This is our second article in a series that takes a look at how a proper understanding of the gospel should influence how we manage our finances. In the first article, we examined the fact that we are now slaves of Christ, and merely stewards of God’s resources.
Now, we will take a look at the means of our salvation – God’s grace.
Saved By Grace
A major truth of the gospel is the fact that we are all sinners who have transgressed the law of God, and therefore are deserving of hell.
God is perfect, holy, and righteous, meaning that He cannot be in the presence of sin, nor can He overlook it. In Exodus 34:6-7b we find the following description of God’s character (given by God Himself):
Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;7who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…
The fact that He is just and righteous means that He must punish those who break His law, and His holiness and purity prevent Him from having fellowship with anyone of a sinful nature.
All Men Continually Sin Against God
Since we all commit sin and have a sinful nature, there is nothing that we can do to earn God’s favor or forgiveness. In Psalm 14:2-3, we are told that…
The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;there is no one who does good, not even one.
Also, in Romans 3:23 we are reminded that, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God“!
It Is Impossible For Us To Reach God’s Standard
Just in case we still think (after reading the descriptions of God and man above) that we can somehow live a righteous enough life in order to please God and cause Him to overlook our sins, the bible also has this to say:
For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. ~ Isaiah 64:6
Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ~ Matthew 5:48
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. ~ James 2:10
This means that it is impossible for anyone to do anything to earn God’s favor. God’s standard is perfection, and one sin is enough to incur His wrath. Furthermore, we are sinners by nature and could never life a sinless life!
The Perfect Substitute
However, because of God’s love for us, He extended His grace toward us by sending Jesus Christ to “become sin for us” and bear The Father’s wrath against our sin on the cross!
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities…All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. Isaiah 53:5a & 6
But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:10a,11 & 12c
As you can see in the passages above, Christ took all of our sin upon Himself on the cross, and it pleased God the Father to pour out His wrath against our sin. Jesus Christ bore the punishment and wrath of our sin on the cross and then the Father raised Him from the dead to show that He was satisfied (see 1 John 2:1-2) with the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf.
In order to have the sacrifice of Christ “applied” to our account with God, we must come to God realizing that we are sinners who deserve His wrath, and there is nothing that we can do to please Him. Then we are commanded to believe by faith, all that the bible says about God, our sin, our nature, and the only means of salvation (see John 14:6, John 3:36, & Hebrews 2:3). After which, we are “born again” and given a new nature, so that we are now able to be obedient to the will of God and all that His word commands:
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” ~ John 3:3
The fact that we have been born again, transformed, and given a new nature, means that we now have the power to obey God’s word, and to defeat sin! God has taken us from weak, dirty, defiled people who were His enemies (Romans 5:10), to those who “overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37)!
Sanctification And Serving God
What’s so amazing about our salvation is that we not only have been saved from God’s wrath, and given a new home in Heaven, but we are being sanctified (made holy and set apart for God’s use) so that we can glorify God! As I mentioned above, we have the ability to overcome temptation and sin, and instead, work to fulfill the will of our new master!
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:10
Look at how Paul explains our new life in Romans 6:
4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
So, as part of our sanctification, we are made free from the bondage of sin, and given the power to walk in a new, full life, devoted to pleasing our new master!
Of course, the subject of the gospel, salvation, and God’s amazing grace cannot be contained to a single article or even a book. But, even with the things we’ve looked at so far, I can’t help but to be amazed and overwhelmed by God’s love and grace toward unworthy sinners!
Our salvation was all of God and none of us! There was nothing that we could do to deserve it, and there is nothing that we can do to keep it! It is simply because
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. ~ Ephesians 2:8-9
Gratitude: Our Response To God’s Grace
As Romans 6:19 (written out above) says, we are to, “present [our] members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification“. In response to God’s grace, we are to submit ourselves as living sacrifices to God (cf. Romans 12:1), devoting all that we have and all that we are back to Him!
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. ~ Colossians 2:6-7
The bible says that we are to be “overflowing with gratitude“! This gratitude should make us willing to give up all that we have for the sake of Christ and His kingdom. Instead of just being slaves and stewards, we now understand the extent of God’s grace, and that fact makes us jump at every opportunity to serve Him!
We must allow our gratitude toward God’s love and grace to compel us to honor the Lord with our finances! Hear what the Apostle Paul had to say about being controlled/compelled by Christ’s love:
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died ~ 2 Corinthians 5:14
The first thing that should change once we consider God’s amazing grace is that we should commit everything in our possession to God! We said last time that we are slaves of Christ, and as such, merely stewards of His provision. However, now that we understand grace, we are to go running to God, casting all that we have and all that we are at His feet!
Helping Those In Need
We should be so generous with our money, because we are motivated by our gratitude toward God! We should be eager to help the poor, making it a priority to seek out opportunities to bless others! When we think about God’s grace toward us, it causes us to manage our money with a sense of humility – especially toward one less fortunate than us!
If someone is in a rough situation due to their own poor judgment or financial mismanagement, instead of assigning blame and feeling self-righteous – as we walk away without offering assistance – God’s grace toward miserable, wicked sinners will cause us to look at our brother with love and compassion.
Giving To The Local Church
Also, this gratitude should motivate us in our giving to our local church! We should be cheerful givers, excited because we have an opportunity to give something back to God, after understanding just how much He gave to us! By supporting the institution which has Christ as its head, we take part in the dispensation of God’s grace!
We help to support the preaching of God’s word, the edifying of believers, fellowship, missionaries, and any other program your church believes will honor God!
What Christ did for us on the cross should cause us to drop any apprehension we have about obeying God’s command to give double honor (basically, meaning greater esteem and monetary support) to the elders of the church who rule well.
In Our Purchases
Our gratitude toward God should motivate us to only make wise purchases with His money! We shouldn’t take the attitude that since we work hard to earn “our” money, that we should be able to spend it on whatever indulgences we wish!
We understand that in God’s grace, he made provision for us to be able to support ourselves and our families, and also support the work of His kingdom. Each purchase should be examined to make sure it lines up with those purposes!
In Our Homes
How we manage our money – especially in regards to giving – can be a great opportunity to remind ourselves of God’s grace. It can also be a great teaching opportunity – similar to how the Israelites used eating the Passover meal in order to teach their children about God’s deliverance!
If every purchase has to be examined, and giving is a priority, God’s grace will continue to hold an important place in your home, heart, and lives, and God will be glorified!
Practical Steps To Allow Grace And Gratitude To Govern Your Finances
- Meditate on all that salvation involves (God’s holiness & justice, our sinfulness, Christ becoming sin for us, the Father pouring His wrath out on the Son, etc) daily!
- In all of your prayers, thank God for His gift of grace!
- If you have had a self-righteous attitude toward your brother who was in need, repent of that sin and ask God to change your perspective in light of His grace.
- Make giving to your local church the priority line in your budget.
- Make sure every purchase is examined to make sure it is motivated by gratitude.
Pray about this often – don’t let it leave your mind as soon as you go on to read the next article. Make sure that you are living a life that honors God in every aspect (1 Corinthians 10:31), especially with your finances!