“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
There should be no doubt that Grace is a GIFT. Unfortunately, there is so much misunderstanding and confusion about Grace. Not because the scriptures are confusing (1Cor 14:33), but because there are so many opinions about it.
GRACE is a wonderful thing and ought to be understood by the faithful to fully appreciate it and to motivate us for better service to God.
This and the next four articles will be dedicated to some aspect of GRACE so we can “grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2Peter 3:18)
This first article examines Grace as the GIFT of God as it is called in the passage above.
“…it is the GIFT of God.”
A gift has 2 parties, a Giver and a receiver. Grace is a Gift Given by God & Christ to the world (Titus 2:11). It is also given without merit on the part of the receiver. There is nothing redeeming about man that generated the gift, it was out of the love of God. “But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him” (Heb 2:6; cf. Job 7:17; Ps 8:4; 144:3)?
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (Acts 15:11).
This Gift of Grace is pertaining to Salvation for mankind. “For by Grace you are saved through faith…” Another way of saying this is that the opportunity to be saved, the method, the plan, has been given as a Gift to undeserving people (Rom 5:8-10). As we shall see in the following points, NOT EVERYONE WILL PARTICIPATE IN, NOR ACCEPT THE GIFT OF GRACE.
The Gift of Grace needs to be received (accepted), and it is possible to receive it IN VAIN (which is to try and apply grace on your own terms, without repentance).
“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (2Cor 6:1).
Many are confused and deceived because it is taught that the Gift of Grace is given and applied universally. (Universalism is an error that teaches everyone will go to heaven even if it’s against their will, if they’re in unrepentant sins, or even an atheist). While Grace is a Gift for the whole world, not everyone will receive it, or worse, they receive it IN VAIN. To receive it IN VAIN is to make it of none effect.
It must also be noted that the GIFT of Grace may be received, but later one can FALL FROM GRACE.
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Gal 5:4). And you can make it void; “I do not make void the grace of God: for if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nought” (Gal 2:21; ASV)
So you see, while GRACE is a GIFT for all, not everyone will receive (accept) it, nor will everyone remain in it.
Finally, it is THROUGH HIS GRACE & THROUGH OUR FAITH that saves.
“But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (Acts 15:11).
Critics will claim that if there is something a person must do to be saved, even a command from God, then it is no longer a GIFT. What they fail to realize is that God’s Gift of Grace is working THROUGH our faith (trusting belief) in God’s plan, and His Son. To obey God is not earning salvation, it’s trusting in His working THROUGH His Grace.
“In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Col 2:11-12) [emph mine seb].
We see that the Gift of Grace is the opportunity, and the availability of salvation, but it must be received (accepted) in truth, faith, and obedience to God who is giving it and working through it. To believe is to obey as Paul wrote in Romans 10 (often ignored by the faith only crowd). “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report” (Rom 10:16)? Do you see how “obeyed” and “believed” are used inseparably?
The Ephesians were taught about Grace, and they were taught how to receive it, by being baptized into Christ (Acts 19:1-5). Paul would later write to them and say; “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7). Baptism is a part of God’s Grace in saving mankind, beginning with the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ (cf. Rom 6:3-4).
Jesus Gives the Gift of Grace through His sacrifice, making a way for all of mankind to be saved if they will believe it and obey it. “For by grace we are saved, it is the Gift of God.”
Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ at Franklin & Juniper in Borger, Texas.