Means of Grace

Posted: February 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

UPDATE: Will post on Baptism tonight but until then I have added the applicable verses to the various means of grace instead of discussing each in depth.  I will, however, follow Grudem and thoroughly discuss baptism, the Lord’s Supper and worship.

Wayne Grudem opens Chapter 48 of his massive Systematic Theology stating,

All of the blessings we experience in this life are ultimately undeserved–they are all of grace.  In fact, for Peter, the entire Christian life is lived by grace (1 Peter 5:12).

But are there any special means that God uses to give additional grace to us? Specifically, within the fellowship of the church are there certain means–that is, certain activities, ceremonies or functions–that God uses to give more grace to us? Another way of formulating that question is to task wether there are certain means through which the Holy Spirit works to convey blessings into the life of the believer…

We may define the means of grace as follows: the means of grace are activities within the fellowship of the Church that God uses to give more grace to Christians.

What the means of grace? Grudem provides the following list, which he admits is not exhaustive.

1. Teaching of the Word (Isa. 55:10-11; Jer. 23:29; 2 Tim. 3:15-16 and, although Grudem doesn’t list it, Rom. 10:5-15).

2. Baptism (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:2-5; Col. 2:12; etc.).

3. The Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26-29; Luke 22:14-23; and 1 Cor. 10-11).

4. Prayer for one another (Acts 4:24-30; 4:31; 12:5; etc.).

5. Worship (John 4:23-24; Phil. 3:3, etc.).

6. Church discipline (Matt. 16:19; 18:18-20; 2 Cor. 7:10; 1 Tim. 5:20).

7. Giving (2 Cor. 8:5; 9:6-12).

8. Spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:7, 11; 14:12; Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Peter 4:10; etc.).

9. Fellowship (John 15:12; Acts 2:46-47; Gal. 6:2; Heb. 10:24-25).

10. Evangelism (Matt. 28:16-20 and also note the connection between evangelism and the filling of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:4, 14-36; 4:8, 31; 9:17, etc.).

11. Personal ministry to individuals. (Acts 4:34; Gal. 2:10; James 2:16; 1 John 3:17; and, again, although Grudem doesn’t list it see Matt. 25:31-46, which should keep many of you up at night).

Grudem also poses the question of whether foot washing should still be practiced in the church (John 13:14).   The Waynester correctly notes that the action points towards more of an attitude then a ceremony.  Thank God for that!

Grudem especially focuses on Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Beginning tomorrow, we will follow along.

Until then, grace and peace.

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