Jay Sanders, pastor
Towaliga Baptist Church, Jackson
You’ve probably never sang the following song in your church.
How sweet the sound
That paid a hard worker like me…
If you do sing a song like that in your church, find a new one. As Christians, we love to talk about grace and sing about grace.
It’s possible that all of our talking and singing about grace is just lip service. While we would never publicly sing a song about God’s amazing payment to us for our hard work and all-around goodness, it’s easy for us to live as though that was true.
In this week’s passage, Paul reminds us there is a difference between a paycheck and grace. A paycheck is something you deserve. The last thing we want from God is what we deserve. What we need is grace.
Grace reminds us of our natural condition – Romans 5:6
We had nothing to offer God. He didn’t save us because He needed us on His team. We aren’t blue chip recruits. Remember, we have to know the bad news before we can know the good news.
In our natural condition, we are enemies of God. But God, in His grace, sent His Son to die for ungodly people like us.
Grace reveals the depth of God’s love – Romans 5:7-8
When I was a kid I heard an evangelist say churches needed to start putting the altars out in the parking lot so people could get their act together before coming in. He got a lot of Amens when he said that. I don’t think the people realized what they were saying Amen to.
Aren’t you glad God doesn’t require us to get our act together before coming to him? If He did, we would always be out in the parking lot. But, in His grace and through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God welcomes us in.
Why is that? As we have already seen, it’s not because of anything we have to offer. It is solely because of His great love.
Grace rescues us from what we deserve – Romans 5:9
Have you ever studied the attributes of God? They are fascinating. We all know people who are wise, but His wisdom is infinite. We pursue justice on earth, but His justice is perfect. We hate dishonesty, but we still tell lies.
God never lies. The attributes of God are so fascinating because they give us a greater glimpse of God and His perfect character.
But there is one attribute of God the Christian will never know. If you are a part of God’s family, you will never know the wrath of God. Although we may not like to talk about it, God’s wrath is real. And it is just. But because of God’s grace, Jesus took on the wrath of God that we fully deserved.
When Jesus said on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He guaranteed his people would never have to speak those same words.
Grace gives us reasons to rejoice – Romans 5:10-11
Our natural sin condition and unworthiness to be called Children of God aren’t the only things Christians tend to forget. Sometimes we forget our new standing before God. We speak as though our identity is still found in our sin.
While we aren’t perfect, we are saints. That’s not how we typically like to speak of ourselves. But it is what the Bible frequently calls us.
Because of God’s grace, we have been reconciled to Him. That means we have a relationship with Him. And it means that we have life and salvation because of Him.
All of that comes together to produce within us a genuine sense of worship and gratitude because of the grace of our great God who has set us free from our natural condition and given us a place in his family for all eternity.
When we come to grips with the weight of God’s grace, we will not care whether or not our worship songs involve organs or guitars or if the words are on a screen or in a hymnal. Our primary concern in worship will be the God who set us free. The fuel for our worship will not be the style of the music but rather Jesus, our One Great Savior.