Of Receiving The Grace Of God In Vain


Adapted from a Sermon by Philip Doddridge (1702 – 1751)

Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 Corinthians 6:1

At the end of chapter 5 of 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul paints a picture of what he refers to as the ministry of reconciliation: which, though it essentially belongs to the apostles, yet may, to a large extent, be applied to all ministers in the church of Christ to this day.

They are ambassadors for Christ, and implore men on his behalf that they would be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:20,21). And, to persuade them to this, immediately before the text, he displays the riches of that grace which was revealed in the gospel; and gives a summary account of the method of salvation by a Redeemer.

God, he says, made him, that is, Christ, his own most beloved Son, to be sin for our sake; though he knew no sin, though he never approved, nor loved, nor practised it; yet God gave him up to the punishment of it, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him; that is, that we, on his account, and with a regard to what he has done and suffered, might be accepted by God as righteous persons.

Now, he says, when we have declared this method of Divine grace, it is our business, and a very wonderful business it is, earnestly to entreat you that you would not reject it. We, therefore, working together with him, fully agreeing with his great goal, and wanting to do our utmost to promote it, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

This is my business, he says, as a Christian minister; and I seriously apply myself to it; and do now entreat you, my Corinthian friends, as well as all others to whom this epistle may come, that you would not rest in a historical knowledge of the gospel teaching, but that you would so heartily consent to its demands, that you may obtain an interest in the benefits of it.

And this is the great design of a gospel minister throughout the church age; and, in particular, I would consider it as my business; for so would I study, and pray, and preach, and be ready in season and out of season; (2 Tim 4:2) that, if it be possible, those to whom Providence calls me to address myself; and in particular you, here this morning, may not neglect this great salvation; may not receive the grace of God in vain. And God grant that these endeavours may be effectual.

And to this purpose, considering the verse before us, I would,

I. First, briefly show you what we are to understand by the grace of God.

II. Then, consider what it is to receive this grace in vain.

III. Thirdly, advance some arguments to dissuade you from receiving it this way.

IV. And, finally, conclude with a short application.

I. And so to begin, I am briefly to show you what we are to understand by the grace of God.

It is interesting to note that ‘grace’, in the Hebrew language, and in the Greek too, really stands for any favour, or benefit, received from someone else. For example, the gift, which the churches of Corinth and Macedonia sent to the distressed Christians at Jerusalem, is called grace; for he tells them that Titus was chosen to travel with them, with that grace (2 Corinthians 8:19); or as others translate it, with that gift.

Therefore the grace of God must stand for all those favours which we receive from his generous hand; and include those of this world, as well as spiritual blessings in heavenly things in Christ Jesus our Lord. But it is evident that, though the word itself has such a general meaning, it is in our verse to be taken in a more limited sense; and in this place stands for the offers of salvation by Christ, as laid down in the gospel; and all the means which God made use of to induce us to earnestly accept them.

1. And so, first, by the grace of God we should understand, in this place, the offers of salvation by a Redeemer, as proposed in the gospel.

The context clearly shows this. The apostle had just been telling the Corinthians, that in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself; and that he made him to be sin for our justification and salvation. Now, he says, let not this grace, that is, those offers and proposals of reconciliation and life, be received in vain by you.

And there are many other passages of scripture in which the gospel is spoken of in such language as this. It is sometimes called

- the word of his grace

the Lord, … bore witness to the word of his grace, (Acts 14:3) that is, to the gospel as preached by Barnabas and Paul; and

- the gospel of the grace of God:

I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, says this excellent man, if only I may finish my course and … testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

And there are many more Scriptures were grace, and the grace of God clearly refer, in the immediate context, to the offers of salvation by a Redeemer.

And it is evident that the gospel may very properly be spoken of in these words, as the grace of God; as it was God’s free goodness and mercy, and not the prospect of any good thing from us, which induced him to contrive a way for our happiness; and as the method in which this salvation is proposed is exceedingly gracious and indulgent; both of which will be illustrated more specially later; and therefore we will just mention them for now, and so we go on to the second particular.

