Riverside Community Church

Grace - Part 2

What’s so Amazing about Grace?

Grace: More than we deserve, Greater than we Imagine

Grace Happens Gift


Ian Turnbull played 628 career NHL games, scoring 123 goals and 317 assists for 440 points. In his best offensive season, (1976–77 while with the Maple Leafs), he set career highs with 22 goals, 57 assists, 79 points, and a +47 plus/minus rating.

-good stats but never got into the Hockey Hall of Fame -hockey heaven for hockey players

Lanny McDonald He played over 1,100 games during a 16-year career in which he scored 500 goals and over 1,000 points. His total of 66 goals in 1982–83 remains the Flames' goal leader in a season.

-great stats and he did go into the Hockey Hall of Fame -hockey heaven for hockey players


Question -what kind of stats do you need to get into heaven? Have you ever thought about that?


What do our life stats need to look like to get into heaven?  How many merit badges would it take to reach heaven?  Would we need to get all 121 badges like they have in boy scouts?  What if God graded us on how many badges we earned in life?  It makes sense that good people with lots of badges go to heaven, right?  The Boy Scouts have their manual and badges that they can earn, so what about Christians?


  • Read the Bible and earn your Bible badge.

  • We can pray and earn our praying hands badge.

  • We should attend church and receive the church badge.

And the list goes on and on. 


But how many merit badges does God demand of us?  If good people go to heaven, then how many merit badges do we need to earn?  You’d think God would tell us.  But the Bible doesn’t tell us how many badges we need to get to earn heaven.


God wants us to be honest, not to lie.  So, we should be earning merit badges for telling the truth, right?   But can you tell the truth 80% of the time and still earn it.  What if God requires 90%, but you’re at 89%?  Can you earn extra credit?  Do telling white lies to protect people count?  Does exaggerating count?  Who’s going to tell us if we’re still falling short of the threshold number? 


This is really getting complicated.


Most people will tell you . . . do good, you will be saved.  Do right and you will be saved.  Do more and you will be saved.  The entire premise is ~ do do, do. It’s like a song do, do, do, do-do-do. In fact, every religion has their version do, do, do, do-do-do.  They hold on to the premise that good people go to heaven.  Do this and you’re in. Except for one.

Our God chose not to grade on a merit system.  We have the kind of God who chose to save on a grace system.


The Jewish people were given the Law to follow, and they thought if I DO, DO, DO the law I’ll get into heaven, I’ll be good enough. I’ll have enough merit badges. They completely missed why God gave them the law.

Romans 5:20

Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound.


KGV the law came so that our sins would be exposed/revealed.

        ‘a Jewish man lied and then he read the law where it says “don’t lie” oh no I sinned. He reads further in the law and finds out “I have sinned so much, oh no so many sins.”

KGV the law came so that our sins would be exposed/revealed. And there are a lot of sins, they abound.


-catch what Paul writes about these abounding sins 

-But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:


-Paul further writes that the law was like a tough old school master who kept pointing out your mistakes, your sins and that this would force you to go to Jesus, by faith, to deal with your abounding sins because you couldn’t do the law.

Galatians 3:24

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.


Galatians 2:16

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.


-our God choose Grace, no works of righteousness no, no grace alone

        In Latin it is Solo Gratia, GRACE ALONE


For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works (No merit system here) lest anyone can boast. Ephesians 2:8

-grace is a gift, undeserved, unearned -God’s unmerited favour to you


What happens when grace happens?  You receive the most amazing gift.  It’s better than any Christmas present you’re going to receive this year.  Can you earn this gift?  No, because if you have to earn a gift, it’s no longer a gift.  This is a huge statement, it flies in the face of all the people and religions which believe if you’re good, you’re in.


But God tells us I will give you the gift of salvation because you can’t earn it, you can’t obey the law of God.  According to the Bible, it’s not that we’re good people who don’t know what to do, it’s really the opposite, we’re sinners, who can’t do enough good. We have a spiritual condition:

        -We are absolutely dead in trespasses and sins . . . - Ephesians 2:1

-We are . . . hopelessly lost . . . - Luke 19:10

-We are . . . desperately perishing . . . - John 3:16

-We are . . . totally blind . . . - 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

-our best efforts are, frankly, not good enough, in fact,

        … all our righteousness is like filthy rags.  - Isaiah 64:6


We really don’t like to hear that, do we?  It’s true, but it’s not good news.  We don’t like to admit we’re sinners, or wicked or commit iniquities.   Notice in the great hymn about grace, Amazing Grace, the first line goes like this . . .

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a decent guy like me


Oh, I wish, but then I wouldn’t need grace.  No, John Newton understood, we’re all wretches. 

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a WRETCH like me


Not a kind word, is it?  We tend not to dwell on the word wretch, instead we dwell on the word grace.  But maybe it would help to focus more on what it means to be a sinner and a wretch, so we can more appreciate that grace is a gift. And what A GIFT it is.


Paul tries to describe his condition and all human condition before receiving the gift of salvation, saving grace in Titus 3:


3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish (there is no God or I can get away with doing something bad-God will not be mocked), disobedient (knowing what is right and not doing it or knowing what is wrong and still doing it), deceived (like Eve in the garden ‘deceived’ did God really say you’ll die?), serving divers lusts and pleasures (lust of the eyes), living in malice and envy (sins of the flesh), hateful, and hating one another (broken relationships).

4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, (God’s grace appears now)

5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done (here’s that failed to miss the mark again, here’s that our righteousness is like filthy rags), but according to his mercy (that sweet and amazing grace) he saved us,


My intent in speaking about us as wretches and sinners is not to make you feel bad that you are a sinner but rather that, you, in knowing of your sinful condition see God’s gift to you personally as the greatest and most wonderful favour, yes grace, ever given to you ____________(your name)


-once you begin to understand the desperately serious sinful condition you’re in, then, and only then, can you begin to understand and appreciate the magnitude of God’s grace gift to you. God saved you from yourself, from your sin and from hell and God saved you to a new and better life, back to your loving God and to eternal life with God in heaven.


Sin is our intentional and unintentional moving away from God.  It’s our belief that ‘I’ comes before God.  And when we do that, we are committing sin.  Isaiah 53:6 says it well ~ We all, like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.


Romans 3:10-12 There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God.  12 All have turned away, …


-This gospel of Grace is a stumbling block to the Jews because they’re trying to obey the law and gain righteousness and grace is sheer nonsense to the Gentiles because they don’t perceive themselves as sinners.


We don’t need more ‘works’ to do, we need grace.  God does not save good people.  Let me say it this way . . . good people do not go to heaven.  You know why?  Because there are none.  But God does save sinners.  He does save those who admit they are in need of grace and forgiveness.


In Isaiah 55, we read these great words ~ 1 Come to me all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you have no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.


Who comes to God’s table?  You who have no money, you who are bankrupt, you who have nothing to bring, you who are spiritually bankrupt,

-you come and see the gift God is giving -you take the gift, you receive the gift, and opening it you are saved, you enjoy God’s unspeakable gift of amazing and saving grace.


When it comes to salvation, your merits do not matter.  Whatever great achievements you’ve accomplished, add nothing to what God has given you through Jesus Christ His Son.  It’s a gift.  And I might add, just as your merits add nothing, your demerits do not remove the free gift of salvation God has given to you through Jesus Christ.


So, your merits do not give you salvation, so you cannot boast; and your demerits do not take away your salvation, so you shouldn’t be afraid.  We live in a state of God’s wonderful and powerful, never ending amazing grace! 

 June 9, 2023