How to view grace as a gift

By Chuck Bartlett

For many religious people, it is a real struggle to hear that man must do something to obtain the free gift (Rom. 5:18). How can something be “free” and yet we must do something to obtain it? Let us allow God to explain it. In Luke 17:10, Jesus said that if one does everything that was commanded them; they should still say they are an unprofitable servant and that they have only done their duty.

Christ’s gift is so great that no amount of service for the Lord will equal what Jesus did for us. Consider this illustration: A teacher is holding a briefcase at the front of the classroom. The briefcase contains a million dollars. The teacher calls your name and says that if you walk to the front and ask nicely, you will be given the money. If you follow these instructions, do you believe that you earned the money? Those who believe they earned the money by simply walking up and asking politely will struggle to understand God’s grace.

Nobody is so important that they deserve a million dollars by simply walking to the front of a classroom. Now consider again the sacrifice that Christ made: no amount of service on earth will equal Christ’s sacrifice for those in sin. Remember, if we do not obey the gospel (II Thess. 1:8), God’s grace will not save us. Why not? The student who does not walk to the front of the classroom will not get the money, and Christians will not find salvation if they do not do His will.

The brethren at Ephesus were told that the gift (salvation) cannot be obtained by works because grace would then no longer exist. Works alone cannot save anyone. The nicest person in this world, the best husband, the best wife and the most loyal friend all have one thing in common – they have all sinned (Rom. 3:23) and all need a Savior to have those sins remitted (Matt. 26:28). This is why we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). Just like faith without works is dead (James 2:26), works without faith is useless (Eph. 2:9).

Do not allow confusion about God’s grace to cause you to miss out. Though it is for everyone, not everyone will obtain it (Matt. 7:21-23).


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