2. The grace of God may further stand for all those means which God is pleased to make use of to induce us to accept of the gospel salvation.

And there are many means by which the gospel comes to us:

i) At first the message was delivered from the mouths of the apostles; and this office was called grace; not only as it was a favour and honour to themselves, but a means of conveying salvation to others. By the indulgent care of God for our happiness, those who at first preached the gospel have left a written record, which give us a faithful account of the most important facts on which the truth of Christianity depends; and to these they have added many wonderful words, which not only open the nature of the gospel covenant, and describe the duties which it requires from us, but at the same time suggest the most powerful motives to awaken us to the fulfilling of those duties, and have a power and spirit in them which is most naturally adapted to work upon our minds. For indeed the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12)

ii) And, in the next place, as he has given us such excellent instructions in our Bible, so he has appointed a succession of ministers in every age of the church, whose business it is to explain and enforce the doctrine of salvation, as laid down in the word of God; who, for that purpose, are to diligently apply themselves to find the best ways, and to search out the most proper opportunities of dealing with people on these most important subjects. And to this the apostle seems immediately to refer in the text, when he says a little above, We, as ambassadors from heaven, we implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God; and working together with him … we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain; this grace of sending us, as his ambassadors, to plead with you for your everlasting happiness.

iii) And it must also be added thirdly, that the serious admonitions of parents and Christian friends, as well as of ministers, are means which God often makes use of to awaken us to a sense of our duty, and to lead us home to himself; and so may be included in the list of means God uses to induce us to accept of the gospel salvation.

iv) Again, the operations of Divine Providence are visibly adapted to lead us to accept the gospel salvation; and so his providence can be called ‘his grace’.

The prosperity and pleasure that we enjoy in life are intended as a solid demonstration of God's care over us, and his affection to us; and as a clear signs of his readiness to bestow still nobler blessings upon us, if we can be persuaded to accept them.

And all the afflictions he is exercising us with are a rod, by which he is teaching us this heavenly wisdom. By these he would make us realize the reality of the terrors of his wrath, and of our own inability to endure or resist it. By these he would put our affections to worldly vanities to death, and awaken us to seriousness and reflection, as the surest way to our recovery and salvation.

v) And lastly, perhaps the greatest means is that of the operations of the Holy Spirit of God upon the heart by which he persuades us to accept the gospel salvation. By his own immediate impressions upon the soul, he awakens us to some conviction of the guilt and misery of our state by nature, to some real desire for an interest in the righteousness of the great Mediator, and some purposes and resolutions of repentance and reformation of life.

Sometimes these operations are so strong and commanding that the soul is conquered to a willing obedience, and fixed in a steady determination of entire devotedness to God through Christ; and, by the continual progress of these sanctifying influences, is led on from grace to grace, till it attains to the perfection of glory and joy, notwithstanding all the opposition it meets with in its way. But even when those impressions are not as strong, still they are means, and they would be effectual, if the obstinacy and perverseness of the sinner did not resist, or, as scripture expresses it, quench the Spirit. (1 Thess 5:19)

All these means, which have been briefly listed, are often expressed in Scripture by the phrase used in our verse, and called grace.

And all these means may be understood, where Christians are spoken of, in the book of Acts, under the character of those who through grace had believed (Acts 18:27); that is, through the preaching of the Word of God, and the cooperation of his Providence and Spirit; but especially the working of the Holy Spirit upon the heart, to form it to a Godly disposition, and lead it to an acceptance of the gospel of salvation, is called in scripture by the name of grace; as it is the most excellent gift of God.

And so, by ‘grace’, let us understand both the offer of salvation itself, as well as the means by which this offer is made. Let us not then receive the offer in vain. Let us not receive the means by which this offer is made in vain.

II. We now come to consider, in the second place, what it is to receive the grace of God in vain.

And here, to be sure, they receive the grace of God in vain, who are not at all affected with it; and also those who though they may be brought under some temporary affections, yet do not embrace it with a full consent of heart and obedience of life.

