Grace-- a short explanation
“Grace is God’s deliverance, his transforming initiative and not our human-effort, high-ideal, hard-striving achievement. It is a gift from God that we do not deserve; it is not self-righteousness that we achieve by our own good works” (Stassen & Gushee p. 36). Grace is God’s unmerited favor toward us. It is “unmerited” because there is nothing we can do to earn it. It is free, a gift from God to man. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8, NIV). This familiar verse says a mouthful. With all that man has in his possession, the power to save himself is the one thing lacking and is much needed in this world. The only way man can be saved is through faith in Jesus Christ and this too is an act of God’s grace. Jesus tells us in John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them” (NIV). So what is it that man can and/or should do in order to be saved? The answer is respond in faith. When we respond in faith to God’s redemption, we allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives. When Jesus becomes Lord of our lives, he gives us the Holy Spirit of God to reside in us, leading us and guiding us in our daily lives. Psalm 37:23 says “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD” (KJV). This is our faithful participation—we allow ourselves to be led by God by responding in obedience to His Holy Spirit. We see Jesus expounding this idea in the Beatitudes. “The Beatitudes are not about high ideals, but about God’s gracious deliverance and our joyous participation” (Stassen & Gushee p. 35).
ResourcesStassen, Glen Harold, and David P. Gushee. Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2003. Print.