God’s Great Grace
March 6, 2021

God’s Great Grace

Today we’re going to continue to look at the basics of our faith, as we’ve been looking at the foundational teachings of the Bible and of the church. So far, we’ve looked at the fall and rise of humanity, the highlights of heaven and hell, communion, the Trinity, and last week, the Holy Spirit.

This week I’d like to look at what might be considered as the most beautiful doctrine of the Bible and of the Church, and what our salvation is based upon and that is God’s grace. But before we go any further, I like to have you all take test. It’s fill in the blank, or in our case, finish the thought.

• “If it sounds too good to be true … It is
• We make money the old-fashioned way, we … Earn it
• “There’s no such thing as a free … Ride/Lunch
• “No pain … No gain
• “God helps those who … Help themselves

Everything about the American way of life teaches that we get what we earn, that there are no free rides or lunches, and that we lie in the bed of our own making. This is because America is all about hard work and elbow grease. America promotes that we get what we deserve, and that if we want to make something of ourselves, then it is up to us, or “If it’s meant to be it’s up to me.”

This is the American work ethic. If we want to get ahead, we’re going to have to work for it. And although there’s nothing wrong with this sort of work ethic, in fact, it’s a good ethic to have, but the problem we should have with it is that God doesn’t operate in accordance with this ethic when it comes to salvation. And because of this work ethic people have found it difficult to understand and come into a saving relationship with God, because we’ve come to believe that we have to earn our way to heaven.

King David, however, was one person who understood the full extent of God’s grace.

“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.” (Psalm 145:8 NKJV)

David says that God is a gracious and compassionate God. But what does that mean?

The standard definition for grace is “God’s unmerited favor.” And that’s correct. God loves to bless all who don’t deserve it, which includes every one of us.

Grace is a part of God’s nature. That’s why it’s important for us to understand His grace, because the more we understand God’s grace, the more we’ll be drawn to God and love Him for it.

So, what exactly is grace? To answer that question, we must first differentiate between God’s grace and God’s mercy. This is mainly because we tend to confuse them or hold the same meaning for both. But they are different.

Here is the basic definition for each. “Mercy,” is when God doesn’t give us what we deserve, and that is, punishment. It’s where someone says, “I throw myself upon the mercy of the court.” It’s where they have been found guilty and are requesting leniency from the judge.

“Grace,” on the other hand is when God gives us what we don’t deserve, and that is His blessings. It is where we deserve punishment for our sins, but instead God gives us the blessing of forgiveness, salvation, and heaven.

Unfortunately, there are Christians who say they know God’s grace, but they are living in an alternate reality. While they were saved by God’s grace, they are trying to earn God’s approval by the way they live; something the Apostle Paul called foolish.

“Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3 NKJV)

Now, in his letter to the Ephesian Church, Paul makes it clear that it is by grace that we have been saved. It is therefore by this saving grace that we are to continue to live out our lives as Christians. But even in saying that I need to be careful, because the Bible teaches that as Christians, we do have responsibilities. But doing these things is not what makes us acceptable to God. It is only by faith in God’s grace. And when we truly get this reality settled in our hearts, that is when we’re going to find true freedom.

So, what is God’s saving grace? To explain, let me use an acrostic using the word itself: GRACE. It is “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” And while this is true, it doesn’t explain it completely. Therefore, I’d like to look at each of these letters to give a more complete definition.

But doing it this way reminds me of a story about how a Yale professor decided to explain to the incoming freshman what a Yale student is by using Yale as an acrostic, saying that Yale students are Young, Adventurous, Loyal, and Enthusiastic. Unfortunately, he took over an hour and a half in his presentation. After his presentation was over he asked a student in the front row what he thought, and the student said, “I’m just glad I didn’t go to Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

G: Grace is God’s Gift

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24 NKJV)

Paul is saying that a person can be made right with God, that is, to be justified through the payment made by Jesus’s death upon the cross for our sin, which is what redemption is all about. Therefore, it was through God’s grace that we have the blessing of being made right with Him, and as a result we have eternal life in heaven, even though we’ve done nothing to deserve it.

