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The Daily Word of Righteousness
God's Unfolding Plan, #4
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; (I Peter 4:1)
Grace has been defined as unmerited favor. This is a true definition as far as it goes but it is misleading because of its incompleteness.
Grace has been defined as God's riches at Christ's expense. This also is an incomplete definition, but it is a definition compatible with twentieth century Christian traditions, such as the "rapture." The concept here is, Christ suffered the agonies of Hell so we who are God's favored will never be required to suffer. A beginner's knowledge of the Scriptures and of Church history (past and contemporary) soon puts the knife through this self-centered expression of pampered believers.
While we do not suffer to make an atonement for sins we certainly do suffer as Christians. Christ paid a terrible price for our redemption. All those who would be victorious saints must understand they too will suffer, they will share Christ's sufferings. We are required to love not our lives to the death (Revelation 12:11).
Divine grace is galactically more than "unmerited favor."
Divine grace is profoundly more than "God's riches at Christ's expense," no matter how much this definition may appeal to our self-love.
We have stated that the saints of all ages have far more in common than they do not have in common. Grace must be understood in the context of the common requirement for doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our Father in Heaven.
If the saints of the Old Testament were justified (declared to be righteous) by faith (worked out in obedience to God, according to the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews), what then is grace under the new covenant?
First of all, grace is not a new method for achieving sainthood. New-covenant grace is not a method of making saints by using Christ's righteousness instead of ours. It is not true that we can substitute a belief in Christ for the obedience of Abraham, the meekness of Moses, the consecration of Daniel, the holiness of Elijah. Grace is not a device for calling sinners saints. If it is, God has defeated Himself.
If God's eternal purpose is to make man in His own image, to have him walk in righteousness, in compassion, and in humility with God, to prepare him to rule all the works of God's hands, but then issues a covenant that removes the need for man to be fashioned in God's image, the need for man to walk in righteousness, in compassion, and in humility with God, and the need to develop the character a ruler of nations must have, it can be seen that God has defeated His own intentions.
If such is the case, the old covenant is superior to the new covenant. The old covenant brought forth some outstanding saints, such as Daniel, Ezra, and the mother and father of John the Baptist. But the new covenant creates failures. The creatures of the new covenant only are termed saints. They only are saints on paper. They actually are not saints at all.
To be continued.