We Could Not Do It Without His Grace
Chris' Corner -- Sunday, February 13, 2022
The cross of Christ is a constant and humbling reminder of our inability to save ourselves from our sins. Any sin is severe, condemning, and requires the death penalty (Rom. 6:23). But the sinless Son of God took our condemnation upon Himself (2 Cor. 5:21). God loved humanity so much; He was willing to pay the price of sin for us. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Yes, we are utterly helpless without Jesus Christ. From the beginning, humanity has failed to keep God’s laws. We are unsuccessful in maintaining the pure, spotless spirit God gave us in our mother’s womb (Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:44). He wanted us to take care of it, nourish it, and keep it from sin. But outside of Christ, no one has ever succeeded (Rom. 3:23). Without Him, we can’t fix it or undo it (Luke 17:10).
The only alternative is to depend on the grace of God through the saving blood of Christ. “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” (Eph. 2:8-9). Jesus taught that our sins put us all in extreme debt. No one has the ability to pay the obligation (Mat. 18:24-27). Only Christ can pay it for us (Isa. 53:4, 5; 1 Pet. 2:24).
“Grace,” as presented in scripture, describes undeserving favor, goodwill, and lovingkindness, given by God, to inferior human beings. Grace is the means of redeeming (paying the price for sin) for all humanity, which does not deserve it, nor can anyone do anything to earn it.
Grace is free but conditional. We cannot receive the benefits of grace without obedience. No one can expect His grace who is unwilling to follow God’s will. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom. 6:1-2; cf. Mat. 7:21ff).
For God to bestow His grace upon us and cleanse us from the stains of sin requires complete surrender, with nothing held back. God made this possible when Jesus was killed on the cross. He expects the sacrifice of ourselves for Him. As Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
Receiving the benefits of forgiveness begins with the gospel and baptism for the forgiveness of sin (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Self-sacrifice is a life-long commitment. Look at the connection in Romans 6:3–4. We are buried with Christ into His death. We are raised from the dead to walk in a new life. Remaining faithful is a challenge. But again, with God’s grace, He helps to pull us through (1 Pet. 5:8-10).