The Power of Grace
by Robert Perkins
Free Grace Theology is a system that concerns itself with the purity of the Gospel message of salvation through faith alone in Christ alone. The sixteenth century reformers coined the term sola fide in distinguishing their soteriology from Rome's, but how does faith alone affect individuals today? Is the current debate between Free Grace and Lordship Salvation only a theoretical battle between academics with little practical impact on lives, or are there some very real and practical implications that should concern all believers everywhere?
It has been said that the purpose of Bible study is not the imparting of information, but rather the appropriation of a biblical world view that results in godly living. In the same way the purity of the Gospel message should have direct, powerful, and life-changing impact on believers, not only in what they believe, but in what they do and how they live as well.
The Scripture tells us that thoughts give rise to actions. We are lifestyle products-not of our environment or of our genes-but of our hearts. If our hearts tell us that our salvation must be proved or assured by our works, then we may, on the one hand, flesh out this belief by feeling unsure of our position before God when we fail, or on the other hand, by being overly proud of our accomplishments when we succeed. Either perspective is dangerous to our spiritual well-being and to that of those around us.
Insecurity about our relationship to God can manifest itself in timidity about sharing the Gospel and in a general feeling of inability and uselessness in everyday service to our Lord. On the other hand, pride in our accomplishments can lead to an arrogant, haughty attitude which manifests itself in attempting to push ourselves and our agenda to the forefront. We may become extremely narrow and intolerant of others, and even develop a fortress mentality. Appropriating free grace into our lives should make us bold in our witness and yet humble in our view of ourselves, because our eternal standing before God is not based on what we do but upon whose we are.
We should remember Paul's admonition to the believers at Corinth, "And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" (1 Cor 4:7). Each believer is born into the kingdom in the same way: by the grace of God through faith, apart from human works (Eph 2:8-9). We all enjoy the same positional standing before God.
Powerful Christian Living
When I appropriate the truth that grace is free (even to me!), then there will be no room in my life for arrogance, either theological, intellectual, racial, sexual, national, ethnic, or denominational. This will free me to love al my brothers and sisters in the faith (God is not through with them, nor with me, yet) and to personally bear the fruits of the Spirit: "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal 5:22). I can also manifest a true concern for the souls of the lost as I understand that the only thing that separates them from me is simple faith in Jesus Christ.
Finally, the Free Grace perspective will help a believer to trust in God for His constant provision and care on a daily basis. God has promised that He will provide all our needs in Christ Jesus. The daily cares, frustration, and worries of this world must be given to Him. In John 16:33 Jesus said "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Jesus promises that in Him we will have peace and through Him we can overcome our circumstances.
What is the power of grace? Grace means that we can rely on the beautiful simplicity of God's eternal plan because it was obediently fulfilled by Jesus Christ. When we trust Jesus Christ as Savior we know that we are His forever. In addition, we can have peace concerning His daily provision, and we can have that right here and right now. Grace is indeed powerful and practical.
Robert Perkins, a Dallas CPA, has served as Grace Evangelical Society's accountant since 1991. He has completed over 30 courses through the Lay Institute program at Dallas Theological Seminary. He serves as a deacon at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas and teaches an adult Sunday school class.