The term “the grace of God” is one heard quite often in Christian circles, church and in reading regarding the Christian faith; but what is it? What is God’s grace about? Probably the first answer you will hear from a Christian point of view is that God’s grace is the best and most powerful gift God has provided us ALL with.
But do you know what that gift is? Have you accepted His gift of grace? Did you even know that you had to accept God’s gift of grace?
What is God’s Grace?
To begin, let’s look at the very basic definition of “Grace” itself. According to dictionary.com, grace (in terms of Christianity) is: “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings”.
Okay, let’s stop right there. All too often I believe we as seasoned Christians make some very basic concepts of our faith so complicated with terminology and long-winded concepts that we turn away many seeking to learn more about God.
This is a sad thought considering our very basic purpose here on planet earth is to spread the word of God and be “fishers of men” bringing lost souls to the grace of God.
In reading the definition above, the curious person unknowing of the Christian faith but seeking to learn is still left with the basic question; What is God’s grace about?
Let’s simplify the answer to this question. Simply put, God’s grace is Him welcoming and blessing everyone who believes and accepts him……….free of charge, even though no-one deserves it.
One great bible verse that spells this out quite well is below:
- Ephesians 2 verse 8: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Read that passage carefully. By God’s grace, his kindness and gift to all, combined with our faith in God (we’ll touch on that in a moment) we can be saved from eternal separation from God (i.e. hell), but not by ANYTHING we do on our own.
Is God’s Grace for Anyone? Yes………but…….
Yes. This can often be a tough concept for some to swallow and we’ll try to stay on topic here, but yes, God’s grace is available for anyone. But, you first have to accept his gift of grace.
In the Bible, Romans 5 verse 2 states that, “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand. Once again, there is that term “faith”.
While God’s grace IS for anyone, we have to understand there are conditions associated with it. Like it or not, there is nothing we can do on our own to “earn” God’s grace and ultimately be saved from eternal death. This is a basic understanding that we MUST come to.
There are truly “good people” in the world who are genuinely honest, hard-working, helpful individuals who will, like it or not, be condemned by God in the end for their lack of acceptance of his gift of grace.
That is a very hard concept to grasp. We could work at every homeless shelter, change the flat tires of every needy person, volunteer every week for the rest of our lives at the local food kitchen, never lie, cheat, steal or cuss, and still find ourselves in the pits of hell if we aren’t accepting of God’s grace.
Let’s Talk About Faith.
Faith is probably one of, if not THE, most basic component in Christianity. First, what is faith? Faith, by definition is our complete trust or confidence in someone or something; in this case, God. So this leads to the question, What is Faith in God?
In the Bible, Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1 provides a great explanation of faith: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
In its basic sense, faith in God is simply believing in Him and trusting in Him even though we cannot “see” Him as we see each other. I believe a primary root cause of fallen believers and the reason unbelievers do not come to Christianity is simply because they cannot believe or trust in a being they cannot physically “see” as we see each other.
When we combine all the tragedies occurring in the world around us with a God we cannot physically “see”, it can be tough to convince a non-believer, and some believers, to “have faith” and “trust in God”. But can we really not “see” God? I argue that we can see him all around us. This is a post for later deeper discussion, but worth noting here and bringing out in the open.
For now, know that we must place our trust in God and God alone to save us AND believe in his ability to do so.
Why do I have to “Accept” God’s Grace?
To answer this, I think it’s important we look at probably one of the most ruthless people towards Christians in the history of the Christian faith, Saul (later known as Paul). In the Bible, Saul was originally a persecutor of Christians. He grew up in a strict household where the strict old testament law was followed to the tee. In Saul’s home, gentiles (non Jews) were despised.
It is believed Saul was a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court who ruled over Jewish life and religion and administered the strict laws. He was ruthless in his pursuit and prosecution of Christians and he further believed he was doing it in the name of God.
One day, Saul was traveling from Jerusalem to Damascus when he was caught up in a bright light from the sky. This bright light from the heavens was Jesus Christ, God himself, and caused Saul to fall face down on the ground. From the light, a voice called, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” Saul answered, “Who art Thou, Lord?” Jesus then answered back, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest”.
Saul was blinded by the light of Jesus and Jesus gave him instructions to go on into the city and wait. At this point, Saul had a choice to make. Do as Jesus instructed or turn back. Wisely, Saul chose to follow the order of Jesus and go into the city and wait.
Imagine Saul’s surprise when the very person he thought he was working and fighting for shows up in a bright light, blinds him, accuses him of persecuting him, and then tells him to go into the city and wait.
Saul waited in the city for three days. A messenger sent by Jesus named Ananias went to Saul. Acts 22 verse 16 states what Ananias said to Saul: “What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord”.
So let’s stop and think about this story. Saul wisely chose to follow Jesus’ instructions and go into the city and wait. That equals faith. Although he could not see Jesus, and he was blinded, and he had no idea what he was waiting for, he had faith and went. BUT, Saul did not receive salvation, the ultimate gift of grace, at that point of having faith on the road to Damascus. After he had both faith, believed AND obeyed the command to be baptized, he received his sight back and salvation.
Saul’s name was changed to Paul and he became, arguably, the most influential biblical writer and spreader of the gospel.
What is the moral of the story here? We must have faith. We must believe. And we must obey.
To summarize, the grace of god is free, it is always there for us. We simply have to accept it and have faith and believe in God’s ability and willingness to save us from eternal death, regardless of the surrounding conditions here on earth.
As a former Marine, protection of my family and myself are ingrained in my thinking. God, by grace, gave us all the ultimate act of protection by giving up his son, Jesus Christ to be crucified in a payment for ALL of our sins. We simply have to accept that payment he made for us. Do so today by following along with the simple prayer below:
God, I acknowledge that I am sinner. I’m sorry for my sins and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son, I believe He died for my sins, and I believe You brought him back from dead on the 3rd day after he was crucified. I want to invite Jesus into my heart and life from here on and take control of my life. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.