“For by grace you have been saved”
By Jon W. Quinn
I don't deserve to be treated this way! It
doesn't seem right. It certainly isn't equitable. Are you wondering what I am
complaining about? I'll tell you.
I am not complaining about anything at all. You probably thought that the
title and first paragraph was a complaint because that's how those phrases are
usually spoken. But not this time, because I am using them to express the
truth about what God has done for me. The New Testament translates the Greek
noun “charis” into our English word grace. Synonyms include kindness, goodwill
and a gift of favor. You cannot adequately discuss God's relationship with man
without using this word. In fact, it is used about 150 times in the New
Testament. Predominately, it is used to speak of what God has done for us
through His Son to bring about our redemption; including His promises, His
incarnation as a human being, His teaching, His works, His self-sacrifice on
the cross, His resurrection, His ascension and His New Covenant including its
provisions and commands.
All these things of grace relate to our hope of eternal salvation. Perhaps the
most well known passage in the Bible that speaks of grace and salvation states
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,
it is a gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8).
How Grace Became Reality
"For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through
Jesus Christ." (John 1:17). Every human being stands in need of grace because
of the sins he or she has committed. Grace would not be needed if we had no
sin or if there were some way to redeem ourselves. Grace is sorely needed
because the consequences of sin is so very great. There is no end to the
consequences of sin. The ruin sin brings to an individual is eternal. By our
sins we make ourselves entirely and utterly unfit for God's companionship. The
evil of sins that we committed a half a lifetime ago continue to hang over us
rendering our souls accursed, and will continue to do so unto the end of time
and throughout all eternity. Apart from grace there is absolutely nothing that
any of us can do about it at all! Without the grace of God we are forever
hopeless, blind, wretched and destined for eternal misery.
I am too unworthy to even approach God and beg that He do something for me to
help my situation. Think about this: suppose you had found out before Jesus
came that your only hope was for Him to leave heaven and come here in the form
of a man. To face temptation and tragedy; rejection and mocking; cruel torture
and agonizing death. And He had to do it all perfectly, allowing Himself no
margin at all for error. How easy would it have been for you to ask Him to do
all that for you? Would you have offered Him some payment, bribe or reward?
What would it have been? Would you have tried to "make it worth His while?"
How would you have tried to convince Him to do all that as you stood before
the Lord of heaven and earth; the Creator of the cosmos; the King whom you had
turned your back upon by your disobedience; as He sat upon His throne with
blazing glory and searched your heart with His eyes as of flames of fire?
Fortunately, we never had to ask Him to do this great thing for us. He
volunteered because He loves us and saw our great need. He knew we had no
means to pay Him back, and that we never would have. He came anyway. This is
grace. It is real. It is our hope and confidence.
Some Things Grace Does Not Do
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace might increase?
May it never be..." (Roman 6:1,2). God's grace is great. It is powerful and
fulfills the purpose of God. But there are some things which it was never
intended to do. It cannot be abused or taken for granted.
There is no grace apart from Jesus. God provides His favor only through Jesus,
His Son (Acts 4:12). There quite simply is no other redeemer; no other hope;
no other method or no other system by which we can be saved (1 Corinthians
There is no grace apart from faith in the gospel. Paul sought to spend his
life testifying "solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God." (Acts 20:24).
The gospel is the good news of God's grace and is "the power of God unto
salvation." (Romans 1:16). And understand that salvation by God's grace
through our faith in Christ's gospel is not automatic. Those who do not obey
the gospel are not saved by God's grace (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
Grace is not based upon our works of human merit. By this, we simply mean that
we cannot be good enough to cause God to be in our debt so as to owe us
salvation based on the wonderful things we have done. To try to explain our
need for Jesus away is empty and futile. To talk about how God will certainly
bless us because we've done this or that great thing and have done few wrong
things is to secure our own eternal defeat (Titus 3:5). Please understand that
this is not to say that our obedience to the gospel is unnecessary. Notice the
need to obey the gospel is emphasized in the phrase "by the washing of
regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit." That is the same thing as Jesus
said was necessary as He talked to Nicodemus ; "...unless one is born of water
and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5). The
salvation by the blood of Christ which we receive when we by faith obey the
commands of the gospel is not a result of our human efforts but of God's power
and stated purpose.
Access Into This Grace
"Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our
Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by
faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of
God." (Roman 5:1,2). All have sinned and are in need of God's grace. God
desires that all sinners be saved, and therefore has made grace available unto
all men everywhere (Titus 2:11). The thing that you and I and everyone on this
planet has to do in order to gain entrance into this grace is to meet God's
conditions for pardon. Nothing else will do. No more than that is necessary,
no less than that is enough. We must put our faith in Jesus, and then we must
"continue in the grace of God." (Acts 13:43). I may not deserve it, but God is
compassionate. Thank God for this favor!
From The Bradley Banner 3/10/2013
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway