Why Does Grace Matter?

Grace is not an abstract principle, but a reality of our life with God. As Karl Barth once emphasized: “Grace must find expression in life, otherwise it is not grace.” And you can be assured that God’s grace will embed itself into your life in profound ways. That is simply how the Holy Spirit works.

The grace of God extends down to us, not because we deserve it, but precisely because we do not deserve it (Rom. 5:8). When we are born, we are dead, condemned, depraved, corrupt, perverse, sinful, and completely unable to save ourselves or even lift a finger to enable salvation (Rom. 2–3; 6:23).


Our works, even attempts at good works, are not adequate to contribute to our salvation. We are often tempted to believe it is the spiritual effort that matters. As J. Gresham Machen once wrote,

The reception of [the grace of God] is faith: faith means not doing something but receiving something; it means not the earning of a reward but the acceptance of a gift. A man can never be said to obtain a thing for himself if he obtains it by faith; indeed to say that he does not obtain it for himself but permits another to obtain it for him. Faith, in other words, is not active but passive; and to say that we are saved by faith is to say that we do not save ourselves but are saved only by the one in whom our faith is reposed; the faith of man presupposes the sovereign grace of God.

But the intention of a dead man has no profound influence on a living God. Once the Spirit regenerates our dead hearts, we by faith receive the completed work of Jesus who accomplishes our justification—a declaration of his righteousness on us. As his grace continues to work in our lives, the gospel comes to fruition in every aspect of our life (Col. 1:6; 2 Peter 1:3–9).

Through and motivated by God’s grace, we are called to live in righteousness and holiness as God’s adopted children but we are not left to our own power. God has graciously sent the Holy Spirit to work in us to want to do and actually do true good works (Phil. 2:13; Eph. 2:8–10).


Our God of grace has a kindly disposition toward us, and throughout history he has demonstrated his grace in specific acts of kindness. He meets us in our places of hurt, sin, and brokenness and brings hope, healing, and comfort. It is in those seasons in our lives when the grace of God is most needed and best understood. The ultimate act of the God of grace is the ministry of Jesus: his incarnation, his sinless life, his death on the cross for the sins of the world, and his resurrection from the dead.

Our God of grace carries us all our lives, even when, and especially when, we are completely unable to move forward on our own. In fact, it is in our weakness that God’s grace is made perfect. In our state of disgrace, he continually and always gives grace.

“My grace is sufficient for you.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9

This post is adapted from On the Grace of God.