Question 88

God does not bless* people because they have earned it.

 

All people from the first man until now, are sinners.* Our sin* has ruined every part of who we are. Our mind is affected by sin. So, we do not have thoughts that please God. Our desires have been hurt by sin. We follow our own wants and only want to please ourselves. We do not care what God wants. We use our bodies in ways that do not honor* God. We have sinned against the one who made us. God is holy* and his eyes are too pure to approve evil*.[1] The good things we do are like dirty rags to God.[2] We all fall short and do not honor God.[3] What we deserve is death.[4]

 

But we believe that we are not so bad. And many people believe that if they do enough good things God will reward them. They think they can earn a good standing with God by hard work. And then, God will owe them a reward. He must forgive* them. He must give them life and take them to heaven.*

 

Many people in the world believe this is true. So, they follow the paths of other gods or spirits. Some people believe that if they do not hurt other people and follow the good path, they will reach a place of peace.* This may take many lifetimes. But they believe that if they do enough good, they can reach perfect happiness.

 

Other people follow another way. They believe that if they follow the ways of their holy book, that God may reward their good work. They must say the correct prayers, eat the correct foods, and honor holy days and places. They must remove the sin inside themselves. When they do these things, their god may welcome them into heaven.

 

But the Bible* tells us that God does not save people because of the good things they have done. God saves people by grace. Grace is a word that speaks of the blessing or kindness of God. What do we mean when we say that God saves us by grace? We mean that God chose to bless us rather than curse* us as our sins deserve. The blessings that God gives come to us as a gift.

 

If a man works for a reward, his pay is not a gift. It is something he has earned. But God does not save a person because they have worked to earn it. God rescues people from the punishment of their sins because they have put their trust* in Jesus.*

 

When God rescues us, he forgives us of our sins. He gives us his Holy Spirit.* He gives us new life. And one day, He will welcome us into his new heaven and new earth.

 

None of these blessings are things we get by our good works. They come to us by grace. We deserve to be punished for the bad things we do. But God does not punish us. He shows us mercy.* Mercy means that God does not punish us as we deserve to be punished. But, more than this, he blesses us instead. This is grace.

 

God saves people because he is a God of grace. His salvation* is a gift that we do not deserve, and we cannot earn. He gives this grace to those who put their trust in his son, Jesus.[5]

 

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ* died for us.[6] If you are a Christian, it is because of God’s grace.


[1] Habakkuk 1:13
[2] Isaiah 64:6
[3] Romans 3:23
[4] Romans 6:23
[5] Romans 3:28; Romans 4:4-5; Romans 5:1; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 3:9
[6] Romans 5:8