This is what Paul said a little further along in his letter to the Roman church.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NKJV)

Paul is saying that God’s grace is free, which is totally opposite of the way most Americans think. Most believe that they can get to heaven through religion, or by being good enough or doing their best. They mistakenly believe that their good deeds will outweigh the bad.

But this is not the way God has made in His plan of salvation. God says that it is a free gift, and if it is a gift then it cannot be earned or worked for.

This, however, runs contrary to what other religions teach. And so, this thought that all religions are basically the same is bogus, especially when compared to the Christian faith. You see, other religions, and their plan of salvation, has to do with getting to heaven based upon what a person does, whereas Christianity is based solely upon grace which is by faith, not works.

Let me explain this another way. If we were to summarize in a single word what the other religions teach, it would be the word, “do.” There are certain things a person must “do” if they want to gain God’s approval. Now, they all vary as to what the “do” is, but they all contain that one word. A person needs to do these things if they want to get to heaven, because religion is all about rules, regulations, and rituals.

However, if you were to summarize Christianity in one word, it would be the word, “done.” Our salvation has already been accomplished through Jesus’s sacrifice upon the cross. He paid for our salvation through His death. So, our salvation has already been accomplished. We don’t have to do anything, because it’s already been done.

Notice that Jesus’s last words upon the cross were, “It is finished,” not, “I am finished.” And that’s because Jesus wasn’t finished. Three days later He rose from the dead and is now alive and at the right hand of the Father interceding for each of us.

Jesus finished our salvation, and that salvation is available to all who will accept it by faith through God’s grace. We accept God’s free gift of His grace. This is the greatest gift that we’re ever going to receive. It is without price, or better yet, it is priceless.

This brings us to the second letter

R: Grace is Received by Faith

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV)

Faith is the key that unlocks the door to heaven. Salvation is God’s free gift of grace to all who will receive it by faith.

If I told you that I had a gift for you, but you would have to come over to pick it up, this is where faith comes in. You have to believe that I was telling you the truth, and if you believed me then you would come and get what I had promised.

Well, that is what the Lord has done. He has this free gift of salvation. All we need to do is to believe Him and receive it by faith.

Paul goes on in this verse and talks about what we said in our first point, and that is since it is a gift there is nothing we can do to earn it. If we could earn it then it isn’t a gift and we’d go around bragging more about our ability than about God’s grace.

Imagine what a miserable place heaven would be if our entrance is based on what we did. Everybody would be telling one big fish story after another. But since it is by God’s grace through faith, then we have nothing to brag about. What are we going to say, “Well my hand went up higher than your hand.” And then we’d hear back, “Yeah, we I raised two hands and a foot.”

The Bible is filled with stories that illustrate God’s grace. One is found in 2 Samuel 9. It was about King David’s kindness to his friend Jonathan by caring for his son, Mephibosheth.

God had anointed David to be king. The only problem is that there was another king sitting upon the throne, which was Saul. When Saul knew about David’s anointing, he mounted a campaign and tried to kill David, but David never retaliated in kind.

Saul’s son, Jonathan, however, developed a close friendship with David, and knowing God’s hand was upon David, Jonathan asked if David would be gracious to his family.

Later the Jews went to war with the Philistines and both Saul and Jonathan were killed. Hearing the bad news, Mephibosheth’s nurse dropped him while escaping the palace, breaking both of Mephibosheth’s legs disabling him for the rest of his life.

After David ascended to the throne years later, he asked if anyone was still alive from Saul’s family that he could show kindness, when he was told of Mephibosheth, David commanded that he be brought to him.

Imagine what was going through Mephibosheth mind? He probably thought he was to be executed. But to his surprise David not only made him part of the family, but also made him a place at the palace to live. David took care of Mephibosheth, paying his bills and meeting his needs. That is what grace is all about.

