Sovereign Grace

Read: Romans 9:1-5

Last Sunday, Pastor Ken preached from 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, showing us how the Thessalonian church was an example for us to emulate. This Sunday, we will resume our study through Romans, as Pastor Ken will preach a message from Romans 9:1-5. As you prepare your heart for our corporate gathering, consider these words from Paul Tripp concerning the sovereign grace of God. Our obedience never initiates God’s grace; rather, God’s grace always initiates our obedience.

Heart Preparation

You obey not to get God’s attention, but because you have been the object of his attention since before the world began.

Your obedience is never to be done in the hope that you will get something, but rather in recognition of what you have already been given. Carefully read the following words from Ephesians 1:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:3-14).

So here’s the humbling and comforting truth of the gospel. Your obedience doesn’t initiate anything. Your obedience and mine only occur because God initiated a redemptive process that resulted in our forgiveness and transformation. We don’t obey to get his favor; we obey because his favor has fallen on us and transformed our hearts, giving us the willingness and power to obey. God’s work of rescue and forgiveness didn’t begin just before you first believed. It didn’t begin just before you were born. It began before the world was born. He placed his grace on you and wrote your story in such a way that at a certain point in time you would hear the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ and believe. His love for you is never a result of your character; it is a clear demonstration of his. He granted you and me what we never could have deserved; our new life is his choice, his gift.

This means that if you obey him for a thousand years, you will have no more of his favor than when you first believed. Now, that truly is grace!

April 21 Reading, in New Morning Mercies, by Paul David Tripp

Song List for Sunday

1. “I Stand Amazed,” Arr. by Aaron Keyes
2. “Hallelujah, What a Savior,” Arr. by Breakaway Ministries
3. “O Great God,” by Sovereign Grace Music
4. “Scandal of Grace,” Arr. by Shane & Shane

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