Sola Gratia – Grace Alone
“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.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
Grace is a church word, and as a result it, at times, loses its meaning in our hearts. This is a tragedy, however, because to lose sight of the significance of grace is to lose the ability to understand Genesis 3 to Revelation. The Bible does not make sense apart from grasping the grace of God. Therefore, it is imperative to return to the essence and nature of the grace of God, but be forewarned; while the grace of God liberates it also devastates. Understanding grace will devastate one’s pride, best efforts, good deeds, and abilities, but it will lead one to joy that is incomprehensible.
Understanding grace requires that one understands himself or herself apart from any romantic embellishments. While one may want to view himself or herself in a high light, the authoritative Scriptures teach that apart from God’s grace, humans are thickheaded sinners, who are dead in sin (Romans 6:23). In fact, sin is so pervasive that while sinners are spiritual corpses headed towards eternal punishment, they remain unaware of the sickness in their soul and the only existing remedy. The spiritual condition of a sinner renders him or her completely inadequate to please God in any way, shape, or form because the only faith that a sinner possesses is in himself or herself (Hebrews 11:6). To make matters worse, a clear reading of Ephesians 2:1-7 will reveal that God owes sinners nothing but justice and wrath.
God begins his gracious work, then, by romanticizing the soul with his beautiful nature revealed to us in the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4-6). Being drawn to and by the grace of God requires that he first overcome the effects of our sinful condition, which he does by revealing himself to us. God softens the heart of the sinner and begins drawing him or her to his magnificent nature until he has made himself to be the delight of our hearts. The grace of God enables us, who at one time trusted only in ourselves, to now trust our maker, sustainer, and lover, who took our place under the wrath of God only to defeat death, sin, and hell by way of his death and resurrection.
As Ephesians 2:9 so clearly teaches, the grace of God in Salvation has nothing to do with one’s ability to impress or earn favor from God. He grants his favor to sinners by grace, which excludes even the slightest hint of human involvement, so that it may be said that He alone has conquered sin, death, and hell. Salvation was not 99.99% God and 00.01% you; it was 100% the work of God. John Calvin stated concerning this subject, “If, on the part of God, it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing but faith, which is in itself a gift from God, it follows that Salvation does not come from us, but wholly God alone.” Therefore relish (enjoy) the grace, which God has given you in Christ Jesus!