Summary: God’s grace is not for sale, we can’t earn it. All we have to do is ask for it and He will give it to us and it will be sufficient.
Marvelous Amazing Grace
I think most of the trouble in the world can be blamed directly or indirectly to sin. Sin is costly. Think of the cost of crime. The cost of maintaining a police force. The cost of operating a court. Jails and prisons. Problems caused by alcohol, gambling, or other sinful vices. The sin of adultery, the sin of selfishness, the sin of anger, the sin of drunkenness and ungodly living. The sin of apathy, the sin of ignorance, and the sin of self-righteousness. And on & on. Sin is costly.
WHAT IS SIN?
1. Sin is the transgression of God’s holy law…His Word.
2. Sin is loving self more than you love God and others.
3. Sin is saying, “My will…not Thine…be done.”
In our scripture for today, Paul asks , “How can we who died to sin go on living in it?” I’m of like mind with Paul on this. How can we, knowing how bad sin is, knowing what a devastating effect it can have on our lives, our relationships with God and others, knowing we have been changed, continue to live in our sinful ways? We’re intelligent people. But maybe we’re confused by what Paul tells us in 5:20, “..but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?
Don’t we try to justify our actions? Well, a few small sins won’t hurt, I’ll confess later and everything will be cool, right? God’s in the business of forgiving. I’ll sin and God will forgive me. Good arrangement, wouldn’t you say?
Is that the intent of grace? Is it God’s goal to promote such disobedience? NO!! God didn’t set it up this way so He’d have something to do in between crossword puzzles and dips in the pool. When we were baptized into Christ Jesus and buried with him by baptism into death, we were raised to walk in newness of life.
We’re supposed to “trade in” our old, sinful self so that the body of sin might be destroyed and we will no longer be enslaved to sin. In the process, we are changed. We will become “like new”. We are a new creation. But change is hard. Old habits die hard.
We’ve been doing some remodeling on our house. One thing we did when we did some work in our kitchen was move the phone. It used to be on the wall, but now it’s on the counter. It’s been there about 4 months now but I still catch myself sometimes reaching for it on the wall where it used to be. Old habits die hard. We are new but we still feel the pull of our old sinful ways.
And so we look for loopholes. Sin increased, so grace abounded. You think maybe we can have it both ways. NO YOU CAN’T AND YOU KNOW IT!
Let me ask you: What makes Christianity different? Years ago that question was discussed at a conference. Some argued that Christianity is unique in teaching that God became man. No, other religions teach similar doctrines. What about the resurrection? No, other faiths believe that the dead rise again. The discussion grew heated.
C. S. Lewis, a strong defender of Christianity, came in late and asked what the discussion was about. When he learned that it was a debate about the uniqueness of Christianity, he immediately commented, “:Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”
How right he was! The very heart of the gospel is the supreme truth that God accepts us with no conditions whatever when we put our trust in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. Although we are helplessly sinful, God in grace forgives us completely. It’s by His infinite grace that we are saved, not by moral character, not by works of righteousness, not by commandment-keeping, not by faithful attendance at church.
(Ask for taker for a dollar bill.) Why no takers? Why don’t people accept God’s free gift of grace? Grace is available to all, but it’s accepted by few.
When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award—yet receives such a gift anyway—that is a good picture of God’s grace.
Grace is God’s free and unmerited favor, shown to guilty sinners who deserve only judgment. Aha! That’s it! God’s grace is God paying a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. We deserved to be punished for our sins. But God’s grace in Jesus Christ paid our debt in full.