Wednesday, March 6, 2013

God’s Amazing Grace, Jim Laws, Editor

God’s Amazing Grace, Jim Laws, Editor

The twentieth annual Spiritual Sword Lectureship was on the subject of “God’s Amazing Grace”.  The lectures were delivered October 15-19, 1995 at the Getwell Church of Christ in Memphis, TN.  The Getwell congregation has an exemplary legacy of producing sound conservative materials through both The Spiritual Sword quarterlies and lectureship books.

God’s grace is a subject that has drawn considerable attention over the past few years.  Occasionally I hear of “old preachers” being slandered because they failed to preach on “grace” as often as the accuser deems appropriate.  Slander may seem a strong term; however, it literally means defame with false statements or malicious reports.  Think for a minute about the accusation of one preacher against another preacher of “failing to teach about God’s grace.”  How would this person be in a position to know every sermon delivered in every context by a given preacher?  Sometimes when others criticize faithful teachers of failing to teach God’s grace they really mean that they are not teaching their view of God’s grace.  Sadly, sometimes their view is the one that is actually unscriptural.  Also, there is a failure to realize that when one speaks about any facet of God’s Word, they are touching on the subject of God’s grace.  For example, some find the explanation of God’s “Plan of Salvation” at the conclusion of a sermon as tiresome or trite, but they have failed to realize that attitude makes them actually guilty of what they accuse others of doing—failing to teach about God’s grace.  If it were not for the grace of God, there would not even be a plan for man’s salvation!   

It seems that much of the criticism by some stems from a desire to come as close as possible to the false teaching of denominationalism, advocating salvation is by God’s grace alone, so as to fit in with them.  While it is true that we could not be saved without God’s grace, it is equally true that God’s expects man to respond with faith and obedience to His offer of grace.  If we were saved by God’s grace alone independently of faith, obedience and works, then all would be saved (Titus 2:11); however, we know that not all will be saved.  Also, this pattern of God’s grace being extended with detailed instructions requiring faith and obedience in response on the part of man is seen repeatedly throughout the Bible.  Those who would say that at the very end, at the Judgment, God’s love will overrule His standards of righteousness, resulting in no one being sentenced to an eternal hell, are ignoring the clear patterns, teachings and precedents of the Bible.  This lectureship book does a fine job of showing that grace is not just a New Testament concept and law is not just an Old Testament provision.  While we are not under the old covenant; i.e., law of Moses, we are under the new covenant; i.e., law of Christ.

This lectureship book explores the topic of “God’s Grace” in detail from a scriptural standpoint.  It addresses many of these false concepts about grace.  It studies the subject of grace from a topical standpoint including the source of God’s grace, demands of God’s grace, why it is amazing, and the requirements of accepting God’s grace as a pattern throughout the Bible.  The book also discusses some of the false teachings of grace and movements by those adopting these false views today.  It looks at critical questions relating to God’s grace such as “Are grace and law contradictory” and others.  There is also analysis of some key passages relating to God’s grace that are sometimes misused by advocates of “grace only” with a sound refutation of the error and exposition of the truth.  There are also six book reviews worthy of study as well in the book.

The Getwell congregation has provided the brotherhood a great service by conducting these lectures and preserving them in book form for others to read and profit from.  If you know of some in your congregation who may, even innocently, think we do not discuss God’s grace enough, then this book will make a valuable addition to your church library for their reading.

Originally printed in West Virginia Christian, Vol. 20, No. 4, April 2013, p. 8. Reprinted by permission.

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