WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT GRACE?
Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
The story goes that years ago Billy Graham was driving through a small southern town and was stopped by a policeman and given a ticket for speeding. Reverend Graham admitted his guilt but was told by the officer that he would have to appear in court anyway.
When he appeared in court the judge asked, “Guilty, or not guilty?” Graham quickly pleaded guilty, to which the judge replied, “That’ll be ten dollars — a dollar for every mile you went over the limit.”
Suddenly the judge looked up and recognized the famous minister. “You have violated the law,” he said. “The fine must be paid–but I am going to pay it for you.” He took a ten dollar bill from his own wallet, attached it to the ticket, and then took Graham out and bought him a steak dinner. “That,” said Billy Graham, “is how God treats repentant sinners!”
Oh the glorious grace of God! There’s an old hymn that goes, “Grace, grace, God’s grace….grace the will pardon and cleanse within. Grace, grace, God’s grace….grace that is greater than all my sin.” Grace is God’s unmerited favor toward us through His own Son Jesus Christ. It has been said that grace is God’s riches at Christ’s expense. Everything this side of hell is grace!
Paul talks in detail about God’s marvelous grace here in Ephesians 2. First, it’s undeserved. We were dead in sin and enemies of God, but Christ paid our sin debt and gave us new life. I couldn’t earn it and I don’t deserve it, yet He bestowed His grace on me anyway. Secondly, it’s undeniable. He says here that when we receive the grace of God through salvation in Christ we are given new life. Death to life…wow what a transformation, and He did all that so that He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus! What’s the result of this grace in us? Good works are the result. Once we are transformed by the grace of God we now have the power to live in obedience to Christ.
Have you experienced the grace of God through repentance of sin and faith in Christ? A grace that has been experienced is a grace that is expressed through a life of consistent obedience to Jesus? Not perfection, but a new direction of life. Receiving grace makes me want to give grace to others. Being brought from death to life makes me want to help others find life in Christ. When I think about His amazing grace it inspires me to worship and good works. What about you? Titus 2 tells us that God’s grace trains us to live a godly life. Today, is grace training you? The law condemns us as sinners, but grace trains us to live like the saints we are in Christ. What’s so great about grace? We are saved, sustained, supplied, and sanctified by it.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Oh Lord Jesus, thank you for grace! I deserve judgment and condemnation, but instead you give me mercy, grace, and peace. I am eternally grateful for the free gift of salvation and the indwelling gift of Your Holy Spirit. Without You I am hopelessly lost, but with you I am gloriously saved. Thank you Jesus, amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God