Summary: This message talks about man’s fall and God’s plan of restoration for mankind.
What does the word grace really mean?
"Grace" - "...good-will, loving-kindness, mercy ... kindness bestowed upon someone who does not deserve it…kindness of God to man. (Zondervan – Pictorial Bible Dictionary)
God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden. Both of them had a very close relationship with God. Up to this point, there had been no disobedience to God. There was no such thing as death. Nothing spoiled, nothing rotted, and nothing died. They had complete freedom in the Garden and were responsible for taking care of the Garden. There was only one tree in the Garden that was not to be touched, and that was the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
When the devil enticed Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and then give some to Adam to eat, God’s perfect creation was shattered. At that very moment, the perfect relationship of Adam and Eve and all future mankind was destroyed. There was now a void between God and Adam and Eve because they decided to act on their own. Man was disobedient then and man is disobedient now. Every human being born since this incident has been born with the sinful nature of Adam and Eve.
Adam and Eve knew they had made a grave error because their “eyes were opened and they realized they were naked” (Genesis 3:7). They were embarrassed and they had a guilty feeling. Guilt in our lives tends to want to make us hide just as it did Adam and Eve. They could not hide from God and we cannot hide from God. A guilty conscience is God’s way of telling us that we have done something wrong or that we have been disobedient. A guilty feeling gives us a chance to realize we have sinned and a time to ask God for forgiveness of our sin.
God did not give up on mankind, but instead was willing to give mankind an opportunity to gain a rightful relationship with Him. He gives us a choice as to our destiny. We have the choice of spending eternity in heaven or in hell. Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Since all have sinned, all have missed the opportunity of living with God for eternity. God came up with a plan. His plan was to enable each of us to be forgiven of our sins and placed in a right relationship with him. God knew we could never reach his standard of perfection and be worthy of His glory on our own.
God’s plan included the following in His plan of salvation:
Galatians 3:24 says, “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
“So the Law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:11). The Law makes demands on us that are impossible to keep. The Law or the Ten Commandments is a set of standards to guide us to Christ. If our salvation depended on us keeping the Law none of us would be saved.
Romans 5:18 says, “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.” Adam was the sinner responsible for the condemnation of mankind and Jesus was the Savior providing justification for us.
I. The word “justify” means to declare free from blame. God freed man from the guilt and penalty of sin. God’s goal was to declare man righteous. Justification is a gift of God’s grace. Romans 3:24 says, “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
God’s grace to us or goodwill toward us is something we do not deserve, but because God loves us unconditionally, he wants to wipe away our sins as though they never existed.
I John 2:2 says, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world”.
I John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”.
Romans 3:25 says, “Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed”.
Jesus came to bear the wrath or anger of God toward sin. God does not tolerate sin in any form. There is no big sin and there is no little sin; sin is sin and sin is disobedience to God. The bottom line being Jesus is our sacrifice of atonement or punishment. He died in our place and He died for our sins. God’s sacrifice of His Son was the avenue that pardoned and set us free.