Without God’s grace, it would be impossible to be saved. We can never do enough good to “undo” sin all by ourselves (cf. Rom. 4:4). Surely Adam and Eve regretted their sin in the Garden of Eden, but they also realized that God would have to take the first step in reconciliation (Gen. 3). God did indeed take that step when He sent Jesus into the world: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Let’s consider some truths about the amazing grace of God.
Grace defined — The word “grace” simply means “favor” or “blessing.” Parents bestow grace on their children when they provide them with the necessities of life (food, clothing, shelter, etc.). God bestows grace on mankind in much the same way: “He sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). Every good thing in this life is a manifestation of God’s grace (cf. James 1:17). Most amazing, however, is the grace of God that comes through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:8). Jesus saw and understood man’s sin problem, and He was willing to bless the world through His sacrifice (Phil. 2:6-8). The death of Christ was the ultimate expression of the grace of God. His riches were made available to us at Christ’s expense (2 Cor. 8:9)!
Grace explained — Why was it so necessary for Jesus to come to earth? Couldn’t God have provided some other means of salvation? The answer, simply, is “no.” Sin (man’s disobedience to God’s will) is an ugly cancer before God. His eyes are too pure to look on evil favorably (Hab. 1:13). The moment we sin, we separate ourselves from God (Isa. 59:1-2) and become enemies of God (Rom. 5:10). The universal law of sin is that if someone sins, someone must die (cf. Gen. 2:17; Rom. 6:23). In the Old Testament, God allowed people’s sins to be atoned for through the blood of sacrificed animals (Lev. 17:11). These animal sacrifices prefigured the blood of Christ that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). You see, it was necessary for God to send His Son to this world because, “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). Through the blood of Christ there is justification before God (Rom. 5:9). God’s amazing grace is seen in the fact that we are right with Him once again through the blood of Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
Grace applied — God’s grace is conditional. If it were not, then everybody alive would be automatically saved regardless of how they’ve lived. God wants all men to come to repentance, not willing that any should perish (2 Pet. 3:9). His grace is not only saving, but it is instructive (Titus 2:11-14)! Grace teaches us that true children of God must be, “crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20). Jesus Himself spelled out the express conditions through which men must come to Him. He said, “whoever believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25). But is belief alone enough? Jesus also said, “except you repent, you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). In another place He said, “whoever confesses Me before men, him will I confess before My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32). In the Great Commission to the apostles Jesus said, “he who believes and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). When we read of men and women being converted in the book of Acts, they always followed the conditions laid out by Jesus Himself! Belief, repentance, confession, and baptism are necessary conditions of receiving God’s amazing grace in our lives. We can’t meritoriously earn salvation, but neither can we ignore God’s conditions of salvation. May we all live obediently in His will! — John Baker