My intention is not to leave any part of the Armor of God out for its all of vital importance including prayer which is essential to perseverance that Paul is speaking of in this text; but I do want to zero now in on the specific of the Weapons of Grace.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ—that God saves sinners’ through the perfect life, substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection of Jesus—justifies us, and also sanctifies us. It is the ANCHOR for our tendency to drift.
What happens in our lives as Christians though is we have a tendency to drift. Apart from grace-driven effort, we don’t gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith and delighting in the Lord.
We drift towards compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism. And as we slide toward godlessness we convince ourselves we are still spiritual because of our good works and effort to be a good person.
Boy, do we need grace.
After that description your probably wondering; “how can I measure up, how can I make it?” Thats the point of Grace…you can’t but Jesus did…and He extends His work on the cross to you by His grace because you can’t do it.
As I told you last week; “Grace is a word that isn’t used much in our current day. We might say someone was “gracious” when they were nice, say “grace” over our meals, or we may sing the hymn “Amazing Grace,” but the real meaning of the word is mostly lost on us. But the reasons for this disconnect with grace are far deeper than the mere evolution of language: at the heart of grace is a scandal that is impossible to overcome without supernatural intervention.”
I also said this last week; “Grace means “unmerited favor” —and therein lays the dilemma. We all want God’s favor and blessing, but we want to earn it. We desperately want to work for God, to show him that we are worthy of his love and attention. If we can somehow be good enough, then we don’t have to accept God’s “handout”; we show ourselves worthy in our own right and we take another step to being gods ourselves. The very first humans pushed back against grace wanting to be just like God themselves and that same desire has been passed down from them to every human. This is the war of grace, and it is relentless. We re-label pride as “self-esteem” and “independence” and call them virtues, which drives a wedge between Creator and his creation and obligates us to the never ending exhaustion of trying to measure up. Apart from a miracle, we are totally stuck.
The grace of God by definition is unearned. You can’t deserve it. That’s kind of the point. “Otherwise,” Paul says in Romans 11:5-6, “And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.”
Grace is a free gift given to someone who has not earned it…and cannot earn it.
But we work so hard. We are such awesome people. Surely we deserve something! Yes, absolutely. What we deserve is called “the wrath of God which is the sentence of eternal death in hell. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.” All sin is deserving of the severity of God, and no one is exempt from this.”
Why is the Gospel such a big deal? Because the gospel is God’s liberation of man’s complete inability, incompetence, and unchaining from the slavery of sin. Jesus was the only person to life a perfect life deserving God’s love. He lived that life so we don’t have to. Because of Jesus we are perfectly accepted and loved by God. That is the miracle of grace!
The first weapon is the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13 tells us, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
We have not been brought near by our behavior but by the sacrifice of Jesus alone. It’s our behavior that pushes our need for a Savior to the front of our lives.
When we stumble and fall, when we screw up, we run to God, and not from Him. (Unlike Adam and Eve.)
This is because those that run to God clearly understand that their acceptance before God is not predicated upon our behavior but on the righteous life of Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death.
The second weapon of Grace is the Word of God. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Paul writes, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
When we begin to know the Scriptures well we can identify what is true and what is a lie.
Here is one example, a truth to think about: the Holy Spirit and the accusations of the Devil can do the same thing. Both can make us aware of our shortcomings and the impossibility of earning favor with God. The difference between what the Holy Spirit does and what the Devil does is the Spirit’s deliverance of the gospel. The Devil brings up gospel truths to accuse and condemn (these 2 always go together), where the Spirit brings up these truths to convict and to comfort (these 2 always go together), bringing repentance, forgiveness, and peace.
So what is an accuser?—one who seeks to influence by bringing false charges, to weaken their influence to hurt, offend, to damage or injure someone’s reputation or cause. If you are looking at your sins and shortcomings and constantly feeling condemned—not convicted, but condemned—you need to use the Word of God to rebuke the Devil’s accusations against you. You need to use the Word of God to remind yourself over and over again the gospel is true. Revelation 12:10; “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.”
So what is conviction?—to compel someone to admit the truth or convince them of sin or sinfulness. By conviction, a sinner is brought to repentance, compelling them to acknowledge their error or the truth so as to abandon his error.
Jude 1:15; “to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
The third weapon of grace is the promise of the new covenant. Hebrews 9:15; “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance”
All the sins that we have committed, the humiliation of others, the rage, the wicked things done at parties, the shameful horrible things we did as sinners collide with what Jesus has done and He has won the victory over them. The person, who sinned in all these ways, was nailed to that cross with Jesus Christ and all of our sins—past, present, and future—were paid for in full on the cross of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10:10; “By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
I no longer need to feel shame for those things, because those things have been completely atoned for, forgiven, and forgotten.
Hebrews 8:12; “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Psalm 103:12; “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. 14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”
That is the fight of Grace that is the weapons of our warfare that Grace fights for us.