Christians accept, through faith, that they are freed
from the costs of sins or wrongdoing through
the unconditional love of God.
They are saved from death.
The term “grace” is of critical importance within Christianity. It refers to the essence of God’s love for us humans, both individually and as a whole, within our relationships with him as Christians.
And importantly, it encapsulates the importance of Jesus’ death on the cross to each of us individually. The terms “justification” and “saved” are both aligned with the ultimate gift from God, that is eternal life after physical death.
Now, if all this seems a bit too much for you … say if you are even struggling with the possible existence of God … please begin by reading the article, “How to believe in God”. Trust me on this one: if you are ready to believe, then you can!
“Grace” itself refers directly to God’s freely giving and loving nature. In many circumstances, God helps us to achieve our needs through his unconditional gifts of love. For example, he wants to guide us in life to what is in our absolute best interests. And when we follow that guidance, then he applies a helping hand to our life’s endeavours. God also answers our everyday prayers, through his grace, although we do need to know our limits there. As such, grace can make our lives, as committed Christians, so much more contented than we would normally expect.
A major example of God’s grace though, within conventional Christian theology, and as alluded to above is our being ‘saved’. By that I mean receiving eternal life after physical death; ‘saved’ from death. And usually that is much more than we actually deserve, due to our human urge to get our own way. In other words, doing the ‘wrong things’ in life; committing sins.
When God assists us to put our wrongdoings behind us, i.e. when we repent, we also use his grace. He helps us in this manner (i.e. providing us with a boost of personal strength), sometimes without us even asking for it. He does so because he loves us and wants us to love him fully in return. Although not obvious to the uninitiated, a life that is as free from wrongdoing, as it can be, enables us to have the closest possible bond with God.
Continually doing what we know, in our consciences, to be wrong just plain messes with our attitude towards God. It interferes with our ability to get closer to him in our relationship.
Initially, this may suggest a way of life that is foreign to our natural desires. I do not hold myself up as even close to being a perfect Christian. But I am confident that the closer I do get to what I know God wants of me, the more happier, contented and satisfied I am with life. So, I know it to be true.
And when I try to improve myself, in this regard, I can clearly recognise God’s grace at work. That is assisting or empowering me to move forward. What I am trying to say is that, in my experience, grace can be a tangible force in the life of a Christian.
The beautiful old Christian hymn “Amazing Grace”, that has been popular for more than three centuries, is based on the concept.
3. JUSTIFIED AND SAVED
Most Christians believe that Jesus, by dying on the cross out of God’s grace, paid for all their wrong doings or sins thus paving their way to heaven after death. The Biblical terms “Saved” and “Salvation”, “Justified”, “Justification”, “redeemed” and “redemption” relate to that understanding.
God has ‘wiped our slate clean’ with regards to our sins; redeeming the cost of wrongdoing (i.e. by buying it back), thereby justifying our right to eternal life. In effect, our clean slate means that we can enter the Kingdom of God (Heaven) after physical death to enjoy eternal life. Note that does not mean we can just totally disregard our obligations.
The effect of religious rules and laws on Christians is presented in the article, “Christian rules and laws”. I recommend you read that article to fully understand the context of rules and laws within Christianity. The major principles and beliefs of Christianity are presented in the Lead Article to this section of the website, “Christianity explained”.
“Saved” has a related meaning to justification/ redemption, in that, by having faith in Jesus as our Lord and “redeemer”, Christians are assured of eternal life with God after physical death. Jesus has redeemed our sins, i.e. bought them back or recovered their cost for us. Essentially, we are saved from death if we believe it is so! The term used in the New Testament is “saved by faith” [examples are Ephesians 2:8, Galations 2:15, 3:22 – 25].
In other words, we are expected to accept Jesus as our saviour, and our Lord of course, (that is through ‘faith’) to enable this to happen. In summary, faith in Jesus as such is more important as far as being saved, than leading a perfect sin-free life.
Jesus’ own resurrection – three days after crucifixion – actually demonstrated what God has on offer for us after death.
The actions of God, as represented by the terms explained in this article, sit at the core of accepted Christian beliefs. An excellent example of all the terms ‘in action’ can actually be found in Romans 3:21-24.
Again, please see the article, “Christianity explained” to place these actions of grace, justification and being saved into perspective with the religion itself. They are essentially what sets Christianity apart from its monotheist siblings, Judaism and Islam.
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