We, as humans, cannot earn grace.
What is Grace?
Grace is the ultimate act of kindness and compassion. When we least deserve it, someone is gracious unto us.
For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.Titus 2:11-14
Grace is the greatest gift we can ever receive. We can’t ever buy grace.
When we’re under God’s grace, we are free from fear and guilt! We can lean on God’s grace 24/7. The penalty that was due us was paid on the cross by Jesus.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.Romans 3:23-25
Grace is free to us, but it wasn’t cheap.
Jesus gave up everything — Himself — to us — to you and me — so we can be forgiven of our sins once and for all!
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.Ephesians 2:8-10
Now, this is not to say that doing good works and deeds is not called for — the truth is that we are saved by grace — and NOT by works. The Catholic Church has the works part down. You have organizations like Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul who help the less fortunate. And all Christians are supposed to serve. However, we are not serving to gain points to get us into Heaven. We’re serving because we are called — because we receive the Gifts of the Spirit when we believe, repent and get baptized. I’ll talk about the Gifts of the Spirit in a future post.
The Catholic Church Tries to Sell Grace through the “Sacraments”
This is what is sad and wrong and why I’m doing this blog and podcast. You — as a human being — cannot ever earn, win, or buy God’s Grace!
You supposedly get pieces of grace with each of the “Sacraments”:
- Infant baptism – The truth is that you are NOT “born again” when a priest sprinkles water on your head as a baby. Salvation begins with believing in Jesus, repenting of your sins, then being baptized. A baby cannot repent of sins that he or she hasn’t committed yet!
- Penance – This is what you get after you confess your sins to a priest. The priest is the only one who can forgive you. That’s not true! Only Jesus — God — can forgive you. (Watch the video at the bottom for details.) The priest will tell you what you need to — pray your Hail Marys, etc. — and as soon as you commit a venial or mortal sin, you lose your salvation.
- Mass – Transubstantiation — receiving communion — the bread (Eucharist) and the wine actually turn into Jesus’ body and blood. Sorry, folks, there’s no magic or voodoo happening here — it’s still bread and wine.
- Confirmation — When a child “comes of age” — around age 10-12 — the bishop will lay his hands on the child and the child is supposed to get the Holy Spirit. My confirmation was one of the worst days of my childhood. I and another kid were sick on the last day of religious instruction class before confirmation day. We were not allowed to sit with the rest of the kids. We were in the end of line as we walked up to the bishop. The church was packed — standing room only — and we both got lost and couldn’t find our seats. What was supposed to be a nice day turned out to be horrible. Did I feel like I had the Holy Spirit? No way.
- Marriage — Being married in a Catholic church. Guess I miss out on this one since I’ve never married.
- Holy Orders — This only applies to priests.
- Last Rights — The anointing of a dying person by a priest — that is if the priest gets to the person on time. Remember in the show “MASH”, Father Mulcahy would run to give a wounded soldier his last rights and one of the doctors would say, “Sorry, Father, he’s gone.” Father Mulcahy would make the sign of the cross on top of the man’s forehead. That’s too late. If the person did not accept Jesus Christ as his savior while he was still conscience and asked for the forgiveness of his sins, it’s too late.
In the Book of Hebrews — and I highly recommend that you read it — the writer tells the truth about Jesus being our High Priest.
Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.Hebrews 10:11-14
The “old covenant” was between God and the Jews. In a past post — Are you Good Enough to Get into Heaven?, I explain the purification rituals the priests and the people had to go through to offer the sacrifices. Because of God’s Grace and Jesus, we don’t have to do that any more!
Go Deeper with these videos on Grace…
The video below is of my church’s youth pastor preaching on God’s Grace….
Pastor Jordan Francis, First Christian Church of Phoenix…