1. So, in the first place, those most evidently receive the grace of God in vain, who are not at all affected with it.

If a man hears the message of salvation by a Redeemer, but does not see at all that he stands in any need of this Redeemer, nor has any interest in finding out what is this salvation which he proposes, what is the method in which it is offered, or to examine whether he has satisfied that method or not;

if he hears of the being and government of God, and his obligations to love and serve him, but will yet live as without God in the world, (Eph 2:12) and cast off fear, and brush off the duty of prayer;

if he hears of eternal happiness and misery, which God will render to every man according to his works, (Rom 2:6) but utterly disregards the unchangeable world which he is going to, and does not have any serious thought of the reception which he will meet with there; but goes on in a negligent, senseless course of sin, earnestly driving on his worldly plans, and allowing himself in carnal pass times and entertainments; while God, and Christ, and a happy eternity are entirely neglected and forgotten;

to be sure, such a man has received the grace of God in vain. The grace of God was intended to accomplish some end; but it can have no end at all with a person who will not take any notice of it; but will overlook it as if it were only cleverly devised myths, (2 Peter 1:16) or an airy invention, designed to amuse the ear.

Sadly, I am sure that you see that this is not drawing some imaginary character. This is the condition of the far greater part of those to whom the gospel comes. May it be that this not be the condition of any in this room for to be sure it is the condition of those who receive the grace of God in vain.

But, in the second place,

2. Those do as really receive the Grace of God in vain, who, though they may be in some passing manner affected by it, yet do not embrace it with a full consent of heart, and sincere obedience of life.

There are a great many such persons who have heard the great truths of religion very plainly stated, and cannot be utterly unaffected by them; who are ready to acknowledge that they are naturally in a very miserable state; that Christ is a very suitable Saviour; and it may be, to rejoice in the news of salvation by him; who yet, possibly, rest there; and imagine that knowledge, and conviction, and some passing affections, to be enough to entitle them to the gospel salvation; though while they profess to know, or to love Christ, in there works, they deny him.

Or, if they are convinced that they are not yet converted, they form some quick plans and resolutions, that they will soon return to God, and break off their sins; but for now, the strength of temptation is too strong for them, and their worldly affairs are too urgent, as not to allow them sufficient room to attempt so great and difficult a change.

These are the persons whom our Lord speaks of under the character of the stony ground hearers; who when they had heard the word, received it with joy; but had no root in themselves, and so in a time of temptation fell away. (Mark 4:16,17)

But now it is very evident, that such people receive the grace of God in vain; and this is quite clear, if you do but consider what is the end of the gospel. It is plainly intended to restore fallen man to the favour of God, and so to everlasting happiness in heaven. Now it is evident from the whole tenor of Scripture, that those who rest in a passing affection, without sincere, constant, practical obedience, will never be accepted by God, and made happy in heaven.

Christ is the author of eternal salvation, but it is only to all those who obey him. (Heb 5:9) Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’, he declares, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matt 7:21) And to those who do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. (Rom 2:8) When the Lord Jesus is revealed … in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (2 Thess 1:7,8)

Doubtless, such persons as these, who are thus excluded from everlasting life and salvation, and left exposed to such terrible vengeance, have received the gospel in vain; whatever affection they may have pretended to it; or whatever temporal privileges they may have enjoyed by it.

III. We now go on to the main goal of this sermon: and that is to propose four arguments to dissuade you from receiving the grace of God in vain.

We will consider,

- First, the riches and excellency of it, and then

- The wonderful freedom of it.

- Third consider your own need of an interest in it, and

- And in the last place, the consequences of finally rejecting it.

1. And so first, consider the riches and excellency of this grace.

The inspired writers to whom it was committed seem to be besides himself he speaks of it. It is an inexpressible gift (2 Cor 9:15), an instance of the great love with which he loved us. (Eph 2:4) it is the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us; (Eph 2:7) and he speaks of the riches of the glory of this mystery. (Col 1:27) And that the grace of God, proposed to mankind in the gospel, is indeed so exceedingly valuable, and deserves to be spoken of in such exalted language, may be argued from a great variety of angles.

i) We may see this from the grandeur and solemnity with which God introduced the declaration of it.

