Five Eternal Gifts from God - Grace 1
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 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, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1-7 ESV)
We have seen that the first and foundational gift from God is the Gift of Scripture (Sola Scriptura). The second eternal gift from God is the Gift of Grace: Sola Gratia. God’s Grace is the only motivation by God for salvation toward sinners.
John Newton, author of the most familiar hymn concerning grace (Amazing Grace) said at the age of 82, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things; that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior.”
As Dr. Michael Horton explains, “The reason we must stay with the Scriptures is because it is the only place where we are told that we are saved by the unprovoked and undeserved acceptance of God. In The Sound of Music, Maria (Julie Andrews), bewildered by the captain's sudden attraction to her, rhapsodizes, ‘Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could. So somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.’
Deep down, human nature is convinced that there is a way for us to save ourselves. We may indeed require divine assistance. Perhaps God will have to show us the way, or even send a messenger to lead us back, but we can actually follow the plan and pull it off.
God may need to give sinners grace, but deep down the sinners who receive grace are the ones who deserved it. How ironic, because the most basic definition for grace is “unmerited or undeserved favor.”
Even if we need grace, some theorize that God must have seen something good in us in order for Him to give us His grace. This is the ultimate irony: for a sinner to believe that the ultimate cause of his/her salvation is not solely God but rather themselves. However, the moment we begin to think that grace is meritorious, it ceases to be grace.