Grace is the most important doctrine of the Christian faith. It is the corner stone of Christianity. It certainly makes sense to create a widespread awareness of the doctrine because there will be no Christianity without it. Which is why I was compelled to write this series. Kindly see this is not a 100% systematic study of the Doctrine of Grace. It’s just an effort to explain the doctrine in layman’s terms and its importance to us.
Grace and it’s necessity
‘The New Dictionary of Pastoral Studies’ defines the grace as “The forgiving love and generosity of God.”
In the year 1976, when Mr. William Gopallawa was the president of Ceylon, a Death Row Inmate by the name Sumanapala hacked his stomach the night before the day he was supposed to be execused. The Prison authorities rushed him to the hospital.
They brought Sumanapala back from the hospital the next morning and prepared him for the execution. However when Mr. Gopallawa learned of the events that transpired the night before, ordered the prison authorities to postpone the execution on grounds of compassion. Few days later he announced a presidential pardon and ordered the release of the death raw inmate.
It’s not clear why the President decided to pardon Sumanapala’s crimes. Nevertheless I shared the story because it reminded me of God’s grace.
The Bible teach that all of us are sinners who deserve God’s wrath and the rightful punishment.
- “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
- “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20 )
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
- “Among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:3)
The death mentioned in Ephesians 2 is not the physical death. After all everybody will die one day. But the Bible says not everyone will be raised back to spend the eternity in God’s presence.
- “Many of those who sleep in the dusty ground will awake–some to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting abhorrence.” (Daniel 12:2)
- “Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46)
The Bible also says the shame and eternal abhorrence mentioned in Daniel 12 and the punishment in Matthew 25 would be to burn in the lake of fire. It is also called the second death.
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
So when Paul wrote death is the penalty of sin, he was actually referring to the second death, which means to literally burn in hell for eternity, (Mark 9:48).
Nevertheless if the author of Ecclesiastes say there’s not even one righteous man, how can Matthew say the righteous will be raised from the dead into eternal life instead of shame and everlasting abhorrence? Besides we cannot reverse God’s wrath through acts of merit as taught by other Religions and Philosophies because redemption from sin requires shedding of innocent blood, (Ephesians 1:7). Thankfully God’s wrath can be reversed because Jesus, who does not know any sin became a sin for us and died on a cross. That is Grace! We call it the grace of God, because he sent Jesus to die on a cross, on our behalf even though we don’t deserve to be saved.
- “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9)
- “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
- “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
The above verses mention three privileges we can enjoy, because of grace through sufferings and the death of Christ:
- We will have eternal life (…so that we may live through him…)
- We are no longer children of wrath but love (…but God shows his live for us…)
- We stand justified before God, (…we might become the righteousness of God)
Grace is God’s gift to mankind. It’s freely available to anyone to claim. Whoever accepts that free gift will have eternal life. But the opposite is also true. Whoever rejects it will not have eternal life, because the wrath of God remains in him.
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36)
The key to God’s grace
Repentance is the key to receive God’s grace. To repent is to confess our sins and turn back from our evil ways for good. We cannot receive God’s grace unless we confess and repent. The book of Proverbs says,
“The one who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses them and forsakes them will find mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
When Dr. Billy Graham was driving through a small southern town. He was stopped by a policeman and charged with speeding. Billy admitted his guilt, but was told by the officer that he would have to appear in court. The judge asked whether Billy is guilty or not guilty. When he pleaded guilty, the judge said the fine will be ten dollars.
Suddenly the judge recognized the famous minister. He said, “You have violated the law. The fine must be paid. But I am going to pay it for you.” He took a ten dollar bill from his own wallet, attached it to the ticket, and then took Graham out and bought him a steak dinner! “That is how God treats repentant sinners!” Said Billy Graham later.
The Bible agrees with Dr. Billy. The verses below show God gives us grace when we repent.
In the Old Testament
1. The people of Nineveh:
- “…And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes…” (Jonah 3:5)
- “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.” (Jonah 3:1-10)
2. The prophecy of Joel:
Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.”Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? (Joel 2:12-14)
3. Rahab the Prostitute:
- By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. (Hebrews 11:31)
- “And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?” (James 2:25)
In the New Testament
“And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”9And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:8-9)
2. The outlaw:
But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)
Grace is received by faith. Not through works of merit. But there are some initiatives of faith we must take because faith is dead unless it is manifested through works, (James 2:17). Here’s what you can do.
- Admit you are a sinner: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
- Believe in Jesus Christ: “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
- Confess Christ publicly: “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)
Pray for your Salvation
Please repeat this prayer. Jesus, I have fallen short of your expectations in my life and know that I am a sinner. I want to repent and turn away from my sinful ways. Right now, I ask for your forgiveness. I accept you as my Lord and Savior. In your precious name, Amen.
Find a church near you
If you made a decision to follow Jesus you will need to join a good Bible believing Church. A Bible believing Church is one that believes in the truth of the Bible and practices the teachings of Jesus in our daily walk. Given the fact that there are many false churches and cults, I personally recommend that you visit the nearest Assemblies of God church. Click here to find an AG Church near your current location.
(If this post was helpful to you please consider leaving your feedback in the comments section at the bottom. It would be a great encouragement to me personally.)