Summary: Grace. A word used in a variety of ways. It is a word that has been used as an alternative term for prayer. It has been used to describe the way a person moves. It has also been used by many parents to name their daughters.
Grace. A word used in a variety of ways. It is a word that has been used as an alternative term for prayer. It has been used to describe the way a person moves. It has also been used by many parents to name their daughters.
Still, none of these uses seem to catch the true nature of what Grace is. They fall short of the true meaning. They miss the purpose of it. This morning, I want to bring you closer to understanding the Grace of God, why it’s so amazing.
I enjoy playing computer games. One of the best is Microsoft’s Flight Simulator. You can choose a small Cesna or all the way up to a 747. You can also choose which of 180 airports around the country to take off from or to attempt a landing at. Only after acquiring landing skills after many hours of practice can you avoid crashing the plane and land safely. It’s all very realistic.
The greatest thing about Flight Simulator, though, is that the game always restores you. No matter what happens, you can start all over again. Whenever you crash and burn, fall apart, or splash into the ocean, the game always puts you back together and places you back on the runway in Chicago ready to take off again.
That’s the way it is with the Lord. He’s absolutely faithful to forgive us and to restore us when we mess up and to get us back into action, hopefully a little wiser after our failures and bad decisions.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8 Peter writes, And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10
So, what is Grace? It is often misunderstood and defining it at times has been difficult. Some of the most detailed theology textbooks do not offer any concise definition of the term. You may have heard of this acronym: GRACE, God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. That’s a good way to characterize grace. One of the best-known definitions of grace is only three words: God’s unmerited favor.
So, what’s so amazing about Grace? Let me explain it through stories from the Bible.
1. Grace is contrary to human logic
How can one man, one death, on one afternoon be so powerful as to change the course of history and humanity? How a great Savior can save a lausy sinner is a mystery best solved by putting aside human logic!
In school I remember when I heard the phrase New Math for the first time, I thought, What was wrong with the old!
Phillip Yancy calls grace God’s new math! He writes, Instead of earning wages, God dispenses gifts. It’s not according to merit or fairness, because if that were the case, we would all end up in hell.
It’s like the elderly widow dropped 2 small coins into the offering at the Temple collection. Jesus said her 2 coins were more valuable to God than all the religious leaders put in the offering together! Go figure!
Grace is not about finishing first or last, or totaling up all our good and bad. Grace is not about uncertain accounting before God, but our unconditional acceptance in Christ.
Jesus teaches that the 99 sheep are not the issue, but the one lost sheep that counts to God! Go figure! Which leads to my next point,
2. Grace seeks us out
There is a great story in 2 Samuel 9. David is king and he’s thinking about his good friend Jonathan. He wants to know if there is any of his family left that he can show kindness to.
When he finds out about Mephibosheth, he demonstrates God’s grace in how he treats this crippled young man. David’s gracious treatment of Bo, is a perfect picture of God’s gracious treatment of us.
Bo doesn’t seek out the king. The king took the initiative and sought out Mephibosheth. Does that sound familiar? This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10 God took the initiative in seeking us out.
David wants to bring Bo to the palace to live there with him. Only one problem, Bo won’t fit in, he’s crippled. When David asks where he’s living right now, he’s living in Lo Debar. That is a nice way of saying he’s living in poverty and desolation.
What a picture of the sinner outside of Christ! We are crippled by sin. We live in spiritual desolation and poverty! There is absolutely nothing in us that should make the King seek out us out, but he did!