One of the greatest attributes of God is grace. It is not just that God has grace, God is grace! However, there is one problem if we add just 1% of works to grace, it becomes works, not grace. It is not grace plus works that gets us to heaven. If we add works to grace, then Christ died in vain.
There is a popular teaching that’s going around that says, “Grace is divine enablement.” In other words: Grace enables us to live the right way and you better live the right way or we’ll be in trouble. There is a big problem with that line of thinking. Actually, this thinking has been around for centuries. Basically, this is what the Apostle Paul had to combat in nearly all of his letters.
Jesus plus nothing, Jesus minus nothing, equals salvation! It’s all Jesus. What is grace? Grace is unmerited favor. If we ask, “What does grace do?” One of the things grace does is “divinely enable us to walk a new life in Christ!” Do you see the difference? Yes, that’s what grace does, but it is not what grace is. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. It’s the unmerited, unearned, undeserved, unlimited, favor of God that causes us to walk that new life in Christ. So that’s what grace is.
Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (Verse 9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Is that not clear? We may boast about things while living on this earth, but the moment we see the nail print in Jesus’ hands, we will never brag again. We won’t brag about how hard we worked and did right in order to get to heaven.
The people who have sinned, which we all have, and forgiven of all their sins and get to go to heaven that’s “Amazing Grace!” Grace covers even the stupid sins that we do. But did you know that grace also covers intentional sin? A lot of people don’t believe that. Have you ever done something that you knew was wrong but did it anyway? We better hope grace covers it, otherwise, we’re going to hell all over again.
Grace Is Unearned
Romans 11:6 – And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
Paul is saying there is no way grace can be both. Grace is unearned and works is when we earn it. Grace is a gift that is free and works is when we earn it. So Paul says, “If it’s free, it can’t be earned!” It’s one or the other.
The Greek word for grace is “Charis” pronounced “Har-rece.” This was a cultural Greek word used hundreds of years before it was ever in the Bible. The word Har-rece comes from: It’s a gift given to an inferior from a superior. But there’s one major difference, it involves three persons. The patron, client, and broker. The broker was the person of great wealth, but he chose to live among the poor. He would find the needs that they had, then he would go to the patrons, the ones that had the shoes or clothing or whatever, and would pay for the merchandise himself. This is the word used for grace.
Jesus came and lived among us and paid for what we needed from the Father. He paid for it Himself! He became our advocate – broker.
Grace is unlimited.
John 1:16 – For of His fullness we have all received,, and grace upon grace. This word “upon” literally means over and over again. So it says, “Of His fullness, we have received grace over and over again. Can you count the number of times you have been forgiven? I can’t! How about even for the same thing? Because God is grace, His grace is unlimited. It will never run out.
This is what Paul had to deal with. They kept trying to add something to grace in order to accomplish its goal end. Paul wrote 13 Epistles and he begins everyone with grace and ends everyone with grace.
We start with grace and we end with grace! I’m confident in this one thing: That He who has begun a good work in you will complete it! We were saved by grace and we stay saved by grace!
Every finish line we cross is because the Father has been pushing us as if we are in a wheelchair. He’s been pulling us and carrying us.
All He asks is for us to get in the chair and let Him guide and love us. That’s grace!
Don’t miss the next post which is on “What is my part?”