The wonder of divine grace is never appreciated until we first learn our desperate condition as sinners before God. Sin has ruined us and caused us to wander far from God. Spiritually dark, without any ability to save ourselves, we discovered we were helpless; salvation could come from God alone. By faith in God’s Word we received God’s great salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We frequently define grace as favor, but grace implies more than favor. Grace is a free gift; it is undeserved favor. Grace among men is seen as thoughtfulness to others. It is expressed in kindness. We are interested, however, in grace in relation to salvation, the grace that permeates the message of the gospel. God’s grace is favor shown without worth or merit in us. Grace is one of the key attributes of God as Moses learned in Exodus 34:6 “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” Divine grace flows from a heart of love. Grace has been expressed as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
With the coming of the Savior, grace appeared. We view the manger at Bethlehem and bless God for the “Epiphany of Grace.” We often sing, “Down from the glory the Savior came”; John declares, “The Word was . . . full of grace and truth.” The triumph of Calvary gave the apostles a message of grace to announce. The apostle Paul had no difficulty preaching salvation by grace alone, having experienced the super-abounding grace of God. When we tell others about God’s great salvation we need never fear that the work of Calvary is not sufficient or the grace of God is not adequate to meet the sinner’s need. Romans 5:20 states that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, and this truth is illustrated for us in the feeding of the multitude – an abundance was left over (John 6). There is in God’s heart of love enough grace to save every sinner who has lived, or ever will live, on Planet Earth.
Throughout, the Scriptures give us glimpses of grace. We appreciate David’s grace to Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9; Romans 5:10 reminds us that when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God. We view the mighty man of wealth in Ruth 2 and his grace to a stranger. In Ephesians 2:12, we too were strangers, separated from God by our sin. Surrounded by sin and wickedness in Genesis 6, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Grace delivered Lot when judgment fell on the cities of the plain. When the Lord moved through Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, He displayed His grace to multitudes and not once did anyone deserve it. A good example of the Lord’s grace was the dying thief who spent his last moment on earth with Christ, was forgiven, and spent his first moment in Paradise with Christ. God’s grace was displayed in fullness when He, in His infinite love, stepped down from His eternal throne to take upon Himself the guilt of sin and the penalty which was rightly ours (1 Peter 3:18).
One of the basic, crucial, and anti-Biblical teachings of all the cults is that “salvation” is based on works or human merit, but not grace. Man tries to do the best he can for salvation, but if he is honest he has only failed miserably, because he has not always done his best. He may be sincere and religious, telling you he has never harmed anyone, but what about his thoughts and actions which have offended a holy God? Some may trust in their baptism or church attendance, but the very best that man, who is “an unclean thing,” can do in God=s eyes is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). A gospel preacher often illustrated man’s inability to do anything for God for salvation, as one taking a drink of water out of a dirty glass. Regardless of how clean or pure the water was when it went into the glass, when it came out it was contaminated. So are man’s good works. But God’s Word removes all doubt: Titus 3:5 states, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” Listen to Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved” and it is “not of works” which strips man of any glory. Some may ask, “What about the law of God?” We know the law is holy and makes known the mind and will of God. Man may have the ability to conform to some of the outward demands of the law, but even then all come far short of what God requires. None can love the Lord our God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. Consequently, “by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,” (made right with God). If we had the ability to work or keep the law for salvation, it would no longer be a gift from God, but rather it would be wages or a debt that God owed us. Never! Entrance into God’s heaven is based alone upon the work of Calvary, and all who receive this Savior by faith have peace with God, shall never perish, and have eternal life as a gift from this gracious God (Romans 6:23).
As those who have received salvation by grace alone, our hearts are filled with gratitude. We shall never cease to praise Him for such love. As we move through this world and troubles cross our path, we bless God for “sufficient grace” for the trial. When the road is steep and the going hard, “He giveth more grace.” Even now we can look back with joy at God’s marvelous grace and sing with John Newton,
“Amazing grace – how sweet the sound –
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
was blind but now I see.”