The Unique Message of Christianity
During a conference in Oxford on comparative religions back in the late 1950s, a group of venerable experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith.
They considered a number of options. The lengthy deliberation continued until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What is all the discussion about?” he asked. They explained they were debating Christianity’s unique difference among world religions.
Lewis responded, “That’s easy. It’s grace!!” Then he went on to explain that no other faith teaches the concept of a God who takes the initiative to respond with undeserved kindness and favor toward sinners. He was 100 percent correct, of course.
Grace is the “unbridgeable” divide between the Christian faith and every other religion, and it is a major part of what makes our salvation so great. Grace is “the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8-9), a blessing freely given by the Father.
Every other religious system is founded on the premise that mankind must do something to reach and please God. The movement is always from humanity to God. But the heart of Christianity is the good news of what God has done through Christ and the power of the cross to make humanity right with Him.
Grace is mercy, not merit! Grace is the biblical reality that God’s love comes to us free of charge, before we could earn it, with no strings attached – that is the unique message of Christianity.
2 Corinthians 13:14 (MSG) The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.
One of the best-known definitions of grace is only three words: God’s unmerited favor. Gifted writer and preacher A.W. Tozer expanded on that: “Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow His wonderful blessings and benefits on the undeserving.”
The distinctiveness of GRACE: God’s unmerited favor toward sinful mankind is the difference between Christianity and every other religious system in the world.
Amazing Grace and the Gospel
The gospel of the grace of God is the message everyone needs. Grace is the undeserved, unearned, unmerited free favor of God that gives us access to the power of God for everything we need “for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:2-3).
Grace is the opposite of karma, which is all about getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve, and not getting what you do deserve. We didn’t deserve the divine favor of God lavished upon us. We deserved the wrath of God and eternal damnation in hell.
- The gospel is a declaration of God’s grace (Acts 20:24, 32).
- The gospel describes God’s grace as abounding grace (Romans 5:20).
- The gospel describes God’s grace as great (Acts 4:33).
- The gospel describes God’s grace as abundant (1 Timothy 1:14).
- The gospel describes God’s grace as rich (Ephesians 1:7).
- The gospel describes God’s grace as overflowing (2 Corinthians 9:14 NLT).
- The gospel describes God’s grace as all-sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).
- The gospel describes God’s grace as glorious (Ephesians 1:6).
- The gospel tells us grace is the source of our salvation (Acts 15:11).
- The gospel tells us grace is the source of our forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7).
Grace is the limitless supply of God’s goodness whereby He does for us what we could never do for ourselves. The movement is from God to humanity making it possible for sinful human beings to have forgiveness and a relationship with Him.
“Grace is free sovereign favor to the ill-deserving.” – B.B. Warfield
Grace is everything for nothing. It’s the love of God shown to the unlovely; it’s helping the helpless; the peace of God given to the restless; the unmerited favor of God lavished on the undeserving.
Ephesians 1:7-8 (NIV) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.
God doesn’t offer grace to good people, any more than doctors offer lifesaving surgery to healthy people. The worst thing we can tell people is that they’re good enough without Jesus. The Bible tells us that Jesus died at Calvary for utterly unworthy people (Romans 5:6-8).
John 1:17 (AMP) Grace – unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing – and truth came through Jesus Christ.
The gospel is all about God’s grace through Jesus Christ. That’s why Paul calls it “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) and “the word of His grace” (Acts 14:3).
Why Do We Need God’s Grace?
Why do we need this message of amazing grace? Because you can’t earn your way into heaven! No one can be good enough! No one can work hard enough! No one can do anything to merit a place in heaven!
The Bible is clear that ALL people, from every walk of life, are by nature spiritually dead, and separated from God – and on the highway to hell.
When God looks down from heaven, the human race looks like a vast graveyard to Him. All He sees are spiritually dead people, and above every corpse is a three-word epitaph: “DEAD THROUGH SIN” (Ephesians 2:1-3). This is the sinful state of the human condition apart from God. It is true of all people without exception… unless you are born again!
Romans 5:20 (NKJV) Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.
Those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and in Him alone are saved forever (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). They are forgiven of all their sins, born again, brought into God’s family, declared righteous while they were still sinners, their sins are placed on Christ and His righteousness is imputed to them, and they receive a new creation nature that enables them to walk in a brand-new direction (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
They are given eternal life and guaranteed they will go to heaven when they die. This is the glorious and wonderful message of God’s amazing grace!
God’s grace is simply God’s free, undeserved, unmerited and unearned favor and forgiveness lavished upon us. It is a gift given by God not because we are worthy of it, but only because God, out of His great love, wants to give it.
Grace is the reason why God sent Jesus into the world. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16)… don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that God was somehow obligated to send Jesus to save the world. The only obligation God has is to always act consistent with His true character and nature. He sent His Son because that’s the kind of God He is.
