When I was on the speaker’s tour for 27 years, the seminar began every weekend on the subject of “GOD’S AMAZING GRACE“. Like many English words, grace can mean most anything you want it to mean. Other forms are “grateful”, “gratified”, “gracious”, “gratuity”, or “Your Grace”, “gratis”, “ingrate”, “disgrace”, “persona non grata”, “gracias”, “Hail Mary, Full of Grace” and as we bow our heads around the table, someone say “grace”. Some name their daughters Grace.
When I would begin the lesson on grace I would clearly state that the lesson is not about “assembling”, “Covenant”, “Old Testament”, “New Testament”, “baptism,” “mission”, “Bible”, “burial”, “sin”, “repentance”, “creed”, “confession”, “giving”, “prayer”, “teaching”, “worship”, “Lord’s Supper”, “saints”, “disciple”, “family”, “singing”, “body”, “bride”, “pastor”, “organization”, “Church”, “deacon”, “head”, “A.D. 33″, Spirit”, “fruits”, and a thousand other words that could be added.
GRACE IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL THESE WORDS AND CONCEPTS FOR IT LIES BENEATH EACH OF THEM. Without God’s grace none of them would have meaning or reverence .
Other great words come into play. “Salvation”, “Justification”, “Redemption”, “Adoption”, “Sanctification”, “Propitiation”, “Pardon”, “Expiation”, “Forgiveness”, “Hope”, “Love”, “Mercy”, and “faith”. The grace of God stands beneath each of these concepts and applications. It underscores and gives life to each term that gives hope, love and mercy to all who embrace it.
Cheap grace is non-biblical if not anti-biblical. It is a misuse of the word and an abuse of the term. God through Christ paid a price we could not pay and a price they did not owe. Cheap grace relies on man’s works alone.
The grace of God is the totality by which men and women are made righteous (Romans 3:24; Titus 3:7). By grace Paul was called (Galatians 1:15). The grace of God is bestowed on us through his Son (Ephesians 1:6). God’s grace has appeared for the salvation of all men (Titus 2:11). Grace is a store through which we have access to Christ (Romans 5:2). It is received in abundance (Romans 5:17). It is the state or condition in which we stand (Romans 5:2). The grace of God has abounded more than sin (Romans 5:15; 20-21; 6:1). It is given us in Christ (I Corinthians 1:4). The surpassing grace of God is within the Christian (II Corinthians 9:14). It extends to more and more people (II Corinthians 4:15). Grace stands in opposition to human works, which lacks the power to save. If human works had the power, the reality of grace would be annulled or cancelled (Romans 11:5ff; Ephesians 2:5ff; II Timothy 1:9). Grace stands in opposition to law. Both Jews and Gentiles are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus (Acts 15:11). To hold to the law is to nullify grace (Galatians 2:21.) When the Galatians accepted the law, they had fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4). The gospel itself, which is the good news of grace, can be called grace (acts 20:24), the word of his grace (Acts 14:3; 20:32).
“When I was a little boy, my mother died. My father died when I was four. I was thirteen years old, it was Christmas week and I was caught in sin and dragged to court.
I couldn’t cry anymore. I was guilty. I couldn’t look at the judge. They packed to court room. I didn’t have a friend. All their faces said, “Guilty! Judge, throw the book at him and save us trouble later on.” The judge appointed one to take my case. He sat down and slipped his arm around me. It was the first tender touch I had ever felt. I saw tears in his eyes. “Why don’t you just throw yourself on the mercy of the court?
We stood before the judge. “I stand here with this trembling orphan child, without mother or father, home or friend to beg your honor’s mercy. I have noticed that when the ends of justice can be secured and society protected, it’s been your Honor’s custom to show mercy.” He spoke until silence filled every corner of the court. “If you will have mercy on this boy, I want to adopt him as my very own.”
Then the greatest shock of all came. He said, “My Father. The intentness of my love for my little client comes out of the fact that he is my brother.” I wasn’t much on math but I could see at once that if the judge on the bench was the father of my attorney and the attorney was my brother, then the judge was my father too.
“I gave a shout . . . I made a leap”. Then the judge stood and said, “Let us all rejoice for the lost has been found and the dead is alive.”
The apostle Paul wrote it simply, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
John Newton wrote, “Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me . . . I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.”