Summary: Why is grace so amazing? Find out 5 characteristics of grace and how it can change your life.
What’s So Amazing About Amazing Grace?
We’re starting a series of messages this morning from the book of Romans, that I’ve entitled… “What’s So Amazing about GRACE?”
I’m not talking about Grace Kelley, the famous actress… but the word ‘grace’.
When you stop and think about it… we use the word ‘GRACE’ in our language a lot more than you might imagine…
Many people “say grace” before meals… acknowledging that our daily bread is a gift from God.
We’re ‘grateful’ for someone’s kindness… ‘congratulated’ when successful… ‘gracious’ when hosting guests…
When we get good service we leave a ‘gratuity’…
Now we also use the word in the negative or shameful sense…
Politicians, ‘fall from grace’… When we insult someone we say, ‘You ingrate’… or worse ‘You are a disgrace’….
Someone who is really despicable has no ‘saving grace’ about him…
We use the word ‘grace’ in a lot of different ways, in many different situations…we even sing about, “AMAZING GRACE”… but do we really know what the word means?
Well, beginning today, we’re going to start an 8 week series exploring the amazing meaning of this word ‘grace’.
Paul in the letter he wrote to the Roman church took 16 chapters to talk about the many facets of grace… and he only scratched the surface!
You need to know about ‘grace’… because this one word can revolutionize your life… if you fully understand it’s implications and applications.
The word ‘grace’, comes from the grk. ‘charis’… and means lit. ‘gift’, ...but if you trace it’s roots a little deeper, you find a verb form that means, “I rejoice’, or ‘I am glad’.
In otherwords, people who have learned to live under ‘grace’… are the most joyful and fulfilled people you’ll ever meet.
Paul was the great “Apostle of Grace”. Of the 155 N.T. ref. to grace… 133 belong to him. He introduces his letters with grace, he closes them with grace… and grace is the theme of everything in between.
The word ‘grace’ always appears no later than the 2nd sentence in every one of his letters.
When Paul talks about grace… he’s talking about what God has done for us, in and through Jesus Christ. It’s God’s love freely given…
Grace is…God’s love in action, freely giving us His forgiveness, His acceptance, and His favor.
This gift from God isn’t motivated by our worthiness, or somehow by our works… it’s not based on whether we deserve it or not… but solely on God’s passionate love for us. That’s it! Nothing less… nothing more!
Eph.2:8 states that grace and grace alone… is, and always will be… the basis for our relationship with God. (READ Eph.2:8)
This is God’s “GRACE BASE” and without this foundation firmly in place… nothing else in the Christian life matters.
So to make sure that you leave here this morning with a thorough understanding of what grace is… let me give you 5 Characteristics of Grace and how it relates to your life… from the book of Romans
1. Grace is UNDESERVED
Grace has nothing to do with merit or demerit, our sinfulness or our worthiness.
In fact, worthiness and deservedness... are the opposites of grace.
Paul knew better than anybody that grace comes to us undeserved. Knocked flat on his face on the way to Damascus, he was never the same after his 1st encounter with grace.
Paul called himself the ‘chief of sinners’, and knew beyond a doubt that God loves people because of who HE is... not because of who we are!
During the Napoleanic Wars, a young, battle weary French soldier fell asleep while on guard duty. He was court-martialed, found guilty, and sentenced to death.
His widowed mother somehow arranged to see Emperor Napoleon himself. Falling prostrate at his feet, she begged for her son’s life to be spared, explaining that he was her only means of support.
Napoleon grew weary of her pleas... “Madam, your son does not deserve mercy. He deserves to die, “ he said coldly.
To which the mother immed. replied, “Of course, sire, you are right. That’s why I’m asking you to show mercy on him. If he were deserving, it wouldn’t be mercy.”
Napoleon was so touched by the logic of her statement that he pardoned the soldier.
See, if we were deserving... it wouldn’t be grace!
The problem is... that almost by instinct, we feel that we have to DO SOMETHING in order to be accepted by God.
But the fact remains: The only way to miss out on God’s mercy, is by trying to deserve it!
What’s interesting about the life of Jesus is that nowhere in the bible do we have him using the word ‘grace’. Isn’t that surprising?
Yet John used it to describe the very essence of who he was...