He first gave some obscure hints of some very gracious plans he had formed for the happiness of his fallen creatures; and then gradually revealed more and more; first in types and pictures, and afterwards in more express prophecies.

At last, when the world had been kept in expectation for thousands of years, when the fullness of time had come, an angel was sent from heaven to give notice of his birth, and afterwards a whole host of these blessed beings appeared, to celebrate this divine person, which they speak of as good news of great joy, not only to those who heard them, but to all men.

John the Baptist prepared the way, and alarmed the whole nation.

And when Christ appeared for his public work, the angels frequently ministered to him; and God poured upon him his Holy Spirit without measure, as a spirit of power and of holiness, whereby he was enabled to fulfil all righteousness, and to perform the most amazing miracles; More than that, a voice from heaven declared him to be the Son of God, and required the world to hear and to look upon him as such.

To show the importance of the salvation he was to offer, Christ purchased it at the greatest expense, submitted to the agony in the garden, and to the agony of the cross, and laid down his life for the saving of ours.

God afterwards bore witness in a still more striking way, by raising him from the dead, and setting him at his own right hand.

And then, upon his intercession, he poured down the Holy Spirit upon the apostles; whereby they were enabled to preach this doctrine in languages they had never learnt, to heal the sick, to illuminate the blind, to strengthen the lame, and to raise the dead.

With such grandeur and solemnity did God usher in the declaration of the gospel. And can we ever imagine that God would have intervened in so amazing a manner, to add weight to something insignificant? and that the proposals published to the world with so much solemnity and grandeur, should not be worth our most serious attention, and whole compliance?

From these considerations, the apostle argues it to be a great salvation; because it was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles. (Heb 2:3,4) And to raise your ideas of it, look into the word of God, and see in what exalted language the Holy Spirit speaks of this gospel salvation; and what contempt it pours on every thing in life that is great and illustrious, when once it comes in competition with it. For this, says an inspired apostle, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish. (Phil 3:8) And is this grace to be received in vain?

Finally consider the nature of this salvation, as described in scripture and then judge of the excellency of it, and of the manner in which it is to be received.

Carefully consider that the grace of God, in the gospel, offers you the pardon of countless thousands deliberate offences, which you have committed against the Majesty of heaven; and for which he may most righteously subject you, not only to some pain and discomfort, while on earth, but to everlasting misery and damnation in the life to come.

It plucks you as brands out of the fire, and frees you from a dreadful condemnation, to depart, accursed, from the presence of God into the presence of the devil and his angels, and a sharing with them in their miserable torments.

But more than this, it does not only deliver you from these depths of misery, into which you were sinking, but it raises you to the hopes of the most amazing happiness and joy. Not the feeble and passing joys of this earth but perfect joy arising from a sense of the favour of the great God of heaven and earth.

By the gospel we are enabled to lift up our heads to heaven with hope, and with joy; and to behold that God as our unchangeable friend, whose vengeance we had earned by our sins.

By the gospel we are brought to delight ourselves in the Almighty, and to spend our lives in his praise, and his love.

But after all, these temporary joys are the least of the happiness which the gospel proposes. It has opened the prospect of a future state, and brought life and immortality to light. (2 Tim 1:10)

Take a moment to contemplate the description of heaven, as contained in the word of God; and then consider: is it not rich grace that is proposed to us?

To be surrounded with all those scenes of beauty, and of glory, which God has prepared for the riches of his magnificence and his love, and for the reception of his most favourite creatures:

To have our faculties brightened and enlarged to the capacities of angels; and then, for ever entertained with the contemplation of the most important truths, and the most amazing and wonderful mysteries:

To feel in our hearts an entire conformity to the Divine likeness; the perfection of holiness, without the least interruption of a forbidden thought or inappropriate desire:

To live in the most intimate friendship with the brightest and most glorious creatures: Not only to be restored to our believing relatives and friends, but to meet them in infinitely satisfying circumstances:

And more, to be admitted to talk with the most illustrious saints that ever appeared upon earth; and even with the most exalted angels that attend upon the throne of God in heaven:

And to know assuredly, that all this delightful company have so deep an affection for us, that they will esteem our society a part of their happiness; and rejoice in every opportunity of expressing the sincerity of their friendship, by all the good deeds they can perform for us:

But above all, to dwell before the throne of our exalted Redeemer, and behold the face of our reconciled Father; to feel the blessed God shine upon our souls with the softest beams of his grace and love; to be breathing out our souls in devotion to him, and using all our enlarged capacities in giving to him the most worthy and excellent service: To be graciously accepted by him, and continually rewarded with new revelations of glory, and new capacities of further service: And to be certain of the enjoyment, and the increase of this happiness, throughout the endless ages of eternity.

