Kept By Grace

New Covenant Obedience: by Grace Alone!

Love does not spring forth from legalism.
Love springs forth as it is birthed by the
Grace of God working in and through you.

 

Grace! All grace that works in the believer flows from God by His Holy Spirit. 

A New Covenant Theology, mostly devoid of the Holy Spirit’s role and function in the believer, is an extremely dangerous doctrine. Jesus is the Vine. Unless we abide in the Vine we can do nothing.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this:Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this:to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command:Love each other. (John 15:4-17 NIV)

From many quarters we hear of the need for obedience for personal holiness. That’s all and good but all this talk of laws and obedience is simply hogwash if the ministry of the indwelling Spirit is ignored. The New Covenant is the Ministry of the Spirit. It is through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that believers are united to their heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant —not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts. (2 Corinthians 3:6-11 NIV)

Up to now I am not aware of any New Covenant teaching ministry that majors on grace, God’s grace! That my friends is our chief concern. This ought to be your chief concern. A New Covenant Theology that does not have a right understanding of the Holy Spirit of Christ and the grace He supplies to Jesus’ disciples, is of no use to anyone, but the devil.

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Galatians 3:1-6 ESV)

New Covenant Theology ought to be focusing on God’s grace as a priority and not as a second thought or even an after thought.

Without grace there is no obedience that is pleasing to God. We can do nothing apart from our union to Christ by the Spirit of God. Grace is God’s life at work in and through His saints. All obedience that is born of love flows from the saint’s life in God.

No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God. (Romans 2:29 NIV)

Grace, the abundance of God’s grace, is what makes the New Covenant so great.

we need grace

NEVER ENOUGH GRACE

We do not have an aversion to law, obedience, instructions, commandments, etc. We are simply jealous for God “in us” who has given us life, holiness and all of the promises.

If your favorite New Covenant advocate does not emphasize the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the need for grace then look for another advocate. That teacher has failed you.

A Challenge

I challenge you to do a word search on the use of the word “grace” in God’s word.

You will see clearly why we ought to be alarmed. The Holy Spirit’s emphasis on the need for “grace” is largely ignored, not just within NCT, but also throughout much of today’s Christian teaching, preaching and literature.

A sampling of proofs of how God values grace as He dispenses it to his saints.

John 1:14: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:16: For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

John 1:17: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Acts 4:33: And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

Acts 6:8: And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.

Acts 11:23: When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,

Acts 13:43: And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

Acts 14:3: So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

Acts 14:26: and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled.

Acts 15:11: But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.

Acts 15:40: but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.

Acts 18:27: And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed,

Acts 20:24: But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

Acts 20:32: And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Romans 1:5: through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,

Romans 1:7: To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:24: and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Romans 4:16: That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

Romans 5:2: Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:15: But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.

Romans 5:17: For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:20: Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

Romans 5:21: so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:1: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?

Romans 6:14: For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 6:15: What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!

Romans 11:5: So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.
Romans 11:6: But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

Romans 12:3: For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Romans 12:6: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;

Romans 15:15: But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God

Romans 16:20: The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

I Corinthians 1:3: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 1:4: I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,

I Corinthians 3:10: According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.

I Corinthians 15:10: But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

I Corinthians 16:23: The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

II Corinthians 1:2: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 1:12: For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.

II Corinthians 1:15: Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace.

II Corinthians 4:15: For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

II Corinthians 6:1: Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

II Corinthians 8:1: We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia,

II Corinthians 8:6: Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace.

II Corinthians 8:7: But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.

II Corinthians 8:9: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

II Corinthians 8:19: And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will.

II Corinthians 9:8: And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

II Corinthians 9:14: while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.

II Corinthians 12:9: But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

II Corinthians 13:14: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Galatians 1:3: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

Galatians 1:6: I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—

Galatians 1:15: But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,

Galatians 2:9: and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

Galatians 2:21: I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Galatians 5:4: You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

Galatians 6:18: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

Ephesians 1:2: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:6: to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:7: In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

Ephesians 2:5: even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

Ephesians 2:7: so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

Ephesians 3:2: assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you,

Ephesians 3:7: Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power.

Ephesians 3:8: To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,

Ephesians 4:7: But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:29: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 6:24: Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

Philippians 1:2: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:7: It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

Philippians 4:23: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Colossians 1:2: To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

Colossians 1:6: which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,

Colossians 4:18: I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

I Thessalonians 1:1: Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

I Thessalonians 5:28: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

II Thessalonians 1:2: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

II Thessalonians 1:12: so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

II Thessalonians 2:16: Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,

II Thessalonians 3:18: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

I Timothy 1:2: To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I Timothy 1:14: and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

I Timothy 6:21: for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.

II Timothy 1:2: To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

II Timothy 1:9: who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

II Timothy 2:1: You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,

II Timothy 4:22: The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Titus 1:4: To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Titus 2:11: For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,

Titus 3:7: so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:15: All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.

Philemon 1:3: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philemon 1:25: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Hebrews 2:9: But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Hebrews 4:16: Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 10:29: How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 12:15: See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

Hebrews 13:9: Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.

Hebrews 13:25: Grace be with all of you.

James 4:6: But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

I Peter 1:2: according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

I Peter 1:10: Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,

I Peter 1:13: Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

I Peter 3:7: Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

I Peter 4:10: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

I Peter 5:5: Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

I Peter 5:10: And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

I Peter 5:12: By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.

II Peter 1:2: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

II Peter 3:18: But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

II John 1:3: Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.

Jude 1:4: For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Revelation of John 1:4: John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,

Revelation of John 22:21: The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Yes, grace is very mystical but absolutely essential to serving and pleasing God.

Blessings!
Moe Bergeron

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Our Author
Presently our brother serves as the lead pastor of Sovereign Grace Fellowship located just north of Concord, NH. Ordained in 1988 he served fourteen years as senior pastor for Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Salem, New Hampshire. Over the years he has ministered at conferences and speaking engagements in New England and several church conferences held in the Caribbean including Trinidad and Tobago, St Maarten, St Johns, St Thomas. Moe is married to Karan. They have five grown children and ten grandchildren. On the Internet Moe is considered an online pioneer for Christian ministries. In 2005 he established PipersNotes.com which served as the online library for Dr. John Piper’s sermons. He has also served Dr D.A. Carson’s ChristWay Media and several additional ministries.