Previously, we examined the truth that everyone is subject to God’s punishment for sin, and this time we will briefly look at the necessity of God’s grace. Before that, however, let’s review our list of essential Christian beliefs:
1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts.
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
9. The triunity of God
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.
So far, we’ve seen that, in plain terms, God made everything (and everyone), and as Creator He has both the power and authority to make the rules and set the punishment for any offenses. We’ve also seen that every one of us had disobeyed those rules and have rejected God’s terms for life, liberty, and contentment with Him. We are all therefore deserving and certainly subject to punishment unless God Himself rescues us from it.
That act of rescue is the ultimate demonstration of God’s grace toward us.
What is grace? Grace is unmerited favor, mercy, and compassion.
I think it would do us good to pause for a bit and consider what that punishment for what the Bible terms ‘sin’ is before we look at why we need to be concerned about it, and why the only escape is by the grace of God.
The word ‘sin’ is essentially shorthand for “anything you say, anything you think, or anything you do that displeases or disobeys God”. Romans 3:23, 5:12-18 and Ephesians 2:1-5 clearly state that not only have we all sinned, but that the result of and punishment for sin is death.
And this death is not just physical death, but an eternity separated from everything that is good.
This is where the necessity of God’s grace comes in. Not only does the concept run throughout scripture, but Paul wrote no less than three books of the Bible – Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians – detailing the futility of trying to gain God’s favor by any good deeds we can do or by following any formula to do so.
Since there is NOTHING we can do, no law or formula to follow, no gift of goods or money we can give to escape death and destruction, we are, as Paul said in Ephesians 2, “without hope and without God”.
What hope is there, then? Only this: the grace and mercy of God. Over and over, the Bible emphasizes that salvation from the penalty of sin is by the grace and mercy of God through Christ. (I John 4:9-10, Eph. 2:4-5, 8-9, Gal. 2:16, Acts 15:11, Titus 3:4-7)
Here are some resources you might find useful:
This 1/2 hour video of Stuart Beadle explaining God’s grace is quite informative, and covers a LOT. He is very easy to follow as well.
Rob Green explains grace here, and provides not only the ‘what is it’, but the ‘here’s what you do with it’. You can either read the transcrip or listen to the audio.
The Open Bible has a long list quoting Bible verses relating to God’s Grace.