Summary: In this sermon we will explore three ways "grace" is used in Romans 5. Grace as a place, grace asthe manner in which God reaches to us, and grace as salvation.
Three Views of Amazing Grace
Grace is a thoroughly biblical concept. More precisely it is thoroughly New Testament concept. And no author of the New Testament uses the word more often, more broadly than Paul. Grace is used just a handful of times in the gospels. But approximately 50 times in the writings of Paul. And almost 20 of those 50 are found in the book of Romans. Paul loves this word. charis. It is as though everything about the gospel, Jesus’ saving action on the cross, even the Christian life itself, is for Paul- “grace”.
We’ll talk a bit about chapter four in moment, but in chapter 5 it’s all about grace. In 21 verses, there word grace (or in greek charis) is mentioned six times. If Hebrews 11 is the faith chapter in the Bible, then Romans 5 might have a strong case for being the “grace chapter.”
For Paul, what Christ has done is so amazing, the new life afforded to him in Christ is so startling, that he regular just calls it “grace.” It’s all grace. So when Paul starts his letters, he often being with a greeting like “grace and peace” to you. These are not vanilla “dear sirs” greetings. This is a real prayer of Paul. These words have deep meaning for Paul. And when he closes his letters with “grace to...”. He is not some kind of “over and out” sign off. No, this term, grace, is loaded for him. It is filled with meaning, and it is a genuine prayer. Grace (God’s astonishing kindness, God’s indescribable salvation, a justified standing before God) be to you all.
You may have thought of grace as meaning just one thing. But in Romans five, the word grace is used in three different ways. Each is connected, but grace in each instance has a very different connotation. Three views of grace.
The Amazing Place of Grace (justifying grace)
The Panoramic View
Leading up to chapter five Paul spends most of his time addressing the Jewish Christians in Rome, and showing the continuity that the message of the gospel has with the Old Testament Law, as well as showing where the coming of Jesus has marked a defining moment in God’s work in the world. But his writing has been talking pretty much to his country men, the Jewish Christians.
In chapter 5, Paul shifts gears and begins to talk more to all Christians, both Jews and Gentiles, circumcised and uncircumcised, as one community.
So he is says in verse 1, “since we” (all of us) have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”
Those who have been justified before God, those that have with God through Jesus Christ, they stand in a new place, they stand in a different place than others. They stand in a place called grace.
We have gained access by faith, “into this grace in which we now stand.” One of the sides of grace, is that grace is a realm, it is a place, it is a state of existence, that those who put their faith in Christ now live in.
And this grace place is open to everyone. That is Paul’s argument in chapter four. He shows that Abraham was called by God. And it was Abraham’s belief in God, trust in God that lead God to credit Abraham with righteousness. Now Abraham’s faith didn’t earn him righteousness. But because he trusted God, God graciously extend to Abraham righteousness. Righteousness was still a gift.
Now this is an important point because sometimes we think that our faith EARNS us certain things from God. But that is not the case. The truth is that we trust God and he graciously extends to us righteousness. Righteousness is still a gift.
Abraham trusted God and God graciously credits to him righteousness, not because of any works he did but merely as a gracious act of God. And so Abraham was the first to live in this grace place. Abraham because he trusted God was the first through the door, into this state of grace.
And Paul wants to say that Abraham was the father of us all. And since Abraham’s faith was credited as righteousness before the law was given, then that means that the grace place is open to everyone. We are all allowed into this place of grace. Grace is place or a realm of existence.
“Since we have been justified by faith (just like Abraham) we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith INTO this grace...”
You see, we are all in the same room here right now, but some of us may be in different places. If your faith is in Jesus Christ, then you are in GRACE. If your faith is not in Jesus then you are under the law, under the age that will pass away.