Sovereign Grace

For you are saved by grace through faith … it is God’s gift.—Ephesians 2:8

In order to understand grace, we must see it in relation to a Sovereign. As one writer puts it: “Grace is bound to be sovereign since it cannot by its very nature be subject to compulsion.” This is why we often refer to it as free grace. There is no reason for grace but grace.

I believe the old definition of grace cannot be improved upon: “Grace is the free, unmerited favor of God.” At the heart of all true communion with God there lies this gripping truth: God took the initiative. He is more inclined toward us than we are toward Him. We cannot earn His affection. We have simply to receive it. Always the initiative is from God.

When you originally came to Him, you came because He first drew you. The very faith by which you lay hold of Him is not of yourself; it is, as our text says, “God’s gift.” Every step you make on your spiritual pilgrimage is possible because of His grace.

I know this teaching affronts many modern-day men and women because they like to feel that they can “work their passage to heaven,” as one preacher puts it. This is like someone in debt for a million pounds trying to get the one to whom he is indebted to accept his resources of a few pence as being sufficient to clear the debt. Listen to the Word of God again and let it sink deep into your soul: “For you are saved by grace through faith … it is God’s gift.” Grace is a gift. You do not have to achieve but simply receive.


O Father, once again my heart is moved as I realize it was not my merit but Your mercy, acting in grace, that drew You to me and me to You. All honor and glory be to Your mighty and everlasting name. Amen.

Further Study

Rm 5:1-21; Tit 3:7

How does Paul define grace?

Write out your own definition of grace.

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