Grace for the Ungodly

What is grace? The usual answer to that question is unmerited favor. That, though, is a mechanical answer and you can throw it to the wind. You will not know what grace is until you have failed God a thousand times, and He still loves you and calls you His own. When you have mourned over your sinful nature and your lack of faithfulness and dedication, and yet find God comforting you, it is then that you begin understanding what grace is (Matthew 5:4).

Romans 1:1,7 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God…
7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul was a servant of Jesus Christ by the grace of God. He understood grace because he experienced it. He had dedicated himself to the destruction of the Church because he thought he was doing the will of God. The Lord Jesus Christ met him on the road to Damascus and he was devastated. That Damascus road experience for Paul was the beginning of life in the grace of God.

Paul knew how important grace was. He began his epistles to the churches by ministering grace to them. God’s love functions in the realm of grace. That is where His love is found and experienced.

Romans 3:20-24 By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference;
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.

Paul begins by saying that no one is justified by the deeds of the law. The righteousness of God is manifested without the law, and it comes through the faith of Jesus Christ into all who believe. We can’t even take credit for the faith because it is His faith that works the righteousness of God in us. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Everything that has to do with our salvation is a result of His grace. For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9.

Romans 4:3-5 What saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that works not, but believes on Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

There was no law for Abraham to adhere to. He was counted as righteous simply because he believed God. Our salvation has to be a result of grace. It is amazing how many Christians still think they can earn something from God by the works of the law, keeping the Ten Commandments, or by what they do or don’t do. Look at verse five: God justifies the ungodly. If you think you are a good person and you deserve salvation, you have just closed the door to it. To be justified you must first know that you are ungodly, and then you must believe in Him that justifies the ungodly.

Romans 5:1-2,6 Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Again the emphasis is on the ungodly – Christ died for the ungodly! Paul said, “Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to think” (Romans 12:3). Super-spiritual Christians tend to lose their need for grace. It is wisdom to remember “the pit from whence ye were digged” (Isaiah 51:1). Regardless of where we are in our Christian experience, compared to the Lord God we are ungodly and are in need of grace.

Matthew 5:44-48 I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The Lord shows His grace toward us by forgiving us when we don’t deserve forgiveness and by loving us when we don’t deserve His love. He shows us grace when we don’t deserve it. Likewise, He wants His grace to be available to our enemies. So He tells us to love our enemies, to do good to them that hate us, and to pray for them that despitefully use us and persecute us. We are the channels through which His grace must be made available to others. We must remember two things: First, we need His grace. Secondly, we must be willing to be channels for His grace to reach others. Grace is for the ungodly!

Copyright © 2008 by Henry DuBose