Summary: A sermon the way of grace through Jesus Christ (Material adapted from Dr. Jack Cottrell, much from his book "Set Free")


He paid a debt He did not owe;I owed a debt I could not pay; I needed someone to wash my sins away. And, now, I sing a brand new song,“Amazing Grace.” Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.


The last several weeks we have been focusing on the law system of salvation.

Rules of the law system: Keep the commandments; escape the penalty; Break the Commandments; Suffer the penalty.

One problem, it’s not going to work. Why? Romans 3:22-23: There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

This is the main point of Romans 1:18-3:20, no one will get to heaven by means of the law system, since all have sinned. Once we sin, we can never be perfect again; and being perfect is the only way we can get into heaven through the law gate. The law gate is shut to sinners.

The good news is that God has provided another way to get to heaven, one that will actually work for sinners. This other way of getting to heaven is the system of grace. Grace as a way of salvation is God’s alternative to law.

Most of what we talk about now is aimed at explaining the way of grace. This is the main point of Romans 3:21 to Romans 5:21.

Thesis: Let’s give an overview of the way of grace.

For instances:

The rules of the grace system: Keep the commandments, but suffer the penalty; break the commandments, but escape the penalty.

Break the commandments, but escape the penalty. What do we deserve? We deserve the shame and agony of hell. But what do we get? We receive the free gift of eternal life; we receive the glories of heaven.

B. Keep the commandments, but suffer the penalty

Is it possible that there is someone to whom this applies, someone who has “kept the commandments” by living a life of sinless perfection? Yes! Jesus Christ. This line applies to Jesus, and was never intended to apply to anyone else. He not only kept all the commandments; He also suffered the penalty for sins, taking the penalty of eternal hell that we deserve by submitting to the death of the cross.

What did Jesus, the Son of God, actually deserve? He deserved to be treated like the glorious and holy King that He is. But what did he get? He got the cross.

Read Luke 23:39-43: Emphasize vs. 41- We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

This first line, as it applies to Jesus, is the basis for the second line. The two go together.

Jesus has actually traded places with us sinners. God treats Jesus as we deserve to be treated, so that He can treat us the way Jesus deserves to be treated.

We can think of it like this: Jesus not only traded places with us: He also traded faces with us. When the Father looked at Jesus on the cross, He saw our face, and poured out upon Jesus the wrath we deserve. The result is that now, when God looks upon those of us who are standing in the grace line of heaven, He actually sees the face of Jesus. He is giving us now, and certainly on Judgment Day, what Jesus deserves!

This sounds wrong somehow; it sounds so unfair! The fairness mentality

Break the commandments but escape the penalty? That’s not fair!

Keep the commandments but suffer the penalty? That’s not fair!

On the bulletin this morning under the sermon outline section, have an experiment, in the form of a matching quiz.

On the left have two names: Jesus and below his put your name.

On the right have two spaces and can put one of two words in each place. These words are sin and righteousness. Write in the space after each name, the word we think most appropriately goes with that name.

I must confess when I first took this quiz, I failed. Across from Jesus I put righteousness, because Jesus is righteous. Across from my name I put sin, because I am a sinner.

2 Corinthians 5:21: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Under the grace system sin goes with Jesus, and righteousness goes with us. Is this fair? No! But this is the point: grace was never meant to be fair! By its nature it is the opposite of fair!

On the cross God the Father treated Jesus the way we deserve to be treated, and he treated Jesus the opposite of the way He deserved to be treated.

Jesus took what we deserve, and we get what He deserves. Each case is the opposite of fair.

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