God comes to us when we’re broken and spiritually disabled. You see, it’s when these spiritual disabilities exist within our hearts and minds, that is when we get all crippled up inside.

God’s grace, however, says that He’s going to bring us into His family, sit us at His table, and treat us as His children, healing our wounded emotions and scarred filled lives.

And so, if we are to receive God’s grace, we are to accept it by faith.

A: Grace is Available to All

God doesn’t play favorites, He never has and never will, no matter what a person’s background, status, religion, or sin may be.

“Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham.” (Romans 4:16 NIV)

God’s promise of salvation is available to all. It was Abraham’s belief in God that made him righteous. In other words, it was grace through faith.

Paul goes on to say, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved … For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” (Romans 10:9;12-13 NKJV)

Note that there is no distinction. Salvation is available to all who call upon the Lord. There are no quotas in heaven. There is no limited seating. Heaven is available to all who accept God’s free gift of grace through faith.

C: Grace Comes Through Jesus Christ

“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17 NKJV)

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)

Why through Jesus? Why not through Buddha, Mohammad, or one of the many gods people worship, or even through keeping of the law, that is, through rules and regulations? The reason is because Jesus was the only one who paid the price of admission. On the cross Jesus paid for our sins so that we would not have to die in them.

Yes, grace is a free gift, but it wasn’t cheaply given. It cost Jesus His life.

There is phrase used throughout the New Testament to describe someone who has accepted God’s free gift of salvation. The phrase is “In Christ.” But what does it mean? Let me illustrate.

This black piece of paper represents my life. This bag represents Jesus Christ.
• Take a piece of black paper and begin to tear it.
There are a lot of things that have ripped up my life. A lot of things I am ashamed of, things that I have done to others, and things that I wish I could do over. But there are also things that others have done to me that have hurt me and have ripped up my heart and life.

• Tape up the black paper now ripped.
This tape is my attempts to put my life back together, but as you can see, all my attempts to attach these pieces come up short in putting it back the way it was

• Drop black paper into bag.
The Bible says that Jesus can take my life with all the wounds, scars, mistakes, guilt and shame, and when I accept His free gift of grace by asking Him to forgive my sins and come into my heart, I am now “In Christ.”

• Drop in the bag a red sheet of paper.
And when we are in Christ, God applies the blood of Jesus to our ripped-up lives.

• Pull out white paper.
It is then we become a whole new person, where the old is done away with, and all things become brand new as we emerge as white as snow.

Grace is what God does for us because of what Jesus did for us upon the cross.

E: Grace is Extended throughout Eternity

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NKJV)

The results of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ will go on forever, because one of the gifts of accepting God’s grace through faith is eternal life. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Heaven is God’s gift for all who believe, and it is a wondrous place. It is a place of reward, not only will we be given crowns for our faith, but also the heavenly treasure that has been stored up for us (Matthew 6:19-21; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15).

But heaven is also a place of release, where we will be free from all pain, sickness, suffering, sadness, sorrow, and grief.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 NKJV)

Heaven is going to be a wondrous place! It is God’s gift of grace given to all who by faith believe in Jesus.

Conclusion

When asked how he became a Christian, Peter Druker, father of American management, said, “When somebody first explained grace to me, I realized that I was never going to get a better deal.”

It’s all about God’s grace. We are never going to get a better deal than God’s gracious gift of salvation; therefore, we need to accept Jesus Christ now, not later, because He is our only hope.

“Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.” (Isaiah 30:18 NKJV)

God is just waiting, because He wants to be both gracious and merciful. He will fully and completely forgive us and give to us eternal life. So, the question becomes, “What are we waiting for?” We’re never going to get a better deal, or offer, than God’s grace.

And so, maybe now you can see how great God’s grace is, but there is even more. Actually, I take this from a series I did many years back on just how great God’s grace is as we looked at not only God’s saving or redemptive grace, but also God’s transformative, restorative, growing, sustaining, liberating, healing, and amazing grace.

This is then God’s Great Grace in a nutshell.









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