Summary: Simply put, grace is God’s best for our worst.
How Sweet the Sound
Text: Eph. 2:1-10
1. Illustration: Put bluntly: the American church today accepts grace in theory but denies it practice. We say we believe that the fundamental structure of reality is grace, not works – but our lives refute our faith.
By and large, the gospel of grace is neither proclaimed, understood, nor lived. Too many Christians are living in the house of fear and not in the house of love.
SOURCE: Brennan Manning
2. We talk about it. We sing about it. However, do we really understand Grace?
a. What is Grace?
b. Why do we need Grace?
c. Why does God give Grace?
3. Read Eph. 2:1-10
Transition: First, we must understand...
I. What Is Grace? (8-10)
A. By Grace
1. In verse 8, Paul says "For by grace you have been saved..."
2. Grace (charis) means the undeserved favor and blessings of God. —Practical Word Studies in the New Testament
a. The word undeserved is the key to understanding grace. Man does not deserve God’s favor; he cannot earn God’s approval and blessings.
b. God is too high and man too low for man to deserve anything from God.
3. For Paul charis is the essence of God’s decisive saving act in Jesus Christ, which took place in his sacrificial death, and also of all its consequences in the present and future - New International Dict of NT Theology. Pradis CD-ROM
a. Therefore, the use of charis at the beginning and end of the Pauline letters is much more than a mere polite cliché.
b. "Grace" is not just a good wish for salvation; it is qualified as the grace of Christ.
4. Illustration: I once heard it explained in this way.
a. Suppose that someone breaks into your home, and that in the course of a robbery, that person kills your child.
b. If you hunt them down yourself and kill them, that’s vengeance.
c. If you allow the police to do their jobs and the person is apprehended and punished, that’s justice.
d. If you take them into your home and adopt them as your son or daughter, that’s grace.
5. Grace is the key ingredient and by necessity comes first; everything else flows from and builds on a theology of grace (Snodgrass, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Ephesians, 103).
a. Grace means the completely undeserved, loving commitment of God to us.
b. For some reason unknown to us, but which is rooted in his nature, God gives himself to us, attaches himself to us, and acts to rescue us.
c. Though wrath should have come, saving grace comes instead.
6. Paul says in his letter to the Romans that we "all of sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," and that "the wages of that sin is death."
a. We deserved death, but we got life.
b. We deserved wrath, but we got mercy.
c. We deserved condemnation, but we got justification.
d. We deserved hell, but we got grace.
7. Paul also insists that we receive grace through faith.
a. Faith in whom? Faith in God!
b. Faith is relational, describing reliance on a reliable God.
c. Faith is a covenant word, expressing the commitment and trust that bind two parties together.
d. Throughout Scripture, God by his grace makes promises and commits himself to his people. They in turn are to trust those promises and live in light of them.