In the last lesson, we looked at the utter hopelessness of mankind and the inability of anyone to save themselves from the guilt of their sin. In this lesson, we’re going to look at God’s response to that hopelessness – grace. Here are the questions we hope to answer in this lesson:
• What is God’s “grace”?
• What was God’s gracious plan of salvation?
• What is the result of God showing his grace to us?
WHAT IS GOD’S GRACE?
Please read the following passages and then answer the corresponding questions.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 – This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Ezekiel 33:11 – “As surely as I live,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” (Note: “Death” here means eternal death in hell.)
2 Peter 3:9 – He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Deuteronomy 23:5 – “…the LORD your God loves you.”
Psalm 136:1-3 – Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.
Ephesians 2:4-5 – But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.
Does God want anyone to go to hell?
No, God does not want anyone to go to hell.
According to the underlined portions of those passages, what does God want?
God wants all people to be saved, to turn away from their sin toward Him and enjoy life with Him.
According to the italicized portions of those passages, why doesn’t God want anyone to go to hell?
God is loves people very much and so desires to spare them from eternal death.
Titus 3:4-5 – But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
Ephesians 2:8 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Is this love something that we earned or deserved?
No, this love is a free gift of God, given apart from our deserving it and in spite of our not deserving it.
According to Ephesians 2:8, what does the Bible call the loving way God treated humanity?
The Bible calls this loving way of God “grace.”
On the basis of the passages we have looked at, which one of the following would you say is the best answer to the question, “WHAT IS GOD’S ‘GRACE’?”
_____ God’s grace is the love that we earn when we keep his law.
_____ God’s grace is the justice he shows by punishing the wicked and rewarding the good.
X_ God’s grace is the undeserved love that he gives to all people as a gift.
_____ God’s grace is the love that he shows people when they first love others.
WHAT WAS GOD’S GRACIOUS PLAN OF SALVATION?
Please read the following passages and then answer the corresponding questions.
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Ephesians 1:6 – …to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
1 John 4:9-10 – This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Galatians 4:4-5 – But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
According to the italicized portions of those passages, what did God do, in his love, to save us from our sins?
In His love, God sent His Son into the world to save us.
According to the underlined portions of those passages, what was God’s Son going to be for us, in order that we might be saved from our sins?
God’s Son was going to be the sacrifice offered for us so that we might be saved.
God’s grace – the undeserved love he has for humankind – is seen most clearly when we look at the way he sent his Son to pay for sins. Let’s look more closely at God’s Son, Jesus, and at how Jesus paid for our sins. Please read the following passages and then answer the corresponding questions.
Hebrews 4:15 – For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. (The “high priest” here is a reference to Jesus.)
1 Peter 2:22 – “He (Christ) committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
1 John 3:5 – But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him (Jesus Christ) is no sin.
Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Immanuel means “God with us.”)
1 John 5:5 – Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Colossians 2:9 – In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. (“Deity” means “God.”)
According to the italicized portions of those verses, what was special about Jesus’ life?
Jesus lived a perfect life in which He never committed a sin.
How is that possible? How was Jesus able to go his entire life without committing even one sin? (Look at the underlined portions of those passages.)
Jesus was able to live His entire life without sinning because He was the holy God.
When Jesus died on the cross then, something remarkable happened. God performed an exchange. Please read the following passages and then answer the corresponding questions.
2 Corinthians 5:21 – God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Isaiah 53:5-6 – But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
1 Peter 3:18 – For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
Ephesians 1:7 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
We said that on the cross, God performed an exchange. He took something away from us and gave it to Christ. What is it he took away from us? (Look at the italicized portions of those passages.)
God took all our sins from us.
In the second half of this exchange, God took something from Christ and gave it to humankind. What? (Look at the underlined portions of those passages.)
God gave us the righteousness or holiness of Jesus
Why was God willing to do this? (Look at the end of Ephesians 1:7.)
God was willing to do this because of His grace, His love for sinners who have given up every right to be loved.
