What’s the difference between salvation and grace?
Ephesians 2:8 (NASB)
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.
To make this real simple, salvation is the what, and grace is the how. I could leave it here but I think it’s important, in fact very important, to understand what they both are. Salvation and grace are often misunderstood biblical terms and yet they are maybe two of the most important for us to know. Jesus said that biblical knowledge sets us free and that no less applies here.
The word salvation is the language equivalent of a multivitamin. It isn’t just simply any one thing, but many wrapped up together. The word literally means deliverance, preservation, and safety. It applies as the present possession of Christians as well as to a guarantee of our future salvation. It does not just simply mean “saved”. Yes salvation is an awesome thing and when we have true understanding of it and what it entails, our faith grows to an unstoppable place!
Salvation is something that humanity desperately needed as well as still needs. We as humans were utterly lost and utterly hopeless. So how on earth could people who were so lost, so incapable, so desperate ever possibly get saved? That is where grace comes in. When Ephesians says we were saved by grace what it really is saying is, grace is the thing that opened the door to salvations possibility. To put it simply, grace is the ability to obtain what is not earned or even deserved. Grace is the force that proceeded from God’s mercy. When the Bible declares by “grace we are saved”, it is a reminder to us that there was nothing we could do to bring it about. That however does not mean that we do nothing for it.
I can extend grace to a person who refuses what that grace supplies. We have a growing epidemic of homelessness in our nation. Many times, this happens at no fault of the individual but in many situations I have experienced the fact that it can be simply by their choice. There are troubles that can happen as result of not making choices. I have witnessed reaching out to someone to help them only to have them refuse because the acceptance of help meant a change in direction. Since the person (for whatever reason) did not want a change, they chose to refuse the help. It’s like someone who get cancer from smoking yet won’t stop smoking. Sure, they don’t want cancer, but if you don’t eliminate the cause you eliminate the possibility for help.
This happens so much more than you know. I present the truth to people several times every week and have done so for almost a decade. I cannot tell you how many times I have presented a persons help only to have them refuse because it meant going in a different way. Some “try” for a time only to stop because they want to return to their old life. The troubles they faced in life were the direct result of their old life but that doesn’t matter to them. It’s the same as someone saying I’m tired of being cold outside but I don’t want to come into shelter.
This is why God hates complaining. More often than not complaining has nothing to do with what a person can’t do but rather what they won’t do. Romans 8:32 (NASB) says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” For the Christian believer this is truth which is the epitome of God’s grace toward all who would believe. If there’s no good thing He will withhold (Psalm 84:11) then what would one ever have a reason to complain for?
The amazing thing about grace and salvation is this, grace provides salvation which opens the door for continual and active grace, which constantly brings us toward salvation. This is the love of God in a nutshell! He set up a system of perpetual security if we would only choose to partake. The winter season is upon and it’s cold outside, but God has provided safety and shelter if we would only be willing to come in!