This is the happiness proposed to us in the gospel; this is that glorious grace which is given us by Christ Jesus our Lord. Judge then, Christians, whether it is not a great salvation; and judge, whether it is befitting to receive it in vain.

2. In the second place, consider the freedom, as well as the riches of this grace, as a further argument against receiving it in vain.

We are told, that we are justified by his grace as a gift. (Rom 3:24) And elsewhere we read of gospel blessings, as things which are freely given us by God. (1 Cor 2:12)

Now all the favours that God gives to his creatures must be freely given; for he is so completely happy, by his own very nature; and they are so poor and inconsiderable, that they can contribute, and he can receive no increase of glory.

The degrees of favour that he bestows on the brightest angels are free, much more those that are given to such despicable worms as we are who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust. (Job 4:19) What can we render to him for all his benefits? (Ps 116:12) It is too little to say, that we will be for ever occupied in admiring and adoring him. This will be our happiness, but not his; any more than it increases the brightness and glory of the sun, that we are warmed by its light and influence.

The freeness of God's grace will become even more apparent, if we consider that as we were poor, so we were sinful creatures. We had reason to expect a messenger of vengeance, when he sent his Son as the messenger of grace.

And it becomes all the more apparent , if we consider the methods in which salvation is imparted by this Redeemer. It is not offered to us on some impossible terms which would have been only mocking our misery, and could never be properly called grace. It is offered on terms which are not only possible, but are most fair and delightful.

God does not require us to suffer, some years and ages, the punishment, which we had deserved to suffer for ever. He does not insist that we observe a variety of difficult ceremonies, such as those that were imposed by the law of Moses; nor on any perfect, unsinning obedience to the moral commands of the gospel.

No, the yoke of the Redeemer is easy, and his burden is light. (Matt 11:30) If you look into the whole system of the gospel, you will find that nothing is required but what is wholly reasonable, and to a pious soul exceedingly delightful; and nothing forbidden, which is not mean and despicable; and therefore, in its immediate or its long term tendency, harmful both to ourselves and others.

3. In the third place, consider the need you have of this grace, as an important argument against receiving it in vain.

When Christ speaks of his being sent into the world, as the minister of it, he pictures the world as in a wretched condition. God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) And do but consider your own circumstances, and you will see how appropriate this picture is.

You are not independent creatures, who have in themselves control over their eternal happiness. Rather you are poor, needy creatures, entirely at the disposal of God; and sink into nothing, if you are left destitute of his grace. On top of that, you are not innocent, but guilty creatures, who are justly deserving of his wrath.

Everyone is subject to his government, and under an obligation to obey his laws. But consider, I ask, how you have behaved yourselves to him; review the records of your conscience, and see how it stands with you. If you rest on your good behaviour, know that God will shortly call you into his presence, to stand before his awful tribunal, and be judged according to what you have done. And are you really prepared to stand such a trial?

Will you then insist, that you have never offended him? But thousands of known, and ten thousands of unknown transgressions, which God has recorded against you, will contradict such a bold pretension.

Well then, if you have broken the law of God, and by that offence are exposed to his justice; can you endure the penalty? Can you bear to lie down in everlasting fire, and dwell with devouring flames?

If you cannot, then please consider! How do you propose to avoid the judgment?

