Summary: Grace is a concept that is too difficult to understand, but is extremely difficult for some to implement and accept. It needs to be know that what Jesus accomplished on the cross was enough, for where sin abounded, grace abounded more!
The story is told (by Ernest Hemingway) of a father and his teenage son who had a relationship that had become strained to the point of breaking. Finally the son ran away from home. His father, however, began a journey in search of his rebellious son. Finally, in Madrid, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in the newspaper. The ad read: “DEAR PACO, MEET ME IN FRONT OF THE NEWSPAPER OFFICE AT NOON. ALL IS FORGIVEN. I LOVE YOU. YOUR FATHER.” The next day at noon in front of the newspaper office, 800 “Pacos” showed up.
This is the type of story that moves the heart of even the most calloused people. Such a display of longing is hard to not respond to. We live in a world that is in desperate need of grace. Grace is defined as undeserved kindness and love. What an amazing thing to try and understand; love so unconditionally. The best definition of this kind of love was displayed for all of history to see by Jesus Christ through his death on the cross. It was for the mistakes and sins of you and I that he hung on that cross; that we may be made right before God and know His love. Grace is much more than something you say before you eat, it was the motivation behind God’s plan of salvation and when you come in contact with this truth in your life it must change you.
1. Grace will change your attitude
Once you embrace this wonderful free gift of grace it will begin to transform your attitude and outlook on yourself. Although it is free, it was also costly, for it cost God the ultimate sacrifice. We must then respond to the grace shown us by being like Christ. This is where faith meets works in the Christians life. Not bound by a sense of meaningless religious duty working towards God’s favour, but in gratitude for the great love shown to us. This leads to a sincere desire to be obedient, to please the one who has loved you so much, like a child wanting to please her parents for
Obedience is not a prerequisite to grace; it is a response to it. If you are happy to sit and not get involved in Kingdom work then you have not understood grace, or you do not appreciate it. It motivates one in such a way as to respond to the calling of Jesus to follow him and to do His will. To sit back is to have an attitude of unappreciation towards the underserved kindness God has shown to you, which leads to disobedience. We need to see grace for what it is and let that aspect of God change our attitude. God make us more like your Son.
2. Grace will change the way you treat others
When you have been impacted by grace it will change the way you treat, respond, and speak to others. When such kindness has been shown to you, you are compelled to treat others in the same way. This is underserved, but God showed this great love to you while you were His enemy living in sin. The ministry of reconciliation that Paul speaks of in 2 Cor. 5:18, is birthed out of grace and must be extended to others. This will include kindness, forgiveness, gentleness, longsuffering, and love. No holding grudges, no unforgiveness. Imagine having the love and compassion enough to forgive in the face of beatings and abuse. God’s grace is truly amazing because it goes past where sin can go. It will always go further, and so must we.
Our actions with others should be one of the most easily seen examples of our love for God. You may not always get an opportunity to share the gospel, but if you show grace then you are unconsciously showing the message. Forgive someone, when they don’t deserve it, and watch God begin to work.
3. Grace will change your relationship with God
Martin Luther often had a problem coming to God because, despite his confessions, he always felt unworthy before a righteous God. He would feel shame and guilt, thus keeping him from relationship. His breakthrough came after reading through Romans; seeing Christ came to redeem even the foulest sinners, the least worthy. Where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more. What is remembered of the crucifixion is not the beating, torture, and mocking of Jesus, but that in the midst of that Christ’s ability to love them. Those soldiers were not working towards perfection and earning any kind of favour from God, yet grace was given.
If you are here this morning and you have problems coming to God because of your past, because of guilt or a sense of unworthiness then you have not understood grace. Relationship with God begins, not with right actions or works, but with grace through faith (Rom.3:27-28). When you come to God, having confessed your sins you are justified, made righteous, clean, and free. You, then and only then can enjoy relationship with the Father. Lift up your head for the price paid for you on the cross was complete and permanent. All you have to do is accept this wonderful gift that cost God so much to give.