For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB)
Today we take a look at Sola Gratia which is translated - Grace Alone. Grace Alone is along with the other 5 Solas a fundamental building block of the historic Christian faith. In fact, much like the other 4 Sola Gratia is what fundamentally separates Christianity from every other religion that has ever existed, or is now in existence. It separates Christianity as a world view from every other world view.
Grace Alone is something that should drive us to our knees in a humble prayer of thanksgiving to God for all that He is and what He grants us in His grace. Grace is unmerited favor and in reference to Christianity it is the unmerited favor of God towards those rebel sinners who do not deserve His grace, nor can do anything to earn it.
There is a difference between grace, mercy and justice.
1. Grace is granting or giving something that is unearned or undeserved to someone else.
2. Mercy is withholding something that is completely deserved by someone, and not giving them what is justly due to them; primarily in view here is justice for sin.
3. Justice is giving out exactly what is deserved and what is due to the person receiving it. In this case what is being doled out is completely deserved and earned on the part of the person on the receiving end.
Thankfully, for the one who places their faith in Christ, they have been regenerated and made spiritually alive by the Holy Spirit of God in order that they may place their faith in Christ Jesus. They do so because God has graciously granted mercy to the rebel sinner who has not in any way earned or deserved that grace or mercy from an all Mighty God who is the Creator of the universe.
Grace Alone means that without God's grace no flesh would be saved. Without God's grace no one would turn to or seek after God. James White discusses this subject in his book The Potter's Freedom when he states:
Outside of God's grace, man is a corrupted creation, violent, hateful, without understanding, without fear of God. Rather than finding in man "seekers" who simply need a "nudge" in the right direction, Scripture tells us that man does not understand and does not seek after God. Scripture teaches that men are spiritually dead and in need of new life. (White, 2009, p. 82-83)
Dr. White in this quote makes it abundantly clear that without God's grace man would be utterly hopeless and would die in his sin because he is a "corrupted creation, violent, hateful, without understanding, without fear of God." Romans 8:7 makes it clear as well that man not only will not seek after God or choose Him but that he is actually unable to do so.
It is not simply as the Arminian view would suggest that man simply as Dr. White points out needs a "nudge in the right direction," but rather, that man is completely incapable of choosing God on his own. It is an absolute necessity that God shed his grace on undeserving sinners and grant mercy to the rebel sinner and grant life that man does not have on his own in order to place faith in Christ.
It is by the grace of God that anyone is saved for we all deserve to die in our sin and receive the just payment for our sins. It is because of God's grace and mercy that we obtain eternal life.
Grace Alone means ultimately that in opposition to every other world view and religion, man can not earn eternal life, man is not deserving of eternal life, and without God's grace no man would have eternal life.