Almost everyone has been wronged by someone, or done wrong to another. How wonderful it is if those relationships can be restored through mercy on the part of one or both parties, deserved or not. This is grace, an extension or offer of favor to another. Some, included your writer, finished school through the benefit of grace!
Many have heard grace defined as “unmerited divine favor.” The prodigal son received grace from his forgiving father. Jesus showed grace to Peter when he forgave that apostle’s denial. The Lord’s grace is seen every day for everyone in his providential provision and protection.
As many have noted in scripture, divine grace is a free gift, offered to all who will accept it in obedient faith. Why is it free? Partly because there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn it.
The primary objective of God’s grace is to make his forgiveness of our sins possible. He doesn’t want anyone to be separated from him, but that is the eternal consequence of unforgiven sin (Note 2 Peter 3:9; Isaiah 59:1, 2). To overcome that consequence, he gave his son up to physical death. Paul puts this in terms that surely all can understand. In an effort to motivate the generosity of some in the church at Corinth, he reminded them of “...the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
The sacrificial shedding of Jesus’ blood in death was the price he and his father paid for our forgiveness.
Following Jesus’ death, he was buried and, three days later, resurrected, destroying the eternal power of sin, which is spiritual death or, again, separation from God. Without the fulfillment of his promised resurrection, there can be no victory over death. This is why Paul could summarize the gospel (good news) which he preached at Corinth as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Without these events, our hope of salvation would have died with him. But his victory over death made ours possible as well. The deliverance from eternal destruction is made possible to all who will accept his grace in faith and faith inspired obedience. Jesus promised “the crown of life” to those faithful throughout life (Revelation 2:10).
Our response to grace is thus seen in the emphasis in the Bible on trusting, faithful obedience to his will. But even though God’s kindness has been offered to every accountable man and woman, not everyone will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14). Many simply will not accept his loving kindness through Jesus.
There are numerous examples of this rejection. But the writer of Hebrews warned that “...without faith is it impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (11:6). This great chapter gives a “wagon load” of the vital nature of obedient faith in doing the will of God.
In spite of our sins and because of his loving grace, we are invited to respond to him in faith and obedience. Jesus promised, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Grace is the gift of God that makes every spiritual blessing possible in and through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Praise God for his goodness!