Grace is kindness from God that we don’t deserve. It comes in a few forms. Saving
grace is the undeserved favor to stand in God’s presence no longer considered
guilty. Sustaining grace is the undeserved strength to get back up when you fall
weary or defeated. Sanctifying grace is the undeserved power to defeat your sin.
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What is grace? Grace is when God shows us kindness we don’t deserve.
We experience grace our whole lives, whether or not we put our faith in Jesus. We are constantly receiving good gifts from God (James 1:17), whether that’s the joy of family, good food to eat, a good night of sleep—really, anything good.
Wait, but if I receive good things from God and that’s grace, that implies I don’t deserve good things from God. Exactly. Our hearts have been naturally inclined to rebel against God from infancy—from conception actually (Psalm 51:5). The Bible teaches us that “the hearts of the children of man are full of evil (Ecclesiastes 9:3). The Bible describes our condition as the living dead, physically alive, but severed from God our life source because of our sin (Ephesians 2:1-3).
This might be hard to hear, but in order to understand grace we must first come to terms with what the Bible says about our nature—that we are sinners, who not only do bad things, but are bad at root.
Therefore, whenever God does good to any person, he’s loving his enemies. We call this kind of grace common, because God everyone on the whole planet experiences it.
That’s not the only kind of grace. God has shown grace to those who have put their faith in Jesus in a unique way. In Christ, God demonstrated his unfathomable kindness to us by actually absorbing himself the punishment we deserve for our sin—that’s why Jesus of Nazareth died on a cross. He was fully God, who put on human flesh, so that he could deal with our sin problem for us, in order to offer us the free gift of new life and a new relationship with God.
We call this God’s saving grace because, through Christ, God showed us the undeserved and un-earnable kindness of rescuing us from the hell and wrath that we deserve for our sin. He did this to give us a new loving relationship with him.
Now, even if you have believed in Jesus and experienced God’s saving grace, you will still experience the grace of God for the rest of your life in another way.
When God saves you, he frees you from the punishment and the power of sin, but sin’s presence remains. You’re not perfect when God saves you. But in the moment you trust Jesus for salvation, a war begins as God, through his Holy Spirit, works to conform you to the image of Christ. We call this transformative kind work of God, sanctifying grace.
Through his sanctifying grace, God has chosen to express his love and kindness towards us by giving us the gift of his Holy Spirit. Not only has he declared us holy in his sight, but he has also started to transform us into people whose lives are increasingly marked by holiness, making us more and more like Jesus.
God’s sanctifying grace towards us is both positional and progressive, we could say.
Positional sanctification means that when we become a Christian, at the moment of our conversion, God graciously declared us holy and precious in his sight, not because of anything good in us but simply by virtue of the fact that we are, by his grace, now indwelled by his Holy Spirit and united to Christ and covered in his righteousness. In that moment, and ever since that moment, no matter how much we struggle and fail, when God looks at us, he sees us as holy.
Our sanctification is not only positional. It’s also progressive. God doesn't just graciously declare us holy—he actually intends on making us holy! Having brought us into his fellowship and family, God wants to carry out his plans through us. But how in the world will we have the energy, the perseverance, the desire even, to carry out God’s will? Grace. God will himself strengthen and empower us—he will give us the undeserved gift of divine help. The Holy Spirit plays a crucial role in this process as he works in us to increasingly transform and empower our desires, our thoughts, and our actions.
All of God’s kindness towards us is grace—undeserved favor. Although we are sinners who deserve only wrath, God’s grace has appeared to save us from our own badness and its eternal consequences, and to reconcile us to himself. Both in our salvation and our sanctification, God gives us the gift of knowing him and growing in him, which means that God himself is the ultimate gift that he gives us. His ultimate grace towards us is his commitment to never leave or forsake his sinful followers, but to hold our hands until the day when he removes the presence of sin entirely from our hearts.
Grace is kindness we don’t deserve. It’s God doing for us what’s impossible for us to do on our own. It takes a great deal of humility to receive this free and undeserved gift. But God is more ready to give grace than we are ask for it.
Why don’t you ask him for his grace today, in whatever measure you need? You have only to ask, for “he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (James 4:6 ESV).
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
EPHESIANS 2:8-9 ESV
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy
is over all
that he has made.
God saved you
by his grace
when you believed.
And you can’t
it is a gift from God.
Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
Grace is favor
shown to people
who do not deserve
any favor at all…
We deserve nothing
but hell. If you
think you deserve
heaven, take it
you are not a Christian.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Grace comes to us
“in the Beloved”
and nowhere else.
When God gives us grace,
he gives us Christ.
Discover what grace means in an acronym created by William Farley. Feel free to download this graphic onto your device and share it with others!
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth… Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Christ went more willingly
to the cross —
than we do to
the throne of grace.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
But he gives us more grace.
That is why Scripture says:
but shows favor
to the humble.”
For almost twenty years and I still feel the old clinging dirt of wanting to deal with God that I may contribute something, so that he will have to give me his grace in exchange for my holiness. And still I cannot get into my head that I should surrender myself completely to sheer grace.
You who are
trying to be
justified by the law
you have fallen
away from grace.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.