GRACE: Is The Unmerited Favor of God.
"Grace" is so much of a characteristic of God (like His love), that human words do not adequately express its meaning.
Romans 3:24 begins:
"BEING JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE"
Some have defined "Grace" as "Undeserved Mercy", and this is true. However, all mercy is undeserved; that's the meaning of mercy. GRACE is more than mercy. Mercy gets a criminal off the hook and out of jail, but GRACE pays the debt of the criminal and sets him free to enjoy the good life.
When we say that GRACE is "Unmerited Favor", we are saying that this favor cannot be earned. It's not just that you don't have to earn it. The fact is, you cannot earn it. Since we are all sinners, there is nothing that we can do to gain God's favor. Even if you did good works continuously from here on out, and sacrificed all your time to help others, and did great and wonderful things 24 hours a day for the rest of your life to please God, God still would not accept you or your efforts because He is Holy and you are still a sinner. You cannot work off your sins.
God's salvation is not merited, it is a GIFT of God! See Ephesians 2:8, 9. The word for "GRACE" (in the Greek) is "Charis." The word for "GIFT" (in the Greek) is "Charisma." It is easily seen that the very root meaning of the word GRACE is GIFT.
Romans 11:6 is a verse that clearly contrasts "WORKS" with "GRACE." It does that because they are exact opposites. A gift is something given freely, but work is something that you do to earn a wage. Romans 6:23 tells us what wages we have coming to us:
"FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD."
We really dont want what our sins have earned for us. Rather we want the gift that comes from God through Christ.
Since we began to study Romans 3:21-24, we have seen that God's righteousness has been made available to all of mankind today, but it is only imputed to those who believe. Then God, upon that faith, justifies or declares the sinner righteous. Now we learn that all of this is done "FREELY BY HIS GRACE." What a wonderful God we have!
Ephesians 3:1-5 teaches us that God's message of GRACE was first revealed to Paul. It was through the Apostle Paul that God's Word of GRACE was preached to the Gentiles.
Galatians 1:13-16 gives testimony that God's GRACE was what changed Paul from being the number one enemy of Christ into Christ's number one preacher among the Gentiles.
I Timothy 1:11-16 explains why God used Paul for this job of making His GRACE known. It was because Paul's conversion is the pattern of grace. Paul deserved the most severe punishment of hell, but by the grace of God he was saved and given the right (as all believers have today), to sit with Christ in heavenly places - (see Ephesians 2:6).
We have said: "Mercy gets the criminal off the hook, but grace pays his debt". Romans 3:24 goes on to tell us that the reason God is free to deal with mankind today in GRACE is because of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the Cross. The Lord Jesus Christ paid our debt of sin and, in receiving Him, we are set free to enjoy God's love and to live in His favor!
Everything required for my Salvation has been supplied by God. Salvation is the work of God in my behalf. Now, to get that point through our stubborn thick human heads, we are told that justification is unmerited and undeserved on our part. On the other hand, it is given freely to us on God's part. It could not be made any clearer. Salvation comes to us, not on the basis of works, but on the basis of a free gift from God.
Since I am now in God's favor apart from any good works of my own, then-- if I happen to do a bad deed-- it does no change God's attitude toward me.
Before you jump to any conclusion, please understand; this does not mean that a believer is free to go out and continue sinning. Contrary to popular opinion--but in accordance with Scripture--as a Believer dwells upon this grace of God in which he now stands, it will motivate him to do good works! see Titus 2:11, 12.
What did Jesus Christ accomplish on that Cross?