READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | The Greek word for grace is “charis” which means undeserved gift or unmerited favour.
5 areas of God’s grace when we are justified in Christ:
1. Grace of Peace of God (V1)
Justification is God’s declaration that we are not guilty or declared righteous in status in His sight. Peace is not the absence of trouble but the knowledge that we are of right standing, accepted and free from the wrath of God. The world needs to work for peace but Christians receive peace that rules in our hearts, giving us joy and contentment. Despite challenges, troubles and suffering we do not need to worry (Phil 4:7).
2. Grace of Access to God’s Presence (V2)
Unlike Old Testament times, we do not need a priest to enter the Holy of Holies. V1,2 celebrate our full access to God. After justification, we continue to live out each day by God’s grace and rejoice in the hope of eternity with God. Jesus is the door through which we are saved (Jn 10:9). This grace enables us to rejoice even in suffering.
3. Grace of Growing in Christian Character (V3-4)
Trials will not bring us down when we are truly justified. It is through hardships that we enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12).
In Christ, we can rejoice knowing that God will take our trials and work them out for our good. Endurance in suffering produces Christian maturity. The Bible is replete with many examples of faith that is tested. We all go through trials in different degrees. There are mountaintop experiences when we have close encounters with God and valley experiences when we face challenges and discouragement and we choose whether to be bitter or endure and pray for God’s help. The Christian faith is not just living transfiguration moments and trying to stay up but can be intentional in going to the valleys where we walk by faith, not by sight. Jesus chose to go to the valley where He agonised in Gethsemane before going to the Cross. When we see suffering as an opportunity to grow in Christian character, we change our attitude and not circumstances. Our faith which is more precious than gold is proved genuine when we are refined by the fire of trials (1 Pet 1:7). We submit to God for Him to accomplish His work in us and through us as exemplified by Abraham, Joseph and Moses.
4. Grace of God’s love within us (V5-8)
God is the epitome of perfect love — agape love which is godly and sacrificial love for the weak and ungodly. God’s agape love led to John Wesley’s heart-warming experience and filled him with unspeakable joy. He was moved to strive for Christian perfection which is a lifelong journey to wilfully choose not to sin.
50 years ago, the ACS clock-tower revival was birthed after a group of students began gathering each day to pray, resulting in an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on many of their schoolmates and eventually spread to other schools. What happened then can also happen today, as God’s love within us enables us to grow more like Christ.
5. Grace of Reconciliation in God (V9-11)
God saved us while we were enemies who ignored and rejected Him. He initiated reconciliation and reached out to us by sending Jesus to pay the price for our sins. His resurrection on the third day proved that He is the Son of God. Jesus died on our behalf to give us right standing before God and we are reconciled with God when we put our faith in Jesus. As recipients and beneficiaries of God’s grace, we proclaim the good news to others so that many more may experience God’s grace.
(Sermon notes by Woo Choi Yin)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- What is one key takeaway for you from this message?
- Which of the 5 areas of Grace are most evident in your life today?
- Share a time when you went through a time of trial and suffering. How did God shape you during that time of testing?
- Share an experience when you felt God’s love within you in your Christian journey. How did that love of Christ transform you?
- Are there people in your life that we can share this good news of the Triumphant Reign of Grace in Jesus Christ today?