The Gift of God

Romans 5:15

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

Romans 5 is a long and complicated comparison between Adam and Jesus.  In essence, Paul summarizes that because Adam brought death into the world by himself, this made it possible for only one man – Jesus – to bring grace into the world.

Scripture is clear that we are born sinful.  Not only are we sinful at birth as a result of Adam’s sin we are quite capable of sinning on our own and do so on a regular basis.  All of this sinning means that we deserve to be punished which means we are worthy of death in God’s eyes.

But Jesus is much greater than Adam.  Even before the fall of man, Adam was not capable of bringing grace into the world.  At best he could live his life the way it was meant to be lived and prevent death from entering into the world through him.

Only through Jesus was grace able to enter into the world.  Grace is not an Old Testament concept.  People lived and died by virtue of their own righteousness or what God attributed to them through faith.  It is only when Jesus completed His mission on the cross that grace entered into the world.

Jesus was a gift from God when He came to earth.  His grace was a gift to us in place of our sin.  And our salvation is a gift as a result of having God’s grace replace our sins.

Access to Grace

Romans 5:1-2

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

As should be no surprise, faith is one of the most important keys to Christian life.  Our justification comes as a result of faith.  Faith is what gives us access to Jesus.

Because we have Jesus, we have grace in our lives.  There are many things that happen at the moment of salvation.  There are numerous theological terms used to describe different parts of what happens at that moment.  In the end we can’t fully grasp everything that happens at the moment of our salvation.

What we do know is that everything starts with faith.  God continually calls sinners to repentance but there needs to be a response to Him.  A person must respond in faith in order to receive all that God has for them.

Not only does faith give us access to grace through Jesus Christ, it opens the door to all of the wonders of Christianity.  We have hope where before we had no reason for hope.  And we have reason to rejoice because God has given us so much just in exchange for our faith.

Justified

Romans 3:22-24

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 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.

Justification is a term that is used a lot in church but the meaning of the word isn’t thought about too often.  The word is similar to justice so that gives us a starting point in our understanding but doesn’t fully answer the question.

There are numerous religious words that all have the same general idea behind them.  To be justified is to be made righteous.  It is the same thing as being sanctified or being made holy.  These terms are all lumped together because they are all related to our salvation and take place at the same time.

All of these terms mean that God takes our sin, applies His grace to us, and gives us His righteousness.  It is more than just the balancing of a scale – giving us enough grace to counteract our sin.  Our sin is completely removed.  The debt that we owe is completely wiped clean so that all God sees when He looks at us is His grace and righteousness.

Justification is a legal term.  Because of our sin we should be found guilty before God.  But our justification removes that sin and therefore God no longer sees us as guilty.

Grace and Apostleship

Romans 1:5

Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.

We know that grace is important as a matter of our salvation.  Grace is also an important part of our daily Christian walk.  It is by grace that we are given spiritual gifts and that we are allowed to work for the Lord.

In our sinful state, we are of no use to God.  We have no testimony to share because we have not been changed.  Because of God’s grace though, we have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to tell others about.

Not only is God’s grace the subject of our testimony, it is also the source of our testimony.  It is God who enables us to have the courage to speak to others about His gospel.

We are all called to make disciples, but each person is enabled to do so in different ways.  Paul could speak to people directly.  Other people are gifted with acts of service that show God’s love and open the door for the opportunity to share.  Still others are natural encouragers, teachers, or administrators.

God’s grace is the subject of our message, regardless of how it is told.  And God’s grace is the reason that we have the ability to share it with others.

Law and Grace

John 1:17

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

In “The Word Became Flesh” we looked at the need for balance between grace and truth.  There is no similar balance between law and grace, only differences between the two.

The Law of Moses didn’t accomplish what it was meant to do.  Instead of bringing righteousness by instructing the Israelites of God’s expectations, it only brought guilt as the people then knew that they were disobeying God.

The law brought guilt and death because it was unable to be upheld.  Ultimately the law was meant to drive home the fact that the people were sinful and in need of a savior.  When Jesus arrived, some acknowledged that they were sinners and repented of their ways.  Others clung to their self righteousness and claimed that they had upheld the law.

Jesus’ arrival meant the end of trying to live righteously by following the Law of Moses.  Righteousness was given in the form of grace.  It was free to all who asked because they acknowledged their lack of righteousness.

The grace of Jesus made up for everything that the law was lacking.  We couldn’t obtain righteousness through the law so God gave it to us in abundance through Jesus.