The Christian Bible is divided up into two major sections. If you have a full sized Bible, you’ll find right before the book of Genesis a page that says “The Old Testament.” Then right after the book of Malachi and before the book of Matthew you’ll find a page that says “The New Testament.” I want you to do something for me. I want to you rip out the page that says “The New Testament” because it’s in the wrong spot of your Bible. It doesn’t belong there and it’s causing great confusion to many Christians.
The faith and works debate has raged for millennia among Christians. For many, the concept that God would accept anyone as righteous without any effort at all on their part is the pinnacle of absurdity. Men must be held accountable for their unrighteous actions and to give them a get-out-of-jail-free card is seen as unjust.
Yet Paul tells us in Romans that God has revealed a righteousness that is apart from doing any deeds required by the law.
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Romans 3:28
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God… Ephesian 2:8
Paul tells us in Ephesians that grace is the free gift of God by which we are saved. We are saved by grace which is an offer made for free without any obligation. However, the gift of salvation by grace isn’t just applied to every person automatically. It has to be received and God tells us that we receive the gift of God’s grace through faith.
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6
The Bible tells us that grace is God’s offer of righteousness and salvation for free without any works or other obligation to keep. But an offer will only ever do you any good if you receive that offer. In Ephesians, we are told that salvation is by grace through faith, but before talking about faith I think it’s important to consider one other prerequisite to receiving God’s grace: humility.
One of the most pernicious views of God’s grace is the idea that God doesn’t really care about sin in our lives at all. This view almost always comes from those who rarely, if ever, read the Bible for themselves. It’s a common view among the nominally religious, or those who consider themselves more liberal or “progressive” in their faith.