Summary: Living in grace is knowin the past from which you were saved and being God’s workmanship for the world to see our good works.
Living In Grace
A. Once upon a time... There was a young illiterate couple named Dave and Carol. Dave and Carol had recently confessed faith in Jesus Christ and were baptized. And wanting to be more involved in the activities of the church, they regularly attended the Sunday school class for young married couples. And they learned that in this particular Sunday school class, the men all had the same shirts which they would often wear during certain group activities. Wanting to be part of the group, Dave was eager to get HIS matching shirt, so Carol made one for her husband. But after the next meeting, Dave came home with a look of disappointment on his face. He had his shirt, but at the meeting he noticed that all the men had little emblems on their shirts--Dave’s was plain. So Carol, undaunted by her inability to read, sewed three words which she copied from a sign in a store window across the street. Dave wore it at the next meeting. But this time he came home bubbling with joy. He said all the men really liked the inscription that Carol had put on his shirt. They said it so aptly described the wonderful change they had seen in his life. It turned out that his wife had written, "UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT."
B. You see, we all enter this world under management. We all live our lives under management. And we all die under management. Sadly, too many people are living their lives – and too many people are dying – under the wrong management.
C. It is a great to be a Christian. It is great to be spiritually alive. I understand that under this new management of God, I am called to live a life of repentance that desires to do the will of my father in heaven, and not my own will. Paul understood living in grace. He of all people had been shown great grace, but Paul also feared that some people would find within grace a license to sin. That cannot be.
D. When Paul writes to the church in Rome he shares with them in greater detail the same thoughts as he shares with the church in Ephesus. To the church in Rome he tells them how all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Then he takes his readers back to days of Abraham and recounts how God counted Abraham as righteous by his faith and not his works.
E. The goal that Paul has to help Christians realize what it means to live in grace. There are certain things that take place when a Christians lives in the grace given by God.
I. Realize Their Past
A. To the churches at Rome and Ephesus Paul walks them down memory lane. He takes them back to the good ol’ days before Jesus came into their lives. In that trip he helps them to realize that were all sinners. I have come to understand that many of us struggle with the admission of sin in our lives. We justify our sinful actions by blaming others or trying to convince ourselves that we really didn’t sin. That is a mind game that Christian need to beat.
B. Paul writes that we were dead in our sin. Understand that terminology. Sometimes we like to challenge the eternal weight of sin and say that my sin is not as bad your sin. So we start ranking sins in degrees and make sure our own sin is not among the worst. Paul challenges that idea and says that in sin we are dead. Now I realize what I am about to say is disgusting, but I believe it needed. When a rich person dies their body decays and returns to the dust just as much as when some poor homeless beggar on the street dies. The beggar is no more dead than the rich man.
C. Don’t think your little sin caused you to be less dead than my big sin. Don’t play the game that you are an okay person – you’re not – you’re a sinner. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23)." Listen again to verse 3 of our text. Did you catch the word "all" in there? The point Paul wants to make is that there is no such thing as "good old days" before Jesus – they were death days. The reason he pushes Christians living in grace to realize their past is this wonderful statement he makes in Rom. 5:20, "But where sin increased, grace increased all the more." The point God is making is that he doesn’t care how great or little your sin has been, his goal is to save you from that sin. God’s grace desires to out do your sin. The problem is some of us Christians took that grace out of context and said, "I am going to continue to sin so that God’s grace might increase." WRONG!