A Look at Biblical Grace
A beautiful and magnificent Bible doctrine is salvation by grace. Appropriately, the term grace
has been described as “unmerited or undeserved favor.”
That is, God’s offer of salvation to sinful humanity is not based upon anything we have done--hence, the offer
is a gift. Since Christians are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8
), and grace is a gift, some have erroneously concluded there is nothing one can do to receive God’s gift of salvation. Of course, this is false. Please notice why:
First, the fact that grace is a gift does not mean humans have nothing to do to receive it. An illustration, from the physical realm, would be: Oxygen is a gift, but if you refuse to breathe, you will die. Surely, no one would argue that since they had to breathe in (and out) that they thereby earned
the oxygen, would they? How silly! Jesus knew this truth, for when He was asked what must be done to inherit eternal life, he gave commandments to be followed (Matthew 19:16-22
). Here would have been a perfect place for Jesus to say, “nothing can be done to inherit eternal life,”
if such were true; but He did not, of course.
Second, it is possible for God’s grace to be received in vain
. Paul wrote the Corinthian church of Christ, and urged them not to receive God’s grace in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1
). The very fact that he warned them against such proves something must be done to properly
Third, to contend there is nothing to do to receive God’s grace would be to put the Bible at variance with itself and/or make God look like a capricious dictator. Why? Here is the reason: God’s grace has been offered to all people (Titus 2:11
), and yet the Bible plainly teaches that most people will not be saved (Matthew 7:13-23
). If those two propositions are true (and they are), then how can Peter truthfully say God is “not willing that any should perish”
(2 Peter 3:9
), if all the responsibility for man’s salvation rests in God’s hands?
Satan frequently takes God’s beautiful things and corrupts them. Such is the case concerning the doctrine of God’s grace. God has specifically stated that humans must hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized and live faithfully to benefit from God’s grace (Romans 10:17
; John 8:24
; Acts 2:38
; Matthew 10:32
and Revelation 2:10
); but Satan has come along and said otherwise. May God help us to be alert and see when the devil tries to lead us astray.