For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
Grace is favor that one has not merited. In this world, we see very little of that. There is no shortage of people pointing fingers and wanting others to be held accountable for what they believe are wrong opinions and attitudes. It seems that everywhere we look we read news articles about some person or group being offended by another’s words or actions and demanding that something be done about it. We live in a time when many do not desire accountability for themselves but expect it from others and are quick to condemn. This is not the age of grace. This is the age of wanting to make others pay when they wrong us instead of turning the other cheek or trying to understand the source or root of that behavior. And while grace does not abound in this world, it certainly abounds in God.
It is by God’s grace that we can come to faith in Jesus Christ. First, God’s grace provided the perfect unblemished lamb whose sacrifice is necessary for our forgiveness. My sacrifice would not be sufficient. Your sacrifice would not be sufficient. The sacrifice of all mankind would not be sufficient. While we do not merit forgiveness and salvation, God has provided it through his grace. Second, it is God’s grace that allows us to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is He who opens our eyes to the truth and provides the opportunity for reconciliation. It is He who first draws us near to him when we are his enemies. It is He who loves us, the unlovable. It is He who creates us by hand in love despite knowing who will turn to him and who will forever remain against him. This is the grace of God.
If we understand one thing about God’s grace, it should be that his grace makes a way where we could not possibly make our own. Where man desires condemnation and punishment, God desires grace and forgiveness. He has allowed his son to pay the price for our sins so that we can be free from that sentence. He has allowed perfection to be pierced and punished so that imperfection could one day become perfect. That is the grace of our Father in heaven. Father, remind us of your grace when we feel condemned and downtrodden, and give us the humility and wisdom to turn to You in repentance and allow that grace to continue to transform us.