Summary: Grace. It is something we all want yet struggle to give or we struggle to see those who really don't deserve it, receive it. The fact is that we don't really understand grace then. What is Grace and how can it affect our entire life when we receive it?
What is Grace
By God’s Grace, you are saved(Ephesians 2:8-9)
By God’s Grace, you are sanctified(Acts 13:43;
By God’s Grace, you are to Serve (Ephesians 4
By God’s Grace, you are sustained (2 Corinthians 13:10
How is everyone doing? Are you keeping up in your readings? If you are following the reading plan you will have read through the gospel of Matthew and are nearing half way through the book of Acts.
The plan is in order except for the gospels which are spread out at different points in the reading plan so you are not reading the same accounts of Jesus ministry right at the beginning.
Anyway, in the messages we are talking about some of the main themes that we find in the New Testament and this week we are going to talk about Grace.
Jeffrey Dahmer illustration
And to help us do that I want to start out by reading an excerpt from Max Lucado’s book, “In the Grip of Grace” that he writes about Jeffrey Dahmer.
For those of you who don’t know about Jeffrey Dahmer, he was a serial killer who preyed on young boys, molesting them and killing them, during most of the 1980’s.
And to start out Chapter 4, Max Lucado writes:
You know what disturbs me most about Jeffrey Dahmer?
What disturbs me most are not his acts, though they are disgusting. Dahmer was convicted of seventeen murders. Eleven corpses were found in his apartment. He cut off arms. He ate body parts. My thesaurus has 204 synonyms for vile, but each falls short of describing a man who kept skulls in his refrigerator and hoarded a human heart. He redefined the boundary for brutality. The Milwaukee monster dangled from the lowest rung of human conduct and then dropped. But that’s not what troubles me most.
Can I tell you what troubles me most about Jeffrey Dahmer?
Not his trial, as disturbing as it was, with all those pictures of him sitting serenely in court, face frozen, motionless. No sign of remorse, no hint of regret. Remember his steely eyes and impassive face? But I don’t speak of him because of his trial. There is another reason.
Can I tell you what really troubles me about Jeffrey Dahmer?
Not his punishment, though life without parole is hardly an exchange for his actions. How many years would satisfy justice? A lifetime in jail for every life he took? But that’s another matter, and that’s not what troubles me most about Jeffrey Dahmer.
May I tell you what does?
Months before an inmate murdered him, Jeffrey Dahmer became a Christian. Said he repented. Was sorry for what he did. Profoundly sorry. Said he put his faith in Christ. Was baptized. Started life over. Began reading Christian books and attending chapel.
Sins washed. Soul cleansed. Past forgiven.
That troubles me. It shouldn’t, but it does. Grace for a cannibal?
Lucado, Max – In the Grip of Grace, ch. 4 p, 35-36.
Grace. We all want grace for ourselves, but
giving grace can sometimes be another matter or
even witnessing someone receiving grace that we feel so doesn’t deserve it.
As we saw from the story I just read, grace for a cannibal, a murderer, a child molester, seems inappropriate, unjust, immoral almost.
I think we believe that because we fail to truly understand grace.
Today, as we continue on in our New Testament Challenge series, we are going to seek to understand grace and see what grace actually is and what it does in our lives when we have a proper and growing understanding of it.
So what is grace?
The definition of Grace would be the “free and unmerited favor” especially from God.
Great. What does that mean?
Grace is the giving of favor that is undeserved.
Now we can understand the definition. But we struggle with the application.
We can understand giving of grace to those that aren’t really that bad. That is ok.
But to those who really don’t deserve it, we shouldn’t give grace.
Do you see where our understanding of grace is flawed?
We think it is ok to give unmerited favor, as long is it is not really unmerited, like for Jeffrey Dahmer.
In cases like that, we often feel that it is not ok to give grace, because he really didn’t deserve it. This is why we struggle. Because we truly fail to understand Grace for ourselves.
Paul tells us in
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
He has lavished his free and completely unmerited favor upon us who absolutely did not deserve it and He wants us to truly realize the magnitude of His grace.