Beginning in Psalm 51:11, David asks that God not withdraw His presence, and he offers praises to God based on the salvation He provides. He will sing and tell others of God. Hezekiah says much the same thing in Isaiah 38. These two stand as examples of God’s grace to us.
Grace is amazing thing, but we do not always appreciate the power in God’s mercy and love. We live in fear, guilt, and trepidation because we have a hard time really accepting God’s grace. We understand the role of faith and Jesus’ blood. We understand the role of obedience. However, we cannot forget grace’s role in our salvation. (See Romans 3:23-24.)
Paul calls this grace “free.” There is nothing we have done to earn that grace. We love many things based on the joy or pleasure they bring us. However, God gave His love when we were still sat at enmity against Him. (See Romans 5:8-11)
Beginning in Romans 4, Paul speaks of Abraham. He asks if Abraham was justified in his works, if he had room to glory in himself. In verse 4, Paul makes it clear that God does not owe us salvation. It is a gift resulting from grace, and, if Abraham had no room to boast before God, we have no room to undermine the role of grace in our spiritual lives.
Paul on Grace
In Romans 3:7, Paul facetiously asks if it is okay to continue in sin so grace may come. (He reiterates this question in Romans 6:1.) Galatians 5:19-21 is a good example of how hard Paul is on sin. Did he tolerate sin in Corinth? Of course not, but his teachings on grace apparently made some feel he was being tolerant of sin for the sake of grace.
Returning to Romans 6 and 7, Paul addresses grace and questions regarding our response to this grace. He addresses this in 6:1, 6:15, and 7:7.
- Romans 6:1. Grace comes and covers our sins. Grace demonstrates God’s glory. Should we then continue sinning so we may glorify God? Paul denies this idea, and he says that we have died to sin, to live no more in it. (See also Luke 9:23-24.) Through grace, we have entered a covenant with God, and he reiterates this separation from sin in Romans 6:12-14, dying to sin and being alive to God.
- Romans 6:15. Being freely justified, does grace make it okay to sin? Are we free to do whatever we want? Again, Paul’s response is the same. We are either servants of sin or servants of God. Our character changes when we enter into God’s grace. Verses 22-23 makes it clear that both righteousness and sin are distinct paths with separate conclusions. If we abuse grace, it is removed.
- Romans 7:7. Does all of this mean that the law is sin? Do the works of the law negate the role of grace? Once more, Paul vehemently denies this, and he claims that one dovetails the other. The law makes us aware of those things that separate us from God and His grace. The word makes us aware of what pleases and displeases God, allowing us to approach the Creator who has shown us His grace. He restores us, and we, in turn, follow His expectations. The law points me to God.
Grace is God’s free gift. There is nothing I can give that will equal what God gives us. This grace brings us into a relationship with God that changes our character and our behaviors, and we can use God’s word as a guide to continue that relationship. Like David and Hezekiah, the gift of grace should make us wish to reciprocate – to praise God and tell others about Him.
God freely offers us a remedy for sin. He offers to heal us and make us whole. All we need to do is approach Him on His terms and accept the gift.
lesson by Tim Smelser