Summary: We sing about Amazing Grace but what is it about grace that makes it so amazing?
WHAT’S SO AMAZING ABOUT GRACE?
INTRODUCTION: We sing a song about amazing grace but have you ever stopped to meditate on why God’s grace is an amazing thing? How amazing is this grace that saved a wretch like me? And is there anything else that makes God’s grace amazing? What exactly is grace, what has it done for me, and what should my response be to it?
1) What is grace?
· We use the word to describe various things. We use the word to describe what we do before a meal: “Say Grace.” We use it to describe a dancer’s fluidity: “She is so graceful.” We use it as a name: “We named our daughter Grace.” Although these are okay, the essence of grace isn’t captured in any of these.
· Grace is a freely offered gift. Grace is used in the original Greek language to convey the idea of a free gift. Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “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 unmerited favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God.” Someone once said, “Grace is everything for nothing to those who don’t deserve anything.”
· Grace is unique to Christianity. During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death. The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the commotion about?” he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.” Philip Yancey wrote, ‘The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of Karma, the Jewish covenant, and the Muslim code of law—each of these offer a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.’ Rom. 11:6, “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
· Grace is sacrificial. Justice is getting what you deserve. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Say I was pulled over for speeding. The Officer approaches my car and asks for my license & registration. He goes back to his car & radios in my info. He walks back and he tells me to slow it down & let’s me go. Is this grace? No. What if he wrote out the ticket but cut the fine in half. This still doesn’t represent grace. Grace would be when he comes back to my car, reminds me of the crime I have committed, writes out the ticket, with the fine being at the full amount, then hands it to me. Then he reaches out and takes the ticket back. He signs his own name in the ‘guilty’ spot, and then he turns the ticket in with his name on it and pays the full amount of the fine with his own money. That is grace.
2) What has God’s grace done for me?
· It paid my penalty. Grace goes beyond just forgiveness. Grace is when I pay the penalty for you. That’s what we might have a tendency to forget. God didn’t just forgive us. It wasn’t like we sinned and God said, ‘you’re forgiven.’ He went further than that. A price had to be paid. God just forgiving us wouldn’t have cost him anything. Sin’s penalty had to be taken care of. Grace doesn’t just involve forgiveness; it involves sacrifice. God’s grace cost him. That’s what was so amazing about grace. He was willing to go beyond just forgiving us; he went to the point of allowing his Son to pay the penalty for what we did. And because Jesus paid the penalty of death for me, I not only have forgiveness through him, I also have eternal life through him.
· It resurrected me. Eph. 2:1, 4&5. Sinners are not SICK; they’re DEAD! We don’t need RESUSCITATION; we need RESURRECTION! It doesn’t matter how “good” or “bad” a person appears, without salvation they are both dead. Can one corpse be deader than another? No. A person who has been killed in a car accident might look more dead than a person who has died in their sleep but the fact remains-they are both dead. God’s grace is amazing because it goes beyond revival; it brings us back to life as a new creation.