The word grace is not a relevant word to the lost, and I believe it is misunderstood by many who know Christ as Lord. It cannot be fully understood unless you understand fully the word Sovereign, and far too many believe it to mean the same as forgiven.
Our Lord is Sovereign, He is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, there is no higher title available or possible. Sovereign infers complete and total control of everything, everywhere, not only the seen, the materialistic world, but in the Spiritual realm. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” (Col. 1:16) Not one thing is left to chance, but not everything is preplanned, just because the Lord knows what is going to happen does not mean it was in His will for it to happen.
Such is the blessing and curse of free will, and, as far as we have been told, only two groups that the Lord has created have ever been given free will, the angels and man. Therein is where grace begins to unfold, only man has been given grace, the angels who fell from their first estate (Jude 1:6) have no hope of ever returning to heaven, they had, as it were, one chance, and those who chose to rebel will never know grace or forgiveness. It is why the angels who remain in heaven desire “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” (1 Peter 1:12) For it is an unknown structure to them.
These also had the opportunity to rebel, yet they stayed, and not only stayed, but fought against their own brothers. In my mind I see many tears in heaven that day. There is no hope for those fallen angels, now called demons, they made their decision, and for all eternity they will pay with pain for that decision.
We are not just living in an age of grace, God has always been gracious, for grace means unmerited favor, receiving that which we do not deserve. He who is Holy is worthy alone of all worship, for He alone is Sovereign, the idea that man has any free will is only inferred in every other area of our lives, in this area there is no debate, only the living will attempt to contest this fact, the dead are quite sure of the knowledge that it is Almighty God alone who rules everywhere and in all things.
The enabled society, the statements that are so prevalent today of “you deserve” are perhaps one of the highest sins against our Creator, for we deserve nothing but eternal punishment, we are, as a whole and in many individuals on a continuous basis, in open rebellion against He who is Sovereign. I believe, that for the most part, only those who are now or have actually faced death can truly contemplate these words, for this one fact, that you are going to die, is the one truth that should place within our minds the desire to understand the word grace. One of the most well-known verses to the children of the Most High is Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” The unmerited favor of God, what you did not deserve, is what brought you into the family of God, it is what allows you to continue breathing while you are here, grace is not what any of us deserve, and it is why the angels desire to look into it, it is a completely foreign concept to them.
Their brothers did not receive grace, and they never will, they will never know mercy, they will never be forgiven. Any sense of pride is the greatest sin against the Sovereign Lord, for pride says it needs not the Creator and Sustainer of all that is, pride cannot understand grace, and it is why “The heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing.”(Psalm 2:1)
There is no hope of eternal life outside of Jesus Christ, faith in Him by the grace of God will be rewarded with joy and pleasures forever more, (Psalm 16:11) without Him, there will be eternal wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 13:50) Grace is not forgiveness, it is giving us something that not one of us deserves, if you accept it in faith in Jesus Christ, the wrath of God will no longer abide upon you, (John 3:36) if not, you will face an anger and eternal wrath that the human mind cannot begin to contemplate, and it will never end, there will be no mercy.
Such is the ways of a Holy God, and He is worthy and due all worship and praise because of His grace. He does not have to offer any of us this unmerited favor, He does so out of love, he does not have to offer us even His love, but He does, no mindset, no work, no selfless act of contrition or supplication can earn the grace of the Almighty Sovereign Creator of all reality. Faith in His Son Jesus Christ is all that is necessary.
He has made it so simple that great theologians have missed it, that strong, proud men cannot see it, that all those who believe in works, no matter what form they come in or how religious and pious they may seem have missed the mark. Don’t you miss it.