Summary: Finding fullness in life because of God’s grace
Eph 2:8-9 NIV
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Christianity is all about “grace”
It’s all about God’s “Amazing Grace”. But what is “Grace” and what does grace really mean.
The greatest, highest and most practical truth of our life is that we are recipients of God’s Grace.
At a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity. Someone suggested what set Christianity apart from other religions was the concept of incarnation, the idea that God took human form in Jesus. But someone quickly said, “Well, actually, other faiths believe that God appears in human form.” Another suggestion was offered: what about resurrection? The belief that death is not the final word. That the tomb was found empty. Someone slowly shook his head. Other religions have accounts of people returning from the dead. Then, as the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, tweed jacket, pipe, arm full of papers, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, “what’s all this rumpus about?” Everyone turned in his direction. Trying to explain themselves they said, “We’re debating what’s unique about Christianity.” “Oh, that’s easy,” answered Lewis. “It’s grace.” The room fell silent. Lewis continued that Christianity uniquely claims God’s love comes free of charge, no strings attached. No other religion makes that claim. After a moment someone commented that Lewis had a point,
1. Buddhists, for example, follow an eight-fold path to enlightenment. It’s not a free ride.
2. Hindus believe in karma, that your actions continually affect the way the world will treat you; that there is nothing that comes to you not set in motion by your actions.
3. Someone else observed the Jewish code of the law implies God has requirements for people to be acceptable to him
4. And in Islam God is a God of Judgment not a God of love. You live to appease him At the end of the discussion everyone concluded Lewis had a point.
5. Only Christianity dares to proclaim God’s love is unconditional. An unconditional love that we call grace.
Christians boldly proclaim that grace really has precious little to do with us, our inner resolve, or our lack of inner resolve. Rather, grace is all about God and God freely giving to us the gifts of forgiveness, mercy, and love.
1. There are distinctive meanings of grace;
a) It means the mercy and active love of God.
b) It means the engaging attractiveness of God.
c) It means the strength of God to overcome.
2. Grace is God’s freely given, unmerited favor toward the sinful and failing, the expression of forgiving, redeeming, restoring love toward the unworthy.
3. Grace is God taking the initiative to meet our need whatever that may be.
4. Grace is love that gives, that loves the unlovely and the unlovable.
The importance of Grace
1. A man may find out many ways to hide his sin from man, but he will never find out any way to subdue his sin, but by the exercise of grace.
2. Grace … turns lions into lambs, wolves into sheep, monsters into men and men into angels.
3. He who is graceless in the day of grace will be speechless in the Day of Judgment.
I. The Christian life begins with God’s grace.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
The movie "Saving Private Ryan" ends with Captain Miller (Tom Hanks’ character) sitting near a bridge after an attack by German forces. His life is ebbing away as he pulls Ryan (Matt Damon) down toward him. Struggling for breath he whispers, "Earn this, earn this." As Ryan stands his face morphs back into the present as a senior adult searching for Miller’s cross in the cemetery. Crying he turns to his wife and says, "Tell me I’m a good man."
Many people may believe that Christ died for them, but they have an attitude that Christ told them, "Earn this."
They spend their lives through religion trying to receive validation so that people will tell them, "You are a good man or a good woman."
1. Grace is realizing that we can never earn Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross.
2. Our lives should reflect thanksgiving for what he has done instead of validation for being a good person.