By grace alone

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We do not gladly accept charity from others. Our sense of pride would have to waver badly before we would be ready to accept it. This is how it is among people. How is it when we are in the presence of God?

In relation to our fellow human beings we are equal in the respect that we are all people. But in relation to God we are in a different position. He is the supreme Majesty. He says: "You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy" (Lev. 19:2). His demand is unconditional. We cannot make it non?effective by belittling it. God pronounces His judgement concerning us: "There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil" (Rom. 2:9). We have not been holy, but have transgressed against His will. Therefore we deserve His condemnation.

If God, therefore, treated us as we deserve to be treated, our lot would be only suffering and tribulation. The only possible way we can avoid eternal suffering is through God's grace. We are completely dependent on it. God's grace, however, cannot be compared to the charity offered by people. God is not scornful or choosy. "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). God's grace is brimming over with heartfelt love for us, love so great that He did not spare His own Son. God's grace has been purchased with a high price, but it is offered to us free of charge. It is a generous and abundant grace. "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph.1:7).

God's Law must indeed humble us so that we will become convinced that we need grace. Accepting God's grace, however, does not decrease our worth as human beings, but rather enables us to return to God and live in communion with Him.

Salvation is by grace alone. Let God be praised for this!