The balance of grace and faith is a very fundamental foundational truth.
gracetidings with dr doug mamvura
The body of Christ is basically divided into two main factions: those who emphasise grace (God’s part) and those who emphasise faith (our part). One group preaches that everything is totally up to God. The other group teaches that there are many things that we must do. Both content that the other group is totally wrong.
At a personal level, it all comes down to the questions “What part is God’s responsibility and what part is mine? What must I do?
The Bible clearly teaches a balance between grace (God’s part) and faith (our part). As you open your heart to receive God’s Word, the Lord has some life-changing truths He wants to share with you.
As believers, some of us can become so familiar with a certain passage of scripture that we don’t really know what it says. A case in point is Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast.”
There are some profound truths revealed here, one of which is that we are saved by grace through faith.
Although the body of Christ typically divides into two camps as highlighted above, Ephesians 2:8-9 says that we are saved by grace through faith. We are not saved by one or the other. To be technically correct, there is a parenthetical phrase in this passage in the last part of Ephesians 2:5 which says “…by grace you are saved..”
I am not arguing that it is wrong to say that we are saved by grace, but technically, it is not grace alone that saves us. It is important that we take note of this point. God has done so much for us by grace, but for us to receive on our part, which is what the Bible calls “faith”. There has to be a combination of both grace and faith.
You are not saved by grace alone.
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11).
Grace is what God does for you. It is His part. It is something that was done for you before you existed. Grace has nothing to do with you. By definition, it is “unmerited, unearned, undeserved favour”. If grace is something that God does and if grace alone saved, then every person would be saved because Titus 2:11 reveals that the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
God’s grace is the same towards everyone. God has been exactly the same toward every person who has ever lived. His grace is the same towards everybody because it is not based on or tied to what you do. God by grace, has already brought salvation to every person on the face of earth (Titus 2:11). However, one has to have the faith to appropriate the gift of salvation.
This is not something that is commonly understood. Most people believe that it is their performance that earns them extra pull and favour to get the power of God operating in their life. The truth is, the moment you begin relating God’s blessing — the manifestation of His power in your life to anything that you have done, then you have just voided grace. You have made God’s blessing and manifestation in your life proportional to something you have done.
If you think that way, then you do not understand the grace of God.
God by grace, has already provided everything for you and me before we ever needed it. If we are to look at salvation as an example, many people think that you have to ask God to forgive your sins and ask Jesus to come into your heart to receive salvation. They will pray, “Jesus, would you please come into my life?” They tell others “Just ask Christ to come into your life”. That is not what salvation is.
Acts 16:30-31 provides a scriptural example of someone receiving salvation. Paul and Silas were in the Philippian jail, and the jailer came to them and asked:
Sirs what must we do to be saved? (Acts 16:30).
They didn’t answer by saying, “Ask Jesus to come into your heart or repent of your sins and quit doing this and that”. They simply responded :
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved (Acts 16:31).
Believe what? This does not mean just believe that Jesus existed or that He came. Jesus didn’t just die for the people He knew would accept Him someday.
“He is the propitiation of our sins and not for ours only, but also the sins of the whole world.”
(1 John 2:2). Jesus died for every sinner which has ever lived on this earth. He died for our sins
2 000 years ago, long before we had ever committed them. The Lord doesn’t wait until we ask Him “Please come into my heart” to forgive our sins. The radical truth is the sins of the entire world are already forgiven.
God forgave your sins before you even existed. Before you were ever born, all your sins were forgiven. Before you had ever committed a sin, God forgave them. Your sins are forgiven. Sin is actually a non issue with God. I know once some of the religious folks hear this, they get messed up. The problem is that we do not allow the bible to get into the way of our religion.
This is not the message of the church today. The church is basically preaching that every time you sin, it is an affront against God. They say “You have to get that sin forgiven and under the blood before God can move in your life”. That is not what scriptures teach. The word reveals that your sins are already forgiven. You don’t have to ask God to forgive your sins or to come into your life. What you have to do is believe the gospel that Jesus has already come, He has already died and forgiven the sins of the world.
I am sure some might then say, if that is true, then everybody is saved right? no, this is not the case, because grace alone doesn’t save you. God by grace has made the provision and paid for every person’s sins. People are not going to hell for sexual immorality, murder, lying or stealing. All of those sins have been paid for. The sin that is going to send people to hell is the singular sin of rejecting Jesus as their personal Saviour. This is what the Bible reveals in John 16:8. “When the Holy Spirit is come, he will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness and judgement.”
In verse 9 Jesus explained that the sin the Holy Spirit would reprove the world of is the sin of not believing on Jesus.
The church has misrepresented the Holy Spirit by saying that He is here to nail you every time you lie, cheat and steal. This preaching has made us sin conscious. It has magnified sin. The truth is Jesus has already paid the price for all that. Have you believed in Jesus Christ? Have you made Him your Lord? If you have then all your sins, past present and even future sins, have already been forgiven. Preaching this truth will get me kicked out of most churches because it is radical truth. Sin has already been dealt with by grace (Hebrews: 9 and 10). Before you start throwing stones at me, may I encourage you to read these chapters and meditate on them.
I believe the truth there will set you free from religion and tradition which brings the word of God to no effect (Mark 7:13).
Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @dougmamvura