Understanding Grace

Understanding Grace

18 Jan 2014 Service – Dr A.R Bernard

There are 3 things that God wants from a man: Decisiveness, Consistency and Strength

There are 3 things that a woman wants from man: Decisiveness, Consistency and Strength

There are 3 things that a man struggles with in life: Decisiveness, Consistency and Strength

When he demonstrates a reasonable degree of consistency, that secures his wife.
When he’s strong, he demonstrates that strength through his gentleness.

God commands man to love his wife:

If you love her for no reason and conditions then you won’t have crisis. And this is how God so loved the world. How Jesus loves the church. How a husband is to love his wife. Humans seek love, to love, to be loved. But they lack an innate ability to do so. Sometimes, they fail to receive it, sometimes they even reject it.  Just like how the world rejected Jesus Christ.

Redemptively. Sacrifically. Unconditionally. All of these is really just describing something called GRACE.
Preaching is designed to stir and excite you. But teaching is designed to ground you, to disciple you.

When the Bible uses the word law, it’s a rule which governs human conduct.

The Law of Moses
God introduced the Law of Moses, given to the children of Israel.

For a period of time, it was a complete system, lacking nothing. A complete system simply meant that nothing could added to it to make it better. It was merit based. If you keep the law, you will be blessed.

But although the system was complete, it failed to control human conduct. The flesh is not subject to the law of God because of human’s fallen nature.

Jesus’ Kingdom — When Jesus establishes his Kingdom on the earth.
He will rule with a rod of iron. This meant that He will be very strict and stern.

From the Law of Moses: You shall not commit adultery….
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matt 5:27-28

“But I say to you….” he was elevating himself above the Law of Moses. Jesus was acting in the capacity of King. And in doing so, He also elevated the Law of Moses!

The Law of Moses dealt with the ACTION. But the law He was introducing dealt with the INTENT OF THE HEART. So even if you didn’t do it, but thought about it, you have already done it in your heart.

In between the two systems, God introduces a period called grace. And this is where we are today. We’re not under the severity of the Law of Moses, nor are we under the extremity of the law of God now (otherwise we would all be walking around with limbs chopped off!). We are in a period called grace.

And Grace is the most privileged period in history. It is a time of God’s grace. The more you understand it the more you will celebrate it.

16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. Jn 1:16,17

Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Moses was just the instrument of God to bring in the Law of Moses.

Grace is better understood as graciousness. Kind, considerate, forgiving, warm hearted. Sympathetic, affectionate. That is God’s attitude and feelings towards you. If you don’t understand God’s attitude towards you, then you will misjudge him.

One example is the Parable of the Talents:
Why did the guy with one talent bury his one talent? Because of his attitude towards his master. Because he did not understand the master’s heart towards him. The essence of the parable seems to lie in the servants’ conception of who the master was.

“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.” Matt 25:24

So knowing God’s heart and mind towards you is critical. And that is grace. Grace is for a limited time. When this period of grace is over,  then a new legal system will kick in to society.

The law is a system based on merit and work – What you do will determine what you get
Grace is a system based on FAITHWhat you believe will determine what you get

That’s why We are saved by grace and not by works!
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. Eph 2:8-9

No man comes to me unless the Father draws him. Grace is the father pulling you. Grace is what got you saved. Grace is what keeps you saved. Grace is what increases your affection for Jesus.

In our human nature, we are selfish. Grace increases your affection

God is at work with you!
13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philip 2:12

It’s the work of God’s redemptive, sacrificial and unconditional love for you.

He brought grace, that’s why the ‘people of the law’ (such as the scribes and Pharisees) had a hard time with him. Because they were used to the Law of Moses. The up holders and the keepers of the law couldn’t understand why Jesus was doing what he was doing.  Eg eating with the sinners etc..

They were used to the law. But He was demonstrating grace. They had so much conflict that they wanted Jesus dead! Jesus didn’t just preached it, he lived it, he demonstrated it.

Perfect Explanation of Grace (Jn 8)
People are there at the temple, and Jesus is there teaching. And the scribes and Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus and brought Him a woman caught in adultery.

3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”

The woman was most probably set up, think about this, how did the Pharisees catch her, and on the very act ? They needed to know where she was, what time, etc. And who knows how long did they watch the show before interrupting!

Moreover, in the Old Testament law, both the man and woman caught in adultery will be stoned. But the man was conveniently ‘absent’.

Notice in verse 5, it says “in the LAW“.  What they didn’t understand was Jesus didn’t come to bring the law, He brought GRACE.

When they were asking Him what does He say, they were really asking what does grace say? They were comparing grace and the law.

What does the law do? The law only accuses!

V6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. 7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience,went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

They left one by one… And they represented the law.10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” 12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” – He silenced the law. There is no condemnation in Christ!!

Important points of the story:
#1 Jesus did not dispute the charges of the woman. Which meant she was guilty. The law brought her to Jesus and accused her.

#2 Jesus gives her protection from the crowd that was looking to stone her. Because the law condemned her. He protected her from the accusations of the law.

#3 Jesus gave her dignity and self esteem. Grace gave her dignity. How?
He was showing her that she was no worse than the very individuals who were accusing her. He gave her a sense of self esteem by letting her know she’s not the only sinner in town.

Grace does not deny sin in your life but protects you from the accusations of the law.

#4 Jesus gave her forgiveness. He released her from condemnation.
Grace gave her protection, forgiveness, dignity and self esteem, released from condemnation.

BUT! It made a demand on her lifestyle. What demand? “Go and sin no more!”

This is the biggest problem with the world. They want all the benefits but they don’t want Jesus to make a demand in their lifestyles. Sin has consequences! Grace offers you all the promises of God, but also makes a demand on how you live.

Grace doesn’t punish you for sinning, sin does. For the wages of sin is death. Go and sin no more, because God knows you will be back in the same spot next week. Change the way you live so that grace and lifestyle can work together.

Grace is God’s freedom. Freedom needs boundaries. Rules.
The greatest threat to freedom is freedom.

When you understand grace, then you will live a life of gratitude and appreciation.
Walk in the freedom, free of guilt, walk in the protection of God’s grace.
Live a lifestyle that complements grace and does not trap you in bondage ever again.