Justified Freely by God’s Grace
Grace, how sweet the sound to our sinful hearts!
The Bible teaches that we are saved by the free sovereign grace of God in Jesus Christ. Neither will the grace of God ever be withheld, nor will it be lessened because of anything we have done, or will do.
There is no more majestic word than "grace." It means unmerited favor or kindness shown to a person who is utterly undeserving. In fact, it is a free gift given to us who deserve the exact opposite. It is given to us sinners who are without hope and without God in the world.
Grace is never set in the context of any supposed merit of our own, but always on the basis of Romans 1:18-3:20 which describes our utter ruin in sin. Grace must always be approached with that reality of personal sin in mind. Without the deep conviction of the Holy Spirit we do not understand our need for God’s saving grace.
The Amplified Bible on Romans 3:20 reads, “For no person will be justified—made righteous, acquitted and judged acceptable—in His sight by observing the words prescribed by the Law. For [the real function of] the Law is to make men recognize and be conscious of sin [not mere perception, but an acquaintance with sin which works toward repentance, faith and holy character].”
We are saved by unmerited grace (Eph. 2:8-9). Saving grace of God is a gift that is received only through faith in Jesus, apart from any human merit. We do not deserve grace, for if we did it would not be grace. The only thing we deserve is the full outpouring of God’s just wrath upon us for eternity. If it is not apart from good works and human merit, it is not saving grace because God does not owe us anything.
Grace has a marvelous way of humbling us, and as sinners we hate being humbled.
God cannot offer to do less in grace for one who is sinful than He would have done had that one been less sinful. Because we are all sinners that puts us all on the same level morally. Grace is never an exercise by God used to make up what may be lacking in the life and character of a sinner. There is nothing that can be made up. If salvation was based on legalism, much sinfulness would call for much grace, and little sinfulness would call for little grace.
However, because of the atoning death of Christ the sin question has been set aside forever and an equal exercise of grace is extended to all sinners who believe. It never falls short of being the matchless measureless marvelous saving grace of God. The grace of God could never be increased because it is the expression of His infinite love. He is infinitely holy in character. All His attributes are perfect. Therefore, it could not be diminished because every limitation that human sin might impose on the action of a righteous God has, through the propitiation of the cross, been turned away forever.
Grace is found in God through the saving work of Christ on the cross. That is why John Newton could express it so beautifully, “Amazing grace—how sweet the sound—that saved a wretch like me!” Anything else is not grace.
Saving grace teaches us that salvation is apart from any human merit of any kind.
Have you opened your heart and responded to God’s free grace? There is no sin you have ever committed too great to cause God to turn away from you, or too lessen the abundance of the grace He freely gives to sinners who will trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
The apostle Paul was a great sinner who experienced the grace of God and declared, “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20).