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What is…

The Bible speaks of various forms of grace…

  • Grace—meaning God’s forgiving MERCY

    “even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” —Ephesians 2:5 NKJV

    “Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.” —Romans 11:5-6 NKJV

  • Grace—meaning the gospel as distinguished from the law (1 Peter 5:12)

    “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” —Romans 6:14 KJV

    “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” —John 1:17 NKJV

  • Grace—meaning gifts freely bestowed by God, such as miracles, prophecy, tongues (Romans 15:15; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Ephesians 3:8)

  • Grace—of form or person (Proverbs 3:22).

    “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” —Proverbs 1:9 KJV

    “…For they will be a graceful ornament on your head…” —Proverbs 1:9 NKJV excerpt

    “You [The Messiah] are fairer than the sons of men;
    Grace is poured upon Your lips;
    Therefore God has blessed You forever.” —Psalm 45:2 NKJV

  • Grace—meaning favor, kindness, friendship (Gen. 18:3; 19:19)

    “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” —Genesis 6:8 KJV

    “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” —2 Tim. 1:9 NKJV

  • Grace—meaning Christian virtues

    GENEROSITY— “Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.” —2 Corinthians 8:7 NKJV

    “…beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” … —2 Peter 3:17-18 excerpt

  • Grace—meaning the glory hereafter to be revealed

    “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” —1 Peter 1:13 ESV

Eternal Salvation through faith by GRACE ALONE

The Bible teaches that we are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone. Unfortunately, some people try to add human works to this. For example, ROMAN CATHOLICISM adds such requirements as:

  • Bear witness to the Catholic faith
  • Confess the major doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Obey the commandments of God
  • Love and worship God
  • Pray
  • Fast
  • Love one’s neighbor
  • Practice self-renunciation
  • Follow supernatural inspiration in deeds

But when it comes to salvation, the apostle Paul said of his own righteous works:

“I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (Philippians 3:8-9—NIV).

Where justification by faith alone is not clearly understood and taught, “another gospel” is being proclaimed. Galatians includes a stern warning about those who proclaim “another gospel.”

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-9—NKJV).

Author: J. Paul McCracken, Summit Ministries, with minor editing by Paul S. Taylor.

Cheap grace

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession… Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” —Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Costly grace

“Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought…the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price,’ and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.” —Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

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Article Version: October 29, 2019