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As a Small Groups Pastor of a local church there are three topics that I encounter most when interacting with Christians: grace, faith, and justification. They are essential topics that every Christian learns about, wrestles with, and tries to live out. Growing as a Christian leads to improved understanding of these three topics and should result in living them out better and better. As I continue my series of soteriology blog posts, I hope to give you a biblical description of each of these topics and point you to some ways you can live out grace, faith, and justification in your life.

SOTERIOLOGY
Grace, Faith, and Justification

Soteriology - Grace, Faith, and Justification

Photo Credit: Rembrandt, “The Return of the Prodigal Son”

I. GRACE

We have been given a gift we don’t deserve.

A. In Grace, God Punishes Jesus, Not Us

In Paul’s letter to the Romans he talks about grace in the third chapter saying,

Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight [literally “declares us righteous”]. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past. (Romans 3:24–25, NLT) 1

Let’s take each part of this verse and examine grace.

1. God Takes Initiative

Paul tells us that God “in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight” (v. 24) and “God presented Jesus” (v. 25). It’s clear that God takes the initiative to provide grace to us. This is something he does for us, and it is not something we have caused.  Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are from the New Living Translation, 2015 revision

Today I take a brief look at the doctrine of the church. This is commonly known as “ecclesiology.” I’m using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith. That statement reads:

The Church. Article #7. We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Church

Photo Credit: Russ Harlan

I. JUSTIFICATION, GRACE, AND FAITH

A. Justification Continue Reading…

Keep Faith and Keep Patience

February 16, 2012

As we have seen from 1 Samuel and some of the Psalms that we have read, David is hurting, sad, and desperate.

When we endure following a poor leader (just as David did), we need to be mindful that we are not as tough as we might think we are. While our leadership and character is tested we might have less patience to handle circumstances and situations that come our way.

Patience
Where we left off yesterday in our study of the young years of the life of David is when he restrains himself and his men from killing Saul in the cave. Then, once Saul leaves the cave, David confronts Saul. He says that he (David) is innocent of the accusations that he is trying to harm Saul, but that Saul has tried to kill him. (You think your leader is bad, David’s leader actually threw spears at him in an attempt to kill him!) Continue Reading…