What can you offer, but the satisfaction and atonement of a blessed Redeemer; the grace of God given in the gospel? And will you yet receive it in vain? Will it be in vain, that pardon was offered to condemned sinners; and mercy and everlasting salvation to poor guilty creatures, who are just about to die out of this world, and enter, naked and helpless, into another; where, without this mercy which is now offered, inflexible justice will seize and destroy then? Hopefully not. But,

4. Lastly, consider the dreadful consequences of your refusal of this gospel grace.

You see, the time will come when you will need it. But if you will go on to neglect it, know, to your bewilderment, that you will then be excluded from all benefit by it. More than that, this neglect will serve to aggravate your condemnation and misery.

If you go on refusing, you cannot hope to be helped by it. You have no reason to expect it after so persistent a refusal; but in case you should be so vain as to expect it, God has expressly declared to the contrary. There is, says the wise man, no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol; (Ecc 9:10) but after that comes judgment. (Heb 9:27) And thus, says the apostle in another place, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil (2 Cor 5:10); not according to what we will do, in some time after death.

And it is evident from other scriptures, that our eternal unchangeable condition is to be fixed by that judgment; on which account it is called eternal judgment. (Heb 6:2) So it should be abundantly clear, that if you continue to receive the grace of God in vain, you will at last have no benefit by It. And do you consider what this is, to be excluded from all benefits of the grace of the gospel? to sink under the guilt of your sins? to be delivered over by God into the hands of tormentors, and to lie in that flame where the worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched, till you have paid the last penny?

Is this not unspeakably awful? well then, how dreadful will be your condition, which is still more intolerable than this? For this will be the portion of impenitent heathens; but as for you, who have received the grace of the gospel in vain, your misery will be made worse by it. So says our Redeemer, He who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. (Luke 12:47) And when he sends out his messengers to proclaim this grace, he directs them, that if they were not received, they should shake off the dust of their feet against those who rejected them. And he adds, that it will be more bearable, (Matt 10: 14,15) not only for the generality of the heathen world; but for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, those awful examples of unnatural wickedness who were consumed by fire and brimstone from heaven; yet it will be more tolerable for them in the day of judgment, than for the despisers of gospel grace.

God will resent the injuries which you have done him, and so make your plagues more awful; You will become your own tormentors, and make your misery worse by the raging reflections of your own mind, of the opportunities you once enjoyed, of the gentle way in which you were once even entreated to flee from this vengeance which has seized you, and to accept that everlasting joy which you will behold from a everlasting distance, and of the value of which you will now be fully convinced. Please consider what awful reflections these circumstances will provoke; and this forever and ever.

IV. And as we close here are three words of application.

1. The first is to urge everyone to seriously inquire, whether you have received the grace of God or not. And, considering the infinite importance of the question, it should be approached with serious, diligent examination. If you have been utterly unaffected with the gospel up until now, the answer will be plain and obvious. But we have to remember, that we are also not to rest in any passing impressions that have been made on our minds; but we are to judge of the safety of our state, by the resolution of our hearts for God; and to judge of the sincerity of that resolution, by the fruits it produces in our lives.

2. In the second place, If, after careful examination, you find you have received the grace of God in vain, consider your guilt and danger, as it has now been described. Urge to yourselves the arguments that have been pleaded with you; and knowing on the one hand the terrors of the Lord, and on the other the mercy of our God, awake at once from your sleep and in the strength of that grace, which God is already communicating to you, ask him to give you more, until you are led on to a saving conversion, and so entitled to everlasting happiness.

3. Finally, If you have received the grace of God to saving of your soul, admire the goodness of God, who has so happily set you apart from many others, and made that grace salvation to you, which to many others proves but a fragrance from death to death. (2 Cor 2:16) And let us be humbled, that though we have not been entirely neglecting the grace of God, we have not grown as much as we ought in it.

And let us seek God’s help to endeavour to correct what has been wrong, and to add what has up until now been lacking. Let us labour after greater degrees of holiness, and of usefulness than we have ever attained to. Let us prize the grace of God more highly; and let us use our utmost endeavour with others, to awaken them to a sense of their duty and interest, after the example of the blessed apostle in the text.

Having found grace ourselves, let us each in our respective situations, whether as ministers or people, be entreating and beseeching others, that they do not receive the grace of God in vain.