God Saves Before He Santifies
Topic: Core Values of Grace Passage: Romans 5:1–5:8
A Recap from Sunday’s Sermon
Preaching Text: Romans 5:1-8
“We are saved by faith alone, but not by faith that remains alone.” Authentic faith will always bring forth works. Thus, the two values of “Grace” and “Growth” work together.
Grace understood leads to growth.
That order must never be reversed. People thinking they must grow before God will accept them will never grow enough. Grace is God’s undeserved gift of accepting us, in Christ Jesus, despite our sins and weaknesses. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8), not once we cleaned up our act. This is grace.
John Calvin identified two people who find this message useless: the Pharisee and the “stupid sinner”. The first is puffed up with his own good works, the second is inebriated with the sweetness of vice. It is only once we feel the burden of our guilt that God’s grace begins to speak to us. That same Pharisee catches a glimpse of real holiness. The stupid sinner finds his vices no longer satisfying. Both are moved to repentance. For these things to happen is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The burden of guilt drives us toward God.
Through faith, the burden is lifted and replaced by peace with God. Verse 1 tells us “since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God.” We then are standing on grace (v. 2) and ready to embrace the testing that comes. We can rejoice in sufferings, knowing that God grows our character through them (v. 3).
- If you feel the burden of guilt, go to God without delay.
- Remember God’s grace for you when you meet someone whose life doesn’t measure up to your standards.
- Stop resisting but embrace the struggle that leads to growth.
Taking it home: Discuss how suffering has been useful in producing spiritual growth in your life?