All By the Grace of God
It is quite common to hear in my circle of friends in the Christian community the so called "Doctrines of Grace," which refers to specific points of doctrine pertaining to the grace of God in saving sinful men from their sin in and through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Many don't like these doctrines. Either they misunderstood these teachings or they are opposed to them because these contradict their long-held beliefs. They say that these doctrines make Christians lazy or passive. Others claim that these doctrines make people proud or annoying.
Some even abuse these wonderful truths as a license to continue in their sin while others misuse them by becoming legalistic browbeating others who do not hold to these biblical teachings.
The term grace, of course, may be understood as the "undeserved blessing freely bestowed on man by God, and, still more particularly, the blessing of salvation, in all the rich significance of that term, freely given to sinful man in and through Jesus Christ" (Philip E. Hughes, "But for the Grace of God...: Divine Initiative and Human Need," 9).
I have heard of these doctrines way back in the late 80s when I was just beginning to live as a new Christian. But I did not really understand them until I listened to a very careful biblical presentation of these truths in a study group in the late 90s. Since then I could truly and convincingly say that God's grace is really amazing.
Many of my new and old friends who are learning these truths are testifying that they felt regenerated (born again) or they have noticed revival of their souls, tremendous spiritual growth, and deeper commitment to Christ and His call to Christian discipleship in understanding these points of doctrine for the first time.
I can understand why. I have experienced it myself. But more than my experience, the Scripture testifies to the veracity of these truths. Paul says, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them [the apostles], though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me" (1 Cor. 15:10).
On this verse, 1 Corinthians 15:10, the late Dr. Philip E. Hughes makes a comment by saying, "This verse indicates that Paul attributed not only his conversion to God's grace, but also all that he was able to do and achieve throughout the course of his life and ministry as an apostle. In other words, the grace of God is determinative of the whole pilgrimage of the Christian, from conversion to glorification."
He also adds, "Grace speaks of God's initiative, of the priority of God's action on behalf of us poor sinners...Grace enriches, and the enrichment it brings is owed entirely to God's prior action of mercy in Christ Jesus. Divine grace precedes all. That is the whole point of grace.
"Thus," Hughes further stayes, "to the Christians in Rome Paul writes: 'God shows His love to us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us' (Rom. 5:8); and John declares: '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.' Consequently: 'We love, because He first loved us' (1 Jn. 4:10, 19)" ("But for the Grace of God...," 9-10).
One cannot remain indifferent and uncommitted to Christ when he truly understands the grace of God because such knowledge compels him to love God and His people, and to serve His purposes for the sake of His kingdom.
He who truly understands and lives by the amazing grace of God in Christ cannot continue in his sin for grace "teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age" (cf. Titus 2:12).
God's grace also humbles us and makes us kind-hearted toward others. One could not continue in his arrogance for he knows he deserves wrath. But because of His mercy and grace, God has redeemed him from the pit of death and revived him back to life that he may love and serve God and love others all the rest of his life.
No place for pride for those who have been rescued from their sin and misery by the glorious grace of God Almighty. Only gratitude!