Understanding Grace

1. We must be absolutely clear that these two can never mix. Paul declares, “…if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Rom 11:6). Salvation cannot be partly by works and partly by grace.

2. We must be absolutely certain that works have nothing to do with salvation. Period. The Bible clearly states, “For by grace are ye saved…not of works” (Eph 2:8-10). True to such Scriptures, evangelicals firmly declare that we cannot earn or merit salvation in any way.  Eternal life must be received as a free gift of God’s grace, or we cannot have it.

3. Salvation cannot be purchased even in part by us, because it requires payment of the penalty for sin—a payment we can’t make. If one were to receive a speeding ticket, it wouldn’t help to say to the judge, “I’ve driven many times within the 55 mph limit. Surely my many good deeds will make up for the one bad deed.” Nor would it do to say, “If you let me off this time, I promise never to break the law again.” The judge would reply, “To never break the law again is only to do what the law demands.  You get no extra credit for that. The penalty for breaking the law is a separate matter and must be paid.”  Thus Paul writes,“…by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight…” (Rom 3:20).

4. If salvation from the penalty of breaking God’s laws cannot be earned by good deeds, then it cannot be lost by bad deeds. Our works play no part in either earning or keeping salvation. If it could, then those who reach heaven could boast that while Christ saved them they, by their good lives, kept their salvation. Thus God would be robbed of having all the glory in eternity.

5. Salvation can be given to us as a free gift only if the penalty has been fully paid. We have violated infinite Justice, requiring an infinite penalty. We are finite beings and could not pay it: we would be separated from God for eternity. God is infinite and could pay an infinite penalty, but it wouldn’t be just because He is not a member of our race. Therefore God, in love and grace, through the virgin birth, became a man so that He could pay the debt of sin for the entire human race! It is finished!”

Originally from the “Once Saved, Always Saved?” tract written by Dave Hunt  (http://www.thebereancall.org/sites/2011.thebereancall.org/files/Once%20Saved%20Always%20Saved_0.pdf)