We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 Cor. 6:1
I once heard a definition of grace as God’s making up the difference between the requirements of His righteous Law and what we lack in meeting those requirements. No one is good enough to earn salvation by himself, this definition said, so God’s grace simply makes up what we lack. Some receive more grace than others, but all receive whatever they need to obtain salvation. No one ever need be lost because whatever grace he needs is his for the taking.
This definition of grace sounds very generous of God, doesn’t it, making up whatever we lack? The problem with this definition, though, is that it isn’t true. It represents a grave misunderstanding of the grace of God and a very inadequate view of our plight as sinners before a holy God. We need to be sure we have a biblical view of grace, for grace is at the very heart of the gospel. It is certainly not necessary for someone to understand all the theology of grace to be saved, but if a person has a false notion of grace, it probably means he or she does not really understand the gospel.
For living by grace, we need to be sure we first understand saving grace. It would be a fatal injustice if I allowed you to believe that all the wonderful provisions of God’s grace are yours apart from salvation through Jesus Christ.
Grace is always the same, whether God exercises it in saving us or in dealing with us as believers. In whatever way the Bible defines saving grace, that same definition applies in the arena of living the Christian life day by day.