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Let gift of grace shape ministry perspective, theologian urges

Riverside, Calif. (Feb. 24, 2016) – Purchased grace is a gift that was accomplished and is now available to believers based on what Christ did, Dr. John Mahony told a California Baptist University audience on Feb. 23.

Mahony is a professor of Theology at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Cordova, Tennessee. He also has served as a pastor, and has written essays for the Theology in Community book series. The CBU School of Christian Ministry hosted his lecture.

Mahony said purchased grace is the work of Christ throughout his life, his death on the cross, his resurrection, his ascension and his mediatorial work in heaven. This grace brings righteousness, blessings from God, and comes through Christ's active obedience in the way He lived His life, he explained.

"Your salvation, your relationship with Christ is not based upon what you did at the moment of conversion, it's based on what He did," he said. "It's grounded in Him … remember it's grace purchased."

Mahony referred to Romans 6, which states that believers have died with Christ and are now raised up with Him in a new life. Christ's obedience benefits believers because they stand before God completely righteous. This grace shows the unconditional nature of God's love, Mahony said. People have nothing to offer Him, yet He chooses to bless.

"This purchased grace highlights the undeserved quality of God's grace. He chooses and blesses those that he should rightfully judge," he said. "Grace makes no sense from a human perspective."

What this means for believers is several things, Mahony said. Believers walking in grace should rest in their acceptance before God. It also should change their perspective on ministry.

"Please get over the notion ‘it's my ministry, it's my work.' It's His," Mahony declared. "It's about His church, it's about His body, it's about what he's doing in His body. You, in grace, have been brought into that body and in grace have been gifted for the rest of us."