God’s grace is sufficient in and of itself to save us from wrath. It also illustrates the balance between God’s justice and His mercy.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
In faith, many believers have accepted this verse as proof that salvation comes by way of unmerited favor from God.
The truth proclaimed here is one of the foundational arguments to Martin Luther’s 95 Theses that eventually led to the Protestant Reformation.
Yes, understanding that God’s grace is sufficient for our salvation has had a profound impact on the Christian faith, and by extension, world history.
Understanding His grace will also give us insight into other aspects of God’s perfect character. We know that God is a God of justice and a God of mercy. But do we understand how His grace preserves both?
Understanding God’s Justice
Almighty God is a God of justice.
Because God is just, He cannot sit idly by and allow sin, disobedience or rebellion to go unpunished. If someone acts in a way that ignores God’s justice, they can be sure that there will be consequences (Galatians 6:7).
We can see examples of this throughout the entire Bible. People who violate God’s commands or His people will eventually come face to face with God’s justice.
This has particular relevance in light of the New Covenant that has been offered to humankind through Christ’s sacrifice. While some of us may not see the immediate ramifications of God’s justice, there is going to come a day when all will be accountable for their sinfulness. All, because God’s justice is perfect (Romans 2:5-11).
Understanding God’s Mercy
However, there is another side to God’s character. Almighty God is also a God of mercy.
God does not desire than any of His creation should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Even though God is a God of justice, we also learn from the Bible that God is not quick to anger, and His love is unfailing (Psalm 103:8).
God wants to restore us to the ability to commune with Him, just as He had designed people to do when He first created us. Yet, because of His justice, God cannot simply look past our sin to provide us the mercy His nature longs to give us.
So how can God reconcile His justice with His mercy as it comes to our destiny?
What we come to see is that God’s grace is sufficient, both to answer this potential conflict and to provide for our salvation.
Grace Reconciles God’s Justice and Mercy
Because God is both perfect in His justice and in His mercy, He had to make a way for us to be able to be restored to Him that would sufficiently answer both.
The solution couldn’t be a simple declaration that our sins were forgiven. To essentially let us of the hook because God decided to do so would not align with His perfect justice.
At the same time, to give up on us and destroy us would not align with His perfect mercy.
The only way He could answer His holiness and His compassion was to do what we could not do for ourselves. To provide a means for our sins to be covered. And God did this in a way that proves His indescribable, overwhelming love for us.
God sent His very own, only Son to sacrificially atone for our sins through a physical death (John 3:16). Jesus Christ fulfilled the requirement to answer the sin debt for us all.
Now, God’s justice has been answered. Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice makes it possible for us to be reconciled to God through His shed blood. Where we were once counted as enemies of God, now we can be counted as His friends (Romans 5:6-11).
And, God’s mercy has been answered. His indescribable gift gives any who would put their faith in Christ and Christ alone the opportunity to inherit eternal life.
God’s Grace Saves, Not Our Works
As today’s passage tells us, god’s grace is sufficient – entirely sufficient – to save us. We can do nothing to purchase this gift, earn it, or add to it.
This is yet another way that God’s perfect justice and perfect mercy are answered. If an action by imperfect man would have been enough to answer God’s requirement for justice and capacity for mercy, it would have rendered God’s justice and mercy insufficient.
Because God is perfect and we are imperfect, we cannot match God’s grace. We can only accept it. God’s grace is sufficient for our salvation because for any other means to be possible, God would be lessened.
There is a place for good works in our restored relationship with God, but making the way for our salvation is not that place. There is a balance between grace and works that we must maturely navigate. Works is the sign that we have authentically accepted and are trusting in the grace provided through Jesus Christ.
My hope is that this gives us even more understanding that God’s grace is sufficient for our salvation. For as we can see, God’s grace weaves an intricate tapestry around His character.
More Bible verses showing that God’s grace is sufficient:
John 1:16-18; Romans 11:1-6; Galatians 2:17-21; Ephesians 1:6-7; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 4:9-10