Not too long ago, I preached a series in our Sunday morning services about the grace of God. A. W. Tozer in his book The Knowledge of the Holy says that “grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving.
We see grace contrasted with the debt in Romans 4:6. Grace is credited where there is debt. The idea here is that the person who works for a paycheck is owed that check from his employer. Their employer is in a sense in debt to the employee for his wages and also benefits. Contrast that example of working for a paycheck with the person who doesn't work for grace. The person who doesn't work to gain favor or salvation (Abraham's salvation is in reference here) is credited with grace. So, grace is credited where there is debt, and nor work is done to attain grace.
Grace is also contrasted with works in Romans 11:6. The context has the current remnant of Israelite's in view. The election of grace in Romans 11:5 was according to grace. If the election was of grace it is no more of works and vice versa, if the election was of works, then it is no more of grace. So, grace is contrasted with works.
Grace is lastly contrasted with the law (John 1:14-18). That text in John says the law came by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Moses was the great man in the Old Testament God used to introduce the law to Israel. The law represented the holiness of God. It pointed out men's sin and inability to live up to God's standard. The law could do nothing to bring men into a right standing with God. But Jesus’ coming gave us grace and truth. Grace was able to do something about men's being out of tune with God. 2 Corinthians 8:9 says “by the grace of Jesus Christ, who was rich became poor so that we who were poor might become rich.” Hebrews 2:9 says, “That Jesus by the grace of God tasted death for every man.”
The law raised the bar high for men to live up to but couldn't lift men up to the bar.
Grace on the other hand lifted men up to the bar because of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
The law pointed out man's failure but we have redemption and forgiveness of sins by the riches of God's (Ephesians 1:7). The law condemned man but Romans 8:3 says what the law couldn't do because it was weak in the flesh, Jesus came and condemned sin in the flesh.
The law was our schoolmaster (Galatians 3:24) and pointed out our sin and was incapable of lifting a finger to do anything about it (Galatians 4:9). But, glory to God, that His grace, his unmerited favor towards man did something about man's problem of sin. In Romans 5:20 we see abounding grace, grace abounding where the offence and sin abounds. The next verse (Romans 5:21) we see grace reigning over death. Because of grace the believer is now standing in grace in Romans 5:2.
The first chorus of the hymn Wonderful Grace of Jesus says:
Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Greater than all my sin
How shall my tongue describe it?
Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden,
Setting my spirit free
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.
Amen and Amen and praise to the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10)
P Allen Wayne