This is article #11 of Observations Gleaned from the Scriptures by JaneEllen. Click the link below to read her previous articles.
Many people have a misunderstanding of grace.* They think they can live like they want to and God’s grace will get them into heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Then what is grace? How does it work? What do we have to do to get it? In other posts, I mentioned that the Bible is not written with all the information about a particular subject on the same page. In other words the information about grace is scattered throughout the New Testament. You will have to read all of the New Testament to find all there is to know about grace or any other biblical subject.
Let’s look at some of the verses about grace:
Titus 2:11-14 – grace is from God and is for everyone
Hebrews 2:9 – the grace of God sent Jesus. He died so we can all have grace.
Romans 5:1-2 – access into grace comes through faith in Jesus
Galatians 5:4 – it is possible to fall away from grace
You can’t discuss grace without discussing faith. Faith is more than just mental assent that we believe in Jesus. It is a faith that causes us to obey Jesus.
Matthew 7:13-14 talks about two roads that all people will take: a broad one that leads to destruction that many will take and a narrow one that few will take because it is hard and leads to life (salvation). What is important about this verse in the light of grace is that not all people are going to take the right road, receive salvation, and go to heaven. God’s grace has appeared to everyone but not everyone will benefit from it because they won’t have the faith to do what they need to do to get it.
How can we enter into God’s grace? That’s where our faith comes into play. We must be willing to comply with the terms God has set for receiving His grace.
One thing to remember is that God always sets terms that we can meet. He never gives us anything impossible to do. When we meet God’s terms by faith, we enter into His grace. God’s grace is already there. We have the ability to enter God’s grace.
Romans 11:22 says “Behold the goodness and severity of God.” God is severe because He is just and cannot excuse sin. He is also good in that He loved us enough to send His Son to stand between us and His wrath and to save us from our sins. This is salvation. If we want this salvation, we have to comply with the terms God set for us to get it. When we comply with God’s terms, we receive salvation which is the gift of God’s grace.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says our works do not bring about God’s grace. We cannot earn our way into God’s grace. We can’t do enough to earn it.
Titus 3:3-5 says God’s love gives us grace. We don’t deserve access to God’s grace by our own works.
Romans 6:23 says our works cause us to deserve death. We have to comply with God’s terms to receive salvation; to escape that death. There is no cause and effect between our works and God’s grace. God loves us and gives us information to enter His grace. When we comply with His terms by faith, we enter into His grace.
Are you thoroughly confused about grace? Let’s see if a bullet list makes it easier to understand:
- Everyone sins and deserves death.
- God loves us and gives us grace so we don’t have to die.
- God tells us how to get His grace.
- Not everyone will do what God says to get His grace.
- Not everyone will enjoy God’s saving grace.
- Even when we do what God tells us to do, we don’t deserve God’s grace.
- Our faith to do what God tells us to do is what allows us to enjoy God’s grace.
The terms God set for our salvation are the same He set forth for the people on Pentecost in Acts 2:37, 38, 41. They asked what they should do to be saved from their sins. The terms God set were repent and be baptized. We cannot receive forgiveness from our sins by repentance alone. There is nothing inherent in water that will produce salvation. We can’t earn salvation by repentance and baptism. Only by having the faith to comply with the terms God has set (repentance and baptism) will we have salvation. When we comply by faith, we have the grace promised by God which is salvation.
So, unfortunately, there is no get into heaven free card. Make sure you are complying with God’s terms to get into heaven.
Until next time, I remain with a song in my heart.
*A sizeable portion of the information on grace in this article came from notes I took from a sermon by David Dann and were used by his permission. David, I hope I represented you correctly.