by Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
People who read the Bible and go to church are very familiar with the word grace; however it is a word not readily understand by many others. When speaking to unbelievers I have often asked if they could tell me the meaning of the word and most admitted they could not.
Grace means you are given something you do not deserve
The scriptures repeatedly make it clear that salvation is by grace. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Grace here means you are given something you do not deserve. It is unmerited favor. You cannot earn it, you cannot pay for it.
I asked a lady recently about her hope for heaven and without hesitation she said she was depending on her good works. She said, “I do all the good I can possibly do and feel that will take me to heaven.” I told her in spite of her diligent effort and sincerity, her works could not save her. God’s word says it is not of works; as sinners, our only hope of heaven is through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.
There are those who have an entitlement attitude. They believe they are better than a lot of people and so feel entitled to a smooth life here and heaven hereafter. Others, who are accustomed to working for what they receive, have difficulty accepting the idea of free grace.
In John Newton’s well-loved hymn he writes:
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!
It takes God’s grace to make us know we need grace. In our fallen state we are shut up to the mercy of God. By grace we are shown we cannot save or help to save ourselves, and the salvation we need is a gift. By faith we turn to Jesus Christ, believing on Him as our Savior and then learn that even the faith itself is a gift.
God identifies Himself as the God of all grace. His people were chosen by grace in the covenant before the foundation of the world. He predestinated them “unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ…to the praise of the glory of his grace” (Ephesians 1:5-6). When Jesus came to earth He came full of grace, and it was by grace that He redeemed His people. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7). It is by grace that He called us and drew us to Himself. “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (II Timothy 1:9). And it is by grace we are kept secure. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).
Thru many dangers toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
© Baptist Bible Hour
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