Titus 3:7 (NLT) Because of His grace He declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
Through grace and grace alone, people can be saved from sin, from Satan, from spiritual death and from the wrath and judgment of God.
What’s So Amazing About Grace?
Grace is unmerited favor. The word “unmerited” is important. It means that grace is not earned; we can’t work for grace (Romans 11:6).
- GRACE = God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense
- GRACE = God’s unmerited favor and graciousness
- GRACE = God’s unearned approval and acceptance
- GRACE = God’s undeserved goodness and loving-kindness
- GRACE = divine favor showered on those who deserve the very opposite
- GRACE = God giving me what I don’t deserve
- GRACE = the manifestation of God’s goodness toward the undeserving
Grace is the outpouring of God’s goodness and mercy on undeserving mankind. Every blessing, benefit and provision you and I will ever receive comes by God’s grace. That’s why Peter called it “the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).
“Grace is the free, undeserved goodness and favor of God poured out on mankind.” – Matthew Henry
Grace is a gift that costs everything to the giver and nothing to the receiver. It is given to those who don’t deserve it, barely recognize it, and rarely appreciate it.
Grace by definition means that God gives us what we don’t deserve and could never earn. Grace means that God loves us eternally and showers His favor, goodness and kindness upon us. God accepts us on the basis of what Jesus Christ has done, and not on what we can do. At Calvary, Jesus already did all the work for our benefit when He died on the cross.
“The very center and core of the whole Bible is the doctrine of the grace of God.” – J. Gresham Machen
Grace is God’s free and benevolent favor shown to guilty sinners who deserve only judgment and hell.
Grace is the foundation of our salvation (Ephesians 2:4-9). Grace means God is for us and not against us.
Amazing Grace Brings Us Salvation
The apostle Paul declared, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Every believer receives the grace of God as a result of responding to the good news. And the good news is that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone!
Salvation does not come by confirmation, Holy Communion, baptism, church membership, church attendance, trying hard to keep the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount. It does not come by giving to charity or even by believing that there is a God. It does not come by simply being moral and respectable and a “good person!”
We enter the kingdom of God only by the grace of God. There is no place for self-congratulations or human achievement. Salvation does not even come by claiming to be a Christian. Salvation comes only when we receive by faith the gift of God’s grace.
Titus 2:11 (AMP) The grace of God, His unmerited favor, has appeared for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind.
The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people. It is offered totally apart from anything we could ever do to deserve God’s favor. It is the unmerited favor of God, who in His great mercy and loving-kindness grants us salvation as a gift. All we need to do is simply respond by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-10, 13).
“Should anyone knock at the door of my heart and say: Who lives here? I should reply: Not Martin Luther, but the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Martin Luther
Salvation means to be rescued and set free by divine intervention. And the message that rescued and redeemed us from the damning penalty and power of sin is “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), “the word of His grace” (Acts 20:32), “the grace of God in truth” (Colossians 1:6).
Heaven is not filled with good people, but with people who have received God’s grace. Hell is full of people who tried to reach heaven some other way.
Human effort cannot bring salvation. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Every believer receives the grace of God as a result of responding in faith to the good news. And God’s good news is that salvation is by grace.
Amazing Grace Brings Us Full Forgiveness
When President Dwight Eisenhower was hospitalized for the final time before he died, Billy Graham paid him a visit. At one point President Eisenhower asked, “Can an old sinner like me ever be forgiven and go to heaven?” Billy Graham assured him that because of God’s grace even “old sinners” can be forgiven and go to heaven by trusting in Jesus.
1 John 4:10 (NLT) This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
The message of God’s amazing grace means there is good news for “old sinners,” “young sinners,” “big sinners,” “small sinners,” and everyone in between. At the cross, Jesus paid the price in full so that you and I can go to heaven. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done or how bad your record might be. If you know that you are a sinner, you can be fully forgiven and saved.
9 Things God Does With Our Sins
Perhaps the most neglected doctrine of theology is the forgetfulness of God. But this is the good news of God’s grace: when God forgives, God forgets! This truth is repeatedly affirmed in Scripture. When God forgives our sin He puts it out of His mind; He erases it from the pages of time; He forgets it forever.
- God takes away all of our sins (John 1:29).
- God forgives all of them (Ephesians 1:7).
- God forgets all of them (Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 10:16-17).
- God removes all of them as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
- God cleanses and washes away all of them (1 John 1:7, 9; Isaiah 1:18).
- God blots out all of them (Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 44:22).
- God casts all of them behind His back. (Isaiah 38:17).
- God buries all of them in the sea of His forgetfulness (Micah 7:19).
- God abundantly pardons all of them (Isaiah 55:7).
When God forgives, He forgets our sins, He clears the record permanently. He erases the tape so that when He pushes the button, nothing shows up on the big screen in heaven. Because of God’s amazing grace our sins are forgiven, forgotten, removed, buried, and blotted out. They can never condemn us again.
Absorb and allow these wonderful thoughts to saturate your soul and your life will never be the same.