December 6, 2022
Series: English
Topic: grace

Speaker: Ernest Hume

How would you define grace?

Grace is the cornerstone of Christianity because, as Christians, we believe we are saved by grace through faith. It is easy to see that if you get grace wrong, you get Christianity wrong and might risk losing your salvation. The only way to ensure we understand grace correctly is by ensuring our understanding of grace matches the Bible. If our understanding of grace differs from the Bible, we might risk losing our salvation. Because what it comes down to in the end is this; we are saved by grace through faith the way the Bible understands grace, not by how our pastor or denomination understands grace.

Paul is called the apostle of grace because he is credited with “rediscovering” salvation by grace through faith alone. An honest reading of the Bible would prove this wrong; grace was not foreign to Pauls’s world. In the Old Testament, we encounter grace as a prime aspect of the God of the Bible, Yehovah. (Ex 34:6) Both Paul and his contemporaries believed Yehovah was a God who did everything out of grace.

So, where is the difference between the Bible’s understanding of grace and mainstream Christianity?

Mainstream Christianity understands grace as something given to us because of our passive faith in what Jesus did for us at the cross. If we mentally accept Jesus died for us, God will, in return, impute the righteousness of Christ to our lives and give us grace.

The Bible understands grace as something given to us because of our active faith in Jesus. What do I mean by “active faith”? And what do I mean by “faith in Jesus” compared to “faith in what Jesus did for us at the cross”? The Bible is a Jewish book that understands faith very differently from the way we perceive faith. We see faith as acknowledging a mental fact to be accurate, but acknowledging 2+2=4 as truth does not affect our lives. From the Hebraic perspective, faith is always active and something we can see because it changes your life. So if I claim to have faith in Jesus Christ, my faith has to be seen in how I live my life. If I claim to believe in Jesus but refuse to obey his teachings, my faith is dead and unable to save me.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say to believe in what Jesus did for us at the cross. Instead, it says we are to believe and have faith in Jesus. Faith in someone means you imitate their life (1. John 2, 1. Chor 11) to such an extent you live as they lived their life. Jesus kept the law, so if we believe in Jesus, we will imitate his life and keep the law.

Are you saved by grace through faith the way the Bible defines faith and grace?