25 March 2017
Here’s some old sermon feedback to a question that I thought was worth sharing again:
Can you please explain God’s grace?
Part A: Grace. In popular language, grace is the prayer before a meal, or maybe the smooth way a ballet dancer moves!
But “grace” in the Bible is a word that means “generosity” or “undeserved kindness”.
In other words, it is like a gift.
A gift is not earned like wages, it is given generously, regardless of whether or not it is deserved. And a gift does not need to be paid back. (In fact, to try and repay could insult the giver.)
So for example, Romans 3:23-25a says,
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.
So despite our sins (= failure to glorify God and love our neighbours properly), we are justified (= “acquitted of guilt” or “declared to be just/right”). And this is done freely by [God’s] grace. And this came through Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, which we are to trust (= faith in his blood). [I am highlighting quotes from the Bible verses.]
In Romans 4:4-5, Paul explains further…
Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
So this righteousness (= right standing with God, very similar word to “justification”) simply comes to the wicked (= sinners), the one who trusts God (= faith), rather than being earned like wages through good works.
Another passage you could read to understand God’s grace more comes in Ephesians 2:1-10. It mentions grace several times.
There’s a famous memory aid to help you remember what the Bible’s gift of grace is all about…
G = God’s
R = Riches (or Redemption)
A = At
C = Christ’s
E = Expense