The Truth about Grace

Many people believe that God is going to put everything we have ever done on a scale; If our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds, then we’ll go to heaven.

About the Author

William Wimmer is the Senior Pastor at First Church of God in Sapulpa. He has been in ministry for over 28 years.

We use the word “grace” in a variety of ways these days. We sometimes speak of a ballet dancer who moves with much grace. When we request someone to pray before a meal, we ask them to say grace. A company may have a grace period, thus imposing no penalty if a payment is made a few days late. While all of these references to grace communicate kind or generous actions, none of them truly capture the meaning and significance of grace as spoken of in the Bible.

The word “grace” appears 131 times in the New Testament, with about 90 of those coming in the writings of the Apostle Paul. Paul made it abundantly clear that salvation is received as a result of God’s grace and not at all by our good works. In Ephesians 2:8, 9 Paul famously wrote, “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” (New King James Version).

We have the same problem today that existed back in Paul’s day – a large portion of the population thinks that heaven is earned by our works; that is, by being a good person or by keeping the Ten Commandments. Many people believe that God is going to put everything we have ever done on a scale – the good things on one side and the bad things on the other side. Then, if our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds, then we’ll go to heaven. That is simply not true. In an episode of Home Improvement, the main character (played by Tim Allen) gave his philosophy of how to get to heaven.

He said, “If you go to church, you get a credit. If you fall asleep, you lose a credit. If you understand the sermon, you get extra credits. If you end up with more credits than not, you can bypass hell and go on to heaven.” It seems that many people share this philosophy. Again, it’s simply not true.

The reality is that our works are never good enough to save our souls because our sin is too great and must be dealt with. That is why Jesus died on the cross; so that, by His grace, we could be saved. When you stop and think about that, this is really good news! You don’t have to strive or sweat in an effort to earn your way to heaven. You never could anyway. Put your faith in Christ and, by His grace (that which is unearned and undeserved), you can be saved.

One last thing: don’t ever think that you have sinned too much or strayed too far for God’s grace to reach you. God’s grace is abundant. Martin Luther said that doubting the supply of God’s grace is like a sparrow wondering if the sky is big enough for it to fly in or a fish wondering if the ocean is big enough for it to swim in. God’s grace is infinite.

About the Author

William Wimmer is the Senior Pastor at First Church of God in Sapulpa. He has been in ministry for over 28 years.

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