I once heard of a person who just could not understand God’s grace. And he is in good company. His religious beliefs were such that one had to try his hardest to be good, and hopefully his good works would outweigh his bad works in the judgment, and then God would let him into heaven. And I believe that he expects to be there forever.
Hold the phone!
Let’s think that through.
First of all, IF one could be good enough to get to heaven, which according to the Bible we cannot, * we would all have a reason to boast.
Isaiah 64:6a “For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.” NASB and
Ephesians 2:8,9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” NASB
We would all be a bunch of insufferable prigs, smugly self-satisfied, in essence still worshiping ourselves instead of God. What kind of heaven would that be?
Oh, and it might follow that there would be competitions of who had done more good works than whom to get there. And the next thing you know, there would be fighting. THAT IS NOT GOD’S HEAVEN.
Secondly, if one could be good enough to get to heaven on his own, let’s say a man (or woman) did one million good deeds in his lifetime of 75 years. If there is no such thing as God’s grace, then how many years in heaven would it be just for him/her to be allowed to stay? Seventy-five, for the number of years he lived? (I know there will be no time in heaven; this is all hypothetical.) Or perhaps the number of years that is the difference between his good works minus his bad ones? Even if he got to stay one million years, would it not be grace on God’s part to let him stay longer than that?
Thirdly, God weighed in on the subject when He sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins. Why in the world would He have put Himself and His Son through all that torment to bring salvation to those who will accept His gift, if it was possible for mankind to save himself? It is unthinkable that He would do so.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation (the one who paid the penalty of; atoned for our sin) in His blood through faith.” Romans 3:23-25a
And is not our very life on earth a gift of God’s grace? Is not every breath that we take and every morning that we wake up a gift of God’s grace? Every good and perfect gift that we have is a gift of His grace. (James 1:17)
If a person believes in God, why is it so hard to believe in His grace?
Jesus came to reveal the Father to us. (Hebrews 1:3; John 1:18)
And the Apostle John, who spent three intense years with Jesus on earth says that Jesus, the very living Word of God
“became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
Grace is a gift from God. But as with any gift, we have to reach out (believing that it exists and that it is really being offered to us by a giving person) and receive it.
How long has God been holding out His gift of grace to you?
Have you reached out and received it?
If not will you do so today?
* Titus 3:5 “ Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.” and
* Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.“
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