think divine viewpoint. Philippians 2:5-13

11)    Take your problems to the Throne of Grace and leave them there. Hebrews 4:16; I Peter 5:7

 

The Multiplication of Grace

Grace is never divided but is always multiplied. God has plenty of grace to go around. From the day you become a believer, God’s grace begins to be multiplied to you and will go on forever. God’s resources are infinite and He always has something for you in His grace plan. It is impossible to remove yourself from the sphere of God’s grace as a believer (eternal security is grace). Even discipline from God is grace. Even if you don’t understand God’s grace, you can never escape it! (Romans 8:38-39)

 

An Example of Grace

“And Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and walked with God.” Genesis 6:8-9

Noah is a great example from the Old Testament of God’s grace. You will recall the story of how Noah was told by God to build a boat because a flood was coming. Because of Noah’s positive volition (free will), not only did he believe God, he went on to discover the grace of God and exploit it to the maximum. Noah and his family had experienced God’s grace in salvation, but Noah was about to experience God’s grace in everyday life. By obeying God for 120 years, Noah prepared to be delivered from the universal flood. Though ridiculed by everyone that knew him, he would not be deterred from the task that God had given him. He learned to rely upon God’s justice and grace, and to remain faithful when most would have given up. The Bible says Noah walked with God, a synonym for executing his spiritual life. Because of Noah’s adjustment to God’s justice and grace, his entire family was spared.

 

God’s Grace Pipeline for Blessing

God in His sovereignty decided to treat man in grace. (Ephesians 3:11) However, righteousness and justice stood in the way because of the barrier of sin. (Romans 3:23) Righteousness cannot have fellowship with unrighteousness. (Isaiah 59:2) Justice demanded a penalty for sin. (Romans 6:23) In His love, God sent His Son to the Cross to die for the sins of the world and to pay the penalty for sin. (Romans 5:8; John 3:16) The barrier of sin is now removed. (Colossians 1:20-22) So righteousness and justice are satisfied and love, eternal life, spiritual assets and spiritual blessings are free to flow through the grace pipeline to the person who believes in Christ as Savior. (I John 2:2)

You will never advance one step in the Christian life until you orient to (become familiar with and adjust to) the grace of God. This means you must set aside any false information that you have heard in the past and begin to discover for yourself what the Word of God really teaches about the grace policies of God. Learning God’s Word, as you know, is a grace process that takes time. Under the control of the Holy Spirit we apply as we learn. This means we need to guard against becoming frustrated by the overwhelming amount of doctrine that there is to learn. This is a place where we can use the Faith-Rest Technique. Claiming God’s promise of guidance, we can relax mentally, knowing that God will reveal the truth to us as we persist in the study of His Word.

“The Christian Way of Life begins with obedience, not perfect understanding.” (R.B. Thieme, Jr.)