The Message of the Cross: Grace
January 25, 2015
The story (I assume it’s apocryphal, but who knows…) is told about a woman who went to a photographer to get a portrait done. She was anticipating the day when he would call her back to see the result of his work on her photos.
When he revealed the pictures, she was aghast. In her estimation the photos were terrible — they made her look too old, too heavy, and too unhappy. They were nothing like her, in her estimation. So she complained about them and he resisted and pointed out some positive features about the pictures, which just provoked her anger and disappointment even more. She then threatened not to pay, which provoked him to being less than kind with his assessment. Finally, she exploded, “These pictures are terrible — I demand justice!” Too which he quickly replied, “Lady, you don’t need justice; you need mercy.”
It is true that we all need mercy; we just aren’t always ready to admit our need.
In 2 Timothy, Paul exhorts his young disciple, “Remember Christ Jesus, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel” (2:8). Every time we come to the communion table, that is what we are doing: we are remembering the person and work of Christ. And as we come to the communion table this morning, I want to remind us of one of the great themes that emanate from the cross: the grace of God.
As you turn to the familiar passage of John 1, you will remember that the main theme of that passage is the advent of Christ and the testimony that attested to Him. But at the end of the introductory section of that chapter (vv. 14-18), the sub-theme of God’s grace appears. It is those verses and that theme that I want to particularly draw to your attention. And as we examine these verses, we will find that —
Christ’s life and the cross reveal the extent of God’s grace.
This passage reveals three means of God’s grace — and the magnitude and depth of God’s grace increases with each successive revelation, culminating in the person of Christ.
- Common Grace: Gods’ Grace Revealed to All Men (vv. 14-15)
- Common Grace: God’s Grace Revealed through the Law (v. 16b)
- Particular Grace: God’s Grace Revealed through Christ (vv. 16a, 17)
Download the rest of this sermon on John 1:14-17.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.