LIVE BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH
A. Introduction: We’re discussing the connection between God’s grace and our faith as part of a larger series
on getting to know Jesus as He is revealed in the New Testament. The twenty-seven documents that make
up the New Testament documents were written by eyewitnesses of Jesus, or close associates of eyewitnesses.
1. John 1:14-16—One of those eyewitnesses, John (an original apostle) wrote that Jesus is full of grace,
that grace came through Jesus, and we that have received grace upon grace. Recently we’ve been
looking at what the New Testament says about grace and how it has come to us through Jesus.
a. Grace is an expression of God’s love. Grace is God’s unearned, undeserved favor or kindness.
The Greek word for grace (charis) is sometimes translated as loving kindness or gracious kindness.
b. The word emphasizes the disposition of the one expressing grace. Grace is not given because of
something in the one who receives it, but because of the character of the one who expresses it. God
is gracious. I Pet 2:3
2. Human beings have a problem that we can’t fix. We’re guilty of sin before God, Who is holy. As a
result, we’re disqualified for our created purpose (sonship and relationship with God) and destined for
eternal separation from God (Eph 1:4-5; Rom 3:23; Rom 6:23; etc.). But God has been gracious to us.
a. Through the Cross of Christ He did for us what we can’t do for ourselves. God paid the penalty
for our sin so that we can become His sons and daughters through faith in Him. The Cross is as
expression of God’s grace. John 3:16; Eph 1:7; Rom 3:24-26
1. We can’t do anything to earn or deserve what the Cross provides. God’s grace and the effects
of His grace expressed at the Cross come to us through faith. When we believe what God has
done for us, we’re saved from sin’s penalty and power by His grace through our faith. Eph 2:8-9
2. Even after we are restored to the family, God continues to work in our lives by His grace
through our faith. Everything we receive from God both before and after we are saved from
sin’s penalty and power is an expression of His grace. Heb 4:16
b. Faith is trust in or assured reliance on someone or something. Faith in God is trust in God. Trust
is assured reliance on God—His power, His truthfulness, His faithful.
1. Because faith is trust in someone or something, it must have an object. In other words, it must
be directed at someone or something. The object of our faith is Jesus, God Incarnate. Heb 12:2
2. The Lord Jesus Christ is revealed to us in and through the pages of the Bible. As we get to
know Him through His Word we become persuaded that we can trust Him. Our actions and
words then reflect that trust, and we begin to live our lives by faith in Him. Ps 9:10; Rom 10:17
3. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about faith—what it is, how it works. Much of the popular teaching
over in the last few decades has made faith the object of our faith—what I must do to get my miracle.
a. If your only source of information about faith was the New Testament you would never talk about
faith the way many of us do—act your faith; see yourself well; keep saying what you want until you
see it; just stand on the promise. Our focus is on the techniques we use rather than on Jesus.
1. Abraham and Sarah were commended for their faith. By God’s grace, through their faith, they
had a son when they were too old to produce children. Heb 11:11; Rom 4:20-21; Gen 15-21
2. When we read the historical record of their lives we find that their faith was not in a promise
that was disconnected from God. Their faith or trust was in the One Who made the promise.
b. Many of us try to have faith without looking at the object of our faith—Jesus. One of the greatest
benefits of regular, systematic reading of the New Testament (cover to cover, over and over) is that
it will produce in you an unshakeable trust or faith in Jesus. And, you will begin to live by faith.
4. Paul the apostle, another eyewitness of Jesus, wrote that he lived by faith in the Son of God. In this
lesson we’re going to look at what Paul meant when he said that he lived by faith. Gal 2:20
B. Jesus appeared to Paul a number of times after His resurrection and personally instructed Paul (Gal 1:11-12).
Paul actually wrote 2/3s of the New Testament documents. We’ve used some of the statements he made
about God’s grace through faith in our lessons on grace and faith. Rom 3:23-25; Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7; etc.
1. Paul was a master at living by God’s grace through faith. We said last week that he understood that his
circumstances were not an expression of God’s greater or lesser love or approval. He knew that
problems (minor to major) are part of life in a fallen, sin damaged world. John 16:33; Matt 6:19; etc.
a. That information kept Paul’s trust in the Lord from being undermined. Paul never had to wrestle
with: Why is God letting this happen? What have I done wrong? Paul was able to answer his
difficult circumstances with: That’s life in a sin cursed earth, but God will get me through until He
gets me out. Rom 8:35-39
b. Paul understood that faith in God does not stop problems from coming into our lives and knew that
God by His grace gives peace, joy, hope, and strength in the midst of problems. II Cor 12:7-9
1. You may recall that when Paul asked Jesus to stop a demonic being from stirring up trouble for
him as he preached the gospel, Jesus told him, My grace is sufficient (enough) to empower you
to deal with this. My strength (grace) is made perfect (reaches its intended goal) in weakness.
