By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Grace sets Christianity apart from every other religion in the world. Charis, the Greek word for grace, literally means “free gift.” That’s what God promises, a gift of eternal life with no strings attached, one that you can’t receive any other way than through the unmerited generosity of the Giver. You can’t gain eternal life through good works or lose it through bad. Faith in Jesus is the only channel through which you can receive this priceless gift.
Yet God was extending grace long before Jesus came to earth. It began in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve chose to turn away from God, he allowed them to suffer the consequences of their actions, but the depth of his love for those he had created would not let that be the final word. He extended the free gift of grace by promising to send someone who could redeem, or pay for, what had been done. He fulfilled that promise through Jesus.
Good works are evidence of a growing faith in God, and demonstrate the power of God’s grace to transform a life. Good works bring honor to God, blessings to others, and joy to the one who performs them. But they have no power to open the doors of heaven. Remembering this truth will turn any urge to brag into an occasion for praise.
When comparing Christianity with other religions, focus on God’s grace. Explaining God’s free gift to you will help others understand you don’t put yourself “above” them. Everyone is imperfect and therefore in need of God’s grace.
~100 Favorite Bible Verses