Summary: Grace is one of the most important aspects of our lives but how do we see it in Jesus? Grace is a part of His character.
February 10, 2008
Jesus the man of Grace
Have you ever noticed that everyone seems to have this certain, innate sense that they are owed something? People seem to think that because they are a human being they deserve a certain thing, or to be treated in a certain way. Have you ever noticed that? People walk around saying things like: “I don’t deserve to be treated that way” or “I should get this because I deserve it.” It is in the nature of man to believe that we are somehow entitled to things. Here is the amazing thing: some people actually think that they deserve something from God. They think that it is God’s job to make their life happy, and carefree, and good. I have heard of people who felt that they did not deserve to have anything bad happen to them because they went to church on Sunday morning. When something bad happens to someone you care about, do you ever find yourself thinking: ‘why did that happen to them, they don’t deserve that, they are a good person’? How is it that we think we have a right to anything? To think that somehow in some way God owes us something, like we have done something that put God in our debt and He is now responsible to make things even. God created us, He gave us life, He gave us everything that we have. What do we deserve from God? It is an absurd thought. Someone who is dependent on another for life is never owed anything by the person who provides it. Think about this: parents do you owe your children anything? No. You gave them life, you feed them, put a roof over their heads, pay their bills, take care of them, watch out for them, raise them up. Your child is dependent on you for life. You do not owe them anything. And to think that God owes us anything is as totally ridiculous as it would be for your child to tell you that you owe them something. God does not owe us anything. We do not deserve anything from God. Actually, that is not totally true…we deserve death and eternal punishment. Praise God that He does not give us what we deserve. This idea that we can somehow earn favor in God’s eyes is ridiculous. We are fallen and sinful people. God is the source of life and we chose to walk away from Him. We chose to defy God. We chose to rebel against Him. We deserve death and eternal condemnation. Yet God who is rich in mercy and abounding in love does not give us what we deserve. Instead of the death we earned, God gives us life and salvation.
Salvation can be a tricky thing. We saw last week that the Jews mistakenly believed that they law was their source of salvation. It wasn’t. We are not saved by the law, we are saved by the grace of God. It is through the grace of God that we do not receive the condemnation we so rightfully deserve. We experience the grace of God not only in not receiving what we deserve, which is eternal condemnation and punishment but also in the receiving of that which we do not deserve which is eternal life and being called the children of God. Grace can be displayed when you receive something that you do not deserve, or when you do not receive something that you do deserve and the incredible thing about the grace of God…is that we get both.
We do not get what we deserve. We deserve death. That is the only byproduct of our actions. God created us to love. Love by necessity requires choice. You cannot force someone to love, they must choose to do so. So God created for us a choice so that we could truly love Him. We chose not to. We chose to reject Him. We walked away from God and became wicked in our lifestyles. We chose sin of faithfulness and the wage of sin is death. When we walked away from God, when we denied Him we also rejected the life that only He can give. So in our fallen state we were at war with God. Yet God was not willing to allow us to pay the price for our sins. God out of His unfathomable mercy was willing to do whatever it took to keep us from receiving the death that we deserve. While it was man who initiated the fall, it was God who initiated the reconciliation.
Ro 5:6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Ro 5:7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. Ro 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Ro 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! Ro 5:10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Ro 5:11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.