By Travis Pyle
What is grace? W. E. Vines defines grace as Divine favor (p.501). How do we obtain grace? Grace is a gift from God, Romans 5:15, "But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath about unto many." God has given His grace to all men (Titus 2:11). Many people of the denominational world would say since it is a gift an individual must do nothing to receive it. The Bible teaches the contrary (Acts 2:38).
How shall we obtain faith except we hear the word of God? From times of old, God has given us a way for his creation to be saved. Isaiah, a prophet ordained by God, went forth amongst the Israelites preparing their hearts and preaching unto them about the coming of Christ. God's grace was given to Mary the virgin. Luke 1:28 reads, "and the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored (or graciously accepted my emp. twp), the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." In verse 17 of Numbers 24, Baalam, who was given the gift of prophecy, saw a vision of the Star to come, which is the Christ. Christ dwelt with the apostles during his time on earth. While he did so, he instructed them with the words of eternal life (John 6:68). However, Christ promised after all was fulfilled they (apostles) would not be without comfort. The comforter, Holy Spirit, was sent to the apostles in order that they might speak in truth and in harmony to God's word (John 14:16-17). Paul spoke of his chosen course in Acts 20:24, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my live dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." With God there is no respect of persons, and the gospel that was given equals the TRUTH, which is CHRIST. of that truth is everyone knowing that we have forgiveness of our sins, "according to the riches of his grace" (Eph. 1:7).
God has given us Christ, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:23). Why is there a need for Christ? Because "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Furthermore, we read in Ephesians of how we were dead in our trespasses and by the grace of God we are saved through Christ (Eph. 2:1ff). We gain access into grace by faith.
We have established beforehand that God's gifts are conditional. The condition relies on our will of obedience. In Genesis, God tells us how He repented that He had made man because every thought of his heart was continually evil. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis 6:8). Noah did all according to what God commanded of him and thus was saved from the flood, he and his entire house (Hebrews 11:7). In chapter 6 of Joshua we read of a city called Jericho that was promised to Joshua. The gift was conditional; Joshua had to go around the city once a day for six days and the people had to shout alongside the trumpet. The walls indeed fell and Joshua was given the city (Joshua 6:1-6). Lastly, we hear of a man scourged with leprosy, namely Naaman. Naaman was a great man and a captain of Syria, a mighty man in valor, says the writer of I l Kings. God's grace was upon him when his wife's maid (from the land of Israel) suggested unto Naaman's wife that he go to the prophet Elisha to be rid of his leprosy. In short, Naaman did as the Lord gave Elisha utterance to tell him to dip in the River Jordan seven times. Once Naaman showed his obedience to God's word, his skin became like that of a little child.
God's grace abounds and is rich toward us all (Romans 5:20). From the above we understand that God is not a respecter of persons and He has given us His grace liberally. God's grace has come in the form of the gospel and more so through the sacrifice of Christ. In turn, the grace of God is a gift, and there are conditions that go along with this gift. We see through the examples of Noah, Joshua, and Naaman that man must be obedient to the word of God. If we do so, then we can be certain that we will be justified in the sight of our Lord (Romans 5:15ff).