What Does GCJ Believe re God’s Grace?

12.1  What is God’s grace?

All that the triune God does toward his creation is good and right, and it is all done freely. That is grace.  God’s grace, which is free and unmerited , arises out of God’s eternal nature and character.  God’s grace is expressed in everything God does. The deepest and most costly expression of grace is the Father’s redemption of sinful and rebellious humanity and the entire cosmos from the power of sin and its ultimate consequence, death. This redemption was accomplished through the incarnation and atoning death of Jesus Christ.  By grace, the Holy Spirit now frees and empowers humans to repent of unbelief and to know, have faith in love and worship the Father and Jesus Christ and thereby experience the joy of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God.

  • Ephesians 2:8-9   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.
  • 1 John 2:1-2   My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
  • Colossians 1:20   And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
  • Romans 11:32   For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
  • Romans 8:19-21   For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
  • Romans 3:24    Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
  • Romans 5:2   By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
  • Romans 5:15-17   But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.  16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.  17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
  • Romans 5:21   That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • John 1:12   But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
  • Titus 3:7     That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.


12.2  Why do all people need God’s grace? 

Because all humans are sinners and cannot set themselves free from the power of sin or sin’s ultimate consequences, which are alienation from God and death. All people need the good news that God loves us unconditionally, has forgiven our sins, and has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ. That good news the gospel) includes the invitation to receive, by faith in Christ, all the benefits of living under God’s grace by the Holy Spirit. While we should not cease to pray to God for mercy, we can, in faith, be confident that God has forgiven us and that he is at work freeing us from all our sins. By grace we can confess our sins, repent of hem, and grow in love and knowledge day by day. By confession and repentance we receive, as often as needed, the grace of God freely given to us.

  • Mark 7:21-23   For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,  22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:  23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
  • 1 John 3:8   He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
  • Ephesians 2:2   Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
  • Galatians 5:19-21    Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Romans 6:23   For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • Romans 3:23-24   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 Christ Jesus:
  • Ephesians 2:12-13   That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
  • Psalm 14:3   They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
  • Ephesians 2:8   For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
  • Psalm 30:3-4   O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.  Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
  • Colossians 1:13-14   Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
  • 1 John 1:8   If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.


12.3  What is forgiveness of sin? 

Through the incarnation and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, God has taken responsibility to overcome evil and put all things right.  Because of Christ, God no longer holds our sins against us. Christ alone is our righteousness and our life; he is our only hope. Grace alone, not any merits of our own, is the basis on which God has forgiven us in Christ. Faith alone, not our works, is the means by which we receive Christ into our hearts, and with him the forgiveness that makes us whole. Christ alone, grace alone, and faith alone bring the forgiveness from God that is attested to in the gospel.

  • 1 Corinthians 1:30   But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
  • 1 Timothy 1:1   Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
  • Romans 11:6   And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
  • Ephesians 1:10   That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
  • Ephesians 2:8   For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
  • Romans 5:15   But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
  • Romans 4:16   Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
  • Romans 3:28    Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.


12.4  Does forgiveness mean that God condones sin?

No. God never approves of sin. Although God is merciful, God does not condone what God forgives. In the death and resurrection of Christ, God judges what God abhors — everything hostile to holy love — by abolishing it at its roots.  Because God is for his creatures, he must be against all that is against them.  Evil thus has no future.  In this judgment the unexpected occurs: good is forcibly (not naturally) brought out of evil circumstances, hope out of hopelessness, and life out of death. God spares sinners who welcome God’s judgment and his condemnation of all sin and evil, including their own, which was accomplished in Jesus Christ.  God turns them from enemies into friends. The uncompromising judgment of God to do away with all evil and its consequences is revealed in the suffering love of the cross.

  • Habakkuk 1:13   Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?
  • Isaiah 59:15   Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
  • Hebrews 9:22   And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.


12.5  Does our forgiveness of those who have harmed us depend on their repentance? 

No.  We are to forgive as we have been forgiven. The gospel is the astonishing good news that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Just as God’s forgiveness of us is unconditional, and precedes our confession of sin and our repentance, so our forgiveness of those who have harmed us does not depend on them confessing and repenting of their sin. However, when we forgive the person who has done us harm, giving up any resentment or desire to retaliate, we do not condone the harm that was done, nor do we excuse the evil of the sin.  Rather, we trust in God’s judgement upon the evil, the power of his redemption, and in the hopeful rescue and transformation of all who have done evil.

  • Colossians 3:13   Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
  • Mark 11:25   And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
  • Colossians 2:13   13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
  • Matthew 18:21-22   Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?  22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
  • Hebrews 12:14   Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:


12.6  How can people forgive those who have hurt them badly? 

Without the grace that comes from above, we cannot love our enemies, we cannot pray for those who persecute us, we cannot even be ready to forgive those who have hurt us badly. We cannot be conformed to the image of God’s Son apart from the power of God’s Word and Spirit. Yet we are promised that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  We never forgive others in our own names, but only in the name of Jesus. In our forgiveness, we trust that God has not allowed us to experience anything that in the end cannot be put right and redeemed. In our forgiveness, we hand over those who have sinned against us to God’s own gracious judgment in the hope that they will one day submit to God’s judgment, repent of their evil, die to themselves and be transformed by God’s grace, just as we have.

  • Luke 6:27-28   But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,  28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
  • James 1:17   Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
  • Romans 8:29   For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
  • Philippians 4:13   I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top