Recently I was sitting in a Bible study and the leader said something I’ve heard hundreds if not thousands of times before: “By grace through faith in Christ.” It’s a phrase that at it’s very root defines the gospel in its simplest form. You could spend hours breaking down each part of this, so I’ve decided to write a three part series breaking down each section of it. Today I will tackle the first part, “by grace.”It’s no coincidence that ‘by grace’ comes first in this phrase. Without grace, the other two pieces just couldn’t happen. Before anything happens in us God shows his grace, he practices compassion and love towards us, so that we might know him and begin to reinstate our relationship to him. Over and over in the New Testament we find the apostles teaching on our salvation.
Romans 11:5-6 reads, “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
This verse is stating that it is not on our own accord that we choose to be part of Christ’s church and put our faith in him. Instead this doctrine teaches that by God’s grace people, as one commentator puts it, “not on account of any worth or excellence in themselves, but through his goodness are they chosen to have a place in his Church, and continue to be his people, entitled to all the privileges of the new covenant.”
It’s amazing how easy it is for us to forget such simple basic truths of the gospel. Perhaps some of you are like me and until college never heard the doctrine of grace clearly laid out with such clear implications as the hope of our salvation (as opposed to a by works gospel). Maybe others of you still struggle with the idea of grace. Still others of you, myself included, despite knowing this biblical truth still want to earn salvation and forget that it is not on our own accord that we gain Christ but rather only on the compassion of God do we find him. That’s why we need to be told over and over again the doctrine of grace, so that we might remember it and put our hope in it.