By Roland W. Keith
“There but for the grace of God, go I” is a quote attributed to the English Reformer, John Bradford as he witnessed men being led away to be hanged in the 16th century. No doubt there have been many a man whose life was turned from such a fate because they were led to a knowledge of Jesus Christ and subsequently submitted to Him for salvation. Millions more of us may not have been spared such a worldly end, but we have been set free of a far worse eternal fate because of God’s love and grace. Such grace, when accepted leads us away from all forms of sin and the fires of hell, toward God and His eternal kingdom, as Paul wrote to Titus, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12).
Every man and woman are offered the free gift of God’s grace (Ephesians 4:7; Romans 5:18). Each of us can take the Lord’s yoke upon us to serve Him and receive His gift of salvation (Matthew 11:29-30; Mark 16:16; II Corinthians 9:8). It is equally as true that we can turn from God to our own destruction even after having found salvation (Galatians 5:4; II Peter 2:19-22). To understand these things, it is necessary to understand exactly what grace is.
According to the Free Dictionary online grace is “a favor rendered by one who need not do so.” Specific to Christianity it is: (a). Divine favor bestowed freely on people, as in granting redemption from sin. (b). The state of having received such favor. (c). An excellence or power granted by God. According to this and other dictionaries grace is a kindness or approval granted to those willing to accept what is being offered; that is the offer is made, not imposed; one may reject it at the outset, or one may accept it only to return or spurn it at a later time. It is a gift in every sense of the word. Its acceptance, rejection or return is solely at the discretion of the one to whom the gift is offered. However, the gift of grace offered by God is unique. Not only is it completely unmerited, it is a gift that is multidimensional in its nature. By grace we are accepted as the children of God (Jeremiah 3:19; Romans 8:16); we are saved by grace through faith ( Ephesians 2:8; Romans 6:23). We are justified by it (Titus 3:4-7). And, it sets us free from spiritual death (Romans 5:20-21) among other things.
Grace frees us from our sinful past and the consequences of God’s judgment upon the unrighteous by granting us justification through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. According to Jesus, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16; see also Romans 5:15-21). We have been made acceptable to God the Father through His Messiah (Ephesians 1:6; I Corinthians 1:4). Nonetheless, just as the Son was made perfect by obedience, becoming the author of our salvation, we too must be obedient to receive that salvation (Hebrews 5:8-9). Many a person on judgment day will claim salvation for themselves based on a form of religion only to be rejected, because they had followed the dictates of their own hearts, instead of being obedient to the Lord (Matthew 7:21).
The grace of God is an extraordinary thing. He has granted it to those who do not deserve it (Romans 3:23; 5:12). He sent His Own Son to earth to purchase our salvation by His Own blood (Acts 20:28; II Corinthians 5:21). Moreover, the work to make God’s gift effective was done entirely by the Godhead (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, there is still action required of us to accept the gift. We must hear the word of God (Romans 10:17). We must believe (John 8:24) and be obedient to the word (Matthew 7:21; James 2:24). We must repent of our sins (Acts 3:19; 17:30-31). We must confess Jesus (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 10:32; Acts 8:26-39). We must be baptized (I Peter 3:21; Acts 22:16; Galatians 3:27; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). Finally, we must continue to be faithful (Revelation 2:10).
In order to be faithful, we must remain obedient to the Lord’s commands (I Peter 1:13-14; James 4:7; Luke 16:13; Hebrews 5:9; 13:17). It is imperative that we grow in grace and knowledge (II Peter 3:18). We must also grow in faith with all diligence (II Corinthians 8:7). We are indeed saved by the grace of God, but that grace is the entry point to a life of faith, obedience and service in the Lord’s kingdom. But great is the end result of our faith on the day of judgment (II Timothy 4:8).
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.