For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Recommended Reading: 2 Timothy 1:9
Almost every reward or compensation in this life is reckoned on the basis of works: final scores in sports, annual sales numbers, academic grades, and promotions in the business world. Occasionally we encounter grace in the secular world, but not nearly as often as being rewarded for works.
Grace was not unknown in the Old Testament—it is mentioned 18 times—but it became a major theme in the New Testament (119 mentions). Thus, it was a surprising idea to both Jews and Gentiles alike when Paul—the apostle of grace—taught that we are not saved by our works but by grace alone: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28). And what a relief! For we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If our salvation were based on our works, who could be saved?
If you fall, fail, or forget today, thank God for His grace. Confess your failing and continue to walk in His unmerited favor (1 John 1:9).
Christian doctrine is grace, and ethics is gratitude.
J. I. Packer