Remember in the last lesson we diagrammed what God demands in our lives and what he sees in our lives. It looked like this.
But now we’ve seen that Christ’s life met those demands of God’s Law. He never sinned in thought, speech, or action. In this gracious exchange, God gives us credit for Christ’s holy life. And he gives Christ credit for our sinful life. Therefore, on the cross, we see Christ getting punished for our sins. You could diagram this gracious exchange like this.
We should look at one more thing about God’s gracious plan of salvation. We need to know why it is we can be certain that Jesus paid for ALL sin. Please read the following passages and then answer the corresponding questions.
Romans 6:23 – The wages of sin is death.
Matthew 28:5-6 – The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.
Luke 24:37-39 – (After Jesus’ death and resurrection) – [The disciples] were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. [Jesus] said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
Romans 4:25 – He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
1 Corinthians 15:17 – If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
Think back to the previous lesson. What did we say was one of the major consequences of sin? (Look at Romans 6:23 above.)
One of the major consequences of sin is death, separation from God, His love and His blessings.
What then proves that Jesus defeated sin? (Look at the italicized portions of those verses.)
Jesus’ resurrection from death proves that Jesus defeated sin for us.
According to 1 Corinthians 15:17, is this an important doctrine of the Bible?
Yes, the resurrection of Jesus is a vital teaching. If Jesus had not been raised from the dead, then we would not know that He has fully paid for our sin. We would have no Savior.
On the basis of all the passages we have looked at in this section of our Bible study, how would you answer that question, “WHAT WAS GOD’S GRACIOUS PLAN OF SALVATION?” (Please include the exchange that was made on the cross and the proof that our sins are completely paid for.)
God’s gracious plan of salvation was to have His Son, Jesus, enter the world and become the substitute for all sinners. Jesus lived a holy, perfect life for us, died as the acceptable sacrifice to God for our sins and rose from the dead to assure us that He had won forgiveness and eternal life for us.
WHAT IS THE RESULT OF GOD SHOWING HIS GRACE TO US?
Please read the following passages and then answer the corresponding questions.
Romans 8:1 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:9-10 – 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.
Hebrews 2:14-15 – Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
希伯来书 2:14-15－－儿女既同有血肉之体，他也照样亲自成了血肉之体，特要藉着死败坏那掌死权的，就是魔鬼， 并要释放那些一生因怕死而为奴仆的人。
Titus 3:5-7 – [God] saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Romans 5:17 – For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Romans 11:6 – And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
According to the italicized portions of those verses, can you name three things we no longer need to fear?
Because Jesus has won our salvation, we no longer need to fear 1) being condemned by God for our sins, 2) the devil having power over us, and 3) eternal death in hell.
Through God’s grace, what do we get to look forward to? (Look at the underlined portions of those passages.)
Through God’s grace, we look forward to eternal life with God in heaven.
Do our good works play any part in our salvation? (Look at Romans 11:6.)
Our good works have no role in our salvation. Salvation is entirely a gift of God to us because of what Jesus did to save us.
On the basis of these passages, how would you answer that question, “WHAT IS THE RESULT OF GOD SHOWING HIS GRACE TO US?”
The result of God showing His grace to us is that we have been saved from our great enemies of sin, Satan and death and that we now have forgiveness, acceptance by God and eternal life.
God’s grace is that undeserved love he showed to all humankind. It moved him to send his Son Jesus to pay for all the sins of all people. But, unfortunately, not all people receive the benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection. Why do some receive eternal life and not others? That is the focus of our next key concept – FAITH.
TAKING IT DEEPER…
A. Agree or Disagree – God loves all good people.
同意与否－－上帝爱所有的好人。 Agree. God loves everyone. He has provided a Savior who paid for the sins of all people and has won eternal life for all people.
B. Agree or Disagree – Some people are more deserving of God’s grace than others.
同意与否－－有些人比其他人更应受到上帝的恩典。 Disagree. We all sin and possess nothing deserving of God’s love and favor to give Him.
