Lucia's Blog: CONDITIONAL GRACE
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

CONDITIONAL GRACE

"The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the LORD said, 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.' 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Genesis 6:5-8


Salvation by Grace under the Gospel is conditional. Paul's treatise on salvation by Grace in the Book of  Romans demonstrates that Grace is conditional, and one of those conditions is baptism.  Paul was saved by God's Grace.  He became a pattern to others who believe the Gospel to receive eternal life.  Paul is the apostle who emphasized the "doctrine of salvation by Grace."  So was Paul's salvation a pattern of conditional or unconditional Grace?  It was a pattern that we, too, must follow to be saved.  Remember that Paul had been a persecutor, but by the Grace of God, Jesus appeared to him on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:1-6).  Jesus commanded Paul to go into the city to be "told what he must do."  You see, Paul had things that he must do (i.e., conditions to be met).  He had to be told what those conditions were (evidently, he believed and repented at this point so far).  Paul was baptized in Damascus, for the man whom God sent told him what he must do.  He told him to be baptized and wash away his sins (Acts 9:18; 22:16).  The apostle Paul, who taught salvation by Grace, and who established a pattern for our salvation, was saved by conditional Grace.  Of course, that pattern included water baptism to have our sins washed away!!

Although forgiveness is a gift from God that we do not deserve, we still must meet the conditions to receive the gift. The Bible presents many great examples of people who received God's blessings by Grace, but they had to meet God's conditions to receive His blessings!  They never would have received God's blessings had they failed to obey God's terms or conditions.  However, though they met the conditions and received the blessing, they still were not worthy of the blessing.  So, it was still a matter of Grace, after all.  Let me give you a few examples of conditional Grace:


  • The Cure of Naaman:  (2 Kings 5:9-14)

Naaman was told by the prophet Elisha to dip seven times in the Jordan to cure his leprosy (verse 10).  Naaman afterward did as he was commanded to do so.  He went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to what Elisha had told them to do through God.  His flesh was then restored and clean like the flesh of a little child (verse 14).  It was a simple command, and he simply did it. So, my question again.  Was this also a favor or a gift from God?  Yes!  Did Naaman dipping in the Jordan earn the gift? No!  Why?  Simply because dipping in any river to be cured of leprosy could have never healed him and taken away his leprosy.  Again, this was an unmerited favor, so it was Grace!  You see, Grace is conditional!  Why?  Because we must do something to receive Grace. The fact that one must do something to benefit from Grace does not contradict the concept.  So if Naaman is cured of his incurable leprosy, it is still a gift of Grace even though he had to dip himself in water to be cured and cleaned.  Why can't the removal of sin still be a gift by Grace even though one must dip, immerse in water (baptism) to receive the cleansing of sins?


  • Gideon's Defeat of the Midianites:  (Judges 7:1-22)

Gideon defeated a vast number of Midianites with only 300 men.  So, was this a favor from God?  Of course!   God promised He would save them and give the Midianites into their hands.  God saved Israel as He promised He would (verses 7, 9).  Again, did Israel earn the blessing?  No!  Why?  Because according to verse 2, God deliberately arranged everything so that they could not claim glory for themselves, claiming that they were saved by their own hand.  Notice what God said to them,
"2 The Lord said to Gideon, 'The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me."' 

 So, again, did not Israel have to meet conditions to receive the gift?  Of course, they had to obey and do exactly what they were told to do to receive God's favor or gift!  Would Israel have received the victory if they had not surrounded the enemy, held torches, blown trumpets, and shouted with all their might? As He did with Jericho (Joshua 6:1-20)?  Would Israel have succeeded if they had not met God's conditions?  Never!  So it was conditional Grace after all!!

So, can we still deny that Israel was saved by Grace but still had to meet God's conditions to receive His favor, gift, or blessings?  So, why deny that salvation by Grace also demands conditions to be obeyed?


  • Noah's Salvation From The Flood:  (Genesis 6)

"So the Lord said, 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord"'  (Genesis 6:7-8).

Was Noah not saved by Grace?  Of course, he was!  He found Grace in the eyes of the LORD.  In Proverbs 3:24, the word "Grace" is used in this same manner.  Notice what both say,
"Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor (or grace)."  "6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'"  
"13 And God said to Noah, 'I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits.  22 Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.  5 And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him"'  (Genesis 6:13-15, 22; 7:5).

So, according to Genesis 6:13-15, 22; 7:5, did Noah have to do anything to be saved by Grace?  Yes, for he built the ark as God had commanded him.  He did all that God told him to do to build the ark to save him and his family.  So, do you suppose Noah would have been saved if he had not obeyed God about building the ark?  No!  So, it was conditional Grace!  

In Hebrews 11:7, we are given an excellent example to teach us how we are saved from sin (Hebrews 10:39; 11:6)  by faith using Noah's obedience by faith toward God.  God used Noah's excellent example from the Old Testament to show us the New Testament salvation by Grace through faith.  Notice that both demanded meeting God's conditions (1 Peter 3:20-21; Romans 15:4).  So there are conditions attached that must be met even though the gift, favor, is unmerited (not earned). Grace is conditional, for one must do something to receive the gift of Grace.  Unmerited does not mean unconditional! Salvation by Grace is received conditionally.  Some more Bible examples of conditional Grace (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 21:6ff; Genesis 19:19; Hebrews 11).

Thanks be to God for the Gospel of the Grace of God, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes!!!  (Romans 1:16).


May all men come to know Him and keep His Word, living by Grace and bearing good fruit.  May He help us walk by Grace and grow in His Grace so that we may have victory over sin.  May we learn Christ through Grace so that we may walk in the likeness of God, in His righteousness and the holiness of the Truth.  May we also abide in the Gospel of Grace with all perseverance.  May we stand firm, striving together for the Gospel of the Grace of God.  May we glorify God for His indescribable Grace to us.

Luci

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