Grace is the most important, yet most misunderstood concept in Christianity. Its simplicity derives from God’s love towards man – God doing all that is required to redeem man in his fallen state.
Religion has been defined as man’s efforts to appease God. Unfortunately, the best of efforts is not enough to satisfy the requirements of divine law. If there was one person who was well versed in the law and did everything he could to follow the requirements of the law, it was Paul the Apostle.
In Philippians 3:5-6, he highlighted his spiritual credentials, ‘..circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless’.
All these meant a lot to Paul until his encounter with Christ. He realized that all these credentials was like building a sandcastle and trusting that it would withstand the waves. This is why he came to the point where he declared, ‘But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ’ (Phil 3:7)
Grace is God’s gift to us. We don’t deserve it but He offers it to us anyway. It is our choice whether we receive it or not. Many do not understand the concept of grace. They cannot understand why God would choose to forgive a murderer, robber or thief and give them a clean slate. They scoff at people who testify to God’s redemptive power in their lives. All they see is the sin, what God sees is the blood of His dear Son Jesus who bled and died for all mankind. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
No man has and can acquire the qualification to obtain God’s salvation. It is not a right; it is a free gift from God. I thank God that it is free and it is from God. Imagine what we would have had to undergo to obtain this qualification! Schools would have been set up to teach us how to earn God’s salvation and most likely priced out of the reach of the common man, as experienced in the educational sectors of many countries today.
At the core of the Christian faith, is the doctrine of grace. Take grace out of the equation and there is no salvation, no redemption and no hope for mankind.