Grace… This is the subject for our church for the next year. But whenever I hear it said away from church, I think of the principal on Ferris Buellers Day off, screaming for , “Graaaaace!”, his secretary. But that’s not the grace we’re talking about today….
We have all heard of grace. We sing about it, we write poems about it, we even name our churches and our children after grace! But even after all that—grace is not very well understood and often not believed.
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves’ it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
That verse teaches that our salvation has nothing to do with our works…..its a gift. You can’t do anything to make God love your any more, and you can’t do anything to make him love you any less.
Larry Crabb says, “Only two things have ever changed the human soul: the fall and grace.…the power of Satan and the power of God. And God is infinitely more powerful. Nothing is stronger than grace. Satan doesn’t have any and God is defined by it.”
Most of us tend to think that we’re not so bad. It’s easy to think that way, especially when you consider how many murderers and rapists are running around in the world. We’re certainly not as bad as they are, are we? And we hope that God thinks the same way we do. Although…….I doubt if very many christians would say that we deserve to go to heaven on our own merit. We know too much theology to say that and we have listened to too many sermons to know that good works will not give us a free pass.
But the Bible says that apart from grace, every one of us is spiritually dead and in rebellion against God! We are not worthy of God’s grace, or heaven….but we are worthy of hell!! Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous works are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”
What the? Those are some pretty hard words there! We tend to think pretty good of ourselves. We take pride in our scientific achievements, we have a high standard of living, our material wealth…..the list goes on and on! We are the best of the best………or so we think.
Whittaker Chambers said, “Man without God is a beast, and never more beastly than when he is most intelligent about his beastliness.” We desperately need God’s grace because we are not as good as we think we are, in fact, I imagine that we are much worse …than we dare to admit.
But God gives us so many second chances. I think that is grace. How many times did you hear about the gospel before you received the Lord? He doesn’t give up. Again, I think that is grace. He pursues us and lavishes His forgiving love on us, even when we have totally blown it.
Ephesians 2:4-5, “But because of His great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”
Nothing you have ever done … or ever could do…can contribute in the least to your salvation. It’s not Christ plus your good works…..it is faith in Christ, period.
God’s grace gives us peace and fills us with joy! It’s the motive for living the christian life!
Grace found us, grace will keep us and grace will never let us go. And this gives me strength.