Grace is a gift. A gift that makes me happy. A gift for which I am thankful. Grace is a gift that is very favorable and pleasing. And, yes this is because God so loved the world, not because I deserve it. So what do I need? I have everything. I have a great wife, great children and grandchildren. I work with great brethren. I have everything this world can provide. What is it anybody can give me I don’t have? What is it I need? I have everything.
While I may have everything this world offers, I need something only God can offer. What God offers corresponds to my moral and spiritual condition. “I am debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation, for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith”” (Romans 1:16-17).
“Paul, why are you ready to preach the gospel at Rome?” “I am not ashamed of it.” “Why is it you are not ashamed?” “It is the power of God to salvation.” “Why is it the power of God to salvation?” “It reveals the righteousness of God from faith to faith.” “Why does it reveal God’s righteousness from faith to faith?” “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousnesss of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
But, why has God’s wrath been revealed? Paul indicts Gentiles are sinners (1:18-32). Then he indicts the Jews are sinners (2:-3:20). When Paul said all Jews and Gentiles are sinners he then draws the conclusion, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23).
Why is it this righteousness of God has been revealed? Because all men are sinners, have sinned, past tense, and fall short- present tense. Man keeps on falling short of the glory of God. Man’s condition is that man is a sinner.
How did man become a sinner? Was man born that way? Did man inherit the sin of Adam? Did man inherit the sins of his parents? Is that how man became a sinner? “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked….” (Eph. 2:1-2). No, man was not born that way. Man did not inherit the sins of Adam or the sins of his parents. Man is a sinner because he chose to walk that way.
Therefore, “But God, who is rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (for by grace you have been saved..)” (Eph. 2:4-5).
Man is a sinner. Man transgresses law and because of that misses the mark God has set for man. Therefore, by virtue of the way man walked he has become a sinner. As a sinner he stands in need of a gift. Man must have something given to him. The only way he can get that gift is for someone to give it to him. Man’s greatest need is grace.
What grace does man need? Man needs justification (Rom. 3:24, Titus 3:7). Justification is a judicial term used in a court of law to describe a sentence that has been handed down. Man needs to be justified. He needs the verdict of acquittal. Paul said the only way man can have it is by grace, given to him as a gift.
Grace also provides righteousness (Rom. 4:14-16). Righteousness refers to man’s moral and spiritual condition of being made right. What does man the sinner need? He needs justification and needs to be made righteous.
What grace does man need? (Eph. 1:7). Man needs to be redeemed. The idea of redemption is buying back, purchased again. Man needs to be bought back, bought out of sin and redeemed back to God. That process of buying a person is that of paying off a ransom. The idea of a ransom is buying somebody back because of being enslaved. Man is enslaved to Satan as a sinner. He needs to be bought back, redeemed. Paul said that redemption is through God’s grace.
What does man the sinner need? He needs to be justified, made righteous and redeemed. Man needs to be saved (Eph. 2: 5-8, Tit. 2:11). He needs to be saved by God’s grace.
Because man is a sinner he cannot work for his salvation. He cannot earn his salvation. He cannot put God in his debt. God doesn’t owe man anything. He doesn’t owe man justification. He doesn’t owe man righteousness. He doesn’t owe man redemption. He doesn’t owe salvation.
If man is going to be justified, made righteous and be redeemed it is because of the free gift of grace given to man as a gift. When man receives the gift of grace by being justified, made righteous and redeemed, he will look at that gift and see it is favorable and pleasing. The gift will produce joy and thanksgiving. Having received that gracious gift, man will seek to always in all things please the Father.
Please understand, if salvation is conditional then the gracious gift conditionally offered is grace. That gift can be rejected or accepted. If the free gift is accepted then the giver sets the terms and conditions by which the gift can be received and appropriated. If salvation is unconditional then grace is irresistible because man cannot choose to do good spiritually.
Grace is a gift man doesn’t deserve, didn’t earn. God has given us the gift of salvation. That gift produces in us joy, thanksgiving and gratitude. That gift is well pleasing and favorable.
If one realizes he is a sinner, separated from God and without hope, there is no way we can ever receive grace as wages. We can’t work for grace. We can’t earn grace. There is no way God owes us grace.
We realize that if we receive it at all it must be as a gift. God is willing to give us that gift. If we want to receive that gift of salvation then our faith must be such that it is obedient and responsive to the word of God.
by Rickie Jenkins