Home > Doctrine > What’s so important about Grace?

What’s so important about Grace?

Grace, one of the Bible’s most recurring themes, is defined as the unearned, undeserved favor of God. It is the term used to describe how God works in spite of us, not because of us and for us when he should be working against us.  Grace has two contexts in both the Bible and in life: Common Grace and Saving Grace.

Common Grace

Common grace is the unearned, undeserved favor that God gives to all people to varying degrees in a general way.  The Bible is clear that though we are each created in the image of God with infinite value and worth (Genesis 1:26-27), we have sinned against God in both the fallen nature of our being and the choices of our conscious minds (Romans 5:12, James 1:13-15).  That is at the very core of who we are we rebel against God’s authority and presence in our lives (Romans 1:18-32). As a result, we condemn ourselves to hell, the just punishment we deserve for rebellion against the Almighty. (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, Matthew 13:40-43)

This means that each and every one of us deserve nothing less than God’s eternal, unceasing wrath in the torments of hell.  If God were to sentence everyone to hell he would simply be giving us what we deserve for our crimes against him.  Common Gace, then is the unearned, undeserved favor that God gives to all people in allowing us to live in moderate happiness on the earth. God’s common grace includes technology, food, water, clothing, shelter, medicine, education and any other aspect of this life that can be considered good.

Basically, if the circumstance you’re experiencing are better than hell, then you’re experiencing the common, undeserved, unearned favor of God in your life. Common grace then beomes both eternally and practically important. It is eternally important because it means that a person who rejects Jesus, remains in their sin and dies to find themselves in hell has still, to some degree, experienced the unearned, undeserved favor of God in that God granted them a few years on earth to escape the punishment they should have received from the start. 

It is practically important because it means that we can be thankful even in the midst of the worst adversity because our circumstances are in no way as bad as they could be.  It is also practically helpful because it means that though we as ill-deserving sinners are not as good as we should be, we are neither as bad as we could be and can still live decent more lives, even if we don’t know Jesus.  Lastly, common grace means that this life is as close to heaven as unrepentant sinners will ever get, while it is as close to hell as those who trust in Christ will ever get.  Common grace makes common life worth being grateful for.  Suddenly, that hour long drive to work isn’t that bad, you’re old beater of a car is actually a blessing, and being fired from your job is still better than the alternative.

Saving Grace

The second type of grace is known as Saving Grace.  Saving grace is the unearned, undeserved favor that God extends to some sinners so that they can repent of sin and believe on Jesus.  Jesus tells us in John 8 that we are “slaves to sin.” As slaves we are unable to set ourselves free.  There is no choice we can make of our own free will and no effort we can make of our own work that will ever free us from the captivity of our sin.  If God were to leave all people to their sin enslaved will, we would all end up in the hell we deserve.  Saving grace, then is the favor that God extends to some in choosing to free them from their slavery to sin so that they can believe on the work of Jesus Christ and thereby be forgiven their sin, rescued from hell and brought into friendship God. (Ephesians 2:1-10)

The argument against saving grace is that it means God did not extend his grace to all people in the same way and some will die and go to hell because God was unkind in not extending saving grace to them. Those who argue this wrongly believe that God owes saving grace to all people.  The truth is the only thing that God owes to all people is justice.  Anyone who experiences common grace has already received more of God’s goodness than they deserve and those who receive God’s saving grace are simply to be grateful that he extended his unearned, undeserved favor to them because he certainly didn’t have to.  The truth of saving grace is that God needs to save no one, but in his unearned, undeserved favor chooses to save some. (Romans 9-11)

Question: How does understanding God’s grace enrich your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  1. February 17, 2012 at 7:15 AM

    hmm interesting..

    I want to see the verses for “Common grace” and “Saving grace”

    grace and peace

    • February 21, 2012 at 3:33 PM

      “Common Grace” and “Saving Grace” are specific terms used to describe general Biblical truths. You will not find any verses that specifically use those terms as the terms themselves were developed to classify the two different types of grace illustrated throughout the pages of the Bible.

      Generally speaking, any time you read a verse that talks about something we as ill-deserving sinners receive that is better than hell in this life, you’re reading verses on “common grace.” Also, any time you read a verse referring to God extending salvation to anyone by the work of Jesus at the cross, you’re reading about “saving grace.”

      You can begin studying these concepts with the few verses outlined in the post above. For further study check out the verses below:

      “Common Grace”: Psalms 65:9; 104:14; Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:17 (These verses show God giving water, food, sunlight, rain and goodness to us as ill-deserving sinners) It’s better than hell, so it’s common grace.

      Exodus 31:2-11, 35:30-35; Titus 3:11-14 (These verses show that God allows cities to grow, families to exist, societies to flourish and sinners to live decent moral lives. It’s better than hell so it’s common grace.)

      “Saving Grace”: Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 9-11, Romans 3:20-25; Romans 6:23; Romans 4:15-17; Romans 5:1-2 (These are just a few verses that show God gives ill-deserving sinners unearned, undeserved favor in the person and work of Jesus Christ to rescue from hell and empower us to live for God.)

  1. February 23, 2012 at 8:29 AM

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