For the Christian, divine grace is a central and fundamental concept that plays a crucial role in our faith and theology as believers. It is often described as God’s unmerited favor, love, and care extended to God’s creation. This would include God’s common grace towards all who bear His image. The gift of divine grace is at the heart of Christian soteriology (salvation) and is tied directly to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
What does unmerited favor mean? The simple answer is that grace is a gift from God that cannot be earned or deserved. It is given freely out of God’s benevolent and loving nature. Grace can never be received through our human merits or good deeds. If grace could be earned, it would not be grace. Consider what Paul writes when he says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; [not of your own doing] it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Grace is then intimately linked to our common salvation as believers. We believe that humanity is inherently sinful and separated from God due to sin. The prophet Isaiah writes, “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1–2)
But through the willing sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for the atonement of sin, grace now provides a way for all who will believe to be reconciled to God and receive forgiveness for all their sins. (John 1:12; 1 John 1:9) This act of love closed the gap made by sin and restored our relationship with God. This is often referred to as “saving grace.”
Luke writes, “And he [The Philippian Jailer] brought them [Paul and Silas] out [of the jail] and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:30–31) Have you believed God for your salvation, or are you still trying to earn His favor? Take a breath and remember God has done everything to be in a relationship with you, and He asks you to enter into what He has prepared for you by faith alone.