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Rick

Is God's grace eternal?

In Ephesians 2:8 we are told that we are saved by God’s grace through faith.  Is God’s grace eternal?  If God’s saving grace is eternal, then it has to be omnipresent (all-present).  Saving grace must have always been available to every soul.

How do we reconcile the eternal availability of God’s saving grace with the narrowness of John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”?

This seems to be a significant stumbling block for many today, claiming that Christianity is exclusive.

We must understand that Christianity is not exclusive, but rather Jesus Christ has an exclusive eternal relationship with God the Father.  We are not saved by walking to the altar, or baptism, or even the faith of repentance, but by God’s grace alone.  Faithful repentance is the means by which we acquire God’s grace, and every soul that has ever lived has had ample opportunity to acquire God’s saving grace through faith.
Rick

Christians are not unique because they are going to Heaven, but that through the presence of the Holy Spirit in their heart, Christ can be borne out in their life.
Rick

Does salvation hinge upon hearing the “Gospel” or upon “Grace”?  

Good news is “good” because it is hoped for (anticipated).  The word gospel means “good news”.  Those not having heard the good news must wait in hope.  Those that have hoped for good news and received it, they have the pleasure of rejoicing.

The “good news” is that God has provided a way for those lost to Him to be found.  More “good news” is the amazing way that God provided for man’s reunion (the Cross).  

If a soul is in anticipation of “good news” and receives it, they embrace it immediately and give thanks to God.  If a soul does not anticipate “good news” they often question and doubt the message.  So the “Gospel” is a litmus test for those that hope for “good news”, and once received, the rejoicing begins.

Missionaries are to share the “good news” to those that are waiting in hope, and Evangelists are to convince men of their need for salvation having already rejected the gospel.
Rick

I have never had the personal pleasure of sharing the gospel with anyone that had not already heard a version (of the gospel) in one form or another.  Many that have not embraced the gospel as “good news” site the hypocrisy within the Church as their chief deterrent.  Others are afraid of new demands being placed upon their personal lives.  If the gospel is “good news”, then why do many not receive it as good news?

The claim of hypocrisy is an interesting one; it seems to stem from the concept “I am just as good as any Christian”.  How can it be after 2000 years the simple “Gospel” is not understood as “good news”, but as a doctrine of works and self-justification?  

If “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” then how has this “good news” been confused with one of condemnation?  Christ asked the Father to “forgive them for they know not what they do”. We are “them”!  We are the forgiven, the benefactors of God’s unmerited love (Grace).    

Often those that are afraid of the demands of a Christian life are not undesirous of personal change; they simply do not believe change is possible.  How is the Church today demonstrating to the World that true change (redemption) comes from God, and not from the pulpit of “self help” or “help yourself to all the world has to offer” doctrines?  

In America, we have a “just tell me what you want” mentality with God.  Instead of an oneness relationship with God, we prefer a partnership where we are in waiting for God to reveal His demands upon our life.  Is it any wonder today that so many Christians struggle in knowing what God’s will is for their life?  

We view God as a silent partner in our quest for life eternal.  “Make it clear God, what do you want of me”?  And God says, “Everything”.  And we say, “Make it clear God, what do you want of me”?  And He says, “Just as two become one in marriage, I want you to become one with Me”.  And of course we say, “Make it clear God …”!

And the World remains confused about the "gospel"!
Rick

Here is another scripture which speaks to the eternal nature of Grace: 2 Timothy 1:8-11  

"So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.  And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher."

Grace was given in Christ before the beginning of time!

We live in a "time" of revelation!
Rick

In the KJV of the Old Testament the Hebrew word “chen” (Strongs 2580) is translated “Grace”.

Noah found Grace: Genesis 6:8  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Moses found Grace: Exodus 33:12 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.

Also: Exodus 33:13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I  have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation [is] thy people.

Also: Exodus 33:16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? [is it] not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that [are] upon the face of the earth.

Also: Exodus 33:17: And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

Also: Exodus 34:9 And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it [is] a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.

Gideon found Grace: Judges 6:17 And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.

A remnant of Israel found Grace: Ezra 9:8 And now for a little space grace hath been [shewed] from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.

David found Grace: Psalm 45:2 Grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

With those that survived battle: Jeremiah 31:2 Thus saith the LORD, The people [which were] left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; [even] Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.

Grace was given to the House of David: Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn.
Rick

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for (it is) 2076 the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Here we have what many believe to be confirmation of the power of the gospel.  The Greek word esti (Strong’s #2076) is translated as “it is” in this verse.  

In Mathew 3:3 this same word is translated, as “is he” “For this (is he) that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias”.  If we use the Mathew 3:3 translation in Romans 1:16 it would read “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for (he is) 2076 the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek”.

The “gospel” or “good news” is that Jesus Christ is the “power of God unto salvation”.

In Mathew 24:14 it is stated “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”  

I wonder if the “gospel of the kingdom” and the “gospel of Jesus Christ” are one in the same gospel?  Is the “good news of the kingdom” the same as the “good news of Jesus Christ”?

To search this out yourself go to blueletterbible.org.  Search for "gospel", click onto Romans 1:16.  Then click on the "C" and that verse will show the original Greek writings.  Then click on to #2076 "esti" and search that specific Greek word outside of translation.

This does not prove the translated word wrong, it clarifies what God is saying.  Jesus Christ is God's eternal grace, which is "good news".
Rick

The subject of "grace" has been pushed forward with Rob Bell's book "Love Wins".  The controversy seems to have surfaced from Rob's marginalizing the reality of Hell.  Mainline Christicanity is in an outrage tagging Rob Bell a Heritic.

It has struck me that Rob appears to know the heart of God yet ignores God's Word.  Mainline Christianity seems to know the letter of God's Word yet is ignorant of God's heart.

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If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair. --C. S. Lewis