2. Paul’s reaction to the Lord’s answer was: So now I am glad to boast about my weakness, so
that the power of Christ may work through me (v9, NLT).
c. Paul’s words were not a religious cliché. He was stating a spiritual reality. Paul knew that God
was in him by His life and Spirit to strengthen and empower him to live this difficult life effectively.
2. In one of his epistles, Paul revealed that Jesus commissioned him to proclaim a previously unrevealed
aspect of God’s plan of redemption (His plan to deliver men and women from the penalty and power of
sin)—union with Christ through shared life. Col 1:25-27.
a. Before God created the human race, He knew that we would go into the pigpen of sin, corruption,
and death. He devised a plan to deal with sin and transform sinners into His holy, righteous sons
and daughters through the Cross, by His grace through our faith (redemption).
1. The Cross was a means to an end. Through it, God satisfied justice (paid for sin) so that He
could justify us (declare us not guilty) and then indwell us by His Spirit and life.
2. Christianity is more than a set of creeds (beliefs) and moral codes (behaviors), although it has
both. Christianity is supernatural. Christianity is an organic (living) relationship between
God and man whereby we become partakers of the uncreated life in God through union.
A. Eph 1:5-6—For it was always his perfect plan to adopt us as his delightful children through
our union with Jesus…so that his tremendous love would glorify his grace (TPT).
B. Eph 2:5—Even when we were dead [slain] by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He
made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ—He gave us the very same
life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him (Amp).
b. The New Testament uses the terminology of new birth, born again, or born of the Spirit to picture
what happens when a person acknowledges Jesus as Savior and Lord. John 1:12-13; John 3:3-6
1. Spiritual (non-physical) life is imparted to them, in their innermost being. They are born of
God because they receive His life. The Greek word for the life we receive from God is zoe or
life as God has it (Vine’s Dictionary).
2. The New Testament uses three word pictures to convey the believer’s relationship to Jesus
through faith in Him. All depict union and shared life: Vine and branch (John 15:5); Head
and body (Eph 1:22-23); Husband and wife (Eph 5:31-32).
A. The entrance of His life and Spirit is the beginning of a process of restoration that will
ultimately restore every part of our being to what God intended before sin damaged the
family—sons and daughters who are Christlike in every part of their being. Rom 8:29
B. Paul wrote that his goal in proclaiming union with Christ through shared life was to present
every man and woman to God perfect or “mature through union with Christ” (Col 1:28,
Williams); “full-grown, fully initiated, complete and perfect—in Christ” (Col 1:28, Amp).
3. Paul himself recognized that God was working in him by His life and Spirit to empower him to
accomplish this work. Col 1:29—For this I labor [unto weariness], striving will all the super
human energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me (Amp); I work very hard at
this, as I depend on Christ’s mighty power within me (NLT).
3. Jesus died for sin to open the way for men and women to become literal sons and daughters of God by
partaking of His nature through union and shared life. We don’t become little gods. We become sons
of God by new or second birth.
a. At the Last Supper, the night before Jesus went to the Cross, He told His apostles that He was going
to leave them. They didn’t yet know that He would be crucified, die for the sins of men, and rise
again—or that the event was only hours away.
1. Jesus told them that, at that day (following His resurrection), they would know that He is in
them and they are in Him. John 14:20—At that time you will recognize that I am in union with
the Father, and you with me, and I with you (20th Cent); So when that day comes, you will know
that I am living in the Father and that you are one with me, for I will be living in you (TPT).
2. Jesus told them He was going to send the Holy Spirit to them, and they would know “because
he lives with you now and later will be in you” (John 14:17, NLT). My death and resurrection
will make it possible for Me to indwell you by My Spirit, the Holy Spirit.
A. Jesus, in His humanity, is the pattern for God’s family. He lived as a man by the power of
the Father in Him. In doing so He showed us what sons and daughters of God look like.
B. At the Last Supper Jesus said: Don’t you believe that the Father is living in me and that I
am living in the Father? Even my words are not my own but come from my Father, for he
lives in me and performs his miracles of power through me (John 14:10, TPT)
b. These statements get into the nature of God (a subject for another night). God is One God Who
simultaneously manifests as three distinct Persons—the Father, the Word or Son, and the Holy
Spirit. The Bible doesn’t explain God’s nature; it simply tells us about Him.
1. This is beyond our comprehension—explaining the nature of the Infinite God and how He has
chosen to interact with finite men and women. Note, the eyewitnesses made no effort to
explain God’s triune nature or how we can be in union with Him.
2. They simply accepted Jesus’ words about Himself, the Father, and the Holy Spirit (John
14:16-17; 26; 16:13-15). And , and after Jesus authenticated everything He said by rising from
the dead, they went out to proclaim what they saw and heard to the world, in the name of the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Matt 28:19-20
4. John the apostle was present at this Last Supper. He is the one who wrote that Jesus is full of grace and
truth and that we have all received of his fullness. John 1:14; 16
a. Paul gives more light on John’s statement in the same epistle where he wrote that he was called to
proclaim union with Christ through shared life.
1. Col 2:9-10—In Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead (Divinity, the Divine nature)
bodily, and you are complete in Him. Fullness and complete are forms of the same Greek
word. It means fullness, fulfillment, to fill up, to complete.
2. Col 2:9-10—For he is the complete fullness of deity living in human form. And our own
completeness is now found in him. We are completely filled with God as Christ’s fullness
overflows within us (TPT).
b. Because of grace expressed at the Cross union with Christ through new birth is available. Through
faith in Christ God is now in us by His life and Spirit to complete us, restore us, and empower us.
5. Paul lived with the awareness that God was in him by His Spirit and life to work in and strengthen him.
He had an expectation or trust (faith) that God in him would help him. Gal 2:20
a. Gal 2:20—I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me (NLT).
1. Paul does not mean that he no longer exists. Paul understood that Jesus died in his place (for
him as him). Paul wasn’t on the Cross, but what happened there affects him as though he were
there. The debt Paul owed for his sin was paid through his substitute. I’m not trusting in my
own efforts to make myself right with God. I trust in Jesus and the Cross.
2. Jesus didn’t die to replace Paul. Jesus died to make it possible for Paul to be transformed from
sinner into son and fully restored to his created purpose by Jesus’ Spirit and life in him.
A. Paul understood that he died to his old life: Jesus died…so that all who receive his new
life will no longer live to please themselves…they will live to please Christ (II Cor 5:15)
B. Gal 2:20—My old identity has been co-crucified with Christ and no longer lives. And
now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives his life
through me—we live in union as one (TPT).
b. Gal 2:20—And the life I now live in this body I live by faith—by adherence to and reliance on and
[complete] trust—in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Amp)
1. Paul recognized that God expressed His love for him through the Cross. God met Paul’s
greatest need (salvation from sin) when Paul was his enemy. Rom 8:32
2. Thus, Paul knew that God (now in him by His Spirit and life) would help him with everything
else: My faith in the Son of God helps me to live my life in my body (Gal 2:20, NIrV).
6. Paul lived and worked with the awareness that God is in us by His grace to work in and through us by
His power—the same power that raised Christ from the dead. And he urged believers to do the same.
His epistles (letters) are filled with statements about God at work in us. Consider just a few.
a. Eph 1:19-20—(I pray) [that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited
and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us…which He exerted in Christ when He raised
Him from the dead (Amp).
b. Rom 8:11—Once the Spirit of him who raised Christ Jesus from the dead lives within you he will,
by that same Spirit, bring to your whole being, yes even your mortal bodies, new strength and
vitality. For he now lives in you (J. B. Phillips).
c. Eph 3:16—May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced
with mighty power in the inner man by the (Holy) Spirit [Himself]—indwelling your innermost
being and personality (Amp).
d. Eph 3:20—Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish
infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope (NLT).
C. Conclusion: We have more to say next week. Consider this closing thought. Paul lived with the
awareness that God, by His grace, was in him by His Spirit and life. Paul knew that because of grace, he was
united to life in Jesus as truly as a branch is joined to a vine. Paul didn’t always feel it—but he believed it.
1. This awareness and trust gave Paul confidence in the face of life’s hardships: I have strength for all
things in Christ Who empowers me—I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who
infuses inner strength into me (Phil 4:13, Amp).
2. Paul’s faith (trust) in Jesus grew as he got to know His Savior more fully. In the context of being more
than a conqueror in the midst of life’s troubles Paul wrote: I have come through a process of persuasion
to the settled conclusion that (nothing) will be able to separate us (me) from the love (grace) of God
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:38, Wuest).
3. As you make Jesus the object of your faith, your trust in Him will grow. You’ll become persuaded that
the Healer, Provider, Comforter, and Strengthener is within you to help you, empower you, and change
you for your good and His glory. You’ll learn to live and walk by faith in the Son of God.