Sunday AM, August 30th, 2020

“2020 Vision … MORE”

“Grace to Accept God’s Gift”

Romans 5:1-21

 

What is grace, and what does it do for us ? Grace has been defined as “God’s unmerited favor.” This is certainly an accurate assessment, but just exactly what does it mean.

The word “grace” is the Greek word, “charis” (khar-ece) meaning “a benefit; a favor; a gift”. All three of these indicate something that is freely given, not earned or merited, but given. Romans 5 uses this word more than any other chapter of the Bible. The reason for this is that a specific point is being made, and that is that what we have in God, we have as God’s gift, and not because we deserve it.

I want to point your attention to some truths about God’s grace that we see in this chapter.

 

I. We Stand In Grace, vs. 1-5.

This is a place that is available to the “whosoever wills” of this world. When God saves us by grace, He makes available to us His grace in which we can live every day.

Abraham lived in this grace. If you trace Abraham’s life through the Scriptures, you will find that God was with him in some amazing ways. Chapter 4:3 quotes Genesis 15:6 saying, “Abraham believed God, and God counted it to him for righteousness.” The Bible holds forth some wonderful promises for the righteous. The latter part of Romans 4 teaches us that this same righteousness is extended to us, through faith. But, it is important to understand that this righteousness is not extended because of our faith, it is extended because of God’s grace, but it is our faith that reaches up and receives that which the hand of grace reaches down.

To stand in grace means that we have come into favor with God because of God’s grace, we have our peace and security for today and forever because of God’s grace, and we have the quality of life that we have because of God’s grace.

Living in grace, or as Romans puts it, standing in grace, will change your way of thinking. It will change the way you interpret the things that happen in your life. Look at verses 3-5, and notice how the apostle Paul says he responds the tribulations of his life. Now, that doesn’t picture the attitude of most people, does it ? He is giving testimony that he knows that all things work together for good to those who love God, and are the called according to His purpose. Paul knows that’s him, and it’s us too, if we are born again. As Christians we do not have to live in a state of depression. Doctors tell us that if it were not for the emotional distresses of people, the doctors’ offices would not be nearly so busy. Emotional distresses can make you physically sick, but if you know what Paul says he knew in these verses, you can’t stay depressed.

 

II. We Are Amazed By Grace, vs. 6-8.

God didn’t wait for us to clean up our lives, straighten ourselves out, or even invite Him into our hearts. When we were dead in trespasses and sins, He died for us.

The point is made here, that it is a rare thing for someone to die for someone else, and when they do, it’s a remarkable thing. It might be that for someone who is very dear to you, you would step between them and death, if you could. Many have stepped up in patriotism, and gone to their death for a country, and a way of life, that they loved, and that’s remarkable. We certainly owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who serves their country, and puts themselves in harm’s way, to preserve the freedoms we enjoy. But, what Jesus did goes beyond remarkable. It’s amazing. He died for His enemies. He died for us, when we didn’t love Him, when we were on the other side. John Newton realized that, when he wrote the great old hymn, Amazing Grace.

But then we realize not only are we born again, but we have been given everything that pertains to life and godliness, according to II Peter 1:3. That means whatever we need to live out this life in a godly manner, it is ours. It is ours by God’s grace.

 

III. We Have a Future Because of Grace, vs. 9-11.

Now, if the Lord treated us that good while we were His enemies, just think how He will treat us as His friends ! Verse 10 says, “...we shall be saved by His life.” We will make a mistake if we only see the word “saved” to mean born again. It is sometimes used to mean “delivered,” and that is the case here. At this point, the Bible doesn’t expound on this thought, but it surely does in many other places. Whatever you have in your life that you need to be delivered from, the Lord is able. And let me tell you how the Bible says He will do it : “through the power that worketh in you !” That’s what Ephesians 3:20 says. What is this power that works in us ? It is the Holy Spirit, who Romans 5:5 says “...was given to us.”

The word “grace” and the word “gift” are used interchangeably. Paul uses the word “grace” or “gift” about 20 times in this chapter. It is true to the Bible to say that every good thing about your life is a gift from God, or that it is God’s grace to you. In II Corinthians 9:8 we are told, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you ...” So, as we stand in this amazing grace, we can rejoice in our future, because it too, is in grace.

 

IV. We Have Eternal Life Because of Grace, vs. 12-21.

These verses contrast Adam and Jesus. They tell us how sin came, and how righteousness came. In verses 15-17, the words “grace” or “gift” are used five times. What we get as a result of Adam’s transgression are our wages. We earn them, because as verse 12 says, we all sin. But what we get as a result of Jesus taking our place as our stand-in substitute is not wages, but a free gift from God.

You can really only do one of two things with a gift. You can take it, or not. We might not take it by procrastination, neglect, ignorance, or unbelief, but the reasons really don’t matter. To fail to receive the gift is to fail to be a child of God and to fail to have life. To take the gift, we must purposefully turn to God by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.