The Object Lesson – Grace Greater than all our Sin
We often attempt to minimize the amount of sin in our life. We are certain that we are better than our neighbors and coworkers. We are aware that we have some sin in our lives, but we don’t think we are really that bad.
The reality, however, is that we are drowning in sin. Every day we struggle with lying, gossip, sexual immorality, hatred, and much more. We can’t even make it through a day without losing our temper or bending the truth to get our way. Anyone who has tried to stop sinning on their own knows just how impossible our situation really is.
Sin is a real problem because it leads to death, and there is nothing we can do to overcome it. We can try really hard to stop sinning, but it won’t fix the problem. We can do a lot of good works, but it won’t fix the problem. Our sin has caused spiritual death, and we can do nothing to fix it.
For this demonstration, you will need a container of Acetone (https://amzn.to/3TuiRDu), packing peanuts (https://amzn.to/3wH0Bg2), and a large glass container (https://amzn.to/3R4mcYc). I dyed the acetone with some red food coloring. It serves to make the connection the blood of Christ, but it also allows the liquid to be more visible from the stage.
Fill the glass container with several handfuls of packing peanuts while describing the sin we struggle with. You can list specific sins, or walk through a typical day highlighting all the opportunities where selfishness or anger might lead us into sin. The point is to emphasize our situation apart from the grace of God.
The dramatic reveal takes place when you pour the acetone over the top of the peanuts. The peanuts will dissolve, giving the appearance of disappearing into the red liquid (the acetone breaks down the molecular bonds in the Styrofoam, allowing all the air to escape. Since Styrofoam is mostly air, it appears to have completely vanished). If you want to continue to emphasize the nature of grace, you can add peanuts after the fact and they will continue to dissolve and disappear.
The Bible Connection – Grace Abounds
In Romans 5, Paul is outlining the nature of sin and the power of Jesus’ sacrifice. He is contrasting the death that comes through sin, and the new life we can find in Christ. The passage comes to a culmination with one of the most powerful verses in the Bible found in Romans 5:20. Paul writes, “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin abounded, grace abounds all the more.”
A.W. Tozer says it best in his book Knowledge of the Holy.
To “abound” in sin: that is the worst and the most we could or can do. The word abound defines the limit of our finite abilities; and although we feel our iniquities rise over us like a mountain, the mountain, nevertheless, has definable boundaries: it is so large, so high, it weighs only this certain amount and no more. But who shall define the limitless grace of God? Its “much more” plunges our thoughts into infinitude and confounds them there. All thanks be to God for grace abounding.
In short, no matter how much we sin, grace will always be bigger. Our ability to sin is limited by our finite abilities, our limited time, and several other limitations. But there are no limits to God’s grace. No matter how much our sin abounds (or increases), grace always increases more.
This is what the Prodigal Son discovered when he came home. This is what the adulterous woman learned as Jesus wrote in the dirt. This is what Paul found for himself on the road to Damascus. Every story is dripping with the grace of God.
Scriptures to Study and Use
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
1 Peter 2:24
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.