There are many great examples of grace in the Bible, but here are 5 that are among the greatest.
I love the acrostic for grace: God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. That is spot on. God’s grace could be defined as this: God gives us what we don’t deserve while mercy could be defined as this: God doesn’t give us what we do deserve. We are saved by grace and not by works (Eph 2:8-9), and that’s why the gospel is such good news because if we had to depend on works, none of us could ever make it, and none of us could ever be sure if we’d done enough good works to save ourselves. That’s why messages on grace are so powerful and effective in proclaiming the gospel of redemption through Jesus Christ, and why every message should include repentance, confession, faith in Christ, and all made possible by the grace of God. It was free for us but it was of the utmost expense to God. What we could have never achieved comes freely to all who come, but the grace of God is not found only in the New Testament as we shall read.
Jesus said that we must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3-7), but the best translation is that we must be “born from above” as the Greek indicates. If we are “born from above,” then we can’t boast about it. In fact, I don’t think we can boast about anything (1 Cor 4:7). That would be like bragging about our natural birth, which by the way, we had nothing to do with. Did we plan when we would be born? Did we plan where we would be born? Did we plan who our parents would be? No, this was beyond our reach or ability to control because we didn’t even exist at the time, but God has always existed and has planned this from the beginning (Eph 1). I hope you understand that there’s nothing we did to earn it, nor could ever do to earn it. The only thing we can really do is to repent and trust in Christ, but even here, we can’t come to Jesus unless the Father draws us (John 6:44), and God is the One Who grants repentance (2 Tim 2:25). Jesus chose His disciples…not the other way around. And today, He is still doing the choosing.
Lazarus had been dead for four days, and there’s no possible way he could’ve raised himself to life, nor could any of his family or friends, so when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, did Lazarus contribute anything to it? Jesus didn’t go into Lazarus’ tomb and ask him to blink an eye and I’ll do the rest. Jesus didn’t tell him, “If you really, really want to be raised from the dead Lazarus, say something!” No, Lazarus had nothing to do with being raised from dead. Paul reminds us that “you were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1), and “even when we were dead in our trespasses [He] made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Eph 2:5), and dead men don’t chose Christ. It’s as if the Apostle Paul is speaking directly to us, and telling us, “you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col 2:13-14). So it was God Who made us alive. That means salvation is fully a work of God, and that’s why He receives all the glory. It was “not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:9).
When David became King over all of Israel, David asked whether any of Jonathan’s family was still alive. David loved Jonathan, but after Jonathan had been killed, David wanted to show kindness to any of his relatives that were still living. David found out that “Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth” (2 Sam 4:4). That’s when David summoned Mephibosheth who “came to David and fell on his face and prostrated himself. And David said, “Mephibosheth.” And he said, “Here is your servant And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always” (2 Sam 9:6-7). In true humility, Mephibosheth said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I? Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson” (2 Sam 9:8). David told Mephibosheth’s servant, “And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table. Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons” (2 Sam 9:10-11), so “Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet” (2 Sam 9:13). Friends; that’s grace! We can sit at the king’s table and be considered one of the king’s sons or daughters.
Seated with the King
Mephibosheth was now seated with the king and he certainly did nothing to deserve this graciousness. He had nothing to do with his being born to Jonathan, but a great point is, like Mephibosheth, we came to the King with crippled feet, on our face, bowing before the king, and bringing nothing to the king’s table, but like Mephibosheth, we shall have all the bread we need even though we were nothing more than a “dead dog.” Now, we have no need to fear when we come before the King. Like Mephibosheth’s servant Ziba, the land that belonged to Saul is given to us…the land will produce and provide for us. We were all disabled by sin, we were all “dead dogs,” and we all brought nothing to the King’s table, yet we, like Mephibosheth, can eat at the king’s table and be “like one of the king’s sons” or daughters. That is grace to the nth degree.
How God Sees Us
One of the most remarkable doctrines of the Bible is that we can have Jesus’ very own righteousness imputed toward us. That’s only because it was “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). It was “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins” (Rom 3:22-25). After a person repents and places their trust in Christ, they receive grace, and at that moment, they are “justified by his grace as a gift,” through costly was the “redemption that is in Christ…by his blood.” And this was done “to show God’s righteousness” because “he had passed over former sins.” How much did we contribute to this? Nothing!
Preach grace as often as you can, as much as you can, for as much of the glory of God as you can, because that’s what the gospel is. It is the unearned, unmerited favor of God at Christ’s expense. It’s what He gives us that we do not deserve. That’s why grace is so amazing. Now when God looks at us, He doesn’t see the sinful, wicked, wretched sinner any more, but He sees the righteousness of Christ. He sees a son or daughter of the King. Again, this is all a work of God…and all for the glory of God.