Can you imagine receiving a gift that is unearned, undeserved and unrepayable? When we receive the grace of God we have secured the gift of salvation from our sins and have a home in heaven awaiting us.
The word charis (grace) “has been distinctively appropriated in the New Testament to designate the relation and conduct of God towards sinful man as revealed in and through Christ, especially as an act of spontaneous favor, of favor wherein no mention can be made of obligation.”
“Grace” is divine favor bestowed in the redemptive gift of Christ and independent of any inherent righteous worth resident in rebellious humanity. The original word contains the idea of kindness which bestows upon one what he has not deserved. Franklin Camp observed, “Grace is God’s graciousness, the divine influence of God through Christ and the gospel which touches man’s heart and is reflected in a life of gratitude and loving obedience.”
The Bible has much to say about grace (Gen. 6:8; Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:10; 1 Pet. 1:10). “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-7).
Mercy, love and the grace of God are involved in making salvation from sin a reality. Man is on a course to getting that which he deserves (justice, punishment). Mercy is God withholding the punishment we rightfully deserve. Grace is God not only withholding that punishment but offering the most precious of gifts instead.
Realize Salvation is God’s Gift
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).
God has planned and supplied this costly gift, making it available for all. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). This grace is recognized as being from God and Christ. “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ’ (John 1:17). “And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).
Receive Salvation by Godly Faith (Eph. 2:8)
I would like to quote the estimable Guy N. Woods:
“Salvation is attributable to many things in the scriptures. God saves; Christ saves; we are saved by the revelation of truth made by the Holy Spirit; we are saved by grace, by faith, by works, by baptism, by ourselves! (Acts 2:40). God saves us by having given us a plan whereby we may be saved; Christ saves us by having executed this plan, and the Holy Spirit saves us by having revealed this plan. We are saved by grace, because of God’s love for us; by faith, since it is the motivation which leads us to accept the plan; by works because through keeping God’s commandments we appropriate salvation; by baptism, because it is the final and consummating act of salvation. To select one of them-baptism, for example-and to insist that because it is said that “baptism doth also now save us” (1 Peter 3:21), we are therefore saved by baptism alone is to be guilty of grave and fatal error, but error no more grave, nor less fatal, than to assert, as some among us today do, that we are saved by grace apart from, and independent of, the conditions on which the Lord bestows salvation” (Guy N. Woods, Shall We Know One Another In Heaven? p. 160).
Reflect Salvation with Good Works
“Not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:9-10).
Meritorious works appropriate nothing in relation to our being saved from our sins (Titus 3:5). We need to be active in good works (Tit. 3:1). Good works are born of faith (James 2:14-17). They are fulfilled in accordance with God’s Law (Col. 3:17). A Christian’s service in doing good must be accomplished for God’s glory, not our own (Matt. 5:16).
He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay. I needed someone to wash my sins away. So now I sing a brand new song – Amazing Grace. Christ Jesus paid the debt I could never pay.
Steve Miller is the associate minister at the Gold Hill Road Church of Christ in Fort Mill, SC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .