The Glorious Grace of God
By Todd Baker
The grace of God is offered through Jesus Christ alone. It does not come from anyone else—not through Abraham, Moses, the prophets, the saints, Mary, or the Apostles; but strictly through Jesus Christ alone -- when He appeared and was sent to redeem mankind at the incarnation. In Jesus, “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11).
Scripture also points out that this saving grace extending through Jesus Christ is received by faith alone. The channel of saving grace is through faith resulting in a personal relationship with the living Lord of the universe.
God’s saving grace cannot be dispensed or received by the church through a ritual (like baptism) or sacrament (like communion) but is personally, immediately, and directly given by Christ Himself the moment the believing sinner turns to Him in faith (see Luke 23:42-43; John 6:47; 10:9, et al).
Faith then is the sole instrumental means by which grace to save the soul is appropriated and received. “For it is by grace you are saved through faith…”Ephesians 2:8-9 states.
It is the arms and hands by which we accept and take the free gift of God’s grace extended by Jesus Christ. Grace therefore is based alone on the redemptive merits of Jesus Christ that He wrought and accomplished for us on the cross of Calvary.
Since Christ purchased our redemption by His atoning death on the cross, God’s grace can never be earned or merited by man, but is a free gift freely offered to all who receive it by faith, even as Romans 3:24 gloriously proclaims:
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (see also Romans 5:17-18). Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, accurately wrote this about the reality of divine grace: “Grace is neither treating a person as he deserves, nor treating him as better than he deserves.
It is treating him graciously without the slightest reference to his deserts. Grace is infinite love expressing itself in infinite goodness.” God is the source and issue of all grace. Such is not only an act or gift, but is one of the attributes of the infinite God. Grace reveals who God is and what He does as “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10; James 1:17; 4:6).
Grace expresses the love of God, an everlasting love from the God who is love (Jeremiah 31:3; 1 John 4:8). God the Father has grace to give, “the Lord will give grace and glory” (Psalm 84:11). God the Son gives abounding grace to save repentant sinners
(Romans 5:15). Christ expressed loving grace toward ill deserving humanity when He came through the miracle of the incarnation, when He came “to save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
Grace uniquely comes through the liberating and comforting Gospel Christ preached. Luke 4:22 tells us that the people in Israel who heard this message of Jesus “wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth.”
Today, grace gives us access to God in prayer. The only way to God in prayer is through His Son Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6; 13-14). No one can directly speak to God, unless he goes through the one divinely appointed mediator between God and man—that man being Jesus Christ, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1Timothy 2:5).
God encourages us to come boldly before His throne of grace for the merciful provisions that accompany salvation. “Let us therefore come boldly before the throne of grace, that we may obtain help in time of need” (Hebrews4:16). We do this by imploring God through the grace that is offered in Jesus Christ. God’s grace produces an inseparable bond between the Savior and the saved sinner. God has promised concerning this, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
(Hebrews 13:5; see also Romans 8:31-39; John 10:27-29). Grace delivers us from being consigned in hellfire forever. When Christ took our place on the cross and bore our sins in His own body receiving the penalty for them, He graciously provided an everlasting escape from the pit of hell and damnation.
“Then He looks at men and says: ‘I have sinned and perverted what was right, and it did not profit me.’ He will redeem his soul from going down to the pit, and his life shall see the light. Behold, God works all these things, twice, in fact, three times with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be enlightened with the light of life” (Job 33:27-30, see also Psalm 86:12-13).
For the company of the redeemed, the power of God’s grace established by the all powerful Christ promises that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His empowered Church (Matthew 16:18). Grace moves the sinner to repentance when God exerts His saving kindness upon the sinner; the believing sinner will then have a change of mind and will turn from his rebellious and ungodly lifestyle to embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior:
“For it is the goodness of God that leads one to repentance” (Romans 2:4).
Grace justifies the believing sinner before God (see Romans 5). To justify means to simply make the wrong-doer right before God resulting in the guilty sinner receiving a
right standing before a holy God. The only basis for this is through the personal expression of faith toward Jesus Christ shown by the repentant and believing sinner. The act of justification issues forth from God’s grace alone and from nowhere else. God’s
righteous pardon is not given to the sinner based on whether the sinner earns it or not, but on the atoning death of Jesus Christ. Our sins were laid upon Him and in exchange the perfect righteousness of Christ is deposited (imputed) into our account by
God, declaring us righteous and without sin through the perfect and imputed righteousness of Christ freely given to us the moment we believe.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be a sin-offering for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The righteous and merciful pardon of sinners is certainly not based upon how good the sinner is and whether he or she
earns it or not. “For there is not a just man upon the earth, that does good, and sins not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). In His natural and fallen state, man stands guilty and condemned before God. But through justification he is acquitted, pardoned, and declared righteous and blameless before the Lord through the redemptive work Jesus Christ accomplished at the cross. This is what justification is and is a significant by-product of grace that reveals God’s saving grace in providing a substitute like Jesus Christ for our sins (see Romans 3:22-26).
The only way to be declared in a right and acceptable standing before the Lord of moral perfection is to receive the justifying work Jesus accomplished at Calvary. The suffering Job asked: “But how should a man be just before God?” (Job 9:2).
The answer is by faith in the impeccable righteousness of Jesus Christ –“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ to all and upon all them that believe.” Justification reveals God’s grace in freely providing a substitute to die for our sins and reconcile us to a forgiving God.
For “Christ also has suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18) Grace spared no expense to save mankind. When God condescended to save sinners, He gave the very best heaven could afford -His one and only beloved Son. God the Son left the eternal glories of heaven and took residency in a fragile and frail human body like ours.
The Creator of the universe became a creature like unto us and endured the unspeakable shame of the cross. This purchased us and cleansed us from moral defilement and saved us from the inexpressible horrors of an eternal hell. Now, as the redeemed church of His, we can look forward to spending eternity with Him in the unending bliss of heaven.
Grace, as we have said before, is God’s riches given at the costly expense of Jesus Christ.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Through grace we are made coheirs with Christ and freely inherit all things.
“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how He not with Him shall also freely give us all things. Whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 3:21-22; 2 Peter 1:3).