Let God’s Grace Humble You
October 8, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
For the last two Sundays we have been studying Jesus’ “I am the bread of life” sermon. So much is richly packed into this passage. One of the truths that we highlighted was the necessity of God’s grace for our salvation. We are saved by grace alone. While the word “grace” does not appear in John 6, the truth is emphasized in three verses:
Verse 37: All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
Verse 44: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
Verse 65: And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
How do these verses emphasize grace? A definition of grace is helpful. John Frame defines God’s grace as “his sovereign, unmerited favor, given to those who deserve his wrath.” There are four components to grace in this definition. Let me explain each as we see them in John 6.
- God’s Grace is Sovereign. This means that God is free and in control in the distribution of his grace. In verse 37, God’s sovereignty is emphasized when Jesus says, “all that the Father gives me will come to me.” God is the deciding factor for who will come to Jesus. And God is never frustrated in his decision. Every single person God has given to Jesus will come to Jesus.
- God’s Grace is Unmerited. We do not do anything to deserve God’s favor. He freely gives his grace. This is emphasized when Jesus says in verse 44, “no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” Behind that “no one can come” is the theological truth of sinful depravity. We are unable to come and do not deserve to be welcomed. But God takes the initiative to save by his grace, not based on our initiative.
- God’s Grace is Favor. This means that grace is for our good, in fact, our greatest good. The grace of God brings salvation from sin and the consequences of sin, namely death and corruption. Jesus highlights this favor when he speaks of a persevering welcome (v. 37) and final resurrection (v. 44).
- God’s Grace is Given to those who Deserve Wrath. This is the flip side of being unmerited. We don’t deserve grace; we deserve wrath. Once again, this is implied in the statement, “no one can come to me…” (v. 65). Jesus is speaking about spiritual ability, not merely permission. Because of our sin, we are spiritually dead and deserve God’s full condemnation (Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 3:10-12). It is only by God’s grace that we are saved.
I said on Sunday that this ought to humble us. Humility is the Christian virtue that I am afraid that we would all agree is good, but would not give priority to cultivate. Humility is when we deny and resist placing confidence in ourselves and, instead, place confidence in someone or something else. The truth of God’s grace explains why we should put no confidence in ourselves. God’s grace also celebrates the one in whom we should place our confidence. This explains why “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5).
Paul David Tripp says, “The long-term health and gospel productivity of a church are directly related to the humility of the members of that community” (Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church, p. 59). The humble place their confidence in God and his grace. The humble tap into the true source of life, goodness, transformation, and empowerment. The humble resist placing confidence in themselves, because they understand their spiritual weakness and inability.
Yes, health and productivity are directly related to humility. Cultivating humility is directly related to understanding God’s grace. Let God’s grace humble you.