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God's Unmerited Favor


Romans 5: 20b – 21

“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ.”

The Old Testament revealed the Lord as a God of grace who showed love to His people, not because they deserved it, but because of His own desire to be faithful to the covenant promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen 17: 1-8; 50:24). The New Testament emphasizes the theme of God’s grace in the giving of His Son on behalf of undeserving sinners. God’s grace is multiplied to believers by the Holy Spirit, imparting forgiveness, acceptance and power to do God’s will (John 3:16; 1 Cor 15:20; Phil 2:13; 1 Tim 1:15 – 16).

Romans 2: 8, 9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

A person cannot be saved by works. Nor can he be saved by good deeds of love or laborious efforts to keep God’s commandments. While these efforts are commendable, they cannot bring about salvation. The only way to salvation is by the grace of God.

It is to be understood that (Romans 2: 1-3):

a. All unsaved individuals are spiritually dead
b. All unsaved individuals are under Satan’s dominion.
c. All unsaved individuals are enslaved to sin.
d. All unsaved individuals are under God’s condemnation

In order to be saved one must receive God’s provision of salvation:

a. He must be forgiven of sin (Romans 2: 4-5)
b. He must be made spiritually alive (Col. 1:13)

When this happens, one:

a. is delivered from the power of Satan and sin (Col 1:13)
b. is made a new creation (Romans 2:10; 2 Cor 5:17)
c. receives the Holy Spirit (John 7:37 – 39)

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) Eph. 2:4-5."

Mercy is the compassion of God that moved Him to provide a Savior for the unsaved. Love on the other hand is the motivating plan behind all that God does in saving a soul. But since God is holy and righteous, and sin is a complete offense to Him, His love or His mercy cannot operate in grace until there is provided a sufficient satisfaction for sin. This satisfaction makes possible the exercise of God’s grace. Grace rules out all human merit. It requires only faith in the Savior. God’s grace provides not only salvation but safety and preservation for the one saved, despite his imperfections. Grace perfects forever the saved one in the sight of God because of the saved one’s position “in Christ.”

We see the complete essence of God’s grace when we view Romans 5:12-21

Just as Adam’s disobedience brought sin and death to the world (Romans 5:12, 18), Christ’s obedience brought righteousness and life (Romans 5:18-22).

The contrast between Adam and Christ:

Because of the sin of one man, Adam, every human has experienced both physical and spiritual death (Genesis 3:19; Eph. 2:1).

Because of the righteousness of one man, Jesus Christ, every human can experience eternal life (1 Cor. 15:22).

God gives grace to believers to be made “free from sin”. His grace is to be distinguished from His mercy and love. The progression of the Christian life from beginning to end is dependent on God’s grace.

What brings salvation is the grace of God through faith (Romans 5:8). The grace of God operates within believers both to will and to act according to God’s good purpose (Phil 2:12 – 13). From beginning to end, salvation is by the grace of God.