Understanding Grace among Christians is often misread, misquoted, misunderstood, based on family traditions, or our own conceived ideas, and many have said that it gives one the freedom to sin and takes away from holiness. Some see grace as it is okay for them to continue in their loose and carefree lifestyle.
There is a natural faith such as is it going to snow today and there is also saving faith, a miraculous thing; not an act of the human will. Today it is often taught, that getting saved is an exceedingly simple affair.
Saving faith consists of much more than believing that "Christ died for me," it involves the complete surrender of your heart and life. Christ came here to save His people from hell and from sin.
Grace Mercy and God
Lets look at a few passages that tell us about grace, mercy and God. The Bible gives us the contrasts in Matt. 7: 13,14 & Luke 13: 23,24 about ‘many' and ‘few'. There are many that are on the path to eternal destruction and few who will find Heaven. These passages continue to tell us to ‘strive' because the only path which leads to Heaven is a hard and difficult one; not in any works or things we can do, but in giving our heart to Jesus.
To stand before a holy and just God, that person must be righteous. It is the sovereignty of God whereby He declares us righteous when as a sinner we repent and believe or trust in Jesus Christ. Upon Salvation the believer does not stop sinning or become perfect ceasing from sin; but will desire to sin less. God gives by grace the gift of eternal life on the sinner at the moment he believes or trusts and declares him righteous. Works or good deeds such as paying tithes, joining a church, baptism, godly and sacrificial living are things that a believer comes to do as they grow in the grace of the Lord.
Grace is when we get something even though we don't deserve it. Jesus came to this earth in bodily form went to the cross and died a cruel death to pay for our sins. He rose again and is now in Heaven with the Father. It is because of His grace, that if we trust in Him and truly recognize that we are sinners and ask Jesus to forgive us and then we will have eternal life. Jesus died in our place so that we could have the gift of eternal life. We deserved to be punished for our disobedience to God, but Jesus took our sin and disobedience on himself, who is sinless and paid the penalty in our place.
Grace and Grace Alone
It is by grace and grace alone, God declares the sinner righteous and from that moment on the sinner justified by grace begins a process of growth toward maturity. Even though one will still sin periodically, God still declares you righteous when you have believed. Because of this grace, it is all the more reasonable to be grateful for grace.
Mercy is the forgiveness Jesus gives us even though we are worthy of judgement. Why? Because of Adam and Eve who sinned in the garden, sin has been passed down to everyone through all generations. We are all sinners even though we don't want to admit it. We have all something wrong, said bad words, stole something, lied, had bad attitudes or behaviours. We all have sinned and therefore have turned our back on God.
Difficulties in Understanding Saving Faith
In Mark 10:24 we read ‘how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God'. In this case, this young ruler departed sorrowing "for he had great possessions." He was wrapped up in them. They were his idols. His heart was chained to the things of earth. The demands of Christ were too great to part with all and follow Him. ‘One thing you lack.' What is it? A heart surrendered to God. When a man is satisfied with carnal riches, he has no desire for spiritual riches
The same sad truth is brought out again in Christ's parable of the great supper.
Luke 14:18~20 ‘But they all with one accord began to make excuses. Each on in this passage had an excuse. Many today have excuses and for many they excuse themselves right to the grave. People are willing to "accept Christ" on their own terms, but not on His
What are His terms and is there a cost?
In Luke 14:28 ~31 we read of those that considered first and counted the cost. It involves bowing to His yoke, surrendering to His Lordship, and living for His glory. To come to Christ involves the turning our backs upon the world and identifying ourselves with the despised and rejected One.
1 Peter 4:18 If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear.
This passage does not imply that the obtaining of eternal life is a simple matter? The only path which leads to Heaven is a hard and difficult one: Matthew Henry said "there are so many sufferings, temptations, and difficulties to be overcome; the gate is so strait, and the way so narrow, that it is as much as the righteous can do to be saved.
More reasons why saving faith is so difficult
By nature we are ignorant and easily deceived by Satan's substitutes. Self-love reigns within us and to deny self is too great a demand for us. The love of the world and friends often hinders us from a complete surrender to Christ. The demands of God that He should be loved with all your heart is too great. Suffering persecution for righteousness sake, is unheard of. The humbling of ourselves before God, confessing all our self-will, is something unheard of.
Many desire to be saved from Hell (natural instinct, if you even believe there is a Hell) but are unwilling to be saved from sin.
Millions are being deluded into thinking that they have "accepted Christ as their Saviour," but whose lives show plainly that they reject Him as their Lord. The Devil or Satan is drawing multitudes into Hell by this very delusion. Many would profess to believe in the virgin birth and death of Christ and may pass for a real Christian almost anywhere today; but their life may be no different from those who make no profession at all.
The Bible says in Luke 6: 46 But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say? Also read It is said that a man that is drowning cannot say he is saved from the water while he is sinking in it.
How can you be saved from sin while you are living in it?
Christians cannot make themselves Christians, it is a work of God
Good works are a proof of salvation but not the path to salvation
Real faith produces a changed life and a change of behaviour
Desire for obedience is evidence of true faith
You cannot be born with faith, faith must have a definite beginning; as the Bible says ‘you must be born again'
Is there evidence of the assurance of your salvation?
Are you sensitivity to sin, basically obedient to the commandments of scripture, are your attitude toward the world and its values any different, do you practice sin less than before you professed faith in Jesus, do you have a love for other believers, have an ability to discern truth from error, believe the basic doctrines of the faith, have you experienced persecution for your Christian position.
John 6:44 "No man can come to Me, except the Father which has sen Me, draw him" The Bible says the natural man cannot come to Christ till the Father ‘draw' him.
The Bible says in John 3:3 "unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." What must I do to be saved? Acknowledge you're a sinner Accept the sacrifice of Christ alone Ask Christ into your life, ask for His forgiveness
A sinner deserves vengeance and their only hope for survival is grace. To not uphold the law one can come to grace; but to ignore grace leaves only the wrath of God upon the wicked and vile sinner.