The background for this study comes from Romans and Ephesians.
Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to Him as righteousness. " 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness ...
One of the hardest things to accept in our Christianity is the fact that salvation is a gift... an outright gift by the grace of God. Our society revolves around the work ethic. Man prides himself in being identified by the work he does. And, in most cases this pride is justified. We work very hard for what we want out of life, and we strive very hard to get what we want for our church, and there is no fault in this. We Americans can be justly proud of what we have been able to accomplish in this country of ours in just 394 years compared to many other nations of the world. But it is, however, in this context of goals and accomplishments that it becomes hard for us to understand that we can have something for nothing. There is normally a catch. But that's not the way God works...
When we are God's children, we are often called upon to trust, with the trust of a child. Abraham, in the first Scriptural reference is an excellent example of a man with that kind of trust. He gazes at the stars, while God is telling him at age 100, (and a wife of 90) of their coming offsprings, and that his descendants will number like the stars. Abraham does not question the Word of God, nor should we!
Romans 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets. 22 Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe, for there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed, 26 for the demonstration, I say of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that as man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
In verse 22 above, it says we are in our transgressions all reduced to the same level, that same qualification. i.e. we are all sinners. We all fall short of the glory of God, verse 23. We are justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption of Jesus Christ. (Redemption meaning that the price is already paid!) Verse 25 He passes over sins previously committed...
Why would God do this? In our state of transgressions why would God come to my rescue and yours... God loves you. That's why.
Ephesians 2:4 But God being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
In Summary: 1 God loves us and therefore is rich in mercy. 2 He made us alive together in Christ 3 He raised us up with Him 4 He seated us in the heavenly places
By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works..