“Charis” is the beautiful Greek word for “grace.” Without a clear understanding of this word, we miss a fundamental characteristic of God and can never fully know why man is able to be saved in the first place.
The world is divided between two camps regarding salvation. The vast majority insists that Heaven is to be reached by self-effort (doing good deeds, obeying the 10 commandments, etc.). The Catholic Church goes so far as to create a place called Purgatory so that the person, whose sins are already forgiven by Christ, can be further purified in order to qualify for Heaven.
The other camp, which is in the minority, takes God at His word and acknowledges that there is nothing fallen man can do to win the favor of God. This group realizes the true depth of sin within themselves, especially in comparison with God’s absolute holiness.
The minority group is convinced of this truth by verses such as this: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
This same group relies completely on verses such as this: “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.“ (John 1:16&17)
We are all familiar with the words “grace” and “gracious.” We have heard them all our lives. From a Biblical perspective, grace is often referred to as “unmerited favor.”
For example, let’s say you and I are walking towards a closed door and you are in front of me. You have every right to open the door and go through before me. You got there first.
If you go through the door first, with me close behind, and hold the door for me we would call this a courteous act. Now, let’s suppose you get to the door first and hold it open for me to go through before you. We would call this a gracious act. In other words, you had every right to go through first but you gave up that right to show kindness to me. I didn’t earn it, nor did I deserve it.
God also holds a door open for us to go through, as it were. We read in Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men…“
Also in Titus we read, “… so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.“ (Titus 3:7) This means that God declares us justified (righteous) by His grace. We don’t acquire justification (righteousness) by our own effort, it is given to us because God is gracious towards us.
In Ephesians 1:7, referring to Jesus, we read, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” This grace of God is manifested to us in Jesus’ death on the cross.
You might be asking yourself, “If this is true wouldn’t everyone receive salvation freely by Christ’s death on the cross?” Everyone doesn’t receive this salvation automatically, but everyone can receive this salvation through faith. Take a look at the process: “For 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, so that no one may boast.“ (Ephesians 2: 8-9)
Verses 8 and 9 above are the most unambiguous Biblical proclamation of why everyone needs to join the minority camp regarding salvation and it’s resultant effect, Heaven.
Notice, we are saved by grace (unearned, unmerited) through faith. We learn in Romans 10:7 that, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.” So, what “word” of Christ do you need to hear in which to place your faith?
In speaking with Nicodemus, a pharisee, Jesus made this startling announcement: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.“ (John 3:3) He summarized all of what this means in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.“
To be born again simply means to trust in what God said His Son did for you on the cross of Calvary. When you do, you receive new life in Christ. Receiving this new life is the equivalent of being born again, but this time not in Adam. Instead, you are born from above by the Holy Spirit. For a further explanation Click Here.
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