Summary: 7th in series dealing with God's amazing grace which he lavished on us.
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-4
A. Paul blessed God for blessing us with every spiritual blessing 1:3-14
1. Specially Chosen 1:4
2. Purposefully Adopted 1:5-6
3. Freely Redeemed and Forgiven 1:7-8
There are many teachings of the Bible but there is one particular truth that sets Christianity apart from all others. It is perhaps the most misunderstood, misapplied, abused doctrine.
I'm speaking of that most wonderful teaching of grace. Without grace, Christianity is nothing.
"The concept of grace is many-sided. This makes the word difficult to define precisely, and yet is one of the loveliest words in our language and designates one of the most important doctrines in theology.
Ephesians has already had a great deal to say about grace and there is still much more to come.
He predestined as to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us.
Grace is the basis for forgiveness, redemption and adoption.
Unless I understand at least the basic idea of grace I don't really understand Christianity.
I. The Need for Grace
Jesus Christ is the only one that perfectly conformed to the laws of God in thought, word, attitude and deed. The rest of us have miserably failed to come even close to the mark. We have continually strayed. Like a chain is only as good as its weakest link, our whole relationship with God collapses when only one link (law) is broken. If we sin in one point, we sin in all.
We are guilty. The law was intended to demonstrate that there was and is not one person worthy of God's favor. All have sinned and come up short of demonstrating the kind of life necessary to sustain relationship with a holy God. No one could earn a place in God's kingdom.
Every other religious system incorporates some means of earning the favor of God here or hereafter. Each one emphasizes that man by his own merits is really pretty good. He really is significant in this world. That is the core of sin in the first place. Seeking to establish and live life apart from a vital relationship with the Source of life. Scripture is clear that we are not and can never be worthy. Since no one can earn it or work for it, it can only be acquired on the basis of grace. Mercy is God taking note of our pitiful and rebellious condition and withholding what we did deserve. Grace is God extending to us the things we did not deserve in spite of our pitiful and rebellious condition.
II. The Meaning of Grace
Grace has been revealed from two sources.
A. The written Word
Many Biblical concepts require many words to explain. Grace, on the other hand, employs just a few powerful words in the Scriptures to communicate its meaning.
1. Old Testament Words
This word meant to bend or stoop, and came to include the idea of condescending favor.
It is particularly significant in its use to describe God's rewriting of the Law tablets for the obviously undeserving Israelites.
This Old Testament Word actually defies exact description and occurs about 250 times. It holds a very close relationship with the New Testament word for Grace.
Two aspects emerge from its frequent usage.
1 - an eager and ardent desire by which anyone is led
2 - acts of kindness between those involved in relationship
This word is used to describe God's intense acts of kindness toward those whom He has chosen to enter into relationship.
2. New Testament
This is the primary root used in the New Testament to communicate God's favor. The Greeks used the word in their everyday language to communicate the concept of good will, loving kindness, and favor as well as that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, charm, or loveliness.
The New Testament refined the concept even further.
"The grace of God in the New Testament is His unmerited favor in the gift of His Son, who offers salvation to all and who gives to those who receive Him as their personal Savior added grace for this life and hope for the future. Every facet of this broad conception of grace is rooted in the fact that the grace of God is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ."
B. The Living Word -- Jesus Christ
"The Law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
To see the beauty of grace we need also to observe the attitude and actions of Jesus on earth. Everything He did was a demonstration of Grace and truth.