Just what is grace anyway, and how is it related to man’s salvation? The Bible explicitly says that grace is a gift from God. It is the unmerited, loving favour and graciousness of our Creator.
God is gracious
These are the words that the Lord proclaimed to Moses: “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7).
King David also wrote that God is gracious: “The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:8-9).
The apostle Peter called God “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10).
What is grace? Grace is the very character of God’s nature, abounding and overflowing outwardly in acts of pity, mercy, compassion and liberal giving.
Why does God give us His grace?
First, we have to realise that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Those sins carry the death penalty. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.”
Sin, which is lawlessness (1 John 3:4), earns a wage—and that wage is death. But Christ has paid that penalty for us through His sacrifice.
It is through Christ’s sacrifice, His shed blood, that God gives us His grace. Notice Romans 3:24: “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” It is through Christ that we receive God’s grace; and if we didn’t receive that grace, we would die in our sins and never have an opportunity to live forever.
Ephesians 1:5-6 shows that it was God’s plan all along to be gracious to mankind in forgiving them of sins and predestining humans for adoption and acceptance by Him: “Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
To whom does God give His grace?
Grace is a free gift. It cannot be earned, but neither can one automatically receive it. Notice some examples of those who receive God’s grace.
- Those who have faith: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).
- Those who are humble: 1 Peter 5:5 says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James also confirmed this: “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (James 4:6).
- Those who are forgiven: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
Of course, it is God who always determines who will receive His grace: “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion’” (Romans 9:14-15).