Sola Gratia • West Campus
The Conflict of God's grace in mans salvation has been a conflict from the beginning of time. The Galatians are an example we have in scripture of trying to add works to their salvation. Throughout History we have have several major conflicts regarding a biblical understanding of God's grace and the will of man's role in salvation. One of those conflicts being between Augustine and Pelagius. The conflict was foundational about the role of the will of man in salvation. Pelagius was arguing that the will of man was unaffected by the fall, and that Sin had no consequences on the will of man, therefore men as a result of their own will are able to find their way to God from within themselves. Augustine stood on the Biblical premise that the fall tainted all of creation including the will of man. He reiterated the teaching of the Bible that people do what they are by nature and that they aren't neutral. We are sinners and we sin because we are sinners. Because we sin we are damned eternally. If we are to be saved from our sin, then God must act in grace towards us, giving us what we do not deserve. In grace we experience just that, God's favor moving to redeem His people and restore them.
- In what ways does the "culture" we live among promote meritorious promotion, and how does this influence the we understand grace absent of performance?
- The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:1-3 paints a pretty clear picture of man's Condition apart from salvation that comes from Grace Alone. He states that we were dead in our sins, we followed the spirit of disobedience, lived according to the sinful passions of our flesh, and were by nature the children of wrath. This spiritual death separates us from God and leaves us completely unable to make our way to God. Even for believers the critical condition of sin causes us to abuse and abandon God's grace at times in our life.
- In what ways does our misunderstanding of our sinful condition absent of God's grace affect our understanding of God's grace? In what ways have we viewed our sin in a different prospective to the way God views our sin? How has this led us to not understanding how glorious God's grace really is?
- In what ways do we abandon or abuse God's grace in our lives? How has Christian liberty been an excuse in our lives that Sin may continue that grace may abound? Why do we continue to hold on to the death of Sin when we have been declared free in Christ?
- Our deeds earned us death, our works revealed that we were the enemy of God. We were dead in our sins, unable of balancing the weight between life and death , and incapable of finding our way to God... BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together in Christ. God's response to our sin cannot be separated from the finished work of Christ. God doesn't tolerate, overlook, or passively dismiss our sin, His response to our sin is Christ. His grace to us is Christ. Jesus' death, burial, resurrection, and intersession is God's gracious gift to sinful people.
- In what ways has our understanding of the role of man in salvation taken away from the glorious grace God extends to us in Jesus?
- This reality, that salvation comes Grace Alone, and God's grace to us is Christ should bring assurance, and security. What is an example of a way that you've found rest and assurance in Grace Alone? If you are unable to find assurance in rest in the Grace of God, how come?
- The Community God has placed us in is a means of grace in which He helps us grow in our faith, and helps us to declare the riches of his grace in our neighborhoods. For this reason we need to commit to the Church, who are God's people of grace. We were encouraged to commit to the Church gathered for building up, and encouragement, and the Church scattered for mission and proclamation of God's grace.
- In what ways has there been a lack of commitment to the Church in your life? Have you committed to the church gathered, and the church scattered in a way that prioritizes the Church in your life? Why or why not?
- As a people who have been shown incredible Grace from God how are we demonstrating that grace to the unbelieving around us? As a community what are we doing to declare the provisions of God's grace in the neighborhood we live in? Why is there such a hesitancy in our declaring the riches of God's grace to those around us?