Why is Grace so Amazing?
It is absolutely amazing that God would care to save, and could save sinners who have no interest in Him. In Psalms 14 it tells us, “. . . there is none who does good, not even one” (v.3), nor do they “call upon the Lord. . .”The Psalmist asks, in vs.2, if there is anyone who seeks God, and the answer is given by Paul in Romans 3, “. . . no one seeks God”(vs.11), and in vs.9, “all are under sin.” If we add to these thoughts what Paul says in Ephesians 2, then we get a real serious picture as to how bad it really is and how absolutely gracious God has been. “You were dead in the trespasses and sins” (v.1). “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. . .” (vs.5-6). Notice these thoughts, “none are good,” “none seek God,” “all . . . are under sin,” and we are “dead in the trespasses and sins.”
When we consider the awesome work of Christ Jesus at Calvary, the resurrection, and His being our advocate before God’s throne, my what grace, what love, what a miracle. If God did not intervene into our sinful, dead state of affairs, then we would be as the rest of mankind. Doomed! Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). So, how does anyone find it, being “dead,” “sinful,” and neglecting to seek God? And, as Jesus said, “. . . the way is hard that leads to life.”
I hear many these days say that a person can be saved from his sinfulness by feeling sorry for his sins and putting his faith in Jesus. They say, “Just repeat this sinner’s prayer after me.” So, based upon that light-weight “gospel,” people are getting “born again” / “saved” all over the place. God’s Word makes it very clear that there is no goodness and ability in human beings to save themselves by a decision. I question how a dead man feels anything and how a dead man conjures up faith so as to be born again. No such thing ever happens but by the life-giving work of God’s Spirit who, alone, gives the gifts of repentance and faith. Salvation is of the Lord, not of man’s ability or will. Only God regenerates and gives new life to the dead sinner. Notice the thoughts of John 1:12 and 13: “. . . to all that did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” This verse is used extensively by many groups to put the emphasis on the sinner’s doing something (receiving and believing). However, verse 13 tells us how a sinner comes to such power, such decision, “Who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
The fact is that the human race is so corrupted that they not only choose not to seek or obey God, they “cannot,” due to the extent of their fallen state and unbelief. Jesus said, “. . . whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:18-19). Paul tells us “. . . the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot” (Romans 8:7).
If you know Christ as your personal Savior (you’ve been brought to true repentance and faith), this did not happen due to your ability to receive or believe, but by God’s sovereign grace, and that alone. Give God all the glory; you deserve nothing! Remember, “Justice is getting what you deserve; Mercy is not getting what you deserve; and Grace is getting what you do not deserve.” Nothing can be attributed to human involvement in salvation. If you think that you have been saved from your sins because you had the capability, in yourself, to repent and have faith, then you were not saved solely by grace but by your own ability. This must say, then, that you had something over other “dead” sinners, thus, you deserve credit for your decision. I congratulate you on your salvation. Sound appropriate? Of course not! “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians2:8-9).
What is Amazing Grace then? It is the fact that God, according to His own will (Ephesians 1), chose sinners to be redeemed by the blood of Christ, thus, reconciling them unto Himself. It means that God, by grace alone, sought out sinners who would not repent, who, in their disbelief, cannot repent or have faith. By God’s choice, sinners become His regenerate children. Now, that’s grace! It says that God would have a people of His own choosing, to do His work, while they remain on earth and someday enter into His eternal service. The call of God brought the gifts of repentance and faith. I repeat, no one is saved by human ability of any kind!
The outcome must be our absolute surrender to His Holy Spirit, who has given us the power to live daily in holiness, as we continue, by His grace, in repentant faith. “To the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1)