Why Did Paul Use the Example of Abraham to Exhibit Grace?

It’s no wonder that the apostle Paul, when reaching for an Old Testament example of grace, went straight for Abraham.  After writing three chapters about God’s unconditional love through Jesus (Romans 1:18-3:30), Paul summed up his argument in one short phrase: “[God] justifies the ungodly” (Romans 4:5).  How do we know this?  Just look at Abraham (Romans 4:3-5)

– Sprinkle, Preston; Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us; David C. Cook Publishing; Colorado Springs, CO; Kindle version; copyright 2014; page 54

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If Not Completely in this Life, Then Surely in the Life to Come

As he faces up to the reality of his besetting sins, Paul does not conclude, “I’ll just have to read my Bible more and try hard,” even though as a Pharisee he had earlier exhibited far more willpower than any of us possess.  Instead he casts himself on the mercy of God and looks to his rescuer to deliver  him from his own sinful flesh – if not completely in this life, then surely in the life to come.

Duguid, Barbara; Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness; P&R Publishing; Philipsburg, NJ; copyright 2013; Page 97

Saints Are Average, Simple People Who Love Jesus

For Paul, sainthood was not a result of something wonderful you’d accomplished nor erased something horrible you’d done. According to him, being a saint requires one step; be in Christ. And the total cost to you is $0. Anyone who is connected to Jesus by faith in his death and resurrection is a saint. Gods Saints are average and simple people who love Jesus.

– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in ChristThomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 32

Maturing As a Saint Brings Clarity to Our Sight as Sinners

As saints mature in relationship with Jesus, they often see there sin more clearly and grieve it more deeply. Paul himself, as a mature Christian, demonstrated this in looking back at his past life in comparison to the perfect life of Jesus Christ as one that had qualified him as the “chief” sinner.

– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in ChristThomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 35

Appreciation Goes Both Ways

Paul was keenly aware that none of his suffering or service to God was unseen by God. Simply and significantly, he knew that he was appreciated. This allowed him to press forward and spite of harsh criticism, lonely ostracism, and brutal opposition. It also made him more appreciative of servant-hearted Christians and compelled him to encourage them by saying often that both he and God appreciated them.

– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in ChristThomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 57

Salvation and the Church are Not Actually Different Topics

The gospel is not about us an what we have done; rather it is the Good News for us.  The church is not simply the effect of the gospel, but is itself part of the Good News that is promised.  That’s why Paul, in his epistles said keeping up divisions between Jews and Gentile is tantamount to denying the gospel.  Salvation and the church are not actually different topics.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 191

To Whom Does Psalm 68 Point To?

Interestingly, the Jewish Targum interpreted Psalm 68 as referring to the ascension of Moses, who now gives the Law as a gift to the world.  But Paul interprets Psalm 68 in light of Christ’s ascension actually having occurred (Ephesians 4).  It is not the ascension of Moses, but of Christ, that Paul proclaims.  Even if Moses had ascended to heaven (as later Jewish tradition held), Christ has ascended “far above all the heavens” (v. 10) and his gift is not Torah but peace.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 181