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I am planning to preach about God’s grace and thought to write this blog post by putting together the material in my collection and thoughts that I am using to construct my message. So that a pool of information will be available to any other preacher who wants to preach on the same subject.
What is grace and why is it necessary?
We need grace because,
- We are sinners and separated from God, Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (NIV).
- Every sinner is subject to God’s wrath, Ephesians 2:1-3 “…gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
- The penalty for sin is death, Revelation 20:14-15 “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Grace is “redeeming quality or factor” that makes a person or a thing acceptable. God’s grace makes every sinner acceptable in His presence. Lets illustrate this.
In 1976 in Sri Lanka during the presidency of Hon. Mr. William Gopallawa, a criminal named Sumanapala was given death sentence by a court of law. The president ordered to proceed with the execution. The criminal however hacked his stomach night before the day he was supposed to be executed and was rushed into the hospital by the authorities. After receiving some quick medical attention the authorities brought him back to the prison hoping to proceed with the execution. However the president postponed the execution taking the death row inmate’s condition in to consideration. No body knows why but few days later the president pardoned Sumanapala’s crimes, dropped the charges and released him from death sentence.
Sumanapala was a criminal who derserved death sentence but was pardoned. We are sinners who deserve condemnation but God wants to save us – this is known as saving grace.
I am a sinner – How can I receive this grace and have my sins pardoned?
Lord Jesus Christ is the only channel of God’s grace. This is because grace is an act of God through which he helps us to become righteous (sinless) in his sight.
The Bible says that you can’t earn it. It’s completely unmerited. We can’t be good enough. It involves divine intervention. We can’t work out salvation on our own. It requires assistance. We can’t go get it. It’s given freely.
- I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus. (1 Corinthians 1:4, NET)
- For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NET)
- But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, NET)
Any one who wants to experience God’s grace must respond to it through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (who died on a cross to set us free from sin), and accept Him as the Lord of life and the savior of every soul. Here repentance means confessing and turning from your sin. Any one who doesn’t respond to God’s grace in this manner will still end up in hell. Grace can’t save you unless you respond to it. Let me illustrate this principle.
One day Dr. Billy Graham was driving through a small southern town. He was stopped by a policeman and charged with speeding. Graham admitted his guilt, but was told by the officer that he would have to appear in court.
The judge asked, “Guilty, or not guilty?” When Graham pleaded guilty, the judge replied, “That’ll be ten dollars — a dollar for every mile you went over the limit.”
Suddenly the judge 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!”
This pattern is obvious in both Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible. Given below are some examples.
In the Old Testament
- The people of Nineveh – Jonah 3:1-10
- Prophet Joel to God’s chosen people – Joel 2:12-14
- King David after committing adultery with Bathsheba and putting her husband to death – Both of them deserved death penalty, (Leviticus 20:10); But God extended mercy to them after David’s repentance, (Psalms 51:1-13)
- Rahab – Joshua 2:1-19, James 2:25, Hebrews 11:31
In the New Testament
- Zacchaeus – Luke 19:8-9
- The bandit crucified with Jesus – Luke 23:39-43
- Peter – Luke 5:1-11
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