Eph 2:8 ESV For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God
Grace saves us!
Grace, simply defined, is God’s generosity, goodwill, favor, loving kindness, etc. Because God is so loving and generous it pleases Him to give us the gift of eternal life.
We have learned that grace is really a character trait. How can a character trait save us? Can good intentions result in our salvation (even if they are God’s good intentions)? Was God’s desire to reconcile with us enough to accomplish it? Evidently God’s good will alone was not enough to save us from our sins. God had to take action to save us! This action was Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
Mat 26:39 ESV And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will."
We learn from Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 26:39 that it was not possible for God to save us without work on His part. The “cup” that Jesus refers to in His prayer is a metaphor for the ordeal of His crucifixion which was about to happen.
|Grace (goodwill, kindness, generosity, etc.)||Jesus sacrificed Himself to atone for our sins|
So, if effort was required by God, in what sense are we saved by grace? God’s love and kindness (grace) was the motivation which caused Him to take action to save us so that we could live eternally with Him. God’s action saves us, but that which caused the action was His generosity, love and goodwill (grace). That is how we are saved by grace.