By Pastor J.D. Link
I encourage you to read Acts 20:24-32 carefully. Verse 32 says, “And now, brethren, I commend (commit, entrust) you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up (edify), and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” Paul would never see the Ephesians again. In his final words, he entrusted them to God, and to the word of His Grace. What is this “Word of Grace” able to do? It builds up the church and gives the saints an inheritance. The word of grace builds - legalism tears down. The word of grace gives an inheritance - legalism robs.
It is the word of God’s grace that gives us our inheritance. Faith for salvation, eternal life and forgiveness of sins comes from hearing God’s word (Rom 10:17). It also builds us up. It strengthens our faith and gives us the wisdom and knowledge we need to live victoriously.
Paul mentioned previously that after his departure, grievous wolves; false teachers; false prophets - preaching a false gospel - will come in among them and even come from among them. This is why he entrusted them to God and the word of His grace. Nothing else would preserve them from these lies and liars.
Preaching true, biblical grace is the best way to stay out of error. Andrew Wommack writes, “Paul had just prophesied that there would be wolves from within and without that would come against the church at Ephesus. Then he commends them to God and the Word of God’s grace. God’s Word, specifically the revelation of God’s grace, is the greatest antidote against error.” What was the error of that day - and still today - in the church?
On one side, there was antinomianism (without law, or “lawless“). It was hyper-grace that actually encouraged sinfulness (Rom 3:8). On the other side, there were the Judaizers, who taught one had to keep the law of Moses and basically become a Jew to be saved (Gal 2:4). Both are error, and both are resolved when preaching pure, biblical grace.
The word of God’s grace; the truth of the Gospel; is revealed to us in Eph 2:8-10. Indeed, our salvation is not of works, but by grace are we saved through faith in Christ alone. However, we are saved “unto” good works. Good works are not the root, but the fruit of our salvation. We also see in Titus 3:5-8, that we are not saved by works of righteousness, but justified by God’s grace. However, we are to “be careful to maintain good works” (Titus 3:8). Therefore, while works assuredly play a part in sanctification, they play no part in justification.
We see in Galatians Paul addressing the error of the “faith + works” doctrine. He calls the Galatians foolish, bewitched and disobedient to the truth for trying to be perfected through works of the law. Their faith was near to being worthless because of this error (Gal 3:1-4).
We see James most clearly address the error of the antinomians (Jam 2:17-20). A so-called “faith” that has no corresponding actions is a dead faith. The idea that we can have faith but have no works that verify that faith is a false doctrine. Jesus said we shall know a tree by its fruit; and that if we’re joined in union with Him, we’ll produce much fruit (Jn 15:4-5).
We must always remember that it is the word of God’s grace - the true, biblical Gospel – that will give us an inheritance and build us up. Selah.
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