(Continued from Yesterday)
God says sin is still sin and outside of Jesus Christ, we face the wrath of God. Look at verse 3. Outside of Christ, we were children of wrath, deserving of divine punishment for our sins, deserving of death spiritually and physically, headed straight for an eternity in hell. But hear me. God’s Grace Reconciles Us. Look again at verses 4-6.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
First, two of the most beautiful words in the Bible. “But God….” Yes we were deserving of death. Yes we deserve to be eternally separated from God. Yes we deserve whatever God could or would dish out. “But God, who is rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us even when we were dead in our trespasses and sin, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved.”
Listen. Grace is the unmerited, undeserved favor of God. We didn’t earn it. We don’t deserve it. You can’t buy it. You can’t make a deal to get it. But you can receive it. By the grace of God — His goodness was poured out on a sinful world, and a people who deserved hell can have heaven. A people who deserve spiritual death can have spiritual life. A people who deserve the dregs of this world’s system can be raised up together to sit in the heavenly places.
God wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him. However, for that to be possible we must deal with what separates us from the Lord. That which separates us is our sin. The scriptures teach us that there is only one thing that provides a solution to the problem of our sin, and that is Christ’s death. Romans 5:10 says, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Christ’s work at the cross became a bridge between sinful beings and God. Only what Jesus did can provide forgiveness. Only Jesus death could reconcile man to God.
Then God’s Grace Remakes Us. Look at verses 8-10.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
One of the first things that has to go when we get saved is ego. Pride. Experiencing god’s grace requires a rejection of our works. Anyone who believes that they are going to get to heaven by their own works or merit is believing in the impossible. Notice that Paul says, “it is the gift of God.” What is the “it?” Now I have heard some say that the it in that verse refers to “faith.” But from what I know about the Greek language, that is grammatically wrong. The “it” which Paul calls the gift of God, is salvation. In Romans 6:23, Paul describes “eternal life” as the “gift of God.” Salvation is a gift from God. He offers this gift to us because of His grace. Because it is a gift… a true gift, then there is nothing that we can do to earn it, or pay for it, or it would not be a gift.
God offers us salvation. For us we can have it without cost to us. Now that doesn’t mean that it is cheap. Our salvation was costly. It cost our Savior His life. If you are depending on personal accomplishment of any kind for salvation, then let me tell you, you are going to be disappointed in eternity. You must reject your works and by faith receive God’s grace.
You don’t get there through the church. You don’t get there through good works. You don’t get there through Mohammed, Allah, Buddha, Hare Krishna, New Age Worship, Southern Baptists, Presbyterian, or Assemblies of God. You get there in Christ Jesus and Him alone. Hear me my friends. Some of you have been playing games with God for a long time. Looking to earn your way to salvation, to talk your way into heaven. There is only one name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved and that is the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and hear me now. In order to escape the wrath of God, in order to escape the power that sin has over you, in order to no longer be mastered by Satan, in order to be made alive, in order to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, then you must receive that Grace. You must accept it for yourself.
Then finally, Paul tells us in verse 10 that we are remade to do good works. Let me make something clear. We are not saved by good works. We are saved by grace so that we will do good works. We experience God’s grace and something happens. We now have a desire to do the Lord’s work. Not because we have to, but because we want to. Frankly, if you say you are saved, and yet you have no desire to be about the Father’s business, let me say that you don’t know the Lord.
(Taken from sermon preached in May 2015)