Grace is where life begins, both physical and spiritual. None of us exists by self-will; God chose to give us life. We are by His grace. Everyone, believers and infidels alike, is totally dependent on God’s grace (Acts 17:28). No one will live eternally except by that same divine grace. Grace is often accurately defined as “unmerited favor.” Our destiny is death (Rm. 6:23) except for the grace of God.
The greatest news of all time is this: For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men (Titus 2:11). It was a grace foretold in Scripture and eagerly longed for by so many; and then, in the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4) God sent forth His Son—the grace of God had appeared. That the Son of God was willing to come to earth and then die for our transgressions is God’s “indescribable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15).
We cannot deny, nor should we ever forget, that we are saved by His grace (Eph. 2:8). In the simplest of terms, this is HOW we are saved. Expressed another way, it by God’s grace that we are justified and have peace with God; and yet only through our faith can we stand in that grace (Rm. 5:1-2). In other words, salvation is only by God’s grace and cannot be achieved by any effort of human will—but that grace cannot be accessed except by an obedient faith (cf. Jn. 3:36).
Since faith cannot be realized without hearing (Rm. 10:17) we also have God’s grace in another form. The gospel that is preached is “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). This gospel is from the Holy Spirit that guides men into all the truth (Jn. 16:13). A third form of God’s grace is that when we obey the gospel message we’ve heard and believed to be true, then we have God’s “gift of the Holy Spirit” in us (Acts 2:38).
And it is God’s grace that sustains us. Our weaknesses as mortals should cause us to realize and boast in God’s grace. As Christ said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor. 12:9). Yet, we shouldn’t view God’s grace as being rationed so that we have just enough to get by. We have “abundant grace” (Acts 4:33).
By God’s grace we “receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken,” and our gratitude for that grace enables us to “offer to God an acceptable service” (Heb. 12:28). It is by grace that we have been given “eternal comfort and good hope” and the strength of heart for “every good work and word” (2 Thess. 2:16-17).
Every influence of the world we live in suggests that we can change. We can be more successful than we are. We can achieve more than we have. The culture of this nation is one of self-reliance. It is taught and encouraged in every way. Yet, no Christian whose life has been changed can ever boast in self. We are not changed people because we made it happen. We are who we are by the grace of God. Just as the apostle refused to forget that, saying, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain” (1 Cor. 15:10), neither should we forget that God makes us “a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17) and gives us “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). By what God has given us, we may grow “to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13).
The next time you sing the old hymn, “Amazing Grace,” think of all the ways that the free gifts of God work in your life and always be thankful that you are saved by grace.
DC Brown ©2016