C. Agree or Disagree – Jesus loved us by living a sinless life.
同意与否－－通过没有罪的生活，耶稣爱我们。 Agree. Jesus’ keeping of God’s commands was done for us as part of what He had to do to save us. We owe God a perfect life. Jesus had fulfilled that obligation as our Substitute.
D. Agree or Disagree – Jesus’ main job was to show us how to live a God-pleasing life.
同意与否－－耶稣的主要工作是教我们如何过上帝喜悦的生活。 Disagree. Jesus is a wonderful example for us on how to live. But His main job was to be our Savior and deliver us from sin and death.
E. Agree or Disagree – Jesus could have saved himself by coming down from the cross.
同意与否－－耶稣可以从十字架上走下来以拯救自己。 Disagree. Jesus offered and decided to become our Savior from eternity. Once He made that commitment there was no turning back from it. It He had come down from the cross, He would have broken His commitment and failed in His mission.
F. Agree or Disagree – The virgin birth proves Jesus was the Son of God.
同意与否－－生于童贞女证明了耶稣是上帝的儿子。 Agree. The Virgin Birth along with the conception of Jesus in Mary by the Holy Spirit Is the miracle that allowed the eternal Son of God to also become a true human being while still being the Son of God.
G. Agree or Disagree – Our Savior had to be both true man and true God.
同意与否－－我们的救主必须既是真人也是真神。 Agree. Jesus had to be a true man to take our obligation under God’s law and to obey and suffer and die in our place. He also had to be true God so that He could multiply His obedience and sacrifice to cover the obligations of all people.
H. Agree or Disagree – God shows love and offers forgiveness to those in whom he sees some merit.
同意与否－－上帝向他看到有优点的人显明爱并施以原谅。 Disagree. God’s love and forgiveness are free gifts of His grace in Jesus.
I. What do you think? When Jesus was on the cross, did he deserve to die?
你如何认为？当耶稣在十字架上的时候，他应该受死吗？ Yes and No. Jesus personally had no sins for which He deserved any punishment. However, Jesus was serving as our Substitute and was bearing our sins and our curse and punishment for those sins. In that sense, Jesus “deserved” to die.
J. What do you think? If Jesus paid for all sins, do I have free license to go out and commit whatever sins I want?
你如何认为？如何耶稣赎了所有的罪，那么我有免费执照可以去犯我所想的罪吗？ No, we do not have a license to sin. God has not abolished His law. We are still obligated to live a life of perfect love toward God and all people. Because of the salvation Jesus has given us, this is what we want to do to show our thanks and love for God.
K. What do you think? Wouldn’t Jesus’ death only pay for the sins that had been committed before his death? Are all the sins that were committed AFTER Jesus’ death still paid for? What about the sins I will likely commit tomorrow, and the next day, and 25 years from now?
你如何认为？耶稣的死不是仅仅赎了那些在他死之前的罪吗？在耶稣死之后的罪也被赎了吗？那么我明天可能将犯下的罪呢？后天呢？25年以后呢？ In the Bible, God says that Jesus paid for all the sins of all people of all time. That covers all our present and future sins. When God transferred the sins of people to Jesus, it is just as easy for Him to gather up all future sins as well as all past sins and put them on Jesus’ soul.
L. What do you think? The Bible calls our salvation by grace “a gift.” Imagine you were given a birthday present, but then the person who gave it to you told you that if you wanted to keep it, you had to wash their car. Would that really be a gift?
你如何认为？圣经称我们通过恩典的拯救为“礼物”。想象一下你得到了一个生日礼物，但是给你礼物那人又告诉你如果你想要拥有这个礼物，你必须洗他的车。那是一个真的礼物吗？ No, having to wash a car as a condition for getting the car makes the car no longer a gift. However, God’s gift of salvation is so wonderful that it moves us to want to do good things to serve, honor and thank God.