Grace: Salvation's Cost (to us)

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Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Rom. 3:24

By our sin we have not only become indebted to God, but we have become indebted to him with a debt that we cannot pay.   Salvation therefore cannot come to us by way of us paying for it.  We cannot merit God’s favor.  Thank God, then, that salvation comes solely and completely by grace: “and are justified by his grace as a gift” (24, ESV).  I think it is important to note that this is a continuation of verse 23: “all have sinned . . . and are justified by his grace.”  Justification and salvation do not come to the righteous but to sinners.  Our Lord still calls sinners – those who have fallen and are broken and so completely hopeless that they do not know where to turn – it is precisely this type of person that our Lord calls to come to him.

Yet we have to continually fight against this mentality that we need to earn God’s favor.  Even as believers in the doctrine of salvation by grace, we can easily slip into thinking that God is just waiting for us to mess up in order to bring the hammer down on us.  Grace reminds us that we have to stop relating to God as if he were keeping a list of our failures and accomplishments.  But God does not love you because you first loved him.  You love him because he first loved you.  He relates to you from eternity to the present only on the basis of grace.  If you belong to Christ, if you trust in him, then today is a day of grace for you.  Tomorrow will be a day of grace as well.  And the next day and the next, on to the day when God completes his work of grace in you (Phil. 1:6).  

There is a line in a prayer in the book Valley of Vision that struck me recently as profound.  In one of the prayers, the author writes, “my trials have been fewer than my sins.”  I know that is true of me.  I suspect it is true of you as well.  And why is that?  It is because God relates to us on the basis of grace, not works.  And the trials God does allow to enter into our lives, no matter how painful, are not there to punish us but to grow us and to draw us closer to himself who is the truest source of rest for our souls.  We should not interpret the events of our lives on the basis of works but in light of God’s grace toward us.  God will not withdraw his favor and his love from his children.  Truly, his steadfast love endures forever.

By: Jeremiah Bass